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Member Since 28 Dec 2013
Offline Last Active Apr 18 2017 03:25 PM

#342955 DIY housing for E-M5

Posted by T.J.L. on 06 February 2014 - 08:13 AM

Hell yeah! I assembled the housing yesterday evening and tested it today on a snorkling trip. Not a single drop of leakage and all the buttons except the video button work. Now after an hour of tinkering with leatherman and a lighter also the video button works. Pics later.

#342500 DIY housing for E-M5

Posted by T.J.L. on 28 January 2014 - 10:01 AM

I hope I will sometime have more time to update this thread but now I really don't. Here are a couple of photos from the past few days.


The body after milling.



Body after about four to five hours of sanding and an hour of polishing.



And the body and port after having them anodized by the professionals. The surface looks excellent and it only cost me 30 euros.



Still have to make the buttons and dials. I still have two days :).

#342318 DIY housing for E-M5

Posted by T.J.L. on 23 January 2014 - 03:02 PM

You are welcome. I think sharing more than just a couple of pics of the finished product is important especially for those who would like to do something similar. I will write in more detail at a better time but now its late again so a single pic will have to do.


The past few days have been long and I have not gotten enough sleep but I hope and think that now the most difficult parts are almost finished. Today I turned the port which turned out pretty beautiful if I may say so. The surface finish you can get by turning with sharp carbide inserts is pretty amazing. A little polishing and the part is ready for anodization. The port still needs mounting holes which I will probably make tomorrow.




I was planning to get the parts anodized by a professional but due to the tight schedule I might do it myself. Tomorrow I will shop around for DIY anodizing stuff; buckets, battery acid and some dyes. This way I can also anodize the buttons whenever I want to, although there is no guarantee of the quality of the results. My coworkers also take part in the costs and building the setup so that will make my job a bit easier.

#342224 DIY housing for E-M5

Posted by T.J.L. on 21 January 2014 - 08:36 PM

Good morning everyone. It's 6 am in here and I just got home after finishing machining the body. I didn't really plan on machining the whole night but that's just how it often goes; you think something takes three hours and six hours later it is still not ready. A pretty long day and night but I think the result is worth it.



#342126 DIY housing for E-M5

Posted by T.J.L. on 20 January 2014 - 12:17 AM

Here's a step by step story of machining the inside of the body. I always enjoy machining pics, I guess there must also be others with this kind on personality disorder.


Here is where the machining starts; a rough 3½ kg billet of aluminum. Of course before starting, the milling paths have to be made (took me like 5 hours for this part) and the tools have to be set up. The milling process itself takes less than an hour.



First, the billet is machined to as precise as possible a rectangle with the desired dimensions. Now when the orientation of this rectangle is changed and it is clamped, it will always be accurately in the desired orientation (as opposed to the initially not-so-rectanglish billet).

machine1_alku1.jpg machine1_alku2.jpg


Then, the back cover o-ring groove is machined with a 2.5 mm end mill.



Next the main job i.e. digging the hole for the camera with a 12 mm flat end mill. The middle part is for mounting the part during future machining steps. This was as pretty messy part of machining since the pit was full of cutting fluid and I had to empty the chips from there with pressurised air. There were chips and fluid everywhere within 3 m radius of the machine.



Then finishing the sides and chamfers with a 14 mm ball end mill and some pockets to the bottom with 8 mm flat end. The tools had to be long so they vibrated a little. Therefore, I did not get exactly the surface finish I wanted. I guess I will sand also the inside of the housing if I have time. That was pretty much it for now.



The worst part is always the cleaning. This time it took about an hour. It seems that half a liter of solid aluminum turns to quite a large volume of chips. At times like these I really love our industrial vacuum cleaner which can handle the chips and the cutting fluid.


#342012 DIY housing for E-M5

Posted by T.J.L. on 17 January 2014 - 10:11 AM

Here come the pics of the 3D printing process.


Even though the walls are only 4 mm thick, the printer (or the software controlling it) makes them hollow to save material and speed up the printing process.



After 19 hours and 28 minutes, the printing is done.



And this is how the body and the port look like when the port is attached. The port/dome looks huge compared to the body but that is just how it is. If the body works properly, I may later make a smaller dome port. The front surface of the the body is very rough because that is where the supports were printed during the printing process. The rest of the body is printed on top of the supports because the machine can't print on air, there has to be something on which the plastic is extruded. Anyway in this case the surface finish is of no concern. The inside of the body is more important



And here is the inside. The port is mounted on the body with four screws. The screws are inside the port O-ring so they do not have to be sealed in any way. In the final part the holes for the latches do not penetrate through the walls like in the printed part so they do not have to be sealed either.



The main reason for printing the prototype was that I could test how it fits my hand. As you can see I can fit my fingers between the body and the port which is of course important. Here the problem with the trigger button is visible. Even though the button on the housing is already moved a lot to the left compared to where the button is on the camera, the natural position for the index finger is even more to the left and forward. I will move the trigger button still a little forward and left in the final design.



