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Andrew Jennings
(breaktheshoal) - MLife

Locale: West of the Mississippi
Machining Magnets on 03/12/2012 10:37:49 MDT Print View

I have never been one to spend a lot of time in MYOG, but I've thought of an idea to help weather-proof some of my electronics and was hoping someone on the forum could help steer me in the right direction.

My plan is to pick up some cuben from Zpacks and make an "envelope" for some of my rain-sensitive gear. While some of said gear will never be used when exposed to inclement weather, there are a few items that I do plan on using even when Mother Nature isn't cooperating. To do this I was hoping I could use cuben-covered magnets as "covers" for the various buttons that I will need access to in order to operate the gear properly. I guess what I had in mind was magnet washers, where the hole in the center would allow me access to the buttons on my electronics.

I have been able to find washer-like magnets online, but most seem to be a bit thicker than I would prefer (I would like to keep the depth of the magnet close to the width of a penny or a nickel). Does anyone know if you can machine magnets? My roommate is a firefighter and is quite the handyman himself. Our garage is a veritable workshop, so I was curious if I could buy a magnet and machine it down to spec.

Thanks in advance for the insight!

John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Machining Magnets on 03/12/2012 10:56:08 MDT Print View

I'd be very careful about mixing magnets and electronics. Better search for magnets plus your devices. Most magnets are quite brittle-I don't think they would machine well. There are vinyl pieces with embedded magnet bits but they are weak. Lee Valley tools sels very powerful magnets which can be used to keep cabinet doors closed. They come with washers. They impart magnetism to the washer quite well.

Edited by Meander on 03/12/2012 10:57:27 MDT.

Mark Dijkstra
(Markacd) - F
Magnets on 03/12/2012 11:01:44 MDT Print View

I don't know what type of electronic you're planning on taking with you, but keep in mind that electronics and magnets are often not the best of friends.

Andrew Jennings
(breaktheshoal) - MLife

Locale: West of the Mississippi
Velcro... on 03/12/2012 11:32:01 MDT Print View

John and Mark,

I appreciate the feedback, and, yes, magnets in close proximity to electronics aren’t always the best decision... Hadn't really thought of that, but now that you guys mention it I feel a little embarrassed to have missed the obvious. That said, I wasn't planning on using powerful magnets (just strong enough to snap closed), but considering the value of the electronics in question - DSLR - maybe Velcro would be a better option.

Would sewing be the best way to attach Velcro to cuben, or are there adhesives that would do the job better? This is clearly not my area of expertise, so any thoughts you guys have would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks again!

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: Magnets on 03/12/2012 11:41:03 MDT Print View

Actually magnets aren't nearly as much of a problem for electronics anymore. They were a bigger issue when electronics were mostly analog, using magnetic data storage, and CRT monitors. Many are now shielded properly against weak magnetic fields.

That said, I still would be wary. First you'll want the weakest magnet you can get that will work for your project (which may still be stronger than is safe). Second you'll want to keep it away from any displays to avoid damaging pixels, or worse.

Also, why magnets in the first place? What electronics are you using. Magnets only stick to some metals, and nearly all of those metals are not used in electronic devices for various reasons. You may find that regular washers and rubberbands do just a decent of a job with far less risk involved.

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: Re: Magnets on 03/12/2012 11:47:56 MDT Print View

Are you making a water resistant housing for your DSLR? If so, look at using thin CCF like the evazote sold by prolitegear. It's very light, provides some padding against bumps, CHEAP, and durable enough. Add some hand stitching, duct tape, or barge cement and you'll good to go.

Your shape is going to be much more complicated just using a DSL and depending on features, but the construction basics in this article should help:
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/bubble_wrap_duct_tape_camera_case.html

As for cuben, it can be glued with most contact cements (do a forum search, HYSOL is a favorite but expensive and hard to find. Gorilla glue would probably work for your usage).

Also I think Mark made a camera case and can probably give you some ideas on what works and doesn't.

Edited by upalachango on 03/12/2012 11:48:59 MDT.

