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Picture of DIY flip minoHD quality underwater case
Flip Mino HD it´s a easy to use camera, with good image quality for it´s small size. In good light conditions it displays a clear sharp footage. I wanted to use this camera to record my scuba diving and fishing, but since i can´t find a case for this camera, only for flip ultraHD and the rated depht of the flip case is only 30feet / 6m, i decided to build a custom case for this camera.  This is the 3rd custom case i build for my photo and video cameras. None of them ever failed, and all of them have gone past 10meters depth.



 
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Step 1: Gathering materials and total cost

I´ve used the following materials for this build:

- 15x20cm 3mm thick Acrilic sheet for the main body.
- (2x) 9x14cm 8mm thick Acrilic sheet for the lid and for added thickness of the main body
- Epoxy glue
- Wood mold
- Rubber oRing
- Stainless steel bolts and nuts
- Aluminium parts from old HDD for start stop rubber button and visor protector.
- other parts

Cost in euros.
Acrilic - 3,5 eur
5X rubber gaskets - 4eur
Glue - Already have but a 2 compound seringe like this will cost you 8 eur. you´ll use about 5% of it
Stainless steel bolts and nuts - 3,5eur.
Other parts have to be scavenged so costs may change.
It also helps to have the right tools for machining and threading

In total i didn´t spend more than 15eur in this project


Step 2: Molding the acrilic.

Picture of Molding the acrilic.
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Cut a wood bloc to the same size as the flip camera. Sand the edges for better results, This will be your mold for the acrilic 3mm sheet and will form the main body of the case.

Pre heat your oven to aprox 200ºC

Put the acrilic over the wood mold and let it heat until it starts to bend over the mold. Then quickly remove the mold with the acrilic and push it down the mold using a shape slighly larger than the mold, to force the acrilic to shape. I used some steel square tubing previously prepared for this but a frame made out of wood should work as well.  Press down hard and use some clamps to hold the shape until it cools down. DON´T use water to cool it down. If you overheat the acrilic it may start to create some bubles. In my case i decided to proceed anyway since i don´t have any more 3mm sheets and the bubbles won´t cause trouble.





Step 3: Machining the acrilic for the rubber gasket

Picture of Machining the acrilic for the rubber gasket
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Using a drill stand start machining the 8mm part to form the seat for the rubber gasket.
Then cut the inside of the part as shown in the last image.

The inside cut should be the same size as the camera to let it in and out of the case. The gasket seat should be slighlty wider.

Step 4: Glue the parts.

Picture of Glue the parts.
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After cuting to shape (9x14cm) the molded 3mm acrilic, sand the bottom part until you have an even flat surface.

Epoxy glue the two parts. Use some clamps to hold everything tight and let the glue dry.





Step 5: Adding the bolts.

Picture of Adding the bolts.
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Drill some 3mm holes as shown in the first image. Then use a tool to create threads in the acrilic and screw the bolts into place.

Step 6: Adding the buttons and gasket

Picture of Adding the buttons and gasket
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For the on/off button i don´t have much choice as to use a screw button.

I used some brass tubing then thread the outside of the tubing and the case as well.
The tubing houses a special screw with an oRing gasket (i used this part from an old spray  gun) 
The button is operated by screwing and unscrewing the special bolt. This pushes the on/off button.
Use some glue then screw the bolts to seal everything

For the start stop button i used a rubber button from a flashlight. The rubber is pressed against the acrilic using the part from HDD drive as shown. Everything is tighten with stainless steel bolts and nuts. The button pushes a small steel rod that pushes the star/stop button on the camera.
Use some glue then screw the bolts to seal everything

For the oRing for the case you have to do some digging to find a suitable one. I´ve found mines (buyed 5 at once since they are very cheap) at a shop that sells steel bearings and acessories for insdustry.  It is best to build the case and then take it with you to the shop so you can find an apropriate one and test it there.

Step 7: Finishing the case

Picture of Finishing the case
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Add another of that HDD part to create a cool shield for the visor.
Use stainless steel bolts. Use some epoxy then screw the bolts to seal everything

Step 8: Securing the camera inside.

Picture of Securing the camera inside.
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For the front i used a piece of neoprene.
For the back i used some foam.

Step 9: Finish!

