Old Camera Houses a Webcam




About: I enjoy taking a pile of junk and making something unusual out of it. I like wheeled vehicles, and currently own two motorcycles, two electric bikes that I've built, and an electric scooter pushed by a soc...

The room where I keep my desktop computer tends to collect a lot of vintage stuff, so one day I decided it was time to give my webcam more of a vintage look.  To accomplish this, I decided to mount it inside a old camera housing.  It turned out to be a relatively easy project.

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Step 1: Things Needed

The parts list is relatively simple:

 - a web camera
- an old camera large enough to accommodate the webcam
- hot glue
- wood scraps to use as shims

Tools used:

 - rotary tool with grinding and sanding bits
- screwdriver
- hot glue gun
- 7/32 drill bit and drill
- 1/4 x 20tpi tap and tap wrench

Step 2: Remove Lens Assembly

The first step is to remove the lens assembly.  On the particular camera that I used this involved removing four screws.  After removing the screws, the front plate was removed to gain access to the camera lens.  The lens simply lifted out.  This particular camera housing also had a separate lens for the viewfinder.  Because of its location, I removed it.  The webcam I used had a built-in microphone, and this viewfinder lens location was in perfect alignment with where the webcam's microphone would be.

Step 3: Remove Internal Camera Parts

The next step is to remove all the internal parts of the camera.  The large plastic thing that the film wrapped around happened to be attached to this camera with two screws (2nd photo below).  After removing these two screws and discarding the large plastic piece, I now had access to the shutter mechanism.  I didn't take a photo of this mechanism, but it was held on by one screw.  I removed the screw and discarded the shutter.  This left me with a camera housing that was essentially bare, but in order to fit my webcam inside I had to use the rotary tool to remove some of the molded plastic in side the front of the housing (3rd photo).  This was sort of a "trial & error" process.  I would grind a little, test fit the webcam, then grind a little more until I got a good fit.

During this process I also enlarged the hole at the front of the camera where the lens was removed.  To fit my particular webcam, I had to enlarge the hole to a 1 1/8" diameter.  It wasn't necessary to get this hole perfectly round, since the metal plate on the front of the camera would cover it, and the original hole in the metal plate was already the perfect size for the webcam.

Step 4: Additional Modifications

The rear of the camera housing had a small red lens for reading the film count.  I punched out this lens and enlarged the hole to allow the webcam's usb cable to pass through (first three photos).

Next, I drilled a 7/32 inch hole in the bottom of the camera and tapped it with a 1/4 20 tpi tap for mounting on a desktop tripod (photo 4).

The final mod to the housing was to drill a 1/4 inch hole through the housing inside where I removed the viewfinder lens.  This would allow the webcam's microphone to pick up outside sounds (photo 5).

Step 5: Mounting the Webcam

I then mounted the webcam in the housing using wood shims and hot glue.  You want to be careful with this part to insure the web camera's lens is perfectly aligned before hot gluing.  Once the glue has cured, you are ready to reassemble the camera housing.

Step 6: Finished!

This is the finished product.  The original webcam sort of looked out of place in this room, but the new one fits right in!  This is a relatively easy project if you're handy with a rotary tool.  All-in-all I think I finished this in roughly 2-3 hours.

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    13 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I almost cringed at the idea of gutting out such a classic, but the good side is that the camera has been given a new life and has been entered into the club of conversation pieces.

    Winged Fist

    7 years ago on Introduction

    This is really well done.. Great concept, execution and Instructable! And a very appropriate use of an old camera housing. One suggestion: You might want to consider doing something with the cable, along the lines of my new Instructable, "Steampunk USB Cable."


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Hmm. I have an old bakelite Brownie in storage (until we finish moving). I plan to run a roll or two through it to see how well it works as-is, but maybe later a webcam would be a real nice mod for it.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the comment! You know, I've thought about doing something with the printer, but haven't yet decided on what to do! I bulit my computer inside a vintage looking suitcase, put the speakers in a vintage looking speaker cabinet, and put the webcam inside an old camera --- yet the printer still looks all shiny & modern. Gotta think of something.....