Group 8 - Kodak Waterproof Camera

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Kodak Waterproof Disposable Camera

Figure 1: Product as it is sold
Figure 2: Camera without packaging


Executive Summary

Our goal was to disassemble and analyze the Kodak Waterproof Disposable Camera with the capability to take still photos underwater. Each step is documented below along with a complete list of parts that the camera is composed of.

As we began our product dissection, we found that the product functioned in only a mechanical manner, no electrical components included. We kept step by step account of the parts we removed, and later concluded what material they were made of, the manufacturing process used to make them, and the function of the part. Based on functions of certain components, we were able to suggest improvements prior to and after the re-assembly. After the camera was fully re-assembled, we came up with some very important suggestions for improvement; which dealt greatly with structural integrity and strength of camera components.


Our group consisted of five members, each with the following responsibilities:

Steve Wood: Group Leader, Wiki Page Design, Disassembly

Mark Piegay: Media Management, Drawing, Disassembly

Norbert Ogiba: Report Composition, Information Management, Disassembly

Matt Demers: Drawing, Content Production, Disassembly

Nathan Hagen: Re-Assembly/Disassembly, Documentation of Process

Pre-Disassembly Discussion

The purpose of this product is to use this one time disposable camera under water to take pictures. Up to this point in the process we are assuming no electrical energy transfer because there is no flash, battery, or electrical circuits. Therefore we would assume mechanical energy is used throughout this system. Up to this point, we are assuming that the camera is able to take pictures like a normal disposable camera, but the only difference is that the underwater camera has a protective cover sealed tightly to prevent water from entering inside and ruining the camera. We also feel that the camera must recieve light under the water and it travels through the lens area and exposes on the film. After this process, the camera must be rewound using the gear to allow the film to go back into the canister.

To operate this product, we took the camera and pushed the shutter button to activate the camera and expose the picture onto the film. We do not know how well the picture turned out but it successfully went through the process. We also tested if the camera would float or sink and when placed in a bucket of water, the camera floated to the top. This is a very nice characteristic of the camera because if this was used in the ocean the camera would be lost if it sank to the ground. As the button is pushed on top of the camera, one can hear the click of the shutter moving from the releasing of the spring. Another sound is made after the picture has been taken and the user turns the gears to reset the film inside the film canister.

Our group estimated that the Kodak Underwater disposable camera would consist of 20 components.

Our group also estimated that the camera would be consist of mainly plastic parts since it is such a light weight product compared to non disposable cameras.

Product Disassembly

Disassembly was accomplished using a flat wedge, such as a flathead screwdriver. Pliers were also used for the last few steps listed. The difficulty of disassembly is listed on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the most difficult.

Refer to the Media Section for a Video detailing the Disassembly Process

Disassembly Step Difficulty Step Description
1 6 Remove the rubber band wrapped around the camera. Insert edge of screwdriver into seam between two halves, and twist to disconnect the two casings. Unhook the one time use tabs to completely release the halves.
2 5 Pry the film advance wheel upwards gently but firmly. Remove the orange rubber O-ring that is wrapped around it as well.
3 2 Separate the inner camera from the blue outer casing.
4 5 Use the flathead screwdriver to pry open the inner camera housings apart. The rear casing will be holding all the components together.
5 5 Gently pry the rear casing off the central inner housing.
6 2 Remove the film canister and the secondary film spool from the housing.
7 4 Pry the clear viewfinder off the top of the camera.
8 6 Gently remove the film counter and film advance wheels.
9 9 Remove the three uppermost film advance levers from the top of the inner frame.
10 7 Using caution, remove the film advance gear and the steel retaining shutter spring.
11 9 Remove the gray viewfinder lens frame, the outer lens, the copper aperture retaining spring, and the aperture cover, in that order.
12 6 Pry off the lens support washer, and then remove the aperture and inner lens.
13 4 Using pliers, pull out the shutter return tab.
14 4 Pry off the innermost casing piece on the inner camera frame.

Parts List, Materials, and Function

Part Name/Number Quantity Material Manufacturing Process Photograph
1. Spindle for Film 1 ABS Plastic Injection Molding Thumb
2. Film Turner 1 ABS Plastic Injection Molding Thumb
3. Center Sprocket Gear 1 ABS Plastic Injection Molding Thumb
4. Exposure Number Gear 1 ABS Plastic Injection Molding Thumb
5. O-Ring Gasket 1 Molded rubber Molding Thumb
6. Film Turner Gear 1 ABS Plastic Injection Molding Thumb
7. Film Casing 1 ABS Plastic Injection Molding Thumb
8. Central Inner Frame 1 ABS Plastic Injection Molding Thumb
9. Back Half Casing 1 ABS Plastic Injection Molding Thumb
10. Front Half Casing 1 ABS Plastic Injection Molding Thumb
11. Waterproof Casing 1 ABS Plastic/Rubberized Molding Injection Molding and Molding of Rubber Thumb
12. Shutter Lever 1 ABS Plastic Injection Molding Thumb
13. Lens Cover 1 ABS Plastic Injection Molding Thumb
14. Viewfinder Case 1 ABS Plastic Injection Molding Thumb
15. Aperture Assembly 1 ABS Plastic Injection Molding Thumb
16. Lens Aperture Filter and Spring 1 1040 Steel/Copper Stamping/Formimg Thumb
17. Shutter Button Spring 1 1040 Steel Forming Thumb
18. Film Turner Lock 1 ABS Plastic Injection Molding Thumb
19. Shutter Lens Eyehole Piece 1 ABS Plastic Injection Molding Thumb
20. Rubber Band/Wrist Band 1 Rubber Molding Thumb
21. Lenses 2 Clear Plastic Injection Molding Thumb