Picture of Finish!
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Try your new case without the camera first to ensure that everything is watertight. If possible, dive the case deep the properly test it.
abood0kr3 months ago
good
jop
fxkill5 years ago
Would you happen to know the size of the oRing, its the last item I need to start building this awesome case.
mcohn1 fxkill2 years ago
You can make your own custom O-Rings with 100% silicone caulking. You can also use other types of sealants. Silicone Gasket maker works quite well. You can also buy gasket sheets online.
tiagoblanquet (author)  fxkill5 years ago
With the oRing i first start by diging the groove on the acrilic, and then take the case to a steelbearings store wich sell oRings in various sizes. The tichness though is 3.5mm
richie_1144 years ago
Awesome 'Ible!! Well done!! I wonder If I could form that acrylic with my home brew vacuum molder?
tiagoblanquet (author)  richie_1144 years ago
Hum tryed that and it didn´t work out so great, it needs a great deal of vacuum to mold that thikness
Glad you tried it first then. Thanks for responding!
kcls5 years ago
Nice 'ible! I wanted to make one for my digital camera, but it has way more buttons. How could I make it work? The picture of the camera is below. It has a circle button, with a button in the middle. There are four buttons surrounding the circle buttons. On top, there is the button to take a picture surrounded by the zoom knob. The power button is also on top. Thanks!
New Picture (6).bmp
tiagoblanquet (author)  kcls5 years ago
In my experience in photography underwater, with homemade rigs i don´t think is necessary to have all the buttons of the camera. With my old rig with a sony P93 i only had two buttons. On/off and shutter button. The camera was in auto mode with no flash. That setting let the camera ajust shutter speed and aperture and that is enough for underwater photography on a clear day. The zoom doesn´t work underwater because you can´t get a steady position and you will blurry the photos. Check my first project for the P93 here.
do the bolts scratch the camera?
tiagoblanquet (author)  ducktape.mac4 years ago
Good point. It do scracth the on off button on the camera if you don´t sand it properly. Sand it good rounding the edges and you should get no problems.
okay, thanks.
ajmckay5 years ago
Great Instructable!!! It's given me some good ideas, as well as a confidence that a high-quality hard case can be made without having to buy one for $200 USD. One question though, any other ideas on where to find the screw you used for the on/off button? I have a Kodak Zi8 which I want to build an enclosure for. I don't do any diving, but I want to make one which I can use to video my fish tank, and also to protect from dust and impact while I take it on mountain bike rides strapped to my helmet. Most of the other instructables are either too flimsy (plastic bag) or too bulky (pvc etc...) for my purposes so I have been designing a similar enclosure out of acrylic. Mine is slightly different in that I need some weight reductions so I will use 1/8" acrylic (mine won't go so deep) and nylon screws. I will also use a gasket over the entire back using a thick plastic sheet (Intra-veinous drip bag). I'll post my instructable next week.
tiagoblanquet (author)  ajmckay5 years ago
the rotary button can be made out of brass or aluminium tubing. Thread the inside and then drill the top part with a slighly larger drill. Then a bolt with a groove so it can receive an o-ring. I´ve only used this solution cause there wasn´t enough room on the side for a button like the start stop one wich needed that round plate to secure the rubber button
Jobar0075 years ago
Is ambient pressure a problem at depth with the button on the back? As in does pressure at depth actuate the button on the back?

Awesome idea by the way. As soon as I saw what you were doing I smacked my forehead saying, "I know how to vacuum-form plastic. Why didn't I think of that!?!"
tiagoblanquet (author)  Jobar0075 years ago
Vacuum-form should work even better. As for the button, i didn´t have any actuation prom pressure when testing at 15m depht wich is as far as i go in apnea. As soon i have my boat back i´ll go offshore to test it at 40m. I left some space betwen the rubber button and the rod that pushes the camera button so if the rubber flexes it has some space to flex, and this rubber is strong so offers plenty of resistance before flexing.
fruitkid1015 years ago
Hey great one! I've been molding acrylic to make iPod cases for me and my friends, they all love theirs. I've been doing it since last year. I should start selling these...
mikejs5 years ago
This is awesome - I love the way you've molded the acrylic, and that jig you built for it is pretty genius. Projects like this are what makes Instructables great.

What are the measurements for the block you used? And have you considered shaping the wood block to match the contours of the Mino? It looks like a pretty perfect fit already, but might be able to have it fit even snugger, especially where the lens bevels out slightly.

Also, where did you source your case gasket? Or did you use a gasket compound for it?

Keep it up!
Mike
========
my DIY blog: mikesenese.com/DOIT


tiagoblanquet (author)  mikejs5 years ago
The wood block dimensions match the mino dimensions. The lens bevel would be slightly complex shape but it is possible no problem. The only problem is the more elaborated wood mold that have to be made.
Pueo5 years ago
I like it!  Question though, where did you get the O-ring from?  I didn't see it on the parts list.
tiagoblanquet (author)  Pueo5 years ago
I got the oRing from a shop that sells steel bearings and other industrial parts.
Had to do some searching.