An exploration into View-Master reels in the 21st century

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One of my favorite photographic technology toys of my childhood has to be the View-master. Being able to see photos of far way places,  and some of them pop out before your eyes in 3D,  fascinated me as a kid. Now all grown up, or at least partially, I wanted to take a photographer and maker’s approach to this childhood toy. 

Traditionally, the film was a sliced frame of 35mm or a Kodachrome film inlayed into a card-stock reel. Seeing that the View-master was introduced in 1939,  I wanted to see if we could upgrade this process. 

This reel is made from two 3D printed PLA plastic halves, with a printed transparency in-between. As this is second prototype, I am just trying it out in monochrome at about 600dpi just to check the fit, action, and view-ability; the final product I want to try for full color.  

I have a View-master coming in soon, and hopefully I can find a way for this process to work. I think the weakest link is going to be printing to transparency as opposed to using traditional film. Especially trying to make sharp images at small sizes, the “old” technology of film still reigns supreme in this area I think. But we will see what contemporary photo printers can output. 

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