Engineer sells “killer” 3D-printed follow-focus gears through eBay

by Liam McCabe

posted Monday, March 31, 2014 at 11:48 AM EST

Photo: Seamless / Sean McCurry

Apparently it’s quite difficult to find a decent, affordable follow-focus ring to transform your typical still photography lens into a more cinema-friendly one. Most of the rings out there have some annoying flaw: too bulky, or the ergonomics are weird, or they slip off the lens, or the gears catch, or they need to be re-assembled for every shoot.

For all those troubles, it would seem that it’s actually a very easy piece of equipment to make with a 3D printer. A new brand called Seamless has recently popped up, the work of a mechanical engineer named Sean McCurry. He sells follow-focus rings for 105 common lenses on his eBay store, and takes requests for any other models, too.

According to a blog post by filmmaker Dan McComb, the rings slide onto each lens with only a bit of effort, and stay in place without any adhesive. For the quality, they’re pretty cheap compared to the competition. McComb writes: "I’m not 100 percent sure how Sean is able to make such killer gears. But I’m confident it’s because he’s 3D printing them. A close examination of the gears reveals telltale patterns, [such as] strata in the plastic that are consistent with 3D printing."

Seamless follow-focus rings on a set of Canon lenses. Photo: Seamless / Sean McCurry

It’ll be fascinating to see which other camera accessories lend themselves to 3D printing, as the tech becomes cheaper and more widely available. What do you think we’ll see? Custom grips? Homemade dials? Lens hoods?

(Via Planet 5D, Dan McComb)