Introduction: Underwater Camcorder Mod! With Video!

I always wanted an underwater camcorder housing but they are pretty expensive. Anywhere from $500 on up! I decided to make my own and share it with you. Watch the video that follows with the results!

Step 1: Here Is What You Need...

Picture of Here Is What You Need...

1. Genuine U.S. Army 50 Cal. Ammo Box 30cm X 14 Cm X 19 Cm
2. Fast Cure 5200 Marine Sealant
3. Industrial Strength Velcro
4. 12" X 12" Lexan or Plexiglass
5. Dremel with cutting blades

Step 2: Preperation...

Picture of Preperation...

Place the camcorder in the ammo box and mark the area around the lens. Match that are on the outside and draw out a square large enough to cover the lens area. Mine was 3" X 3" X 3".

Step 3: Build It!

Picture of Build It!

1. Using the Dremel, carefully cut out the hole. Place the camcorder back inside to double check and make sure the lens "sees" through the hole. Clean the area around the hole.

2. Cut a piece of plexiglass about 1/2" larger than the hole. Leave the protective plastic on for right now.

3. Make a bead of Marine Sealant around the hole and attach the plexiglass. I used a couple of lead weighted bean bags to keep the plexiglass in place until it completely cured. Fast Cure takes about 24 hours.

4. After attaching velcro to the camcorder base and your new "underwater housing", put the camcorder in and add the bean bags or other weight as ballasts to keep it in the water.

Step 4: Take It Underwater!

Picture of Take It Underwater!
Close up the ammo box and put it underwater for a minute. Remove it and make sure there are no leaks. Now install your camcorder and some weight for ballasts to keep in somewhat under water. The air inside will want to make it float. I used the leaded bean bags.

Now here is the for yourself!!


The bomb108638825 (author)2014-09-10

And kipkay I've watched ALL your YouTube vids. There awesome. Oh yeah including the ones on weekend projects

The bomb108638825 (author)2014-09-10

For a minute I thought it said underwear mod I was like WTF!

bmx458 (author)2010-01-24

How could you use the controls without opening it?

aar0nc0le (author)bmx4582011-01-18

Perhaps you could cut a hole into the side with the controls and place over it a piece of see-through flexible plastic. Sort of like the plastic covering old telephone controls. You might have to modify it so the plastic is held directly over the controls though.

howardholton (author)2009-05-19

This would be great for filming my kid in the pool. I have a few suggestions/questions: 1. Would it not be easier to cut away a larger portion (ie most) of the front and use a larger piece of plexi? This would enable you to upgrade the camera at any point. 2. Have you come up with a rig for ballast? I would think that you could use a 1x4 strapped to the bottom. Mount some pins right next to the box, same size as the hole in dumbbell weights. 3. You could install handles out to the ends that would give you better control under water. 4. Combining the two use handles that come through the board by an additional 1.5 - 2", Drill horizontal holes in it and use clips to hold the dumbbell weights in. I love the idea of using an ammo can. They are cheap and easy to find. I will build one, but try to use some of my ideas above. I will let you know how it goes.

Bridel568 (author)2009-03-02

use some plexi on the inside too for an even better seal

daniel2008 (author)2008-12-27

wouldn't it be a good idea to mention that the protective plastic has to be taken off the side your going to stick using the Marine Sealant. otherwise someone migth stick it withought realizing they have to take it off, and when they try it in their pool they'll make a very unfortunate discovery...
otherwise it's great.
would you consider submitting it to the underwater ROV group?...could be a nice way to keep your cam dry while exploring the deapths :P

micromuffin (author)2008-12-03

cool vid...

cloverbee (author)2008-10-08

Can you use clear polyester instead of plexiglass? Was there any fogging?

jessyratfink (author)2007-09-08

Haha, your voice always cracks me up. Your videos remind me of those really wacky infomercials they show late at night. I keep waiting for you to say something like, "And you can get five for the price of one! What a deeeeeaaaaallll!!!" This is a really good idea, though!

