Introduction: Water Housing (unfinished)


The following tutorial is about creating a reflex camera water housing. I started this project about 5 years ago as an alternative to the expensive and unaffordable pricing of the commercial reflex camera water housings. The fabrication has been improved through a trial and error process until reaching this actual fourth version method shown down below. This doesn't mean that its the ultimate model but it that accomplishes its function and is lightweight and safe. Actually, at this moment it's been tested for a while under very challenging conditions (waves and wipeouts) and has been a very reliable partner in my amateur photography "career": See ;)

Material necesari / pressupost:


  • Master
  • Mold
  • First fiberglass layer:
    • 5m fibra de vidre.............................5 x 6,5 €
  • Quick release plate
    • 1 Quick release plate.............................................. 7,94 €
  • Shutter cable
    • 1m of 3 wire cable ...............................................
    • 1 stereo micro jack male ......................................
    • 1 Heat-shrink tubing ......................................... (indicar diametres. MIrar factura)


Sumari steps:

Step 1: 3D Model

Create a 3d model of the water housing.

Basicly you have two options (mabye there are more that i've never seen)

1. Water housing with just a front opening/ seal.

  • Pros: Simplier (less joints, easyer to build.
  • Cons: You have to put a back glass/transparent plastic sheet to be able to se the viewfinder

2. Water housing where you insert the camera from the back. Its my case. (Pros and cons are the oposite)

I have uploaded a file with my design to make it easyer and dont have to start from zero. Sorry but the programe I used at that time was SolidWorks so is not open source...

3. Printing sections

* tip1 be carefull with the shapes. When designing the shape of the housing you have to think about the mould. Avoid angles that impeed the release of the fiber part from the mould. Otherwise you will have to come up with moulds of more than 2 parts to make the shape possible.

*tip2: Make holes in te parts in a sape point to glue them aligned and

Step 2: Master Building

Material Needed:

    • DIN A4 adhesive paper sheets
    • 10 mm thick MDF wood
    • Polyester finishing putty
    • Squagee/ espatula
    • Eraser
    • Water sandpaper (P240, P320, P800, P1200 and P4000)
    • water basin
    • Latex gloves


    1. Create plans of sections of the water housiing part in slices of de desired size. The distance between slices is determined by the thickness of the MDF wood you are using. The thicker they are, the less you will have to cut but you will lose shape.

    2. Imprimir seccions i unir-les en

    3. Masilla de poliester i lijar

    tip1: Lijar amb la goma.

    tip2: Superficies de dm tapar el poro amb goma laca o cera

    Step 3: 2 Parts Mold Building

    Material Needed:

    • PVA mold release agent (Red) (200ml....5euros)
    • Gelcoat (Green) (1L tin)
    • 1 1 inch Brush
    • 1 Bottle of acetone (1L)
    • 1 Glass tupperware (IKEA förtrolig)
    • 1 Roll of paper tape
    • 5m2 Glassfiber Mat 300g/m2
    • 1Kg Polyester resisn + catalyst
    • 10 mm thick MDF wood
    • Latex gloves


    1rst Half

    1.1.Posar plastelina i cartro per fer la linea de particio

    1.2.Gel coat

    1.3. fIBRA i resina poliester

    2nd half mould:

    2.1 ficar desmoldante o solucion ... PVA a la paret de separacio i repetir el proces.

    3.Foradar el motllo i ficar palomitas

    4.Desmontar el motllo

    Step 4: First Fiberglass Layer

    Material needed:

    • PVA mold release agent / Wax release agent (Axson Desmoldante 841)
    • Weigth scale
    • Gloves
    • 1" Brush
    • Basin (cut water bottle)
    • Scissors
    • 3m2 of Glassfiber (125g/m2) (Can be carbon fiber instead)
    • Epoxy resin + hardener
    • 0.5 m2 of Peel-ply
    • Big plastic trash bag
    • Double face tape / Quick Lock Seals (plastic clamps)
    • DIY vacuum pump (LINK TUTORIAL INSTRUCTABLES compresor nevera)

    *Cuatre ultims materials opcionals explicar pq



    Step 5: PU Profiles


    • PU Resin
    • Scissors
    • Scotch tape
    • PVC binding covers 40cts
    • Scale
    • Latex gloves
    • Paper tape
    • Printed paper
    • Dremel


    A. Back port:

    1. Glue a plastic dosier sheet (or whatever other stiff enougth plastic foil) with tape to the inner walls ot the housing body.

