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Hi, I am doing negative mould. So first model from polystyrene (finally done, which was, I guess the worst part, especially from surface smoothness perspective). Next step will be the mould itself and the housing. I will definitely post whole process here incl. pictures. Regarding the groove: I meant opened housing....If the o ring stay in groove or comes out with opening a than has to be adjust again.

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Hi, I am doing negative mould. So first model from polystyrene (finally done, which was, I guess the worst part, especially from surface smoothness perspective). Next step will be the mould itself and the housing. I will definitely post whole process here incl. pictures. Regarding the groove: I meant opened housing....If the o ring stay in groove or comes out with opening a than has to be adjust again.

 

I hope the housing will be strong enough to take the pressure. Will you use vacuum to remove all the bubbles from the resin?

 

In my housing the o-ring stays nicely in the groove even with the rectangular shape. I am using a 2.5 mm diameter o-ring glued from a cord. The depth of the groove is 1.9 mm and the groove is 3.3 mm wide.

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I was not thinking about vacuum since still want to do some minor surface tuning (btw Iam using epoxy for aviatory - density very low, almost zero bubbles..) . From strength perspective - housing itself will be oversized (cca 1cm thick and epoxy composite has +/- 25% higher strength ) therefore I think no problem....

What I fight with is the groove. I calculate almost the same oring and groove so hope that will also fit perfectly like in your case. What about dome port? I am looking forward to see some to check the aberration and distorsion, if even any

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I still have not sorted or adjusted the pics properly but since some of you are eager to see some results, here are a few totally unprocessed pics. Most of these are taken with the Samyang fisheye prefocused somewhere so the subject might or might not be in focus. Also the fishey of course has distortion. I thought I could live with manual focus but now I hope I would have bought an auto focus lens. The Panasonic 20 mm was nice though.

 

I'll maybe add some more pics after a conference trip.

 

Small wreck at Apo reef. Samyang, CA visible on top.

_2100290.JPG

 

 

Samyang, the brand nicely visible in reflection. I'd suggest covering any white text on the lens :).

_2100933.JPG

 

Panasonic 20mm. Corners are quite soft.

_2110472.JPG

 

 

Panasonic 20 mm.

_2110616.JPG

 

Some macro with Samyang.

_2120713.JPG

Edited by T.J.L.

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Wow beautiful outputs...I have Panasonic fish eye and works perfectly, If you want to change yours samyang, let me know....

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Those pictures look good, regarding it is a DIY project ! I would suggest building

flash housings before your next trip. ;)

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Those pictures look good, regarding it is a DIY project ! I would suggest building

flash housings before your next trip. ;)

 

I am planning to. That's why I have the optical sync port in the housing. Also the back cover and all the buttons will have to be remade again but I hope that will take just a couple of days. Next time I am definitely not going to built a totally new housing...

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My first post on WP.... I think this thread is a more than worthy place for it!!

 

Beautiful bit of milling work, almost too nice to get wet! Congrats on it working too :)

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Now it's finally time some concluding thoughts about this project.

 

First the expenses. Building a proper housing is not a cheap hobby. I documented most of the expenses and the total cost for the housing was about 350 euros. Most of this is just materials since I get to use the milling machines etc. for free. The materials are expensive at least here in Finland especially when you buy just a small piece at at time. The most expensive part of the housing was the Ikelite 5503.15 dome which I bought second hand for 100 euros.

 

Material Pcs Price per piece eur Total
14 mm bull end mill 1 37,65 37,65
Aluminum for the body 1 37,94 37,94
Latches 3 7,9 23,7
Aluminum for the port 1 17,55 17,55
Dome 1 100 100
Springs for the buttons 10 3 30
Stainless bolts etc. 30 0,6 18
O-rings for the buttons 10 1 10
O-rings for the port and back cover 1 10 10
Polycarbonate for the back cover 1 24,6 24,6
Piece of PC and stainless steel 1 4,4 4,4
Anodization 1 30 30
Bike spokes 2 0 0
3D printing
Aluminum for buttons
Misc screws
Epoxy glue
Misc cutting tools
Piece of stainless sheet
343,84

 

Second, the time used. I did not really keep track of the hours, but I can try to estimate. Creating the CAD model took probably over a hundred hours even though the housing was very similar to the previous one I made. I started really building the housing just a couple of weeks before the trip but after that I spent most of my time doing it. Therefore, the building part was probably also around a hundred hours, including making the toolpaths for the CNC machines. So all in all maybe 200 hours.

