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Enter our workshop

Here we will guide you through some of the processes that need to happen in order for the ONDU to be created. There are many more steps involved in production of a camera and the total time from sourcing wood to final product can take up to a year in total. The workshop itself is located on sunny hill surrounded by forest on the outskirts of a town called Velenje in Slovenia. 


the beginings of an instrument

We use only locally sourced wood in our cameras and the majority of the current models is made out of walnut. The wood itself is wonderful to work with, it fills the workshop with a wonderful aroma and makes for a hard, durable and good looking final product. We use only steamed walnut as it has been relieved of the stresses (warping ) that could occur in walnut that has been just dried in a kiln. This together with Maple and Ash are first roughly cut to length and width with a panel saw in preparation for planing. After planing both surfaces smooth the wood is cut into 12 and 6mm strips according to the location where it will be used. Then it's sanded down to a 0,1mm+/- tolerance, there are only a handful of carpenters in this area that posses this kind of surface sander and it's one of the most crucial steps that need to be done perfectly in order to proceed with the next stages of camera making. 


  

Precision is crucial

After this initial fine sanding all wood is cut to final width in preparation to routing of the joints that hold the camera body again the tolerances here are minimal and we use a professional digital caliper on every step of the process. After the joints are made, holes are drilled and the pieces have been laser engraved we go to the gluing stage of the camera bodies. This is done with a specialised machine made specifically for gluing wooden boxes. This is one of the most time consuming steps in the cameras creation since all wood has to be grain and pattern matched to ensure a visually appealing product will come out by the time we're done. 



  

a camera takes shape

After the bodies have been glued up the backplates start taking form, all parts are hand routed in our workshop with the exception of the Ash insides which are cut on the laser cutter and receive 2 coats of black matte paint to avoid reflections inside the camera. We proceed with fitting the magnets ( 14 in total in most ONDUs) which have to be fitted manually and take a lot of patience by the craftsman with very little room for error as well as a need to watch for magnet poles direction. 

This is followed by a few other steps like machine sanding followed by hand sanding and preparation to insert other hardware fittings and final oiling. 


 

 

Attention to details at every step

The camera is made mostly out of wood but in order to work properly custom made parts have been designed specially for the camera. There are almost no of the shelf components in the camera except the magnets. All parts were designed in house and produced by our subcontractors in the area. All aluminium parts are hard anodised and steel parts zinc coated to prevent corrosion. The actual pinhole is drilled with a high precision laser cutter into 0,05mm thick brass and is nestled in a matte black anodised aluminium housing. Every camera is shipped together with a brown cotton protective carrying bag. We make the bags in our workshop as well.



 

 

unmatched finish quality

Just before final assembly the cameras undergo a two coat mixture of natural oils and beeswax. As of 2015 we have started our apiary with the intention of producing our own beeswax amongst other products like honey and propolis. The oiling is the single most time consuming procedure in the camera creation process. Once hand applied the oil is left to soak into the wood via capillary action, it's then hand wiped and buffed on a buffing wheel. These steps are repeated twice to ensure the best possible coating with natural oils as possible.


 

 

final assembly and shipping

There are a lot of in between steps that take place while making ech and single ONDU camera. Some require special attention at certain stages of completion and each of the cameras is all the way checked in order to ensure the cameras conform to the standards we impose with all our products. After oiling there is a lot of final tweaking that need to be performed before the camera can be deemed ready to capture memories. This includes inserting the pinhole, color matched winding knobs, shutter, stop pin, levelling bulb, tripod mount and the list goes on. Right before the cameras are packed for shipping they undergo a last quality check. This is the last time the camera sees the environment it was created in and patiently awaits for the chance to catch some light.
We hope we were able to bring you closer to at least a tiny bit of the camera creation process. There are a lot of steps which aren't covered in this description but we will do our best to make a more detailed video about the steps needed to create these instruments of precision.