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Using Sugru to slightly improve my digital camera

first_imgIn case you haven’t heard of Sugru, it’s a silicon modeling putty that can be used to repair, customize, enhance, or hack almost anything. The soft clay-like material can be modeled into shapes, it can repair plastic parts, it can add grip or structure to your gear–the main limitation seems to be your need to improve/fix/customize your stuff. All you need to do is work it into shape, slap it on whatever you want to hack, and then give it some time to cure.In the video above I tested out Sugru by adding grips to my slippery old Canon digital camera. The camera is a number of years old but still works well enough, especially with CHDK running on it, so it was a perfect test candidate. What I did was affix one packet of blue Sugru to the front grip, the rear grip, and then a bit to the shutter button. I smoothed it out to make it as even as possible, then I added faux knurling with the edge of the Sugru packet, and let it dry for 24 hour.Here is the result:The Sugru once fully cured, adhered to the camera’s smooth surface extremely well, and it does add a bit of grip to the surface. The difference isn’t huge but this is just one, very basic, use for the material.So on the upside, Sugru is easy to use and has a limitless number of applications. Plus it’s affordable enough that I’m not going to hesitate to use it if I think it can help me enhance something I own. There really aren’t any products like this (aside from gross stuff like Plasti Dip), so that fact that it works and it’s cheap means it a success. There are some downsides, though they aren’t too major. First off the Sugru is a bit messy to deal with and it’ll get some goop all over your hands. It comes off with a good washing though, but the more you smooth it out with your fingers the tougher it is to get off.Another problem is that the packets have expiration dates. I got two big packets (each holding six 5 gram sachets) that expire in August 2011. That’s less than a nine month window to use this stuff. It’ll probably work after that date and I’m guessing I’ll use it all by then, but I’d never have imagined that a silicon putty would expire so quickly.So if you wear gloves (or don’t mind messy hands) and use the Sugru promptly, then there isn’t anything to complain about. The end product isn’t that grippy, but for some applications a harder material will be preferable to a softer one. It works well enough as a camera grip but it’s not soft and rubbery, it’s more like the soft-touch material found on some of today’s laptops, mice, and mobile phones.The change to my camera wasn’t dramatic, but it’s less slippery than it was so I consider the application a success. I’d like to have done a neater job, but I’m guessing my Sugru skills will improve with time. Given the price of Sugru, you really only need to fix one thing or prevent one camera drop to make it a worthwhile purchase.You can buy Sugru or get some great ideas for using it at Sugru.com. The Smart Hacks Pack I tested sells for $9.75.last_img

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