Instructables
Picture of Under Water Housing for a SLR or DSLR Camera
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This under water housing for a DSLR camera is made from a water tight box from Wal-Mart and plumbing parts from Home Depot.  In total I think the cost to "go deep" (Well 6' or so) was less than $40.00 and the photos are both fun and amazing!

 
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Step 1: Step One: Gather Your Materials and Tools

Materials:
(1) Water tight box from Wal-Mart (Found in the camping dept.)
(1) Automotive push button switch (auto marine)
(2) 5/8” ID hose washers
(1) 16d nail (stainless would be great if you can find it)
(2) 6” lengths of 1/8” x 1” aluminum angle
(2) ¾” lengths of 1/8” x 1” aluminum angle
(1) 6” length of very small floral wire
(1) 5” hose clamp
(1) Chrome or SS drawer pull (as shown) with screws (cut screws to ½” long)
(4) button head cap screws (ss) ¼”-20 x ¾”
(8) washers to fit above screws (ss)
(4) lock nuts
(4) small rubber washers
(2) large rubber washers
(1) 4” female thread / female slip ABS fitting
(1) 4” male thread / female slip ABS fitting
(1) 4” male slip / female thread ABS fitting
(1) piece of ¼” plate glass cut to fit in the bottom of the female thread end of the above 4” male slip / female thread ABS fitting. Plastic or poly carbonate sheeting can also be used but the camera junkies will tell you that the glass is better.
(1) Black Rapid “FasterR-2” or ¼”-20 x 3/8” bolt (for mounting camera body)
(1) 6” length of rubber grip tape
(1) Small spring (the kind that pushes not pulls)
100 % Silicone Sealant
JB Weld
ABS Cement

Tools:
Jig saw
Marking gauge or calipers with depth gauge or combination square
Dozuki or back saw
Sand paper
File
Screw drivers
Allen wrenches
Wrenches
Heavy wire cutters
Drill motor
¼” drill bit
5/8” speed bore bit
Clamps
CRVerdusco3 years ago
I'm interested where you found the waterproof case. I went to my Walmart in hopes of trying this and could not find any waterproof cases.

Great instructable though, I'm hoping to try it soon.
jkcobabe (author)  CRVerdusco3 years ago
I found mine in the sporting goods section of our local Wal-Mart. I included a photo of the lable on the box in the materials step. You might try to track one down by on the net by brand name. Good luck and I hope you find one!
3dmuses3 years ago
Water seepage worries can be minimized by placing strips cut from color changing pantie liners in the box:
1) They warn visually of the presence of moisture when they change color, and
2) they absorb a lot of liquid for the space they take up!

I always used this trick in my more expensive pro housing just to be safe!
jkcobabe (author) 3 years ago
Many thanks, for both compliments!
kooth3 years ago
Awesome job! Nice looking family too!
Jobar0073 years ago
My main concern is water pressure. A lot of diving housings for cameras are made of 3/8 inch (~10mm) plexi or other suitable pressure resistant material. Personally, I would try and find a pre-existing water tight box rated for twice the depth I was intending to go with the camera and modify it from there. I have heard many horror stories of Otter Box brand diving boxes failing at depth. A good depth test would be (if you had a boat) to tie it onto your anchor and lower it to your intended maximum depth.

McMaster carries Glass Discs that you specified if a local glazier isn't an option.

Another good source for a lens is http://www.flashlightlens.com/. Go with borofloat because you can bet 6.53mm thick lens that is 52.1mm in diameter (~1/4 inch thick and ~2 1/16 inch dia.). It is much narrower in diameter then your lens but it is known to resist 100m depth diving. It would work great with a point and shoot mod on this Instructable.

This is a good idea and I applaud you for innovating!
sk8ter20art3 years ago
I would like to add a disclaimer to this instructable. I have that same waterproof case for keeping things dry. I scuba dive and most items that claim they are waterproof are only good to a max depth of 15ft, unless otherwise stated. I have a waterproof housing for my canon SD750 and its rated up to 120 ft, it is much more firm and rigid than this walmart case. This case may be ok for in the pool or in the rain/snow but there is a reason the DSLR underwater cases are $1000. you can get underwater housings for some Point and shoot models for around 200 bucks.
jkcobabe (author) 3 years ago
Very cool idea and a great suggestion. Have you cut scanner plate before? My only fear would be that it might be tempered. Anyone know?
RayHaddad3 years ago
Optical glass is free if you use a scanner plate. Just remove it and take it down to be cut if you don't have a glass circle cutter.
grenadier3 years ago
I like it, but there's no option to change aperture etc.
jkcobabe (author)  grenadier3 years ago
True, and like I mentioned in step 11 if you open the box up to make adjustment after being under water moisture seeps in around the seal. I shot in aperture priority and was pretty happy with the results. There is always the option to shoot in full auto but that has its own set of down sides. For a while I was thinking that I could install a "window" with a rubber "pane" (like from a bicycle tire inner tube or a clear vinyl sheet) and through that controll the buttons and multi-selecter on the back of the camera. But wanted to minimize the number of penetrations through the box. Maybe in the next generation housing. . .
jdege3 years ago
Have you seen this:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Camera-Zip-lock/

