Occasionally on the Lensless Podcast, when homemade cameras come up, I hear guests question the durability of cardboard and I think I can hear them wrinkle their noses when mentioning they have to use glue. Some kits I see that use cardboard to make a camera often prominently state “no gluing necessary.”
I laid down strips of the tape on the template. I quickly discovered that I couldn’t cut it with my regular scissors because it stuck to the cutting edge and also left a sticky residue on the blade. I eventually found that I could lightly place it on my cutting mat, cut it with an Xacto knife and carefully peel it off without the adhesive detaching from the release layer.
It initially seemed difficult to work with but once I got used to it, it worked pretty well. The adhesive bonds instantly and is very strong. There’s something very gratifying about that instant bond and being able to go on working right away.
There were two worrying issues.
It does add some thickness to things. That wasn’t really a problem with the 60mm distance to the pinhole in this camera, but with a very wide angle camera, it might not be able to make the shutter thin enough that it didn’t block the edges of the image.
The other issue with this particular carpet tape is that the adhesive layer includes a cloth mesh.
In cases where you needed a double layer of cardstock, that would also have two layers of this stuff attaching the template, a cut edge turned out to be sticky. It left little beads of adhesive at the ends of those threads. That could be a problem where you had moving parts. I discovered this fairly soon with the little stop which keeps the film reel parallel. Initially I had trouble rotating an empty film reel. I eventually covered the edge with a thin strip of tape.
The other place where it would really be a problem was with the sliding shutter. I eventually discovered that repeated scraping with the edge of my Xacto blade could get rid of most of it and a little work with sandpaper could remove the adhesive enough that the parts would slide without sticking.
I couldn’t quite figure out how to attach a knob to the winders with the carpet tape so I just reused some from another camera.
In order to determine how well this all worked, one has to expose some film. The first nine frames I did around the house with the axial pinhole. In order to give it a proper test I had to get out in the sunshine and try out the rising pinhole.
I encountered an interesting problem that had nothing to do with the adhesive.
When I first pulled the negatives out of the wash, those last three frames looked a little dense which made me wonder if the camera wasn’t really light proof. I’ve never had a problem with leaks with an Evil Cube and with that extra heavy cardstock that consists of a double layer everywhere but the back of the camera, it didn’t seem likely that it wasn’t completely opaque. On closer inspection, the darker parts of the image looked completely clear, so that wasn’t it.
When I scanned the negative I discovered that there was a double image on the top half of each one of these negatives. I was pretty sure I hadn’t opened the lower shutter accidentally on all three pictures.
With the 60mm pinhole distance and a separate opening for each pinhole with a divider between them, it also didn’t seem likely that the lower pinhole was seeing through a gap at the top like I experienced with the ultra wide setting on the Pinhole Lab Camera.When I mounted the pinholes, I looked from the inside and tried to get the pinhole as centered as I could in the openings. I just taped them down enough to hold them in place.