Make Your Own 5×7″ Wet Plate Holder with a 3D Printer

Heads up, wet plate photographers! If you are in need of a wet plate holder, here’s how you can make one with a 3D printer. 

Planning to give wet plate photography a go but realized you’re missing a 5×7″ plate holder and haven’t been able to find one? To the rescue comes Robert Bieber who recently shared on the r/Collodion subreddit his design for such a holder. Now, all you need to do is get access to a 3D printer.

With more photographers getting interested in wet collodion photography, we have resourceful photographers like Bieber to thank. With their interest in DIY approaches, we now have alternative tools to get those shoots and projects done. To make his design, he referred to the film holder specifications outlined on this archived link, then modeled everything using the free and open source 3D creation suite Blender.

With his 5×7″ wet plate holder design on Thingiverse, you have all the files and instructions you need to 3D print a holder that can take anywhere from a full 5×7 inches down to 4 7/8×6 7/8. Every part of it is printable, except for the dark slide (which he attempted to print but found it to be both too thick and insufficiently opaque) and the light traps.

For the dark slide, you will simply need anything opaque and up to about a millimeter thick. But make sure not to use anything with sharp corners, since it will tear the light traps. Bieber uses the same trophy aluminum that he uses for tintypes, but found that an 8×10″ plate cut down to under 5.5″ in width and its corners filed will also works very well. As for the light traps, it will require about a foot of some 1/4″ foam backer rod.

So, how’s that for a weekend project? If you’re trying this out, you might want to share your feedback and results with Bieber in this r/Collodion subreddit thread.


Photo by Robert Bieber via Thingiverse