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Picture of Improved Underwater Camera Housing
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This instructable shows how everybody can make an underwater camera housing, using regular materials and for only a few bucks!

You could film your family of friends under water, in a swimming pool...Or film some fish in an aquarium!

Here you can watch some footage that I shoot in an aquarium with this Underwater camera housing!!



My idea is based on other instructables like:
http://www.instructables.com/id/Underwater-Video-Camera--Camcorder-Housing-for-le/
But I wanted to improve this instructable by adding more possibilities to control the camera, like using the on/off buttons, zoom-buttons but especially the record button!

This is the link to our class:
http://blog.wdka.nl/make
WDKA Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Ruud
 
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Step 1: List of equipment

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The most important thing:
- A watertight case or box (you could try to find one in or around your house) For this instructable, I used a case that people normally use to keep dogfood in.

- plexiglass
- PVC with diameter 3 cm.
- ducktape
- a watertight glove
- velcro
- an old belt
- some wood
- a small piece from the inner tube from a bicycle tire
- a small package moisture absorbent
- silicone paste

Tools:

- Scissor
- small saw
- jigsaw
- file
- a pencil
- electric drilling machine

And ofcourse, you need a videocamera!

Step 2: Finding a watertight case

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The most important thing about this project, is that you keep everything watertight! Water almost gets through everything...but if there's one thing you don't want, it is your expensive videocamera getting wet!

So you can search around the house for watertight cases or boxes. It won't be easy because many things loose their watertightness when they're opened. And don't forget you need an opening in the case where you can take the camera in and out. So you need something with a large opening that can be closed really tight!

For this instructable, I used a case that people normally use to keep dogfood in. In this instructable I'm just expecting you to have found a case that looks like this one and has the same capacities, so that I can tell how to make an underwater camera housing out of this case.

If you find a possible watertight case or box...make sure you test it properly, in a bucket of water for example!

Step 3: Making a window

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When the camera is in the underwater housing, the lens has to view through a window.

- Draw a round circle in the middle of the lid, and make the circle as big as possible, but make sure you leave 2 centimeters margin, you need this margin for attaching the glass with glue.

- You take the lid from the case and drill a hole in the middle of the circle that you just drawed.

- You can release one of the ends from the jigsaw and get through the hole...then you can follow the line to create the big hole where the window is gonna be.

- When you've created the hole, you can make the edges smooth by using the file.

- After that, take the plexiglass. Put the round part, that you just got out of the lid, on the plexiglass. Draw a circle around it. Make sure the distance from the round part and the circle is between 1,5 and 2 cm.

- Now you can take the saw and follow the line you just drawed on the plexiglass.

- You can make the edges smooth again by using the file.

- Before using the silicone paste on the lid, you have to clean the lid up a little bit..that way the paste will be a lot stronger. Just clean it up with some toiletpaper or a towel.

- Now it's time to use the silicone paste. Just put a lot of the paste around the hole in the lid. You don't really have to hurry because it dries slowly. When you placed the paste all around the hole, take the plexiglass and put in over the hole. Push it a little bit so there are no spots left without the paste.

- Now you have to leave the lid alone for several hours. If you have the time, just leave the lid for one day. The paste will certainly be dry that way!

- When you think the paste has dried..put the lid back on the case and check it for watertightness again! Im hope it is watertight, so we can go on to the next step...

Step 4: Create a fingerhole to control the camera

The fingerhole's function is to be able to use the on/off button and the zoom button if you want to, but even more important, to use the record button.
For example, you're filming some fish under water, but at the moment there are no fish around you. At that moment you're just wasting a lot of your tape, and you don't want to get the case out of the water all the time to get your camera out of the case and push the record button. So for that reason, a fingerhole would be nice.

- You can find the zoom, on/off and record buttons really close to each other, most of the times...but first, you have to check the measures of your camera. You have to determine at which position the fingerhole has to appear.

- With your pencil you can draw a small round, with a diameter 3 cm, at the place you determined, because the PVC is also 3 cm.

- With the electric drill machine, you can create the hole.

- With the file you make the hole smooth.

- Then take out the PVC and saw a piece off with, approximately 3 cm long. Afterwards you can make the edges smooth again with the file. You can try if the PVS fits in the hole you drilled in the case. There should not be much space. In fact, I hope it doesn't fit, so you can use the file to make the hole bigger bit by bit, till it fits precisely.

- Now take the glove...choose one finger you want to use. Make sure the finger is not too long, because you'll loose your feeling inside the case if the finger is too long. Use the scissor to cut one of the finger off the glove.

- Take the finger and stretch it so that you can put the end of the finger over the PVS. Make sure approximately 1cm from the finger is over the PVS now. It should be really tight now.

- Get your bicycle tire inner tube en cut 3 small slices off with a with of 0,5 cm with your scissor. Put these 3 slices around the part of the PVC where the finger is placed over. Turn all the slices 1 time so they're dubble around the PVS. It will be really tight but it should fit and will be watertight.

- To be sure it is watertight, put a little bit of silicone paste on your thumb and rub it around the PVC and the slices.

- Now you put the finger attached to the PVS through the hole. Put a lot of silicone paste on the edges where the PVC and the case meet...on the inside and outside of the case.

