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Stefin

Build your own Lens gears

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Hi to all in wetpixelland(or sea).

This is my first post (with pictures and everything) to this forum,so if it goes a bit wrong forgive me.

 

So,you've found the perfect zoom lens,it does everything you want it to do and you got it at a great price.

You get on the phone to your camera housing supplier and "Sorry mate (insert Manufacturors name here) don't make a gear for that lens." Or,if they do "HOW MUCH!!!"

 

Here is my first successful D.I.Y. gear using a piece of plastic drainpipe and a section of plastic gearing "liberated" from Ocean Leisure's secondhand bin.

The lens is a Nikon 18/35 f3.5/4.5 (you know,the cheap one.)

 

18%2035%20gear.jpg

 

As you can see, I've Dremmeled a channel on to the end of the pipe so as to keep the curve of the gear. What you dont see is I cut a similar channel on the inside of the pipe,because,although the diameter was almost right it was too tight on the zoom ring grip of the lens. I've had this for several years and its never let me down.

 

OK, so you've probably seen something like this before, it was cheap to build but bits of gearing like that don't grow on trees. So I started looking around for easily available materials to make gears for other lenses. This is the upgrade:

 

Velcro%20gear%2024%2085.jpg

 

The lens is a 24/85 f 2.8/4.0, the white plastic ring is a section of pipe I found at a D.I.Y.store, something to do with a tumble drier, the black material covering it is heavy duty VELCRO adhesive backed tape, the plastic "hook"part of the tape provides the "grip" for the housing gear wheel to turn the zoom ring. Here is the camera and lens in the housing:

 

Velcro%20gear%20at%20work.jpg

 

And close up on the gear:

 

At%20work%20C%20U..jpg

 

The ring section was slightly larger than the diameter of the lenses zoom ring,so I used the"eye"part of the VELCRO tape (the furry bit) and stuck it on the inner wall of the plastic ring,this provided both grip on the zoom ring of the lens, and allowed a bit of "give" when the gear passed under the housing's gear wheel:

 

C%20U%2024%2085%20gear.jpg

 

Velcro%20gear%20off.jpg

 

If you're going to have a go at doing this yourself,start with a lens that has the zoom ring positioned directly underneath the housing gear wheel.

I like using slightly flexible plastic for the rings (easy to cut).

I've tried "cutting" a plastic ring to fit (if the ring is too big cut a section out and pull the two ends together to fit, OR the ring is too small,make a cut and spread the rig to fit)It works, but not as well as a complete ring.

Always use the heavy duty VELCRO "hook" part of the adhesive tape for the outer wall of your gear (it provides the best "bite" for your buck).

 

Velcro%20tape.jpg

 

There's enough tape in this box to do every lens you ever owned (apart from Alex Mustard of course)

 

It may take a while to find a piece of pipe the right size for your project, but they,re out there. Alternativly you may have a tame machinist to hand,all you want is the ring cut, you fit the VELCRO to suit.

 

I hope this is of interest to the wetpixellers, I have been hooked on this site since I first found it and have looked in at least once every day.(Even when the hacker got us) You have answered every question I could think of (and several hundred others that I hadn't thought of) I even got some of the "in" jokes (NIKON vs CANON, or IKELITE vs everybody else) Brilliant site! Keep on keeping on.

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Man, I wish you'd posted this a couple of weeks ago!

Edited by Notorious

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Interesting post -ideas like this may help to get you started on a particular zoom to see if you like that particular lens

If you do it seems a great low cost way of getting the zoom to work. I wonder though how much slipping occurs with the velco againts the housing gear?

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Great post!

 

I remember when Ryan used a sewing machine belt for a zoom gear on a particularly fat lens.

 

Cheers

James

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Thanks for the positive replies.

 

To notorious, I'm sorry, wanted to post this for a long time, but when it comes to computer stuff I,m the guy they wrote the "Idiots" guides for. I really fancied having BIG pictures in my post, it took a while to work out how some folks got big pictures and some only got thumbnails, then had to work out how to get some personal webspace. All the web tutorial pages I looked start with "HTML is really easy" and everything after that goes over my head... Dont you hate that!

Then I found Adobe Web Gallery in photoshop..... Brilliant, does it all for you, then its just a matter of publishing your website.....then trying to find your website....Ah there it is..... And bob's your uncle...No, then I've got to link my pictures to my wetpixel post while single finger typing out the words (Attach picture,Copy,Paste,Copy,Paste) Man I need a drink..OH £$%^& THE PUBS ARE CLOSED!

Anyway, I know how to do it now, so look out for D.I.Y. Gearing Pt 2 coming soon.

 

To Arnon, keep me posted on your project and if I can help dont hesitate.

 

Tkr, I've had no problem with slipping, I believe it's due to the furry part of the tape stuck on the inner wall of the D.I.Y.gear, not only does it provide the necessary grip on the lens zoom ring, it is also springy, pushing the gear on to the housings gear wheel giving it extra grip plus allowing the housing gear wheel to turn when the tip of each tooth pushes the gear around.

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Using Stefin's most excellent ideas on Zoom gears. I have just fabricated a gear for my Sigma 10-20mm in a 350D housing.

ring2.jpg

After much digging around in a hardware store I found an ideal piece of plumbing to use for the gear. The item I used is here http://www.iplex.com.au/search/ProdDetail....201025&cat=

 

I cut the narrowest ring of the pipe off at the shoulder and this was the part I used.

On the inner face of the ring I stuck a length of 3M draught excluder to fit snugly on the lens. It actually produced a rather positive pop on/off effect with lots of grip on the lens.

