soo i didnt really hear much from anyone which made my proggress probably a little slower and a little more trial and error, but i figure that not many people have taken the plunge to try and build their own. anyway its all finished for the most part except for the command dials which i am getting to and i am going to sand out the imperfections in the fiberglass and then paint it. that being said i now have a functional water housing that i was all into for around the 150 dollar mark which includes the electronic shutter release for the pistol grip which was like 60 bucks of that 150.
anyway, so here is a basic walkthrough of what i did. with pics and then a few of the first shots underwater. the housing is for a Nikon D200.
i started off by creating a mold for my fiberglass. i used molding clay and took basic dimensions for my camera and placed spots with extra room for where i would need it like for the aperture command dial that isn't installed yet but is coming and the shutter release that plugs in the front right of the camera.
I had my first go at fiberglassing with this project. i used epoxy resin rather than polyester. its a stronger product. the first coat was very holy, and i dont mean religous. but i figured out a few better techniques and everything got a little better. note that if you ever do it, that once the resin begins to harden just stop trying to apply it. the stuff just makes it goopy and causes imperfections. i found that the matt fiberglass was stronger than the cloth but the cloth was easier to use around tight corners and such. relief cuts in the cloth help a lot too.
for the pistol grip i used a sink drain attachment. it had two peices with flanges on both and threads. i cut out the bottom of the housing and threaded the two peices together and siliconed it for the seal. then inside the pistol grip i had a cable shutter release that was held in place with pressure from surrounding foam. you will notice that there is a brass rod sticking out. well for a seal the best thign i could find was a seal for a toggle switch but beacause the buttom of the shutter release was so far inside the grip i had to epoxy on the rodd that would extend into the toggle switch sealer. it works great now.
this is the pistol grip with the button seal on and the plexiglass that is epoxied onto the bottom. you can also see the bottom of the port here. i took a pvc cap and cut out the inside of it so that it had a hole through it with outside treads. then i use other threaded pvc components to create the lens ports. i use plexiglass for the glass on the front.
this is the back of the housing. i used an O-ring to seal off the back. the flanges are plexiglass that i epoxied onto the fiberglass. next time around i will only use plexiglass for the outside piece because of how much it flexes. i will just build the fiberglass into a flange that can be drilled for the nuts and routed for the O-ring groove. for the groove on this on what i did was use plexiglass that is slightily thinner than the o-ring and then i used epoxy and glued it to the main flange but with the groove set for the 0-ring. i had to use two pieces of 1/4 plexiglass because the 1/4 inch by itself had a too large of a flex property to it and so the seal would have uneven pressure distribution.
this is a shot of my dad under the water. this was after the sun went down and so my iso was high and the shutter speed a little to long, and dof a little to shallow to get sharp images. plus i have never really done it before and was just firing away under the surface. but the good news is that my camera survive just fine and i have a pretty solid housing for pretty damn cheap.
this is me, i am too close for the focus apperently.