Protect your lenses with your own custom 3D printed rugged lens caps

Tips & Techniques

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There are a lot of 3D printed accessories out there for photography and filmmaking. One of the more popular items that people print are lens caps. There are quite a lot of different lens cap designs out there, but most of them have one big problem. They’re entirely 3D printed, including any spring mechanism to lock them onto your lens.

Depending on the material you print with, such as ABS, PETG or perhaps Nylon, this might never be a problem. But if you print with the usual PLA, this can become very weak over time as it’s used. YouTube channel DSLR CNC DIY has a solution, though, with a rugged lens cap design that uses a binder clip arm as a spring for maximum longevity.

The two things I seem to print the most often for my photography are front and rear lens caps. I’ve found a great rear lens cap design for my Nikon F mount lenses, but I’ve not really found a decent one for lens caps that go on the front yet. They either don’t fit quite right and fall off in my bags or they just break fairly quickly. This one, though, might be just the ticket. I’ve just got a new 3D printer, too, so it should make for some good test prints.

This lens cap looks a lot like most other 3D printed lens caps. I mean, how many different ways can you make a lens cap? The big difference with this one, though, is that it uses the arm from a binder clip to act as a spring. This means that it’s not going to wear and snap over time like a printed PLA spring does, and it’s also going to hold good tension so it won’t get loose and fall off.

The cap uses 19mm (3/4″) binder clips, which are readily available on Amazon or in stores that sell stationery. The 3D model itself is available for free download from DSLR CNC DIY’s Buy me a coffee page – although you can throw him a couple of bucks if you feel so inclined. And best of all, you can customise this lens cap design quite easily in Tinkercad to make it your own. Add the focal length and aperture of the lens so you know which lens it’s for, or even add your logo to it.

This is DSLR CNC DIY’s first video on YouTube. Hopefully, we’ll see a lot more 3D printing videos with photography and video tools from him in the future!

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