Kipkay (author)jessyratfink2007-09-08

Well I'm glad you got a chuckle. I don't mean it to sound that way but I do have a bunch of years of radio broadcasting background. Glad you like the Instructable!

INSTRUCTUBAL (author)Kipkay2008-03-30

where can you get a 50 cal box? hell, where can you get a 50 cal bullet? i want one, it looks so cool!

Derin (author)INSTRUCTUBAL2008-06-23

get shot by one,you will then understand how uncool they are

INSTRUCTUBAL (author)Derin2008-06-23

uh yeah... as you see my pic IS a 50 cal sniper... so i think i know how big one of those suckers are. i just want to make like a necklace out of one, or make a little USB case :D

Derin (author)INSTRUCTUBAL2008-06-24

my friends who are partly soldier partly cop did that,but it wasnt a necklace,it was a religitive(spelling?)accesory

Partly soldier partly cop? What the hell? You mean an MP (Military Police)? And are you trying to say "religious?"

yes to both of your questions

Oh lol OK.

lolz not exactly my subject,*runs away to room and disassembles DVD burner*

Derin (author)INSTRUCTUBAL2008-06-24

oh ok sorry :-}

INSTRUCTUBAL (author)Derin2008-06-24


i have a bunch of 50 bullets and shells(?) heck even a few 60 cal, i have some neighbors that legaly own and shoot those guns. i dunno how they own them legaly in Cali though. go to the local gun range and ask for a spent 50 cal bullet and tell them that your son is sick and thats his only wish or somthing. :D

one problem.. im 13

drsteevo (author)2008-07-07

This is a great idea. I made mine in time for the big 4th of July party and it was quite a hit with everyone. I used 1/4" Lexan instead of Plexiglass. My kids and their friends were fighting to get on the video. I am also considering adding a Lexan panel to the side so I can see my display. But that might also interfere with the ballast. I did make the mistake of leaving it outside on a hot day over the weekend, so I had to replace the Lexan. Oh, and I think I went through 5 or 6 cutting disks with my dremel. It is a LOT easier than the PVC pipe camera housings. I have had mine down to 9 feet without any problems. I just wanted to thank KipKay for a fantastic idea! It was the first instructable I ever made, Thanks!

Spectrace (author)2008-07-02

Kipkay, this was featured in an article on
heres the link

TheDugger (author)2008-06-23

I love the solution. My camera is small enough to use a 30 cal ammo box. I also made sure I used O-ring grease on the lid gasket. One other point, you get much better results in filming if you use a wide angle lens. Optics change underwater, i.e. wide angle becomes normal, normal becomes telephoto. You can find screw on wide angle lenses on ebay that will screw right on to your lens threads like a filter. I am now working on building a hydrophone (instructions elsewhere on this site). I plan to drill and small hole in the can and feed the microphone through it. This is the perfect solution for snorkling and in the pool! If you want to take your camera diving, do yourself a favor and buy a good housing.

jcl236 (author)2008-05-13

good instructable but for those of us without a "Genuine U.S. Army 50 Cal. Ammo Box" I found using a larger foodsaver canisters works quite well, with the right size straw you can suck the air out and it works pretty good. Although I will say with an ammo box you can build a better system than the foodsaver, plastic can be hard to glue to make water tight.

hydrnium.h2 (author)2008-01-15

What if you got a huge PVC pipe you could put your camera in, some gaskets, an acrylic pane and some end caps?

Hawaii00000 (author)2007-12-08

Kipkay why have you gotta be so good a these things.

wierd idiot (author)2007-11-12

hay kipkay what radio did you work at?