 

 

And the lessons learned.

 

1. Start early if you have a deadline. Really early. Building anything takes longer that you think.

 

2. If you want to get things ready, try to use off the shelf parts. For example, I partly remade the back cover latches and they turned out to be on of the weakest spots of the housing. On the other hand I could not find exactly the kind of latches I wanted so my options were limited.

 

3. Design properly and well. CAD modelling is essential. I had not completely assembled the housing a single time when we left for our trip. Even so, almost everything worked as planned because all the parts were fitted together in the CAD model. The FEM simulations also eased my mind regarding the rigidity of the housing. It also took me just a half an hour to make them. I don't know if there are any free FEM packages available for stress simulations but if you have access for a FEM program, a simulation is very easy to make when you have the CAD model.

 

4. The 3D printed prototype was great in testing the ergonomics.

 

5. Polycarbonate seems to develop cracks in time if it is under constant stress. Even though my polycarbonate parts were never in contact with any solvents, I still got cracks in some threads of the back cover. I think the screws should just not be tightened so much.

 

6. Design the o-ring grooves properly. Remember that the o-ring adds friction to the buttons and the friction is larger the more o-ring is compressed. Think also beforehand how you are going to install the o-rings. They can be a pain in the ass to squeeze into a tight groove on the bottom of a bore.

 

7. Make everything from plastic or stainless steel, also the springs, bolts, etc. Also most aluminum alloys will oxidize in salt water if they are not anodized. Anodization can be done at home and it is not too difficult, just requires some experimentation with the dyes. On the other hand I paid 30 euros for anodizing the main parts by a professional so a DIY setup may not even be the cheapest option.

 

I guess that's all that comes to my mind now. DIYing is a great hobby but if you just want an underwater housing, it's easier to work some extra hours and save money for an off the shelf housing :).

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Long time no see. I wondered back here to look for ideas on how to make a cheap blue dive light for fluorescence diving and noticed this old thread.

 

A small update on the camera housing. After the Philippines trip I had the camera with me on another 6-week trip to Indonesia in 2015. The housing worked excellent. If I remember correctly I machined a new even thicker polycarbonate back cover to replace the slightly cracked old one. Next month we are leaving to Mexico and Central America for three months and I am not yet sure if I'll take the housing with me. We may not be diving as much as before and the housing is kinda bulky to carry in my 45 liter backpack. Fortunately I am still using the E-M5 so no need to update the housing due to a new camera.

 

I did plan to make an optically synced strobe for the housing but never got to it and definitely do not have the time before the next trip. I might buy a decent dive light and fix up an arm to attach it to the camera. That might already improve the photographs a little.

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So glad to see this thread revived - I just re-read all of it and enjoyed it as much the second time through. Happy travels!

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Awesome work! Saw this a few months ago when I was tinkering with my own diy project and gave me a couple of ideas. Mind if I ask a couple of questions about your Dome? I'm looking at making my own...hopefully avoiding the use of threaded parts...

 

Sent from my SM-T710 using Tapatalk

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Awesome work! Saw this a few months ago when I was tinkering with my own diy project and gave me a couple of ideas. Mind if I ask a couple of questions about your Dome? I'm looking at making my own...hopefully avoiding the use of threaded parts...

 

Sent from my SM-T710 using Tapatalk

 

Greetings from Honduras!

 

I'll be happy to answer any questions.

 

I've had the housing with me now on about ten dives on this trip and it has worked decently. I've had a couple of drops of leakage, probably because I never got to improving the partly DIY latches. They could compress the back cover oring a bit more on the surface. Water pressure takes care of compressing the oring properly when going deeper. Another problem is the shutter button. For some reason it sticks if its oring is not cleaned and greased often. This probably has something to do with the fact that this button has that horizontal 3D printed extension which causes some torque on the button but I am not sure what the problem is exactly.

 

I did buy a dive light and mounted it to the camera housing. I'll add some pics from the dives and of the dive light arm a bit later.

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Greetings from Honduras!

 

I'll be happy to answer any questions.

 

I've had the housing with me now on about ten dives on this trip and it has worked decently. I've had a couple of drops of leakage, probably because I never got to improving the partly DIY latches. They could compress the back cover oring a bit more on the surface. Water pressure takes care of compressing the oring properly when going deeper. Another problem is the shutter button. For some reason it sticks if its oring is not cleaned and greased often. This probably has something to do with the fact that this button has that horizontal 3D printed extension which causes some torque on the button but I am not sure what the problem is exactly.