- Now let the silicone paste dry for a few hours...then, you have to test the housing again for watertightness!

Step 5: Make a plateau for the camera

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My underwater camera case is round, maybe yours is too. To make sure the camera will stay steady when it's under water, You have to make a little plateau for the camera.

- Find a thin piece of wood. Measure your case and use a saw to make the wooden plateau the right size so that it fits in the case and is big enough to keep the camera steady on it.

- Make sure that the wood has a shape, that leaves some space free between the wood and end the case. For example, the wooden plateau could be thicker at the end than it is on its front. And if it leans on a higher obstacle in the front, you have created free space underneath the wood and between the case. This free space is necessary so that you can put a belt between the wood and the case, which is necessary to keep the camera on its place.

- Use enough ducktape to attach the wooden plateau to the case... But keep some space free in the middle for the belt.

Step 6: Keep the camera on its place

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You don't want the camera bouncing around inside the case, during filming under water...so you need something that keeps the camera on its place.

- Measure the outline of the camera

- Take an old belt and cut the buckle off, but make sure the part that you are going to keep, is a few centimeters longer than the outline you measured.

- Find yourself some velcro...I cut some from a slipper. Attach one side of the velcro to one side of the belt, and attach the other velcro to the opposite side of the belt. With ducktape you can easily tape the parts together and it will be strong enought.

- Put the belt with the velcro underneath the plateau...you can put the camera inside the housing now and attach the two sides of the velcro to each other.
The camera should be standing really steady now and there should not be any possibility for the camera to start moving!

Step 7: Last details

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The underwater camera is almost finished now...here are some last details.

- While filming under water, it is possible that condensation will take place. If that happens, the window will not be as clear as it should be. To make sure condensation will not take place, you have to place a moisture absorbent package inside your camera housing. You can find such a package in many thing, for example when you bought new shoes, in the shoeboxes...or in the box when you bought new electronical stuff like radio's, TV's or something like that.
So just put some ducktape around the moisture absorbent package and place it on one of the sides of the case.

- When you're filming under the water with your case, you can forget what is the exact horizontal position of the camera. That is gonna happen for sure if your housing is round, like mine. So it would be wise to make a mark on the top of the case, that shows when the camera is exactly horizontal.

Step 8: The result!

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Now you should have a perfect underwater camera housing that was pretty easy to make and above all, really cheap to make!

You could now film your friends while they are swimming in a pool, or film in a lot of weird fish an an aquarium.

So here is some footage that I shoot in an aquarium with this underwater housing!!!



Hope you enjoy it!

delizia4 years ago
great instructable!!, I have made several underwater housing units. With this project i'm really sure the housing is waterproof. Tested it underwater for about an hour, no leaking anywhere. And as you can see I also made a small window for the camera display. Instead of a belt I use a piece of wood with a bolt that you can screw in your camera.
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richeypaul14 years ago
When I went snorkeling in the Caribbean, I used a underwater housing camera and the picture turned out great! They were awesome!
myssa6 years ago
hoeveel kan dit kosten (how much would this coast)
chinchymork6 years ago
the only problem is that if the container is air tight that means there is still going to be air inside which will make it hard to drag under water. The camera will want to float to the top.
wscottc606 years ago
If you had a camera with an LCD view finder in the back preferably one of the 2 inch ones you could put a window in the back and be able to see what you were shooting or 'filming'
casey321b7 years ago
wouldnt the air inside make it float??? how do you get it far underwater
gomiboy7 years ago
Thanks for referencing my Instructable - glad it was inspiring! This looks great!

About the finger control and how watertight it is - check out http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-the-12-Snorkelbox--A-small-and-simple/ for what looks like a great way of doing this. I'm planning on this for my 2.0 version, which I'm working on now (Instructable soon).
Patrik7 years ago
Looks snazzy! I would be worried about that glove finger, though. Try slipping that finger over your water faucet and turn on the tap - does it inflate? If so, it will likely do the same when you stick this thing a couple of feet underwater...
Good point - I'd be inclined to use a finger from a fabric-reinforced glove - one of those industrial gauntlet things that is thick rubber with embedded canvas lining or something. Also, I think the housing probably needs some weights inside it - not enough to make it sink on its own, but enough to counteract some of the buoyancy of the enclosed air - otherwise it's going to be hard to actually dive with the thing.
themakeclass (author) 7 years ago
And my answer to what Patrik says...ofcourse I tested the glove finger if it was waterproof..I have done this by using the faucet...but I thought it was not such a good idea to put all my testing results to this Instructable! I made a lot of tests...I tested ducktape for wastertightness but It was not watertight and I also tested the silicone paste, which was waterproof!
themakeclass (author) 7 years ago
It is fully waterproof..the problem was that I did not have the time to test it in deeper water with fish or something yet...but I will do that soon and add the results to this instructable! Indeed the video now shows only a test while it is half under water...I did this because you can see the line now where the water ends...if I'd put the whole thing under water, you would not see anything, you would not see if it really was under water because water is too clear...only if there where fish or plants in the water, but as I said, I'm going to film that stuff soon.
0825357 years ago
From the video there was no way of telling if the whole thing would be water proof. This video made the thing look like it was a just in case you drop it into a lake sort of thing, and not for full under water adventures. good Instructable though