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What I’m up to with binstax

  • Post published:October 22, 2022
  • Post comments:14 Comments

This will probably again be a long-winded post documenting my struggle putting out in my mind, a perfect product. Grab a drink if you’re interested reading through this mindless masterpiece I’m jotting down at 2 o’clock in the morning (correction: it’s now 4:56). God why do I always come home so late.

Where should I even start. So I’m working on a back for the RB67 right, and I received the parts a month ago. So many of them, I actually feel like I’m contributing to environmental pollution. Forgive me, Mother Earth!

I quickly put together a binstax and did a test shot with a new pack of film. It came out blank white, which is pretty unusual. I thought my RB must have been broken or there was oil on the shutter blades. Fired a couple of shots looking down the lens, everything seemed to be fine.

So it must have been the film, right? As much as I love to trash Fuji, their quality control is probably better than mine, so a faulty pack of film is extremely unlikely.

I soon found out that these parts are translucent. These poor instax films immediately got obliterated by massive light leaks as soon as the protection sheet was removed. They didn’t even get a chance to see the world before getting permanently blinded, how sad.

So naturally I had to come up with something to make this thing light proof. These parts are worth 2,800€ in total, I’d be an idiot to throw them in the trash, right? *Foreshadowing intensifies*

Here you can see me trying to paint the inside black with some acrylic paint. I even ordered a bottle of Musou black for 45€ / 100ml (3.4 fl.oz.) which is the blackest paint you can buy. Expensive as heck, but what can I do?

I heard Vanta black is way darker, but do you really expect me to have a vacuum chamber to grow these sweet, sweet carbon nanotubes through vapor deposition casually laying around in my apartment where I sleep and cook just for you to take an instax shot of your friend super drunk that he fell over right before the sun comes up? Sorry, I digress.

Stress testing the light seals I installed. That can of compressed air is perfect for weighing down my table lamp.

Sometimes you get awesome results due to light leaks. This never-before-seen picture captured during the Trinity Test, for example. May peace prevail on Earth.

I tried everything. I tried to line the part with thin pieces of metal sheets with a thickness varying from 10 to 50 microns, black acrylic paint on the inside, velvet sheets, liquid electrical tape (black goo that dries elastic), different light seals that blocks the little gaps when the dark slide is out, etc.

These are parts from some of my experiments.

I finally thought I found a solution and went on to make the first batch of binstax.

I was almost finished with them, I noticed the dark slide is a little bit on the tight side which I really don’t like. Technically it’s usable, but I mean come on this thing isn’t cheap so I want it to be a joy to use. I don’t want you to cut your fingers while trying to get the damn dark slide out.

I was devastated at this point. I’ve already sent out a bunch of invoices and a lot of my customers are expecting shipping soon.

I can either send them out as is, pretend the dark slide isn’t too tight, or scrap everything and start over with another material that is light tight.

I decided to throw 2,800€ down the drain and disappoint a lot of my customers. Apologies, but I don’t want to screw you over.

I got in touch with the manufacturer of my parts. They are super duper nice and said they can send me a couple of material samples, or I can just drop by their office somewhere in the forest of Baden-Württemberg.

I got up super early the next day heading to their office. I called them when I was near Cologne asking if it was okay to meet up later and my guy, Dominik, giggled and said sure. He giggles every single time on the phone after me announcing my name. He’s such a competent engineer yet so down to earth. If you’re reading this, Dominik, I know you are, you’re awesome and thank you so much for everything!

A friend of mine and I arrived at their office around 3 o’clock in the afternoon after a 5-hour drive. Shout out to him for taking me with his Tesla for a road trip!

We had such a blast taking instax pictures to the extent that we almost forgot why we were there. I even whipped out the original polaroid back to show them how FP-100c looks compared to instax.

Dominik suggested either adding more pigment, having a custom plastic additive made by someone who specializes in making “masterbatches” (jargon, it’s basically plastic granules with concentrated additives), or switching to a black plastic if I want to be on the safe side.

Dominik also told us that there’s a trade fair called “K 2022” going on in Düsseldorf, which is claimed to be the world’s No. 1 trade show for plastics and rubber. I might want to stop by because there are tons of additives suppliers at the trade fair.

It was pretty foggy on the way back. I came back home at around 1 o’clock.