It used a camera filter.  I'm pretty sure I'd not trust it underwater, but having had a camera ruined by surf splash, I can see a place for it, nonetheless.

I went googling around, looking to see if I could find a UV filter that would work for your i'ble, but the largest I could find was too small, and way too expensive.
jkcobabe (author)  jdege3 years ago
I have seen some non-glare, distortion free glass that is used in picture framing and it is not too spendy. But it is single strength so only 1/8" thick and I was happy to have the extra strength of the 1/4" glass when everyone at the pool wanted to "give it a try" which included jumping into the pool with the camera and a lot of bouncing around. One thing I did not note that I found on line is the suggestion to use a wide angle lens and get as close to your subject as you can. The less water you shoot through the clearer the pictures will be. Thanks for your input jedge!
jdege3 years ago
You aren't clear as to where you got the glass window. Is this ordinary window glass? Or some sort of optical glass?

Generally speaking, window glass has lousy optical qualities, and optical glass - even flat glass - is expensive.
jkcobabe (author)  jdege3 years ago
I had it cut at a local glass shop. It is a small enough piece that the lousy optical qualities don't show up much. Shooting through water tends to be the bigger issue. I think that optical glass might be a good option but it might not fit into the $40.00 budget.
schumi232 years ago
I remember reading, on another underwater casing instructable, something which i found rather smart:
Fill in the empty space with napkins/towels/cloth whatever - it removes the air (making it less buant) and will absorb some water if there happens to be a leak - letting you notice it before the camera is deaded!
schumi232 years ago
I remember reading, on another underwater casing instructable, something which i found rather smart:
Fill in the empty space with napkins/towels/cloth whatever - it removes the air (making it less buant) and will absorb some water if there happens to be a leak - letting you notice it before the camera is deaded!
tomsmac2 years ago
nice....I was looking into buying one from Fuji but it was $300!!!This is a better deal. Thank you so much!
onlyjus2 years ago
Just started collecting the parts to build one for myself! I am attempting to use the smaller box with 3in ABS pipe for use with a nikon d3000. I also got a 3.5in diameter glass disc off of McMaster.com to use as the lens. I'll have to let you know how it goes!!!
oldwolf1283 years ago
Congratulations...Great creation, and very ideal inventions. Really you are a talented designer.
Best regards from Turkey
I love that waterproof box. It fits my camera and all its stock gear quite nicely.
mista.v3 years ago
I was just thinking, what if you put the camera in manual focus (or used an old slr) and added one of these mechanisms so the ends of the nails touched the focus ring? Then you could put little rubber "feet" on the ends and push the buttons repeatedly to move the lens. You could also do this with the aperture ring on the lens.
edavies33 years ago
i as just wondering the dimensions of the box?
thanks
rfowler6433 years ago
I think this was an excellent instructable. I just finished my unit and am waiting for the silicone to dry. Then I will do empty case submersion tests.

I am hoping to use this for snorkeling. For the price, you can't beat it. I used 1/4" Lexan for the lens. I was able to cut and fit it snugly myself without having someone else cut it for me.

I figure I can always upgrade if need be.

Congratulations on your creativeness in a very cool and easy project.
elnino27833 years ago
I wonder how easy/affordable it would be to get a front element from some large old/new telephoto lens that was used strictly for protection. I would think those would have good transmission of light.
calamari3 years ago
Water is Clear...

Nice intructable more notes on your pictures would be Awesome!

May try this myself being a keen surf photographer.
vkgoku20123 years ago
Would it kill you to tag your picture so simple minded people can see which material is which.
btothomas3 years ago
Very cool and inventive! If sk8er20art would have actually read your description...we wouldn't have to be bogged down by his need to throw in a"disclaimer" that's already there and bore us with his need to state the obvious...that this isn't a $1000.00+ underwater case. In fact...your included "disclaimer" noted a 6 foot effective depth...while his almost tripled your conservative estimate. Way to go! This is just great!