Introduction: Pointless (and Ugly) Waterproof Flashlight Housing.

Picture of Pointless (and Ugly) Waterproof Flashlight Housing.
Waterproof flashlights exist. Quite a few different brands are available. There really is no reason for this project, except that I wanted to build it.
This thing turned out to be rather hideous with a capital UGLY.

Now that I have pointed out that this project is completely unnecessary, let's get started! :D

Materials:
  • A flashlight. For this project, I used a small LED light with the button on the end.
  • ABS, PVC, or any kind of pipe large enough to put the flashlight in. 
  • 2 Caps for said pipe.*
  • Sealant/cement/glue
  • a piece of flexible, durable, waterproof material. (Rubber, neoprene, etc.)**
  • Clear Plexiglass, acrylic, plastic, Plaskolite, ETC.
  • You may need a spacer of some sort to keep the Light in place. I used wood from an old cedar fence board. Styrofoam or something along those lines would be preferable but, I don't have any, hence the wood. 
*If you have a light with the switch on the end, both of the caps should be of a material that you can easily cut. If the switch is on the body, only one cap needs to be cut. (but one should still be removable since the light may need to come out occasionally for  new batteries.) 

** I used some pieces of a rubber glove left over from a previous project. (tried a mouse pad at first. I DO NOT RECOMMEND) 

TOOLS!
My tool box is no longer as sad as it was with my previous projects.

BE CAREFUL! DO NOT INJURE YOURSELF. PROTECT YOUR HEARING, VISION, AND BODY PARTS THAT YOU MIGHT WANT TO USE AGAIN SOME DAY!
There. I've said it. I feel better.

What I had available.
  • Box/ razor knife.
  • small pair of side snips used for crafts/beading.
  • scissors
  • Saw to cut the pipe. I used an ancient and evil Radial arm saw that I had to sort of dig out. (It's evil because I dropped part of it on my finger years ago. I lost the nail off of that finger as a result. My fault for dropping it you say? How much is the saw paying you?)
  • 6" Bench grinder.
  • I needed a drill and a 2" hole saw bit for my project. Was for the spacers.
  • Misc. bits of sand paper
Off we go!


 

Step 1: Through the Lens. (is an Eyeball and Other Gooey Stuff)

Picture of Through the Lens. (is an Eyeball and Other Gooey Stuff)

I made this lens much in the same way as the previous one. 
To get the size, I first cut out the center concave part of one of the caps. I ended up doing this to both caps, and this is where the box cutter and side snips came in handy. 

Once the cap was rendered temporarily useless, I then was able to stick a marker in through the hole and trace the inner diameter of the cap onto the lens material. I'm just going to cal it "Lens Material" from now on because I don't know what it's actually called.

Anyway, Traced the inner diameter onto the Lens Material. I then used a straight edge kid to hold the stuff in place. He was the only one not drunk on a Saturday afternoon and his hands were steadier anyway...
So, I used a straight edge to help score the Lens Material in a straight line, as close to the edges of the circle as I was comfortable with. This is another place the box knife was useful. Once scored, I snapped it off, leaving me a small square.

Using my old bench grinder, I removed the corners and excess Material around my traced circle. Exercise caution when using ANY power tool. Bench grinders will take you finger from your, mangle it, and throw it across the shop. Or embed it in your torso. Also use Safety glasses or something. Using a bench grinder in this unorthodox manner produces little flying bits of hot, near-liquid  Lens Material.

I bet you could use a fine-toothed hole saw bit and a drill for this. If there is such a thing as a fine-toothed hole saw bit.    





Step 2: It's Not the Length...ok Yes It Is.

Picture of It's Not the Length...ok Yes It Is.

If you are using an end-button type flashlight, the main body needs to be as close to the exact length of the light as you can get it. Including the button.

I...um..just kinda eyeballed it and got  lucky. I used some ABS pipe that was kicking around the garage from who-knows-what. I really wanted the ends to be straight, So I unearthed the old Radial Arm Saw in the back of the garage.