John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Re: Magnets-Velcro on 03/12/2012 12:05:46 MDT Print View

I don't like Velcro on camera cases because if you are shooting Street or Animals or in a museum it instantly focuses all eyes on you . Plastic closures like those on hipbelts (but much smaller in size} can be opened silently and also resist accidental opening much better.

Andrew Jennings
(breaktheshoal) - MLife

Locale: West of the Mississippi
More thoughts on magnets on 03/12/2012 14:28:40 MDT Print View

Dustin,

THANK YOU for the insight – that is exactly what this MYOG noob needs.

Without any sort of design software at my disposal it might be a little difficult to explain my concept, but I will give it a try. Before I begin it’s worth noting that I have a two Canon 5D MK IIs, so unfortunately this project is going to require more skill than a typical point-and-shoot (although I appreciate the link to the bubble wrap project). The good news is that my camera is already relatively water-resistant, so a little moisture isn’t going to be critical. However, I am planning on thru-hiking the Colorado Trail this summer and was hoping to do some time lapse photography – even when the daily afternoon rain showers blow through. So in order to continue shooting during inclement weather I will need to be able to manipulate my settings without exposing the camera to excess moisture.

To do this I thought that I would build a casing for the body and lens (separately) made almost entirely from cuben. For the camera body case I have found a lightweight glass screen for the LCD monitor, but that still doesn’t address the dilemma of accessing the buttons and wheels that manipulate the camera’s settings. The solution I envisioned was to take magnets and machine them so that they essentially “outline” the various buttons and wheels in question, seal them between two layers of cuben, and then make “caps” with the casing magnet’s pair sealed between two layers of cuben as well.

Does that make sense?

For the sake of simplicity imagine a circular button a ¼ inch in diameter. To access this button I would need to make a ¼ inch circular cutout from the camera body cuben case. In order to maintain the integrity of the waterproofing characteristics of the cuben material I need to keep the button covered when not in use. So what I thought would work best would be to take a magnet and drill out a ¼ inch hole from the center so that it surrounds our imaginary button completely (why I had initially envisioned a washer-shaped magnet). Then I would take the positive charged half of the magnet and seal it around the button cut out between two layers of cuben (one side being the camera body case itself). The “cap” would be the negative half of the cutout magnet sealed between two pieces of cuben. Thus, when not in use I could just pop on the cover and keep shooting during the daily CT afternoon rain showers.

The key would be to make sure that the magnetic field isn’t strong enough to damage the camera itself, and thin enough to fit between two layers of cuben…

Please note that science was never my strong suit and I never read Marvel comics as a kid, so if any of my explanation in regards to magnets, magnetism, magnetic fields, etc. doesn’t jive with contemporary science I apologize in advance!

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: More thoughts on magnets on 03/12/2012 15:10:42 MDT Print View

Hi Andrew

Sounds very complex to me. Complex doesn't work in the field very well.

Consider a different approach such as a simple WP carry bag for the camera inside your jacket or poncho plus a rather large waterproof hat. Get the camera out and keep it inside your poncho, then under your hat while shooting. That's what I do when it's rather wet. I get some good photos that way.

A few drops on the case won't matter - most cameras are now moderately sealed, but keep the lens pointed down as long as possible to avoid getting water on the glass.

Cheers

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: More thoughts on magnets on 03/12/2012 16:12:11 MDT Print View

Andrew, cuben is so lightweight you might just make a large sack (big enough to fit your head and arms in) or make a cloak like the old bellows camera guys used and buy a cheap UV filter. Cut a hole in the sack/cloak and glue the cuben to the filter in the hole then pull the whole sack/cloak over your head when needed. This would keep the camera dry and lens free and clear and everything accessible. Just keep the lens down like Roger said.

It would weigh almost nothing because you probably use a UV filter anyway.

Just trying to think outside the box.

Andrew Jennings
(breaktheshoal) - MLife

Locale: West of the Mississippi
Too Complex on 03/12/2012 16:12:28 MDT Print View

I appreciate the insight Roger, and I must admit that my concept definitely falls in the "aggressive range" (especially when you factor in my lack of experience working with cuben), but I think that my idea probably sounds more complex than it really is.