The next day:

It’s such an amazing exhibition. We’ve gone bonkers wandering around just like Alice in the Wonderland. It’s an awesome place to visit if you’re a nerd like me.

We measured the color difference between my part and Fuji’s part. Apparently Fuji’s part is darker and more reddish.

We also measured the light transmission of my part to be around 7.6%, which is honestly pretty bad.

We chatted with experts from BASF, DuPont, Covestro, Lanxess and some other small companies about pigments and additives for plastics. Everyone we talked to was super nice and friendly. We learned so much and received some suggestions as well, it’s such an incredible experience to be able to talk to senior engineers of some of the worlds leading companies in plastic field.

Binstax should be a joy to use and no corners should be cut. I apologize that it takes so long, developing a new product isn’t easy, and injection molding isn’t too friendly to a newbie like me, too.

I’ll change the material and pay more (+ 630€) for expedited service, so I’ll be able to get my hand on the new parts in around 10 days.

If additives doesn’t work out, I’ll have to purchase a small bag of ABS plastic granules from a company based in Austria we met at the trade fair. It’s pretty dense, and the sample has great results. They showed their support by letting me purchase a minuscule amount of their plastic granules.

I’ll have to give Dominik and this company a call on Monday, but for now I might have to take aspirin because my head aches like hell and get some sleep as it’s again, no surprise, 4:52 AM.

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Jessica

    I love your hustle and honesty! I truly enjoy to see your progress on this product and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. No need to apologize we are rooting for you all the way.

    1. Han

      Thanks for taking your time to read this, Jessica! I will try to get everyone their binstax before Christmas. I’ve come up with a better solution in the mean time, for that I’ll need an extra 3D printed part.

  2. Kevin

    Oh noooo, not a translucent film back! 😂 Maybe they could be like those early-2000s-type film camera prototypes with the clear plastic shells? For the hardcore Zinstax collectors to buy lol. Thank you for all the hard work and research you’re putting into making this a quality product; I’m excited to get it, however long it takes!

    1. Han

      You know what that’s actually an awesome idea!

  3. Nancy

    Thank you for the update.
    Still thoroughly excited about this project-even if it’s taking a little longer than anticipated to ship out.
    Can’t wait for when your work is ready to go!

  4. Adam

    I expected nothing less than great when I ordered a Binstax, can’t be happier that I’m wrong. Would totally have been happy if the dark slide was a little tight, would totally have been fine if the colours were mismatched. But it had to be perfect, instead of great. I just know it’s going to be the best piece of camera equipment I’ll ever buy! Can’t wait!

    1. Han

      I’ve sunk so much time, effort and money into this project so I’d be really mad at myself if it doesn’t turn out to be a great product in the end

  5. Clifford

    Awesome effort! Appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. Hope you guys will continue to keep the price affordable so it’ll be able to reach out to a wider community. Love u guys! ♥

    1. Han

      Thanks Clifford! It’s actually just me, it’s a one man business. I design and manufacture these by hand and also reply to your emails at 3 AM.

      A friend of mine is very interested in what I’m doing right now so we went on a trip together, that’s why I wrote “we” instead of “I”. It’s awesome that someone you know actually understands and appreciates what you do!

  6. Clifford

    Han~ I may not be able to fully understand how much hard work and countless hours you’ve literally put in but do know that we(consumers) definitely supports your work and have enjoyed using your products very very much. Keep doing what you’re doing, and maybe one day, I’ll get to shoot you using my RZ67 with Zinstax!

  7. Koizumi

    The story is awesome. Thanks very much for your efforts and time. With Binstax, my RB67 will be something I have never used. I can’t wait to get the one.

  8. Bricks

    I’m currently poor from buying my RB67, but I’ve fallen in love with the binstax after diving down the rabbit hole and definitely look forward to seeing this journey of yours and ordering one! I respect the hard work and effort you put into this and definitely want to support.

  9. kim eui jung

    While looking for a Hasselblad instax back, I stumbled upon your work. I applaud your enthusiasm and hard work. This makes me seriously contemplate whether I should ditch Hasselblad and buy a Mamiya. Great work of art.

  10. Jason

    Just got on the waitlist and finished this article. Love your dedication and love for the craft. Can’t wait for the invoice and the product hopefully before Christmas. You’re an inspiration and love to see the BTS of how to make quality product.

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