One important detail we kept in mind during this operation, was maintaining a cost-effective budget. A disposable camera is not typically going to enclose expensive and strong materials. It is meant for one-time use, and then to be disposed. With that being said, it makes perfect sense as to why the camera was made of cheap, plastic parts. After the camera is used and no longer needed, it can be recycled, making it even more cost-effective.

Functions of Parts

The function of each part, as described earlier, was to be a fully mechanical, moving part. When the shutter button is pressed, a series of turns, tension releases, and movements to capture the image onto the film. Many of these parts about to be described include other components that are listed above in the list.

External Casing: The function of this part is to seal the simple disposable camera to prevent water from entering inside and ruining the camera. The grip on this section of the camera is ergonomically designed to fit the grip of a person taking a picture. Our group feels that this is necessary because taking pictures under water will be more difficult and firm grip on the camera is necessary to be successful.

Exterior Film Turner: This part leads from the outer casing to the inside gears that turn the spindle for the film The part is of a specific design for this camera because it is an extension of the original disposable camera through the waterproof casing to the outside. This part consist of material that has a grip to it as well as notches to allow for easy turning capabilities. There are two gears connected to this inside the camera that turn the spindle to move the film out of the cannister. One of these gears is specifically designed to have numbers on it to allow the user to know how many pictures are left on the camera.

Central Inner Frame: This section of the camera holds all of the inner components together. There is a back and a front frame that has specific places for each part to snap into and hold the parts in place.

Lens Cover: A very important section of the camera because it holds in place the lens assembly and provides stability inside the camera for these lenses. There are locations on this component specifically designed for the lenses to snap directly in place. This component of the camera looks this certain way for the sole purpose of allowing the lenses to fit in place and for the component to snap directly into the central internal frame.

Viewfinder Case: This is the clear component that is located at the top of the inner frame and when the shutter button is pressed down, this viewfinder case is compressed down and allows for the shutter spring to react and starts the actions involved with the shutter. The viewfinder case has specific places for more parts to snap into place and one specific to our analysis is the spring that attaches to the shutter.

Aperture Assembly: These parts all apear to be circular in shape with a hole in the middle of the component. This hole is the center of our attention because this is where the center of the lenses both larger one and the smaller one are located. These holes are specifically designed to allow that certain amount of light to pass through the lense assembly and expose the film.

Shutter: This part has an abstract oval shape connected to a longer rectangular piece with a hole at the end of it where the shutter spring is hooked onto. The shutter is cranked back by this spring to allow light to travel through the aperture and expose the picture onto the film.

Other than the exterior casings, the parts were not developed to display anything other than their functions; which in most cases were snapped into other pieces, and moving dynamically as the picture was taken. The parts inside did not need to look a certain way, they were only made different shapes and styles to fit into other pieces, and add to the overall function of the camera. The exterior casings; such as the Kodak logo casing and Waterproof casings were made to look a certain way. The main exterior casing is the advertising point of the product. Kodak put their label on it, and advertised a water-based scenario to add to the effect of the camera. The Waterproof casing was designed to have a casual appearance, with added rubber gripping to avoid slippage underwater.

Drawings of Selected Items

Click on each drawing for a more detailed view.

Figure 1: Complete Assembly Figure 2: Small Lens

Figure 3: Aperture Cover Figure 4: Big Lens

Figure 5: Small Eyehole Piece Figure 6: Shutter Lever

The CAD drawings posted above, combine to form the Lens Assembly for the Camera. The Lens Assembly is the most important part of the Camera, because it captures the image onto the film. Only a certain amount of the picture is captured, seeing as there is an eye hole that regulates the size. When the shutter button is pressed, it releases a spring that pulls back the aperture filter for the lens assembly, this is when the image is captured onto the film. After the picture has been taken, the spring assumes its original position, and the aperture filter closes, restricting any image or light from passing through the Lens Assembly.


The difficulty of disassembly is listed on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the most difficult. No tools were needed to reassemble the camera.