And this is the environment where I was printing. It is next door to the laboratory where I work and now I can basically use it whenever I want for free. Nice.


#341880 DIY housing for E-M5

Posted by T.J.L. on 14 January 2014 - 11:59 AM

Now I have a 3D printed plastic model of the housing's two main components i.e. the body and the port. The process was not as magically easy and fast as I had expected and the result is not exactly 1:1 copy of the CAD model. Below is a quick cell phone pic from the end of the printing process. I'll add better images when I transfer them from my camera.




The parts are made with relatively cheap (~3000 euros) fused deposition model 3D printers i.e. machines that extrude heated plastic. There were initially some problems with the settings of the programs and in the case of the port plastic did not stick properly onto the plate where it was extruded on. This caused the port to be significantly warped. However, the body turned out pretty good. The printing of the body took 19½ hours so the rapid prototyping was not so rapid. The part is not exactly dimensionally accurate, instead the part has sort of expanded 0.5 mm to every direction. For example 3 mm holes are in reality 2 mm in the printed part and the inside of the body is 1 mm too narrow etc. Anyway, the camera fits inside the body pretty tightly and the housing feels pretty good in hand. I will machine the back cover and the camera tray maybe tomorrow or during the weekend and then I will really get to test the ergonomy of the housing.


For the flash sync port I decided to make a hole which has a M10 (10 mm major diameter) internal thread. I can install into this thread a part with as large a hole as I want for the optical cable. I can use a 7 mm hole for the commercial connectors or I can make a 2 mm hole for just the fiber. I'll decide that in the future.

#341541 DIY housing for E-M5

Posted by T.J.L. on 08 January 2014 - 03:27 AM

Hello everyone


I've been a recreational diver for the past six years. I live in Finland where there is not much to see while diving so I only do it on longer vacations once every one or two years. I have been building my own underwater housing for my cameras for ten years now. I'm not much of a photographer, instead my interest in building housings comes more from an engineering viewpoint.


The success with the DIY housings (4 by now) has been mixed during the past years but by now I have only destroyed one camera partly. On the other hand not one of the housings has been completely leak proof. Anyway, the housings have been evolving to more and more professional level by the years and now I thought it is time to share the current project with all of you as I have found only a very limited number of other DIY housing projects in internet. Maybe it's because everyone else values their time and gear too much to spend hundreds of hours of time in order to make a housing which implodes in 30 meters...


As a reference below is a picture of my previous DIY housing which is for Olympus E-PL2 with 20mm Panasonic pancake lens. The body of the housing is machined from a solid block of aluminum and the port is turned also of aluminum and attached with screws to the body. Front lens is acrylic and the back cover is 10 mm thick polycarbonate. This housing was made two years ago for a 3 month trip to Central America. There were problems with the back cover as the polycarbonate developed cracks around some threads. This may have been caused by the ethanol I used to clean oil from the polycarbonate. The 10mm thickness also was not enough for deep dives as the back cover bended visibly. Therefore I used the housing mainly for snorkling and for that it functioned pretty well.




Currently I am designing a housing for my E-M5 which I'm planning to use with Samyang 7.5 mm fisheye lens. Me and my girlfriend are leaving to the Philippines at the end of this month so I am starting to be pretty low on time to finish the project. The structure of t he housing is basically the same as that of the E-PL2 housing, however, it will have a dome port, hopefully better ergonomics and I dare to hope that this housing will finally be leak free. Below are two images from the CAD model in its current state. I guess I will have to finalize the CAD model during the next weekend in order to start machining the parts next week. I am planning also to print a 3D model of the housing to test the ergonomics before I start machining it. We'll see if I can make that happen. Oh, in case you are wondering how I get to use such nice tools as 3D printers and CNC machines, the answer is that I work at the machine design department of the largest university in Finland.






There are still a couple of problems to solve with the housing design. First would be how to attach the dome to the port. The dome is separated from an Ikelite 5503.15 dome port which was leaking from the glue seams between the plastic parts. I was planning to use an o-ring between the dome and the aluminum port but then there was the problem on how to press the dome against the o-ring. Also, I was worried that the dome might develop cracks when the pressure presses it against the aluminum. Therefore, I decided that it might be the best option to just glue the dome to the port with epoxy. This will make it leakproof and the glue also should distribute the surface pressure between the dome and the port evenly. The downside is that when the dome is glue, it can't be removed.


Another, still unsolved problem is the trigger button. As you can see in the image of the CAD model, it is still unfinished. If it is located above the trigger button of the E-M5 it will be quite far from the left side of the housing and my (short) index finger will not reach it easily. Therefore the button should be moved to the left somehow. The commercial housings have nice lever systems for the trigger but I'm afraid they will be difficult to manufacture in a DIY project. I would be glad if you could give me some ideas on how to solve this.


I will add more pictures and info later about the current state of the project and of course add pics when I start machining the parts. Now I will unfortunately have to start doing the work I get paid for.