I made a flash diffuser for the Canon Speedlight 580EX II after seeing our photo intern taping a piece of paper to his flash to act as a light bounce. His paper bounce didn’t last more than a few days of project photography in the extreme conditions of our lab, so after seeing him repeatedly throw them into the recycling bin, I decided to make him a durable 3D printed diffuser. After talking to him to learn more about what shapes make a good diffuser, I modeled it in Autodesk Inventor and 3D printed them on an Ultimaker in clear PLA, a biodegradable, corn-based plastic.
I started out with the rectangular version to test the fit, and got very lucky since it fitted the flash snugly. After I knew that the fit was good, I made the triangular version, which maximizes surface area for greater light diffusion.
Both versions of the diffuser were printed using the Joris setting in Cura, which allows the part to be printed out in a gradual spiral. Even with just one wall, the part’s quite strong, since there’s no seam running along the side of the part.
A challenge I ran into while modeling the diffuser was that the body of the flash was not just a simple rectangle (it actually consists of a lot of curves), so I couldn’t easily or accurately measure the dimensions of it. This meant that I couldn’t make the diffuser that would perfectly contour around it. Instead, I settled on measuring the max width, length, height, a small curve on the front, and the two grooves on the sides of the flash, to allow the diffuser to slide up or down.
They’ve been holding up even after over a month of daily use and work very well for taking photos that end up online or in our magazine. The files and printing instructions are available for download on Thingiverse here.