SuperHeadz Plamodel, a snap-together DIY 35mm camera

If you can stomach giving money to Urban Outfitters, they're selling a charming "SuperHeadz Plamodel DIY 35mm camera" kit that snaps together using parts cast using the age-old technique seen in model airplanes and cars. (What's the plastic framework that's left over called? Surely hobbyists have given that a name by now.) $28, available exclusively on the web. [via Uncrate]
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17 Responses to SuperHeadz Plamodel, a snap-together DIY 35mm camera

  1. Futurist says:

    I always thought it was called flash. Maybe that’s just for leftover metal bits?

  2. OM says:

    …I blogged about these a couple of years ago on OMBlog as a Chrisnukkah Stocking Stuffer Idea. The OMBloggers who bought them were really pleased with them, and you can actually have a good time customizing them as if they were a model kit. If I still did film – which I haven’t in almost 13 years now – I’d own a couple of these just for the frack of it.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The frame on which the parts are cast is called sprue. Flash is generally the mould lines on your model/part, and any extra bits of casting material which is on the parts and shouldn’t be (for example, sometimes there’ll be extra unwanted bits caused by plastic or metal seeping out the joins in the mould or out air vents in the mould).

  4. morat says:

    #4 The sprue is the intentionally created framework that holds the parts (and serves as a channel to carry the metal/plastic through the mold), flash is what you get where the mold isn’t sufficiently tightly held together, and material gets between the mold-faces (which appears as a thin sheet of metal/plastic in the plane of the sprue).

  5. flytch says:

    well… I’ve built models most of my life… we always called them tree’s… as in all the parts are still on the tree… once they are cut then you have to trim off the spuers that is left after cutting from the tree…

    *HINT; always cut shy of the part by a little bit then sand off the left bit… this way you never get a chip in your part where the spear was ( attachment point of the part to the tree)

    the flashing is the flat part and the line that is left on the part and it too needs to be very carefully removed by cutting if it’s big or just filing/sanding…

    another great *hint; use a little bit of MEK and part of the left over tree to make a putty filler that is the same hardness as the parts :) works very well for seam filler etc… and MEK is the best “glue” you can use for styrene models bar none…

  6. technogeek says:

    I’ve spent a bit of time over the years looking at how the el-cheapo disposable cameras were put together and pondering reloading them. The real trick seems to be figuring out where to insert a probe to release the ratchet so you can “unload” the film from the standard 35mm cartridge inside these beasts into their feed reel. (As you take pictures, the film winds back into the cartridge; when you turn in the camera they just pop the cartridge out and send it through normal processing.)

    Of course now that digital “disposables” are almost as cheap as the film version, the more interesting question is how to read and reset those. I haven’t tried yet, but I would presume they do at least some simple crypto… On the other hand, most of their target audience wouldn’t think to try hacking the box, so maybe not.

  7. dculberson says:

    Technogeek, I think most types of digital “disposables” have been hacked and the info is available online…

  8. Scuba SM says:

    Technogeek, DCulberson:

    They have. I have a hacked CVS digital video camera on my desk as we speak. It’s great fun.

  9. NeonCat says:

    Sprue would make a great name for a hobbyist magazine.

  10. Bugs says:

    I had a kit like this one when I was young. I remember it having more and smaller parts including plenty of tiny screws – my first ever set of jeweler’s screwdrivers came out of that kit. My kit also contained two largeish chunks to steel that slotted inside to add a bit of weight to the camera and adjust its centre of gravity.

    I ended up with a pretty good camera, by a pre-adolescent non-photographer’s standard. It was shaped like an SLR (‘thoguh I can’t remember whether it actually was) and I could adjust the exposure time. It only had one light leak too; I just needed to keep some electrical tape over the film door.


  11. Shlepzig says:

    Technically, these are sprues to allow for the flow of plastic through the mold to the part. But in specific, I thought that the framework left over from these sorts of plastic models was referred to as the “Skeleton”

    Granted this is a vague recollection of something I think I read in Boys Life in the 70’s. Boys Life is probably not the best technical resource. My memory is even a worse resource


  12. Mister Moofoo says:

    I know that they’re called sprue, but for non-technical people, so’s I don’t have to explain what a sprue is, I often refer to them as “trees” or “model trees.” But skeleton sounds cool, too. Sorta wish that was the technical name.

  13. PKMousie says:

    They’re sprues and trees… they’re sprue trees!

  14. bkofford says:

    I’ve heard other people call them “trees”, but I’ve always called them “sprues”. If you cut them in to smaller pieces, they make good model rocks, logs, gold bricks, etc.

  15. Bucket says:


  16. Joel Johnson says:

    Thank you!

  17. feedingfashionistas says:

    Wow, it’s like they took the parts that normally get handed to the workers to put together, and put them in a nice box! Assemble your own dollar store camera for only $28.

    …but seriously, it does look like it’d be good fun, and it’d be a neat starter education on the inner workings of simple film cameras.

    However, I’m envisioning scene-haired kids looking mopey after having to expend a roll or two of electrical tape to seal up all the light leaks on this puppy.

    (Full disclosure: I, it could be argued, have scene hair)

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