Those who like to use vintage lenses will often buy them fully functional, but without a lens cap. There are some developers who have created new 3D printing instructions, but all of them have one fatal flaw.
The advantage of using 3D printing to make lens caps is that it can be customized. Any size can be made and each can be individually engraved with a photo company’s brand or to make it easier to distinguish the focal length and aperture of a lens without taking it out of a bag. In general, 3D printed caps will also be cheaper than trying to find a specific missing cap from a vintage lens as well.
Hack a Day discovered a handy tutorial from DSLR CNC DIY that addresses a common problem with 3D printed lens caps. As great as it was to use 3D printed lens cap designs from other developers, DSLR CNC DIY found that they all have the same problem: they wear out quickly with use. The problem is how the caps are printed. New lens caps from lens manufacturers are not just made of a single material – either plastic or metal – but instead use a main body material that is tensioned to stay attached to the front of the lenses by springs.
Prior to the design of DSLR CNC DIY, the designs often found online tried to recreate the usability of standard lens caps without the need to add a spring, probably because it’s not that easy for anyone who wants to do it to find one to find the one who does the work the hats at home.
To get around this problem, DSLR CNC DIY developed an entirely new design that integrates one half of a standard N1 (19 mm or 3/4 inch) tie clip to provide the required tension. The result, he claims, is a lens cap that not only offers the customization benefits that come with custom caps for 3D printing, but also doesn’t wear out over time.
The 3D printed designs are available for free and include the plans for lens caps of 49mm, 52mm, 55mm, 58mm, 62mm, 67mm, 72mm, 77mm, and 82mm lenses and the designs for a rear lens cap with EF mount.
To learn more about DSLR CNC DIY subscribe to his YouTube channel.