    2. Mix Polyol and Isocyanate in wegth rario 2:1. (Use gloves and organic Vapour Gas Particulate Respirator Face Mask)

    B. Lens (front) port:

    Step 6: Helicoil


    • Drill + drill stand
    • M5 Helicoil installation kit (x20 uts) .......... 16,77 euros

    (I bougth them on eBay:

    *Tip: enroscar passat el metacrilat fins el PU. El PMMA es fragil i sagrieta....





    -Plastiliina en angles.Rellenar els forats amb plastilina abans de la segona colada pq n es plenin de resina.

    Step 7: Second Fiberglass Layer

    Material needed:

    • PVA mold release agent / Wax release agent (Axson Desmoldante 841)
    • Weigth scale
    • Gloves
    • 1" Brush
    • Basin (cut water bottle)
    • Scissors3m2 of Glassfiber (125g/m2) (Can be carbon fiber instead)
    • Epoxy resin + hardener
    • 0.5 m2 of Peel-ply
    • Big plastic trash bag
    • Double face tape / Quick Lock Seals (plastic clamps)
    • DIY vacuum pump (LINK TUTORIAL INSTRUCTABLES compresor nevera)


    Same as in the step 3.

    Step 8: Shutter Button Hole

    Material needed:

    • Dremel like rotary tool
    • 1/4" sanding drum


    You have to drill the shutter button hole before the painting to avoid scraching the painting.

    In the photos i forgot this step so yo will notice that I had alredy started the painting step when I drilled the hole.But as I did more layers after, the final result was not bad.

    1. Draw with a pencil the contour of the hole (using de inner diameter of the nut or a 1 cent coin) wherever you want to place the shutter button.

    2. Drill some holes inside the marked area. I used a dremel like drill for that purpouse. And a 3 mm drill bit. Untill getting a big enought diameter to use a 1/4" sanding drum.

    3. Use the sanding drum to expand the hole.Untill the shutter button tightly passes throught the hole.

    4. Cover the hole from the inside with paper tape for the painting step.

    Step 9: Sanding and Painting

    Material needed:

    • Polyester finishing putty
    • Spatula / squeegee
    • Eraser
    • P240, P320, P800, P1200 and P4000 water sandpaper
    • Glass of water
    • Primer coat
    • Enamel paint
    • Turpentine


    1. Polyester putty: Aply polyester finishing putty (previously mixed with the catalyst) on the surface of the body. You should use an squeegee to fullfill the holes created by air bubbles when moulding.

    2. Water sanding: Sand the surface with a wet pice of P240 water sandpaper rolled arround an eraser (so that you keep flat surfaces flat not deforming the part shape or sanding non uniformly).

    *Repeat those two first steps untill getting the desired smooth surface.

    Once reached the desired surface shape change the sandpaper grain to P320 and after to P800.

    3. Primer coat: Apply the primier coat to homogenize the remaining pores or irregularities of the surface before the enamel painting with the final desired color. It can be purchased as spray can or as liquid paint that has to be applyed with a paint gun (mixed with turpentine to get a lower viscosity, similar to milk's viscosity). I recomend doing multiple thin layers (4 or 5) rather than a single thick one. Don't forget to cover the dome port ant the shooter hole with paper tape befor start painting. Use gas mask.

    *Probably once aplyed the first layer of primer coat you will notice some small holes and imperfections that you haden't seen until the moment. Then you will have to go back to the step one to correct them (Don't warry because is going to be a lot faster than the first time you did it). Once the imperfections are corrected with the polyester putty and sanded to P800 continue with the primer coat.