 

I did buy a dive light and mounted it to the camera housing. I'll add some pics from the dives and of the dive light arm a bit later.

Fantastic. Ive had my design made up and have been using it a heap. But im using an aquatica dome with an adapter...and i want to get rid of the adapter so i can move th e done further in so it wll work with shorter lenses and...cause i just want to make all of the parts myself ha.

 

Ive had a couple of acrylic domes made up and have a design for a dome with threaded parts and orings to mount th e acrylic to the alumnium parts..but i dont really like it and it adds extra size. Id glue it but i just dont knw what epoxy to use snd the company ive spoken t isnt 100% sure either and u dont want to chance it with my camera.

 

I was wondering what epoxy you used? And if you glued it to an anodised or raw aluminum surface?

 

Got a couple of shots of my housing below too.

 

Thanks :)

 

5e4a0355130b6ca87fda61016516ba88.jpg2054d6f9ce5d42f1377a0b61ec380457.jpg

 

Sent from my SM-G900I using Tapatalk

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Very impressive. I've been toying with the idea of building my own dive case for DSLR..
It has been 10 years since I've used CAD/CAM applications, so quite a lot of training needed, but slowly getting there. Also purchased my own CNC router, since I do not have access to university equipment. Hah..

How did you decide the dimensions for the O-rings, springs and where the heck can I purchase aluminum as cheap as you did? :)
Eventually I will want to have aluminium parts anodised with some professionals rather than start cooking acids at the backyard. Do you have recommendation in Helsinki region?

 

Thanks for sharing, highly appreciated!

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This thread has been really fun to follow from both an engineering and an UW photographer perspective. Have you considered:

- Adding a second latch above the existing one, or centering the single one so that it is distributing the pressure on the "back view port" more evenly to compress the O-ring,

- You also mentioned having acrylic stress cracks where the screws go into your back view port. Have you considered machining the back port out of two parts: an aluminum frame and an acrylic window bonded into the center of the frame. That would help you again distribute the O-ring compression more evenly due to reduced deflection in the aluminum vs. acrylic materials.

- Adding an off the shelf vacuum pressure detection circuit and building in the vacuum port into the top left side of your housing?

 

Those enhancements could help avoid the minimal leaks that you mentioned above and alleviate your concern over acrylic failure at depth.

Edited by bnf-austin

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Fantastic. Ive had my design made up and have been using it a heap. But im using an aquatica dome with an adapter...and i want to get rid of the adapter so i can move th e done further in so it wll work with shorter lenses and...cause i just want to make all of the parts myself ha.

 

Ive had a couple of acrylic domes made up and have a design for a dome with threaded parts and orings to mount th e acrylic to the alumnium parts..but i dont really like it and it adds extra size. Id glue it but i just dont knw what epoxy to use snd the company ive spoken t isnt 100% sure either and u dont want to chance it with my camera.

 

I was wondering what epoxy you used? And if you glued it to an anodised or raw aluminum surface?

 

Got a couple of shots of my housing below too.

 

Thanks :)

 

5e4a0355130b6ca87fda61016516ba88.jpg2054d6f9ce5d42f1377a0b61ec380457.jpg

 

Sent from my SM-G900I using Tapatalk

 

 

Nice! Very professional looking. Is that completely self designed and built? Is the body made of aluminum? Is the port on the left hand side some kind on a sync port? Is the tightness of the latches adjustable or how did you ensure correct latch tightness?

 

Sorry for not answering sooner, I guess its no more a current issue but maybe this will help someone else. Even though epoxy seems to be the best all around glue, I did not use it for the dome. I used windshield adhesive since it provides a strong adhesion but also stays relatively elastic. Therefore, it will not get any cracks and the water pressure will always seal the dome against the soft adhesive layer even though there would be some imperfection in the contact. Downside was that windshield adhesive was difficult to apply cleanly and very difficult to clean from the internal gap between the dome and the port body.

Edited by T.J.L.

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Very impressive. I've been toying with the idea of building my own dive case for DSLR..

It has been 10 years since I've used CAD/CAM applications, so quite a lot of training needed, but slowly getting there. Also purchased my own CNC router, since I do not have access to university equipment. Hah..

