20 Pieces of Film Gear You Can Print With a 3D Printer
Create your very own film gear with these free 3D models. This is why every filmmaker and videographer should own a 3D printer.
Top image via Gilles Pinault
For just a few hundred dollars, you can have your very own 3D printer with plastic — but 3D printers can be used to print way more than just action figures. While big-budget Hollywood features have been using 3D printers for years, they are just now finding their way into the indie-film world.
From camera rigs to drones, a 3D printer can create a whole lot of really useful film gear. If you’re looking for some awesomely practical 3D-film-gear models (or you’re just interested in the potential uses for a 3D printer in a filmmaking context), then you’re going to love this article.
By simply purchasing some standard rail pipe and a few screws, you can easily create this elaborate DSLR rig. This rig can be coupled with a back weight to better balance the overall rig.
While a zip-tie follow focus rig will do in some situations, it certainly isn’t perfect. A much better approach would be to use this zip-tie/3D-printed-lever combination. The arms have teeth that can grab onto the rubber gear rings on your lens.
If you already have a follow focus system, you can easily 3D print a gear ring that’s right for your lens. If you look around online, you can find a 3D gear ring for virtually every lens in the world.
If you’ve ever dreamed of crafting your very own drone, we’ve got good news: you can use these schematics from Hovership to print one. They’ve also put together a few kits with all of the accessories you’ll need to put the drone together. Obviously, building a drone is no easy task. But if you’re looking for a new passion project, you should definitely check this out. The video below shows the Hovership in action.
If you do a lot of field recording, then you know that a pistol grip is a great accessory for recording on-location audio. This simple grip features an adjustable head, allowing you to tilt the grip however you see fit.
VR filmmaking is definitely growing in popularity. Unfortunately, a 360 rig can be pretty expensive. Perhaps instead of buying your rig from a third-party company, you should just print your own rig at home! This GoPro rig can hold up to six cameras for a full 360-degree filmmaking experience.
A tripod plate can be easily forgotten on a film set. Luckily, you can find 3D models of most tripod plate heads online. Simply purchase the right 1/4″ screw and you can have a replacement within minutes.
While you would never want to 3D print a full tripod, a table top tripod is a totally different story. Just purchase the extra screw and you’re good to go. This tripod rig probably can’t hold a full-size camera — but if you have an action cam, cell phone, or audio recorder, it might be a great option.
Blackmagic cameras are notorious for having difficult-to-discern screens. Fortunately, 3D printing a screen hood offers a solution for users of the Blackmagic Pocket Camera. In fact, no matter what camera you’re using, there’s probably a printable screen hood out there that will meet your needs. Just look around!
If you want to create your own version of an EVF, you can print out a tube to block incoming light. While the example above uses white, I personally recommend using black, as it won’t distort your light quality when looking through the eyepiece. You’ll also probably want to purchase an eyepiece separately if you want a more comfortable EVF.
While a light stand to hot shoe mount isn’t normally that expensive, it will still run you around $20 to purchase a new one online. Instead, you can simply print out a light stand to hot shoe adapter that can take an umbrella light.
A microphone shock absorber is crucial if you want to get pro boom audio. Using this fun design created by mars Cubed, you can create a decent shock absorber. You’ll just need to purchase the rubber bands separately.
I’ve probably lost no less than a dozen lens caps in the last few years. However, there’s no need to buy replacements anymore. You can easily create new lens caps with a 3D printer. There are literally hundreds of cap models online for every type of lens. Pro tip: sand down the side facing your glass to avoid scratches.
When it comes to video editing, organization is key. Using this nifty SD card holder, you can place all of your cards in a single place at your editing bay. After you get done dumping a card, you can flip it around in the case to signify that you’re done with it.
A lens hood is perfect for keeping out unwanted light spillover. You can find dozens of lens hood designs online. If you own a lens, there’s a good chance it has a free 3D-printable lens hood model online.
Steadicams can run you thousands of dollars online. While we can’t say that this 3D-printed steadicam will work as well as a professional one, it’s certainly not a bad steadicam for a beginner. Just keep in mind that this model may require a lot of plastic.
Every indie filmmaker should own at least one glidecam. They are typically easy to use and can produce some incredible results. This simple 3D-printable rig uses a pole, counterweight, and 3D-printed gimbal to balance a camera for long tracking shots.
While you will definitely not want to 3D print a rail system, you can 3D print a slider and slider mount if you’re looking for a low-cost DIY slider solution. This model was created for a GoPro, but you could use any small camera in its place.
Want to make your next big film look super-legit? Just 3D print a custom clapboard with the name of your production embossed in plastic. After you print out this 3D model, you can simply apply some adhesive white board to make it easy to use on a video or film set.
If you shoot a lot of live events or concerts, you’ll probably want to record ambient noise using a portable recorder. Using this free 3D model, you can convert any mic stand into a portable audio recorder.
Is it worth purchasing a 3D printer to create film equipment? What gear have you printed yourself? Share in the comments below.