    4. Water sanding: Sand the primer coat to get a smooth surface. Use P800 grain water sandpaper and after switch to P1200 and finally to P4000.

    5. Enamel painting: Apply 4 or 5 thin layers of enamel painting. Use rather spry cans or paint gun to apply the coats. As I explained in the substep 3, when using the paint gun you have to mix the enamel with turpentine. Do this step in a ventilated and dust free place otherwhise you will get small dust particles adhered on the painted surface. Use gas mask.

    Step 10: Shutter Button Installation

    Material needed:

    *Always make sure that you buy a stainless steel button and don't forget the toric joint.

    Step 11: PMMA Front Port

    Its made out of PMMA. One of my future improvement will be adapting an acrylic dome port but for at the moment my budget is not enougth.

    Material needed:

    - 15mm external diameter PMMA thermoformed semi-sphere ....... 12,2 euros ( or ( ... 16,11 euros)

    - 10mm thick PMMA plaque ..... ???? p

    (The interest of this part is to make the part stiffer to dont warp the dome when screwing it to the body against the thoric joint)


    1. Cut a ring of PMMA plaque with the geometry of the document: """""

    You can do it by your own with a keyhole saw or order a laser cut of the """ document DXF.

    2. Sand bouth faces of the parts that has to be glued

    3. Use epoxy resin or ARALDITE to glue the ring with the flat side of the semi-sphere

    4. Drill the 6 M5 holes (I recomend printing the """" document and put-it over the surface with tape to get a precise reference of where to drill the holes)


    * If you order to laser cut the PMMA ring instead of cutting it with the keyhole saw you will get a better finish and the holes position will be even more precise.

    *If you decide drilling the holes with a drill, I recomend spreading the drill with vaseline so that you will get a cleaner result

    * Be carefull when working with PMMA because it's very easy to scrach and ruin the whole dome prot.

    Step 12: PMMA Back Port

    Step 13: Quick Release Bracket

    First one I tryed:

    *S'ha de ficar una base de PMMA de 5mm a sota pq la palanca tingui mobilitat i no toqui.

    Arca swiss plate.... ? (per veure)

    Step 14: Screws

    Matetrial needed:

    - 7 M5x.... hexagonal head/ allen screws

    - 6 M5x.... allen screws

    - 13 M5 washers

    - 1 allen M5 key

    *I recomend buying one or two more units of everything just in case and wear them into a contpartmented plastic box in order to have everything when needed.

    Step 15: Screw Hand-turn Caps (Optional)

    I highly recomend doing PU screw heads to be able to fix the back PMMA plaque faster and reduce considerably the assembling time. You just have to make a PU mould like the one shown in the images and put the hexagonal head screw in it and do the mold casting with PU.

    *Dont forguet puting some release wax or vaseline in the mold walls before the mold casting.

    *You can add some pigment (enamel paint works too) to the PU mix if wou want to have a colored piece.

    *I did a 50/50 mix (.....) but wou can play with the proportions to get a harder but more fragile result or vice versa.


    - x8 M5X20mm inox screws ...... 8x 0,2 euros

    - 2Kg Black polyurethane resin (Urecast kit)...... 28,02 euros ( )

    - Vaseline ... 4,30 euros /Release wax

    Step 16: Shutter Cable (for Canon)


    - x1 stereo micro jack plug (2,5 mm diameter) : Applicable for Canon sutter remote connector. The system might not be very different for other camera brands.

    -x 1m

    Step 17: Finished Housing

    Step 18: Budget


    Step 19: Brief History / Previous Models

    This is not actually a step. Here I just want to document the previous versions and show you the evolution of the process with images of the previous models.

    1st model:Dir: no fucnional,no te suport inferior, va a encaix. no estanca a les juntes (no toriques..) , no vidre intercanviable, mal acabat, no sistema de disparador.

    2nd model:Dir: No sistema de surport. Placa metacrilat delantera (no es veu el visor) -.> solucio amb un filtre

    Oriol Targa's model: No funcional.

    Historia / evolució:

    models anteriors.