 

How did you decide the dimensions for the O-rings, springs and where the heck can I purchase aluminum as cheap as you did? :)

Eventually I will want to have aluminium parts anodised with some professionals rather than start cooking acids at the backyard. Do you have recommendation in Helsinki region?

 

Thanks for sharing, highly appreciated!

 

 

You can search for "eriks oring calculator" for o-ring dimensioning. I guess in theory any cross section o-ring would work but with about 1.5-2.5 mm cross section, 0.2 mm of compression is enough for a good seal. That kind of a compression should be easy to maintain reliably even with loose manufacturing tolerances.Of course if you use a smaller cross section, the O-ring groove will use less space in your design. Since for example the O-ring between the port and the body is static, I am using a quite large compression. With the button O-rings you have to remember that a larger compression leads to more friction.

 

For the button return springs forces, I mainly calculated the pressure force acting on the button shaft cross section area at some depth and then added some safety margin to account for the friction of the O-ring. The first springs I bought were a bit too weak to work reliably when going deeper so I had to change them. I would advise buying too rather too strong than too weak springs. It is not nice to have the shutter button jammed down in the middle of the dive.

 

The aluminum I bought from Protoshop in Espoo but unfortunately it does not exist anymore. I do not know where in Helsinki area one can buy metals easily in small quantities anymore. It is a bit of a problem for me as well...

 

For anodizing, I used Alumiinikilpi in Helsinki. The guys are grumpy old farts who do not really care about customer service, especially when calling them. But when I went there and they saw that I had really put some effort in this project, I got really good service with a good price.

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This thread has been really fun to follow from both an engineering and an UW photographer perspective. Have you considered:

- Adding a second latch above the existing one, or centering the single one so that it is distributing the pressure on the "back view port" more evenly to compress the O-ring,

- You also mentioned having acrylic stress cracks where the screws go into your back view port. Have you considered machining the back port out of two parts: an aluminum frame and an acrylic window bonded into the center of the frame. That would help you again distribute the O-ring compression more evenly due to reduced deflection in the aluminum vs. acrylic materials.

- Adding an off the shelf vacuum pressure detection circuit and building in the vacuum port into the top left side of your housing?

 

Those enhancements could help avoid the minimal leaks that you mentioned above and alleviate your concern over acrylic failure at depth.

 

With the new thicker back cover getting a good seal was not an issue anymore. There was not really space to add more latches. The biggest problem with the latches was that their tightness was not adjustable so I basically had to shape the parts attached to the back cover so that I get approximately proper tension.

 

I think the stress cracks were caused by me using (way) too high a moment for the screws attaching the latch parts to the back cover. The cracks started from the screw threads and never really seemed to compromise the integrity of the whole back cover. Oh and the back cover is polycarbonate, not acrylic. I would be too paranoid of cracking with an acrylic back cover. I did consider using a two-part back cover but that would prevent me from seeing leakage at the edges of the cover.

 

I never considered using vacuum but I did consider some kind of a leak detector. On the other hand now that the back cover is completely clear, any leaks are easy to spot visually.

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Now that it was time for my annual visit to this thread, I can finally share also the pics of the dive light holder for the last trip to Central America. It was not actually a huge success (the holder, not the trip). I used a leg from a gorillapod and 3D printed the mounting parts.


First of all, the leg was too bendy so the dive light did not stay in position. It was ok initially but got worse as the trip went on. Secondly, I printed the parts of PLA which seemed to stretch slowly when kept in tension for weeks. Initially, for example the mounting of the dive light to the leg was very solid but at the end of the trip I had to but some rubber between the parts and the light in order to keep it fixed. I guess an easy fix for this would have been to always disassemble the holder so it parts would have been in tension only when diving.


I hope the links work.




The diving in Honduras (Cayos Cochinos and Utila) was nice but kind of left me missing diving in the Philippines and Indonesia. The following was a pretty awesome encounter though. Too bad the dive light is dangling in the view and I was watching the ray from the side of the camera so the aim is not perfect all the time.




BTW. Can anyone compare diving in the southern coat of Sri Lanka to diving in Honduras or SE Asia?

Edited by T.J.L.

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Hello, T.J.L.,

Could you share how did you fix the dome to the port aluminium part? with silicon sealant? I am planning to diy a 12" dome port but have not idea how the acrylic dome and aluminium part connect together.

 

Thanks.

 

Delphi

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