Behind the Scenes

Most of the photos on this site have been taken with a Sony Cybershot DSC-W1. This weekend I gave it a hard shell finish, with credit for the idea going to this guy.

This is what I see when I shoot for this site. I love this camera and everything its done for me.

This project started with a free sample of paint that’s meant to be used as a bedliner for a truck… Apparently this stuff withstands water, oil, gasoline, salt mist, acid, and impact without weakening. Cool!

The first step was taking the camera apart so that I could mask the surfaces to be painted. Disassembly was fun, but let me save you some time should you want to do the same to yours.

There are 6 screws that go around the sides and bottom of the case, which come out no problem. Then, you pull the front and rear panels apart from each other. There is a wire that connects to the front panel (the ultrasonic range finder), which is held in by a plastic cover with resealable adhesive; a small screwdriver can pry it off.

The buttons do not come apart from the rear panel (at least, not after a half hour of poking and prodding), so just set that part aside.

On the front panel of the camera, 4 screws hold the aluminum ring that your lens attachments connect to. Once you have those out, you will be able to pry up the black plastic molding (resealable adhesive). The oval shaped grip part is permanently attached to the front panel, so you’re now done with that part too.

The instructions for the liner said that it doesn’t need a primer, which is good because I’d have trouble justifying the cost. But, the paint does need a rough surface. Don’t waste your time with sandpaper. I tried scuffing it with 80 grit, but the paint peeled right off after 2 coats.

Instead, get out a box cutter or exacto knife and cut crisscrossing grooves into the plastic. Pay attention to the pressure you put on the plastic while you are cutting; take breaks, etc. Otherwise you run the risk of snapping some of the thinner pieces (especially the back panel).

Then the painting. I used electrical tape to mask the plastic, which worked well. The first coat goes on thin, but later coats can be thicker. After a few minutes, the paint will set up and you can use the tip of the knife or a pin to scratch paint away from where it isn’t wanted. For example, the logo and the holes for the range finder. They say an hour to dry between coats, but I say no less than 3 hours if you paint thick layers.

Make sure you know what surfaces need to be free of paint in order to reassemble the camera. As they always say, installation is the reverse of removal. One thing you may want to do while you have the cover off is protect the screen with a PDA screen overlay

Then you have a sweet camera!

Oh yeah, and last but not least, why red? Easy, I didn’t want it to look like I bought it that way. About 6-8 hours of work went into this, and I’m showing it off.