So you're thinking of making your own dive slate? They really are a very simple and straightforward scuba diving accessory.
So why not make one yourself? No reason I can think of, so let's get started.
We'll start out with the basic scuba slate. This is the one I use and is simply a piece of white plastic with a pencil attached. So the materials you will need are:
Most scuba diving slates come with a short golf type pencil. You know, the ones they give you when you play regular golf, miniature golf, bowling, etc. Other people have used mechanical pencils (ones where you push or twist the top so a piece of lead comes out) with success also.
Another idea I have seen which I think will work really well is a carpenter's pencil. Those are the ones that are bright orange and have 2 flat sides. The lead is thicker and will be harder to break and should stick into the tubing more securely. You could also sharpen this more easily than a golf pencil if you are using a knife.
Some type of rubber tubing is needed for your diy slate. It will attach the pencil to your slate. There are several options here. You could use medical tubing, surgical tubing, aquarium tubing - essentially any type of flexible tubing that has a hollow center small enough to hold your pencil securely. Alternatively, you could tie the pencil on with the tubing but that seems less secure to me.
Now you just need something to write on. The basic dive slate is just a rectangular piece of rigid white plastic with a somewhat grainy surface.
I've seen lots of options out there for this component. Below are some of the ones I think will work pretty well. An added benefit is that many of them will make more than one diving slate.
Take it apart and use the surface to write on. They're fairly small but you could always attach more than one.
Now that you have the materials, it is easy to assemble.
If you like the erasable magnetic type of dive slate, a cheaper alternative that gets high marks is the Magna-Doodle. Yes, those kids toys that come in different sizes and are available pretty cheaply at Walmart, Kmart, etc.
You just have to drill a small hole in the corner, put rubber tubing through that and attach the magnetic pencil that comes with the toy.
You could leave it attached as is but sometimes that plastic connection can be pretty flimsy. Try it out first.
One drawback I have read about is that when the writing surface is poked hard, it can cause dead spots on the surface. So try not to bang it around too much.
If you like the wrist mounted dive slates, one alternative is a piece of PVC pipe. Cut to desired length, sand the edges down so they are smooth and fit on your wrist.
I have read about people putting it in an oven to warm up and make it more flexible to fit but that seems a bit dangerous to me. A safer alternative would be to cut 4 holes on each corner and attach some type of flexible tubing so it stays on your forearm.
You could basically fashion a wrist mounted dive slate in the same way with any type of flexible white plastic. Some of those mentioned above could work as a wrist mounted alternative also. An additional idea I read about was a cut out from a white Clorox bottle.
I say if you want to make your own diving slate, go for it. You may save a few dollars and you will have something to talk about with the other divers (not that that is usually a problem on a dive boat).
For tips on cleaning your new slate and other slate info, see my introductory page on dive slates.
Have fun with your new DIY slate!
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