Kipkay (author)wierd idiot2007-11-12

Radio stations in Florida.

wierd idiot (author)Kipkay2007-11-12

that sounds cool.

jimtran93 (author)2007-09-03

Just to let you know............................. "3MTM Marine Adhesive/Sealant Fast Cure 5200 is not recommended for the installation of glass, polycarbonate or acrylic windows that are not also mechanically fastened with a system designed by the manufacturer. Inconsistent adhesion of these unprimed substrates, specific design of the window and movement due to thermal expansion and flexing, may cause application failure." - 3M Data Sheet

nerys (author)2007-08-10

I would definitely drill the plexi and bolt it. as for viewing thats easy :-) every lcd camcorder I have ever touch allows you to FLIP the lcd 180 and fold it back shut LCD facing OUT. Well put a second plexi window where this LCD panel is and now you can see what the camcorder see's :-) while not good for taking shots it at least lets you know the camera is running and recording so your not wasting your time :-)

jahsavi (author)2007-07-28

Well done, great video!

jyjohnson (author)2007-07-16

Works Great! I made this (total cost ~ $25). Took mine to the beach last week. Local Army Surplus store (near Atlanta, GA) had a pile of ammo boxes. Thanks!

mento4ever (author)2007-06-25

wow i guess this could be pretty cool i just dont know where to get the stuf im shure if i tell my cousin abuout this he will try it

Chanmachine (author)2007-06-23

hey that's a really nice idea. I liked the video to.

lennyb (author)2007-06-12

i have one of those 50 cal boxes that i use to transport my SLR on kayak or caving expeditions. its a little heavy but it has saved my gear before. the only flaws i can see in your design is the single pane of plexi which ought to be doubled inside and out and bolted for safety{hate to ruin a good camcorder cause of a slip or a leak} the lack of external controls are a minor issue just make sure you have enough tape and battery to last through the whole shoot. very good instructable very brave

Spokehedz (author)lennyb2007-06-22

I'm sure a remote trigger/rec button woulden't be too hard to wire up... Not to mention that most have IR remote controls--and that would be a cinch to put into a plastic baggie or something. IR works underwater, you know.

Kipkay (author)lennyb2007-06-12

Yes I thought about using stainless screws and nuts but that 5200 is some solid stuff. No problems at all. Yea controls would be nice. You can't really see what you are shooting but hey, for $10... Thanks!

lemonie (author)2007-06-12

You didn't waste any time on the video - I like concise. How exactly does the box seal, it it a rubber-insert? And (at a guess) what depth do you think this would be good for? L

pickford78 (author)lemonie2007-06-21

in the video it says the box has a rubber seal around the edge of the lid

Mitten (author)lemonie2007-06-12

Ammo cans are built to be air/water tight i believe.

thatsgreat2345 (author)2007-06-21

Very nice but this army shop that is like a mile from my house just shut down and moved :( but luckily I found it again so I think I'll try this out since I got so old plexi glass laying around somewhere.

chemy999 (author)2007-06-21

great idea!!!!!!! about how much do the materials cost (separately)?

Matt Ockendon (author)2007-06-21

Great idea. But be warned - I took an Ammo case (Albeit British Army) scuba diving to check it out for an umbilical style lamp battery case. It folded up at about 8 meters.

Jeffster (author)2007-06-21

Great instructable....thanks for posting. Any idea how deep it will go?

nickp (author)2007-06-21


Ignore the folks saying "you were going too fast". They're confused.

I think this is one of clearest and most entertaining videos I've seen in awhile. I am so tired of vids that drag everything out just so some wannabee can show off their (lack of) camerawork and editing.

It's obvious you put a lot of work into exactly how you would present each part, and the best (clearest) way to explain things. I *wish* other folks would be this dedicated. I don't know if it's just laziness or too much "Discovery Channel".

Anyway, you should be justifiably proud of a great idea, well executed and exquisitely documented. Bravo!

Bobby_M (author)2007-06-21

Nice cheap mod. I'm the guy that built the one down in the related links with the PVC and Acrylic. Of course, I've had mine down to 100 feet already but it also wasn't as easy or cheap to make as the ammo box version. I'd hesitate to take it past 25 feet due to the square sides, but give it a shot EMPTY of course. Nice work.

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Bio: Tinkerer, hackster and prankster. Hit me up on Facebook: Thanks for checking out my Instructables!
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