3D printing manufactured parts is a dream for many end users, but most major manufacturers have been slow to embrace the technology for fear of losing control of the valuable accessory market. One key hurdle to simply printing your own accessories has been the fact that scanning technology still isn't as affordable as printing technology. Yes, you can do quick and easy scans of items with your smartphone, but then to build on top of that and have it fit snugly on the item you want to accessorize or repair takes so many test prints and so much time-consuming refinement as to not be worth the effort. 

Want a specific reflection in your subject's eyeball? Custom print a cuculoris that shapes the light to be precisely what you want it to be.

Blind Spot has solved this by releasing STL files for 3D printing accessories for its Tile Light units. Eggcrates allow a user to make the light more directional, especially useful with a soft unit like the Tile when you might want to point the light in on a subject without spilling the light onto the walls around them. With manufacturer approved models, users with home 3D printers can get printing immediately with the reasonable assumption that the model will slide right on and work without refinement or iteration. Access to 3D printers is increasingly common as you can get a MakerBot replicator for $2499, and many users have access to them through schools or maker spaces.

Blindspot__0Credit: Blindspot

Especially exciting is the freedom this offers to customize. You can take Blind Spot's public designs, leave the part that interfaces with the tile alone, and design your own custom printed mounts. Want a specific reflection in your subject's eyeball? Custom print a cuculoris (or cookie, for short) that shapes the light to be precisely what you want it to be. Want a very tight spread for your soft light? Take the 30° design and extend the tubes to make a 10° or even a 5° egg crate.

We were impressed with the Tile when we reviewed it a few months ago, but this kind of thinking is especially engaging in terms of where we are headed with customizing our gear for ourselves. We hope to see more manufacturers releasing models either for full-fledged accessories, or at least the interface those accessories would need to align with, to make it easier, faster and cheaper for end users to customize their own kits.

PrintCredit: Blindspot

Additionally, and we aren't sure if we simply missed this back in August or it's new along with the 3D printed egg crates, but the Blind Spot Tiles have a nice remote control cable that we are confident broadcast and event shooters will appreciate. If you have ever worked with a battery powered light on your camera, you know you are constantly reaching to adjust its brightness based on changing lighting conditions.

Shooting a wedding and walk into a dark cocktail reception? Turn the unit down to avoid blinding people. Walk outside and it's your only source for the dancing? Turn it up to at least get some exposure. Reaching up to your light is a constant struggle as you try and keep your frame steady while searching for the elusive dimming knob. By running a cabled remote down to your camera rails where your hand rests anyway, you can constantly ride brightness to match your needs, which is pretty nifty.

28b49f63f2c21493da9216c63574623f_originalCredit: Blindspot

Blind Spot is currently running a Kickstarter for a dual-unit tile setup in a case. Since this light is already being manufactured, the Kickstarter appears to be working more as a promotional device, but if you have been considering getting multiple Tile units, it's not a bad method for getting two lights in a carrying case for a reasonable discount over retail. Especially interesting is that the two-unit case has a dedicated slot for one of our favorite features, the softbox, to be protected safely while you travel.

With the earlybird kit offering two units for around $660 US, and a single unit retailing for around $440 at B&H here in the States, it's a pretty substantial discount.

Nofilmschool_blind_spot_tile-2_0Credit: Blindspot

Tech Specs:

  • 150W Tungsten Equivalent, 120° Beam
  • 5700K Color Temperature Output
  • 0 to 100% Flicker-Free Dimming
  • 6 x Dimming Indicator LEDs
  • Integrated On/Off and 5-Step Dimmer
  • Included Remote Dimmer
  • 22W Power Draw, Static-Attached CTO Gel
  • Accepts Sony L-Series Batteries
  • 2 x 1/4"-20 Threaded Mounting Holes
  • Carrying Pouch Included