Canon SD780 Case From an Altoids Tin




About: Those who know me know that I've always got some project on the go at all times. My interests are varied enough that I can jump from one to the next and not get bored. I seem to learn by doing and the best w...

I'm always looking for new things to do with Altoids tins and the other day I upgraded my point & shoot camera to the new Canon SD780. My first thought was "man is this thing tiny", then a lightbulb went off an my second though was "I bet this will fit in an Altoids tin". Unfortunately its just too big to fit into an unmodified tin but with a teeny bit of dremelling it fits nicely.

Aside from just being cool this tin will allow you to carry your pocket camera around in your pocket without having to worry too much about keys or loose change damaging it. I don't know how many friends I have that broke the LCD screens on their pocket cams from just tossing them in their pockets.

Materials & Tools:
50g Altoids Tin (flavour is up to you)
Foam or soft thin fabrick
Doublesided Tape
Dremel type cutting tool
Needle Nose Pliers
File to remove sharp edges

Step 1: Cleaning the Tin

Eat all the mints or dump them into a ziplock bag for consumption later, it never hurts to have a bag of mints in your car or desk at work.

Mint dust while tasty isn't the best thing for camera lenses etc. Run the tin under a tap and then dry thoroughly with paper towel. If you have a can of compressed air it wouldn't hurt to give it a quick blast just to make sure its all gone.

Step 2: Test Fit to See What Material to Remove

There is no sense in working harder than you have to, you only want to remove the material needed and nothing more.

Place one end of the camera into the tin and on the other side mark the area that is interfering. Now is also a good time to line up where the camera strap is so you can cut a slit for it as well.

Step 3: Get Cutting

Cut two slits on either side of where you want to remove the material. Then cut along the side of the can between the two slits. You don't necessarily have to go all the way through, you can use the pliers to bend the material back and forth and break it once it is scored. Repeat for remaining portions you need to remove.

Step 4: Cleaning Up the Edges

Use your file to clean up any sharp edges left over from the cutting. Keep the file perpendicular to the edge of the metal to ensure that you're not actually sharpening it instead of taking the edge off.

Make sure when you are finished to clean out any loose metal filings or debris left over from the filing. You don't want to get any of this in your camera, especially the lens.

Step 5: Check the Fit

Hopefully if you marked the material right your camera should fit into the tin now, if it doesn't just mark the parts that are still interfering and remove them.

Step 6: A Bit of Padding

As is the tin is a pretty tight fit but there is a little bit of room for the camera to jostle around. To make sure the camera is well protected we'll add a little material to the inside of the tin. There are multiple options here, thin foam or soft cloth would be good choices. Craft foam would probably be ideal but that's not the type of stuff I usually have lying around (I don't even know if they sell it where I'm from).

I chose some thin white foam packaging from a recent electronics purchase. Simply use some double sided tape and secure it down. Depending on the thickness of material your using you might be able to have two pieces of material, one in the lid and one inside the can.

Voila, you should have a spiffy way to protect your little pocket camera! If you want to you can take it a step further and paint the tin, etch it , or copper plate it for that steam punk look.



    • Gardening Contest

      Gardening Contest
    • Fandom Contest

      Fandom Contest
    • Colors of the Rainbow Contest

      Colors of the Rainbow Contest

    18 Discussions


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I see some people criticizing this idea as it's simple, but really, that's the beauty of it! Thanks for the great idea, I was going to spend $20 on a case until this page came up on google with "SD780 case". Cheers again, and great job!!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I had to make one for my sd780, I used black vinyl adhesive shelf liner for the inside. I made 1 mod, I took the tripod assembly from a standpouch (ebay $8), cut a hole in the bottom of the tin and installed the assembly (attaches with 6 or 8 screws to a plate on the inside). Thanks for the idea.

    A good name

    9 years ago on Introduction

    Another over complicated instructable that could have been summed up in either the introduction or step one (IE "I put a camera into an altoids tin")

    7 replies

    Wow well I'm really sorry to have wasted your time here, gosh I'm beside myself. The point of the instructable was not so much the process but the fact that it could be done IF you alter the tin in the right way. Next time if you don't have something constructive to add just keep it to yourself. By the other comments people appear to have appreciated the instructable, I know it's not rocket science but give me a break.

    I don't want to make you feel bad, but almost all I've seen in the pocket sized contest has been things entirely just shoved into Altoids tins, and it's getting more invasive than Knex (Yes, worse than Knex).


    Ha the project or the "this is a retardedly simple project" comment? I know it barely warrants and instructable, I had taken the pictures to show a friend with the same camera and just decided to whip up the instructable to show people that it could be done. I've always liked the Canon SD series cameras, then after seeing an Pentax Optio ad that showed it was so small it could fit in a mint tin I just kept trying with each new camera. It party proofs the camera and is always a conversation started when I break it out. Simple. Fun. Effective. Incase anyone is worried it's a threat in the pocket sized contest don't be, its ranked 121 right now ;) My other instructable though I did put a lot of time into and its ranked 11, so feel free to take a look and if you like it vote for it. Thanks,


    I was actually talking about when he said 'but almost all I've seen in the pocket sized contest has been things entirely just shoved into Altoids tins' Altoids is a handy thing. Plus, I think this i'ble was great. I searched the camera right after seeing this, then realized it was way out of my price range. ;) Good job on the i'ble,anyway.

    I didn't expect to win the contest with this ;) I do like Altoids tins though I admit, they're just so handy. I do have hopes however for my Altoids Travel Games submission, which I am actually proud of because once I thought of it I searched the net and couldn't find anyone else who had done anything like it really. If I do manage to win for that well say what you will but I did put a lot of time and though into it and documented the process decently. The internet is an open market, if you're losing out to Altoids projects then come up with something better (take this as encouragement not a snide remark). I apologize if my remark was a little harsh (though I still believe warranted), I've slept 8hrs in 4 days, spent 6hrs on the highway, and 5hrs in +35­° heat shooting a wedding, I'm nursing a mean hangover and the first thing I see when I get home and check my email was your comment ;) Oh and as I finished writing this I just checked your stuff out and realized you're 13 LOL, I'll cut you a break because you're a fellow Canuck. Just try to be a little more tactful when adding comments to people's stuff, you'll find as you get older it makes life way easier to be generally nice to people as opposed to making enemies. Anywho cheers


    9 years ago on Introduction

    How about adding a felt lining so the box don't scratch the hell out of that purtty camera?


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Object + Altoids tin = Awesomeness !

    This wouldn't provide much protection other than scratch protection would it ?

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    There is a bit of a gap to add padding, I think it does reduce the risk of an LCD screen getting damaged due to blunt force. Also with it encased there is less risk of it accidentally being turned on inside the pocket leading to damaged lens gearing. Its a dirt simple project, I was surprised it got featured ;) I just thought I'd post it so people new they could get this camera to fit, I didn't think it really needed much for instructions but I was bored so I thought I might as well.