I don’t know how many followers of this blog picked up Chris Moss’s comment on my post of 17 February:

I used five-minute epoxy and a file to build up a missing area on a film guide. Then I thought to myself “this is exactly the kind of thing a 3D printer would be wonderful for”. Wouldn’t it be neat to be able to turn out film guides and spare parts on demand?

With the increase in 3D printing, can we also look forward to spanking new Rondinax tanks being available on demand? The number of useable tanks must be decreasing with breakages, especially since the majority are made of Bakelite. Prices on eBay are holding up or even increasing, especially for tanks in good condition. Future demand will be difficult to judge because that depends on whether the number of photographers throughout the world using 120 or 35 mm film increases, decreases or stays the same; equally changes in the ratio of film users printing by traditional chemical technology to those scanning their negatives will also have a bearing, the former having darkrooms and the latter, with a Rondinax, not needing one. If demand stays the same or increases then surely it will be worthwhile somebody setting up for 3D printing. Only the metal parts and the straps would need other techniques but any small-scale manufacturer with a workshop would have no trouble in making them.

With the drawing available on line, there is the intriguing possibility that some of the designs that were patented but not marketed could be made. A universal rollfilm Rondinax springs to mind with the proviso that 127 black-and-white film has just about disappeared. A Rondix 120, again out of patent and never manufactured, would be top of my wanted list.

But Chris is right. Spare parts should be possible right now.

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