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The Latest In Smile Direction Technology!

 
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Author Previous TopicReplies: 8 / Views: 1,684Next Topic  
Pillar of the Community
United States
4130 Posts
 Posted 01/25/2015  10:43 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add CaptainFwiffo to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
A key part of any coin photography setup is the light modifiers. Mine (based on rpmrpms smile directors) was made of paper, tape and Lego, and it was falling apart. It was also a huge pain; it was inflexible, hard to adjust, and hard to position correctly and consistently. It also didn't work well with all the coin sizes I wanted to use it for.

It also wasn't quite repeatable; if I bumped it, it was very hard to get it right back to the position it was in before, and it was very hard to reproduce the same conditions on a different day.


Old and busted :(

But I recently got myself another toy I've been wanting for quite some time; a 3D printer. And I immediately put it to work on a new smile director system. This is what I've got after a few weeks of designing, tweaking and learning.




The new hotness!

I started with a handful of 40.5-43mm filter step-up rings. I printed a tube with a frame at the end which friction-fits inside the step-up rings. For use with those, I printed a selection of inserts with various sizes, shapes and positions for the "smiles" with some diffusion material glued to one side.

I can switch to different frames to adjust the height of the lights; since the frame attaches directly to the lens, it's always fixed and repeatable distance from the coin (assuming it's in focus). Likewise, I can easily swap out inserts (or print new ones) to adjust the shape and size of the lighting to light the coin's features just right and get the perfect balance between luster and color.


(luster comparison between 50 and 70 degree wide smiles)

I designed the geometry of it to work with any size coin up to roughly an ASE, so I don't have to jury-rig some new light setup any time I'm photographing coins outside of my regular fare.

Because it's rigid and repeatable, I can do stuff like take a picture with a two-light setup, and then add a third, helper light. The two pictures can be combined to let me adjust the power of the helper light in post.
Pillar of the Community
2087 Posts
 Posted 01/26/2015  12:36 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add austrokiwi to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Absolutely brilliant...now Are you going to be selling some on ebay? I now understand your question about filter threads more.......I would add to it...I wouldn't woory too much about Filter thread sizes Step up/Step down rings make putting "filters" on different sized threads easy ( and it doesn't cost very much)
Pillar of the Community
United States
4130 Posts
 Posted 01/26/2015  12:52 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CaptainFwiffo to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I probably will do some more refinement, but will probably put the files up somewhere so people can print them, or put them on shapeways or similar so you can have a set printed for you. I don't really want to get into manufacturing them myself.
Pillar of the Community
United States
567 Posts
 Posted 01/26/2015  2:03 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add brg5658 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Fantastic idea. Just out of curiosity, which 3D printer did you purchase, and how are you finding its use so far? I have been crafting a few coin photography related helper tools out of polycaprolactone (thermal plastic), but shaping and molding by hand leave something to be desired.

Congrats on a fantastic idea, and I look forward to seeing more on this front.
Pillar of the Community
United States
4130 Posts
 Posted 01/26/2015  2:40 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CaptainFwiffo to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I ended up going with the Printrbot Simple Metal. Seemed like the best trade-off between price and quality. There are cheaper printers, but they tend to be pretty crappy, and it seemed like I would have to pay quite a bit more to make a significant step up. It's also reasonably hackable and upgradeable.
Pillar of the Community
United States
3266 Posts
 Posted 01/26/2015  6:50 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Super nice CF! Much better than the previous.

Can you take a pic of the light pattern using a mirror? That's how I calibrate my lighting now and it gives a direct view of where the light is hitting the coin.
Contact me for photographic equipment or visit my home page at:
http://macrocoins.com
Pillar of the Community
United States
4130 Posts
 Posted 01/27/2015  12:17 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CaptainFwiffo to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Yeah, I use the same mirror technique to make sure I have my setup dead-straight. Here are a couple different configurations of my lighting system using 20mm wide smiles with a 50 degree sweep...

Two smiles (used for most of my small coins)


Two smiles with a "helper" (when the top part of the coin has something that needs highlighting)


Three smiles (sometimes nice for large coins where I want more even illumination)


I also have smiles with 70 degree sweep (more emphasis on surface features and color at the expense of luster) and ones with a 10mm width (similar color/luster but are more/less aesthetically pleasing depending on coin design).
Pillar of the Community
United States
3266 Posts
 Posted 01/27/2015  10:43 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Awesome CF! The modular nature of this system would make it quick and easy to optimize lighting for any coin type or size.
Contact me for photographic equipment or visit my home page at:
http://macrocoins.com
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Canada
9144 Posts
 Posted 01/27/2015  11:21 am  Show Profile   Check SPP-Ottawa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add SPP-Ottawa to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
"Research is what I am doing, when I don't know what I am doing" --Wernher von Braun

Content of this post is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses...0/deed.en_US

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