 

ring1.jpg

The outside of the ring is exactly the correct diameter to touch the gear of the housing firmly. All it needed was a bit of friction. This can be achieved by adding some sticky backed rubber or similar. I used the sticky stuff that came with another sea&sea lens gear. A thick rubber band or slice of inner tube would probably also work.

 

I'm really pleased with the solution for my zoom gear. I mainly use the lens at 10mm but to have the option to zoom is a great bonus.......and cheap!

Thanks again Stefin!

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Notorious, neat job! Especially like the draft excluder. Must try that on my next project.

Edited by Stefin

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Mr bailey, good solution. but, just a thought, applying adhesive tape directly to your zoom ring and left on for any lenght of time may damage the finish of your lens. Something to think about if you upgrade to a new lens and sell it on. Look around for a plastic ring that will slip over the lens but also slips into your zoom attachment a second piece of the same plastic about the size of a matchstick firmly fixed onto this ring would fit snugly into that slot on your zoom gear. Much easier to get on and off and wont spoil the look of your lens.

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Great post, and WELCOME, Stefin!

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What, you guys don't like paying $200 for a gear? :-)

 

I just find it hard to spend that kind of money on a gear and then have to saw/file away at it in hope that it will fit my unsuported lens :blush:

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Think of it like this: 5% of the cost, 200% job satisfaction.

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Thanx again for this post. I've just successfully made by own lens gear using an old waste pipe fitting and some velcro. I can now house and use a lens I thought was a no no.

 

cheers

 

John

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Thanx again for this post. I've just successfully made by own lens gear using an old waste pipe fitting and some velcro. I can now house and use a lens I thought was a no no.

 

cheers

 

John

Let's see some pictures Johnny Boy! :)

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you all make me seem a bit crass,i superglued a q-tip to my lens and pulled the rubber flashing from the lens over it to provide more diameter, not pretty but it works and i only use the lens in my housing.

oops , always a bit brash

Jez

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Hi everybody,

I also made two Zoomgears - inspired by this thread!

I used a pipe with two rubbers inside - connection piece or so - and got nearly the same as velcro from my brother from his work (industrial thing - both sides are plastic).

PC142042_1.jpg

So I just wanted to do it for the Sigma 17-70 but noticed the pipe fitted perfect for the Nikkor 12-24:

PC142054_1.jpg

Here for the Sigma 17-70:

PC152060_1.jpg

Here it's in the housing:

PC152059_1.jpg

 

Thanks everybody for your inspiration :)

Greetings Tom

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Great thread. You can also make your own rings with some mouldable plastic called Polymorph (at least that's the brand name on the UK).

 

Pretty good stuff - heat it up in hot water and then mould it. I always take some away with me on diving holidays just in case - comes in handy for making bespoke holders, clips etc.

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Inspired by this thread, I made my own zoom gear for my Tokina Fisheye lens today for a Sea & Sea Housing.

 

Cost me all of $2.00 and a couple of hours of my time.

 

Went to the local Bunnings (hardware store) and picked up a 75mm round down pipe. This fits very snugly around the zoom ring on the Tokina and doesn't need any extra padding on the inside. It also tapers slightly so you can push it in and will stay snug. Longest part of making this was cutting off the flange with a hacksaw.

 

post-34104-1312119005.jpg

 

To make up the required diameter to reach the zoom gear on the housing I used a combination of some flexible magnets and those rubber bands people wear around their wrists.

 

post-34104-1312119021.jpg

 

post-34104-1312119380.jpg

 

The rubber grips the housing's zoom gear quite well and at the telephoto end once you reach the limit it won't turn further unless you really crank it but it does slip on the wide end when you reach it. I might try and find a toothed belt that will fit around it or may use velcro or have a go at making a tooth rack from polymorph.

Edited by Jesper64

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Nice post.

 

I've always wondered about trying to create a "gear coupling" with some of those strong magnets...one set on the inside of the sleeve, another tacked (hot melt glue?) to the lens zoom ring grip. So you get a friction fit between the sleeve and the lens...with magnets holding the two together. Seems like 3 of them 120-degs around would give enough contact strength, if you spaced them right to be in reasonably good contact (and of course matched polarity correctly...)

 

If there's not enough diameter space for the smaller rare-earth mags, maybe refridge mag strips cut to run all the way around might work in a pinch.

 

Probably a silly thought.... :dance:

Edited by rtrski

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Nice post.

 

I've always wondered about trying to create a "gear coupling" with some of those strong magnets...one set on the inside of the sleeve, another tacked (hot melt glue?) to the lens zoom ring grip. So you get a friction fit between the sleeve and the lens...with magnets holding the two together. Seems like 3 of them 120-degs around would give enough contact strength, if you spaced them right to be in reasonably good contact (and of course matched polarity correctly...)

 

If there's not enough diameter space for the smaller rare-earth mags, maybe refridge mag strips cut to run all the way around might work in a pinch.

 

Probably a silly thought.... :dance:

 

Not a silly thought at all. Except Inon beat you to it. Inon make/made magnet ring and ports for some of their housings. The idea was that you turned the ring on the port just like you would on land.

Edited by Jesper64

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Not a silly thought at all. Except Inon beat you to it. Inon make/made magnet ring and ports for some of their housings. The idea was that you turned the ring on the port just like you would on land.

 

Interesting approach. Not really sure the shooting position is that congruent with using a zoom-ring topside though...

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Great idea and definitely nice to have in the tool kit. If you are a bit more adventurous and have an old gear that is close to the desired size, I have cut the gear on a table saw to allow it to expand to the needed size and then simply slip over the lens.

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