Can’t quite fill the frame with your macro subjects? New Zealander Nicholas Sherlock might have the answer you were looking for as he has shared his plans for a 3D printed macro extension tube that’s helped him achieve a whopping 5x magnification.

Software developer Sherlock designed and produced his extension tube for his Canon DSLR system, and incorporated electrical contacts to allow the camera and lens to communicate across the 300mm tube, allowing him control of the aperture settings from the camera body as well as metering and focusing functions. When mounted with the Sigma 180mm f/3.5 APO Macro DG HSM he is able to fill the frame with subject matter measuring only 7.2x4.8mm/0.28x0.19in with a working distance of 170mm.

The front and back ends of the tube are fitted with a lens mount and camera mount borrowed from a Kenko 12mm extension tube, and in between Sherlock has printed two lengths of tube measuring 150mm each. He also used gold contacts on either end with connecting cable so information can be passed between camera and lens.

Below are a few sample images captured with the extension tube:

On his Thingiverse profile Sherlock shares detailed information on how he went about making the extension tubes with step-by-step instructions for others to follow. He also lists known issues, advice on what to avoid and warnings about what could go wrong as well as recommended sources of the materials needed. Below is a comparison slipover showing 1x magnification without a tube and 5x magnification with his 300mm extension tube:

1x magnification 5x magnification

For more information see Nicholas Sherlock’s 300mm macro extension tube thingiverse page, and his personal website.