GoPro Session 5 Carbon Fiber Case Fix

About: Engineer by day, mad scientist by night.

My Gopro Case broke..... Specifically my GoPro Session 5 Case after only about a year of having it.

This happened one day when I was at my friends pool just doing test video and I dropped the case. Pretty big bummer, but glad it happened in a place where I could recover my camera.

Turns out, GoPro sells cameras for $300 then puts them in the smallest amount of plastic they can manage to save money. The $30 (cost) case breaks and you lose a $300 camera.... that would not be a good day.

So what are we gonna do cry over spilled GoPro? No of course not, we are going to build it stronger and better.

It's kinda like the The Six Million Dollar Man, We can rebuild [it]; we have the technology ..... but for a go pro case... .... and it's not going to cost 6 million dollars..... I digress, lets get stared.

(Small note: I embed all my pictures, but they won't save to the instructable for some reason reason. All inline references refer to pictures at the begging of the step. Happy Instructabling.... is that a real word?)

Step 1: Design a New Case (or Just Use My Design )

I am releasing my design both here on this indestructible and on my thingiverse account for anyone to build. (putting in both places in case of issue downloading here). I am putting my design file as well as the 3D print file. So you can either work off my design or just print your own!

First step to making a new case, is use a caliper to create as detailed and accurate 2D rendering of your Camera as possible. Here is my scanned dimensional breakdown of my camera projected in 2D (sorry folks I'm an engineer not an artist)

Stop judging me, I said I wasn't an artist...

There are many free 3D design softwares available online (I Typically use AutoCAD Design3D free application Here or TinkerCAD Available Here)

I'll use a Software to take my 2D map into a 3D object, TADA we have recreated a real object in a virtual world... man I love the time we live in!

Again, if you want to save some time and you have a Session 5, you can just download all my stuff on thingiverse Link to Download

If you design your own version or modify mine, I'd love to see it in the comments.

Step 2: Time to 3D Print

Let me introduce you to a thing of engineering beauty. This is the MarkForged, Mark Two 3D printer capable of printing in "Onyx" and reinforcing those prints with continuous carbon fiber..... Ahhhh carbon Fiber.... more on that later.

I set up a camera to take a time lapse photo of the print, using of course the GoPro Session 5 with an external battery pack since the print is schedule to take 15 hours. There is something so very meta about using the Go Pro to film it's case being built.

For fit up, I often like to make multiple prints so I can test fit various parts of the process:

First Test, making sure I have a fit overall, you can see a small band I printed so I didn't waste of time on something that didn't fit. perfect fit, so moving along!

Next I tried a few version with and without rounded corners. It's one thing to design it and look at it on a monitor, it's another to print a version and see how you like it. Here are a few version with the old case for comparison

In the next section, i'll show how my carbon fiber case design compares to traditional ABS 3D printing and actual metal parts.

Step 3: What Is Carbon Fiber Anyways

Well, carbon fiber is fundamentally just carbon arranged in a special way. The Element Carbon which comes from the Latin carbo for "coal" is not only the basis of human life, but we find it in applications all over the place in various allotrops; diamonds, pencil "lead", lubrication for door locks etc.

One essential element when arranged in particular patterns can create something as strong as a diamond, or a soft as a graphite. The main difference is usually how those Carbon atoms are arranged. The Microstructure of Carbon Fiber is very similar to the soft power of graphite, but when sandwiched and layered in a matrix layout carbon fiber gains it's unique property. You can see some strength comparisons here:

You can see from this that not only is Cabron Fiber far superior to ABS (Probably what the original case was made out of) but basically the same strength or stronger than aluminum. For those that don't know how to read this graph, you can think of this graph as showing a materials resistance to deformation i.e. breaking. Again breaking is bad, cameras get lost with broken cases.

There are two images here: on the top is just a typical 3D printed model and on the bottom (noted in blue) is the location of the carbon fiber reinforcement. You can see, the carbon can't go everywhere (needs a minimum wall thickness) but it's so pervasive throughout the model it's practically the same in terms of strength as a full carbon fiber build.

Without much Carbon Fiber

Max Carbon Fiber Fill

You can also see that just printing in plastic would be about $11, almost compeltely filling it with Carbon Fiber increased the cost to about $36. Why use that much carbon fiber? Uhhh.... because it's Carbon Fiber and that's amazing! And why not! Taking a closer look at where I'm reinforcing with carbon fiber, I have modified my view to mostly only show the carbon fiber (other layers turned off).

Step 4: Finished, Now Go Make Memories

We have come to the end of another intrsuctuable this time to fix a pretty major problem that should save a lot of people a lost camera.

Now, do like I did and use your new GoPro case go shred a Mountain. This video was 2 - 3 feet of blower Pow in Utah, I'm glad my camera didn't case didn't break and lose it in the side country, or It would have been gone forever!

Happy making and Happy Filming!

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    2 Discussions

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    seamster

    2 months ago

    Great fix! Nice video too, makes me antsy for the snow to start flying! : D

    1 reply
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    The Sam Dseamster

    Reply 2 months ago

    Northern Rockies getting their first snow now! Thanks for reading and the comment!