Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Make your own camera grip easily

[Update: a different grip featured above]

Being pretty much retired now, I have had time to play amateur inventor, and I've worked a lot on enhancing grippiness or put grips on things like cameras and tablets. I don't think I'll earn any money on this invention, but I'd be highly pleased if it eases the lives of other people a little, as it has my own.

Many cameras still don't have decent grips. That's a pity, for a good grip really helps.
I bought an official Olympus grip, but it was costly, it added 100 grams to the compact camera, and added bulk too. Oh, and you had to take it off to change batteries.

I've written about Sugru before. (You can get it on Amazon too.) It's a fantastic material. A quick description is that it is like a combination of super-glue and play-do. It's not cheap though, it comes in small quantities, and it takes a day to set.  But it has so many fun  and useful uses that it boggles the mind. And new ones are being found every day.

I used three of their mini-packs for this grip (about $9).  It's very easy to use. You just take it out of the air-tight little package (once it's opened, it starts to set. You have lots of time to use it, but don't expect to use half a mini-pack a week later, unless you have invented a 100% air-tight closing method).

So I just squeezed it a bit, to warm it up and soften it, and then I plopped it onto the camera and molded it into a grip. One may compare it with one's hand's grip, to imagine the optimal size and shape.

When I do this the next time, I may use a pack more, to get a bit more bulk to hold onto, to curl the fingers around.

On my earlier experiments with older cameras, otherwise succesful, the issue was to get a grippy enough surface. But I have now found something great: Skateboard Grip Sheet. That is a bit like rough sandpaper, but it's designed to get uptimal grip under the extreme use skateboarders put it through!

I cut this out to size and form, and put it on the Sugru before the latter dried. The Sheet is self-adhesive, and Sugru is basically glue, so they stick together!

Then I trimmed and patted the edges a bit, and molded a little bit of Sugru over the edge of the Sheet to hold it.

Sugru is funny: if it's in a thin sheet or string when dry, it's very flexible. But in a lumb, it feels as hard as oak! This grip feels very confidence-inspiring.
(I've been doing a lot of things with Sugru this year, and haven't been let down yet.)

Sugru sticks really well to almost anything, even glass, but you can remove it later with a sharp knife etc. In some cases it's doubtful if you can get everything, like on very uneven surfaces. See this official video. On porous surfaces, like fabric or leather, obviously it'll always leave at least a stain (depending on the chosen Sugru color).

So this venture cost me maybe fifteen buck all in all, and added only about ten grams of weight and hardly any bulk to the camera.

Of course the great thing about these materials is that anything you don't like or wouldn't fit your hand about my grip, you can make different. It can be almost any size and shape. And of course with more patience, it can be made to look as pro as you want.

And the grippiness of the Sheet surface! OMG! as the young 'uns used to say. I would say that it's about THREE TIMES grippier than any rubber surface I have ever tested. It's just fantastic. Nothing slides anywhere on this surface.

(Here is the OM without added grip. It has a fain hint of one, but not much.) 

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