Assembly Step Difficulty Step Description
1 2 Added the aperture-film frame to the Central Inner Frame
2 7 Placed the inner plastic lens into Central Inner Frame.
3 7 Added the thin aperture.
4 8 After attaching the shutter retaining spring, we hooked the shutter to the pivot-pin.
5 3 Replaced the flat spring that stops shutter and eases dial movement.
6 6 Placed stronger shutter spring coil below shutter release, which was placed on top of that.
7 5 Slid in film gear held in place by measuring cog.
8 8 Shutter lock was placed on top of shutter.
9 7 Front lens frame installed and outer lens placed on top.
10 7 Secured the gears with the exposure dial and clipped in the clear viewfinder cover.
11 5 Inserted the film gear dial on top.
12 3 Central Inner Frame placed into front casing.
13 3 Added film and film reel to central inner frame and closed the inner casing halves.
14 2 Snapped external water case together around camera. Finally, we replaced the o-ring onto the film gear and snapped the film dial through the o-ring into camera.
15 1 Checked operation of gears.

Media Section

Video of Disassembly <embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed>

Video of Re-Assembly <embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed>

Post Assembly Discussion

The Kodak Waterproof Disposable Camera is a device used to capture images above or below water while providing the convenience of a typical disposable camera. It is unique in the sense that it is only usable outdoors, due to the lack of a flash function.

How it works:

- When assembled the film is fully wined to the film reel.

- To start one first turns film dial on top right of camera, this pulls the film into film canister.

- As film is in motion a gear measuring its advance turns, this film advance gear moves the camshaft which both measures out the 35mm exposure area of film and where the shutter lever should beheld. – then locks in place with the shutter lever.

- The shutter lever is cranked back against its spring by the gear under the film dial.

- When film exposure ready to take picture, one can press down on the shutter button on external frame.

- This button is a flat piece of plastic covered in rubber, which pivots on the frame itself; pushing up on the secondary shutter lock built into the clear gear casing.

- Once lever is released the main spring turns the arm on the bottom of the lever pushing the top of the shutter moving it momentarily away from the lens and aperture hole; letting light-photons strike the 800-Speed film.

- The shutter is pulled back into place by a small spring. Now the process is ready to go once again on the users desire to turn the film dial.

- The casing is especially designed for this Kodak camera with grips and sealed shut to make sure no water gets through.

Post Conclusions:

  • In testing, the camera worked to a degree. For the shutter spring to properly release, it required the film to be in motion, which was impossible because our film had already been used up and removed from the camera. The film counter and advance gears were meshed properly and worked without trouble.

Possible Design Ideas

The first idea for testing this product would be the obvious analysis of its capabilities under water. The main feature of this camera is to use it under water to take pictures. This would lead to an analysis of its strengths under the worst conditions beneath a water surface. The grips on the outer casing would need to be tested to measure its effectiveness and if the camera is hard to hold then a different material would have to be used. This is a very important part of testing because taking a picture would assumably be difficult to do and a comfortable grip is an essential feature. Another part of the camera that would be important for testing would be the external gear that turns the inner gears to see if it turns smoothly. If this did not turn smoothly under the water or the hand slips off easily, once again a different material would need to be used to create more friction between the fingers and the gear.

Other models that can be used to analyze the product include physical CAD models of sections of the camera to see how efficiently those assemblies work. One of the main sections of the camera includes the lens and shutter assembly. An analysis of this section of the camera could be reproduced in a CAD assembly with close analysis of how the spring that is connected to the shutter. The spring in this camera had worn out during disassembly and reassembly, so a CAD analysis of the spring's limits would be an excellenct place to start. Analyzing this spring in this way is very important because it would be very interesting to see if the spring is worn out throughout the camera's life span. If this is the case this model might allow engineers to see how the spring is worn and create a spring that will enhance the performance of the camera. Another model that can be included is a mathematical model that analyzes optics and how the lens is affected under water and the light that travels through the water. A mathematical model can also help figure out our problem with the spring by finding the spring constant of the spring and the tensions at its relaxed and expanded states. In general, since we can keep in mind the financial issues involved with a disposable camera estimates can be allowed because people will not expect as much precision that would be expected out of a product such as an ultra zoom digital camera.

After the conclusion of our disassembly and reassembly, we can conclude that the camera was essentially the reverse of each other. The process was fairly simple taking about an hour at most and the tools for both disassembly and reassembly were the same and very simple because it was merely a matter of prying or snapping the parts back into their original places. We were able to reassemble the entire camera back to its original way because none of the parts were broken or lost during the process.

However, due to the fragile materials in disassembly:

  • Opening areas of both frames were slightly bent.
  • The spring attached to shutter was weakened.
  • Small pieces of plastic were chipped off of the frames.

Product Improvements

We did have to keep in mind that it is a cheap product and only intended for one time use, but a slightly stronger main casing would be beneficial to the overall support of the camera.

Internally, certain fragile pieces could also be made a bit stronger to withstand regular maintenance efforts, or a product dissection similar to the one that we conducted. Also the internal spring that attaches to the aperture filter could be made much stronger. After one removal, it had lost all of its tension, and showed to be very fragile during reassembly.

Finally, a simple entry point into the camera would greatly reduce many of the problems listed above. With a simple entry point, a steady force to pop the case open would not have to be used, and chipping/cracking would become a less frequent problem. A suggested entry point could be a small button or hitch that releases allowing easy access to the inside of the camera, while at the same time not activating during normal use.


Kodak Homepage

[1] Similar WikiPage produced by Drexel University students

[2] Example of photo taken by this camera