This was literally one of those A-Ha! moments and I haven't had a chance to really sketch it out and price the materials, so I'm not even sure if it's feasible at this point. That being said, I'm not sure that a poncho is going to be a long-term solution either. The photo project that I have in mind is going to require that I be in the majority of the photos, so any protective cover that requires my support in regards to it functioning properly probably isn't the best idea.

I do think that some sort of rain cover could work, but considering the sheer volume of pictures that I intend to take and the duration of the hike, functionality and convenience start to stand out as the most important features.

If anyone else has any ideas or recommendations, please feel free to share!

Mark Dijkstra
(Markacd) - F
Camera bag on 03/12/2012 16:25:16 MDT Print View

Here's a link to the camera bag I made. http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=57405
I don't think that is what you want, but maybe it can give you some ideas.

Instead of messing around with magnets I think something like this would work just as well, if not better. it would weigh less too.
http://www.onecall.com/product/Optech-USA/RainSleeve-2/for-Camera/_/R-84360

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: Camera bag on 03/12/2012 16:43:32 MDT Print View

I agree with some of the other posts. If you want to keep moisture off while using that's a different beast than simple storage.

The easiest to implement, lightest, and probably overall best performance will be a bag or umbrella. I was going to describe a rainsock but it looks pretty much identical to what Mark linked. I think that is probably the best solution to the issue (without moving to a waterproof enclosure).

I have a digital Rebel and I've shot some long exposures in fairly wet conditions without any harm. Mostly in persistent mist/fog/drizzle conditions. The sock and 5D should pretty much be good for any condition that you're willing to shoot in.

John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Too Complex on 03/12/2012 16:58:43 MDT Print View

If you are going to be in the pictures how will you manage that ? A tripod? If so an umbrella mounted over the camera may do the trick. When I travel to China I always take the shower caps they give you in hotels.Very thin clear plastic and elastic. That's what I keep on the camera before I actually shoot.

Andrew Jennings
(breaktheshoal) - MLife

Locale: West of the Mississippi
Keep it coming... on 03/13/2012 00:40:57 MDT Print View

Mark - Your link to the Optech Rain Sleeve is MONEY. I'm almost a little disappointed because for $6.50 I can get essentially everything I was looking for minus the pride and satisfaction that goes along with making your own gear. While it might not be as sophisticated as what I had in mind, Roger makes a good point in that the simpler the design the less the chance for failure. And for $6.50 I can't go wrong giving it a try.

Dustin - When it comes to storage I use a Think Tank holster setup. If you do any photography past point-and-shoot it's definitely worth checking out their stuff. I see people drop the adjective "bomber" frequently around here so I'm hesitant to use it myself, but Think Tank is exactly that: BOMBER. But as you mentioned, and what I'm quickly realizing, Mark's solution is probably going to fit the bill for the conditions I'm anticipating on the CT.

Josh - Yes, I do plan on using my tripod for most of my time lapse project, but thanks for the shower caps idea! Hadn't thought about that before, but they would definitely be a solid backup if I find myself in bind. An umbrella wouldn't be a bad alternative either assuming I could find something that doesn't tip the scales, although I still find myself drawn to the Optech Rain Sleeve that Mark linked.

... Well it's still a ways out from Sunday so I still have a lot of time to mull this over (and to wait for my Rain Sleeve to get here), but part of me is hoping that I can justify making a prototype of what I had in mind. Maybe I've grown overly confident from watching too much daytime TLC, but I think that my cuben rain cover has potential! When you compare it to the Optech alternative it's hard to justify the material costs, but who wants the 90% solution at 10% of the cost anyway?

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: Keep it coming... on 03/13/2012 01:27:26 MDT Print View

FYI, you get TWO rain sleeves in a package for $6.50 ;)

If you still wanted to pay for the pride, you could always buy them, then make your own out of cuben which would be far more expensive but also much more durable!

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Rain sleeves - or freezer bags? on 03/13/2012 03:14:23 MDT Print View

You know, I really can't see much difference between the Rain Sleeve and a large freezer bag. Well, apart from about $6.50.

Seems to me that a trifle of ingenuity and a UV filter might be all one needs!

Cheers