Camera Hacker

How to re-use Kodak MAX One-Time-Use disposable camera?

The Kodak MAX One-Time-Use disposable camera is available in two flavors: outdoor camera or flash camera.

To dissect the camera, you will need a mini-screwdriver set. To modify the camera, you will need a cutter.

dissect the camera

Each disposable camera body is held together by a set of tabs. The first set of tabs are located on each side of the body. Dis-lodge this set of tabs first.

Remove the packaging stickers covering the body. You will see the second set of tabs, located on the top and the bottom of the body.

After dis-lodging the second set of tabs, there is one last tab. It is located on the back side of the camera and will require a mini-screwdriver to pry it loose. Do not pry it hard, we do not want to damage the tab.

Below, you see the inside of the camera.

If your disposable camera has flash, you will need to remove the battery to prevent from being shocked, while working on the camera. Remember the battery orientation or you will ruin the flash circuitry.

modify the camera

Before we can re-use the camera, we have to modify the film advance wheel of the camera. To get to the film advance wheel, first pull off the view-finder, then the brace.

Remove the film advance wheel. You will notice that there are a number of teeth on the bottom of the wheel. We need to modify the wheel so that it would accept normal 35mm film. We accomplish this task by cutting off all but two opposing teeth.

Snap all the camera parts back into place in the reverse order. Now it is time to reload the camera with fresh film.

reload the camera

The original film can supplied by Kodak are slotted with notches to match the teeth on the film advance wheel. You will be hard-pressed to find these film cans at your local store.

However, we have modified the film advance wheel to accept films with two notches. "Where on earth can you find these film cans," you ask. Luckily, you can easily cut these two notches on a normal 35mm film can with your cutter.

The spool of the camera has a block-shaped hook for the film sprocket.

After spooling the film leader onto the spool, you can begin to wind the film. However, you must wind the film in the darkroom, or a complete dark room. I reload the disposable camera in my bathroom. It has no windows. At night, after turning off all the lights in the apartment, it becomes completely dark.

Once you have loaded the film in complete darkness, snap the outer bodies together. You may now turn on the lights.

There! You have a nifty little spy camera and are almost done.

To adjust the counter, turn the film advance wheel until the counter becomes adjustable. Use a screw driver to move the counter to the correct position.

You have now reloaded the disposable camera. Enjoy!

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