Assembling the mount is pretty simple. You will need:
+ 2x - 3" to 5" long bolts/screws
+ 1x - 2" long bolt/screw
+ 1x - package of small washers
+ 1x mending plate
+ 8x - nuts (may come with the screws/bolts you buy)
+ 1x - bolt/screw cap (optional)
and some pliers and a screw diver
All nuts and bolts should be 1/4" in diameter with a thread count of 20. 20 thread count is also called "course" on some packaging. This is the diameter and thread count used for tripod screws and, while only one of the screws will actually be functioning as a tripod screw, 1/4" 20 thread screws are easy to find and it makes it easier to only have one standard for all the screws/bolts and washers/nuts.
For the mending plate, many sizes should work as long as you can get the 1/4" screws/bolts through the holes and there are enough holes to give you flexibility in where to place the camera. The one we use here is 3" long and has 4 holes.
Step 1: Step 1: First Bolt and Mounting Plate
We will be using nuts on either side of the mending plate to secure the screw's position so think of this first nut as half of a clamp that we're building around the stable base of the mending plate.
Step 2: Step 2: Attach the First Bolt to the Mending Plate
Step 3: Step 3: Secure the First Bolt
Beyond making sure that the nuts will turn, don't bother tightening these too much yet. This is the bolt that will go into the camera and it will be easier to attach the camera if this screw can still turn.
Step 4: Step 4: Assemble Support Bolt
If the nut tightens well enough without the washer on the screws/bolts that you are using, feel free to skip the washer.
Whether or not your particular screws/bolts need a washer, make sure to prepare one of the long screws/bolts with a nut at the top as shown in the picture.
Step 5: Step 5: Attaching the Support Bolt to the Mounting Plate
Tighten the support screw to the mending plate with another nut and tighten the two bolts until the mending plate can't spin around the screw without a very solid push.
The support screw is what will prevent the whole mount from swinging around every time you nudge the camera, so you want the grip to be fairly tight. Now is a convenient time to tighten the joint but you can always go back and tighten it later if the mount proves too loose.
Step 6: Step 6: Attach the Camera to the Tripod Bolt
If you are using a different camera than the Cannon Powershoot A590 used here, now is a good time to take a look at how your camera will function once mounted. This particular camera is mounted so that the lens is as close as possible to being on top of the support screw. Since the support screw will go through the hole we put directly in the center of the book ripper, this will help us turn the camera as little as possible, something that will improve the quality of our final pictures a good deal.
The camera here is also lined up so that the wider part of the camera hangs over empty air. This may seem counterintuitive but this model only provides access to the memory card and batteries through an opening on the bottom of the wide side, so hanging the camera off of one end means that we will still have access to the most important parts of the camera without having to take it off the mount. If your camera has things you will need to access on other parts of the camera, test it out on the mount before tightening up all the nuts. Make sure that you can access the power, memory card, USB, or any other connection easily.
Once your camera is lined up, and fully screwed onto the tripod bolt, tighten the nuts keeping the tripod bolt attached to the mending plate.
Step 7: Step 7: Prepare the Stabilizing Bolt
Same as before, just screw a nut on to the bolt before putting through the mending plate. You won't need a washer between this nut and the bolt head because the mending plate will fall much lower on this screw.
Step 8: Step 8: Attach the Stabilizing Bolt to Mending Plate
Step 9: Step 9: Finishing the Mount (optional)
Step 10: Step 10: Attaching the Mount
Just tighten these connections and you should be ready to go.
To use the stabilizing bolt simply move the bottom nut up or down until the camera's picture is level. It helps to have a book or a sheet of graph paper in the camera's sights for this. Since the bolt doesn't actually clamp onto the plastic, it can only really help level in one direction, by pushing against the plastic when the mending plate wants to lean too far to the left. That's not a problem because, with this particular arrangement of bolts and the camera, that is exactly how the camera does lean.
If you find that your combination of camera and materials causes the camera to lean away from the stabilizing bolt, try putting the tripod screw through different holes or using a longer mending plate. You could also consider putting a second hole in the book ripper and then running both bolts through the plastic, which would give you much better control.
If you want to find out more about these book ripping tools, check out bkrpr.org.