If you are using a body button light.... a hole would need to be cut in the body of the housing, y'know, where the button on the light is. A flexible material would need to be sealed over the hole. (kind of obvious). You would also need to keep the light from rotating inside the housing so that the button does not run away.

If you are using the type of light where you twist the front to turn it on and off, you're on your own. :)

Step 3: It Puts the Bracelet on Its Wrist...and Is Pretty.

Picture of It Puts the Bracelet on Its Wrist...and Is Pretty.

Now it is time to put the lens into the cap. First, do a dry fit to make sure it is the right size and sits where you want it to. 

When I was satisfied with the fit, I applied sealant to both sides of the lens and carefully inserted it into the cap.

I then applied a small bead of sealant to the outer seam where lens and cap met, and smeared/smoothed that into the seam.

Then smeared the outer part of the pipe with a bit of sealant, slid the cap on, and sealed that, too.

Step 4: Spacing Out.

Picture of Spacing Out.

The pipe I had was a bit too big for the light, so it was banging around in the housing. I decided to make something to keep it more or less in place. 

Ideally, the light would be wrapped in foam rubber, or a thin cylinder of Styrofoam could be fashioned. I had neither, but I did have some wood. 
I also discovered I can make some decent napkin rings. (gift idea!)

I cut 3 little squares out of a scrap piece of cedar fence board I had. I traced the interior diameter of the pipe onto these squares. I then tried to find the center of the circles. Once I was reasonably certain of the center, I drilled a hole using a 2" hole-saw bit. (I used a 2" bit because the flashlight fit inside it with only a tiny bit of a gap all the way around) Using the ancient (and evil) arm saw, I cut the sides of the squares off as close to the edges of the circles as I could. 

To remove the excess wood and shape the spacers, I turned once again to the wrong tool..the bench grinder.



Step 5: The End of the Matter.

Picture of The End of the Matter.

The end cap gave me the most trouble. 
I needed a removable cap with a flexible center so that I could push the button to turn on and off the light while it was in the housing.

I cut the center out of the cap and cut disk shaped piece out of an old mouse pad. I then sealed it in place using the same methods as the lens on the front.

It failed in the first test run. I submerged the empty, sealed up housing and was pushing on the mouse pad to test the flexibility of it. It started sending up bubbles. A bad sign with anything that is supposed to be watertight.

Just out of curiosity, I pushed a bit harder and my thumb ripped through the material. The housing experienced a catastrophic seal breach, filed with water, and sank to the bottom. And there it rested. A failed testament to the genius of mankind, sitting in 6 inches of water in a garage utility sink, somewhere in Anchorage Alaska, with only one slightly bemused human to mourn it.

So I fished the stupid thing out and tried something else.

I still had most of a rubber glove left over from my very first instructable. I cut two pieces out of that, Sealed one on the inside with two layers of sealant, and used superglue and sealant to attach the other to the outside of the cap. They work fine!
It survived the test both with and without the light. EDIT: I forgot to mention that you should probably put the hose clamp on the rear cap, seeing as how it's not glued on in any way.

As with my other projects, I have no idea how deep the silly thing will go before the silicone gives up. If you are going scuba diving, chances are you're spending a lot of money anyway, why not shell out a bit more for a decent waterproof flashlight?


I may mount magnets to this, and a metal plate to the underside of the SHARK-VIEWER 5000 to help light up the deep shallows.


Thanks for reading this, and Keep Building.

May all your projects only blow up or catch fire if they're supposed to!

Comments

dadsaid5x (author)2014-08-10

I loved the "SILENCE OF THE LAMBS" reference.

About This Instructable

2,255views

7favorites

License:

More by ClandestineIntestine:Pointless (and ugly) Waterproof Flashlight housing.The Shark-Viewer 5,000!Underwater Camera Housing on a budget.
Add instructable to: