It can safely be said that I am a bit of a cheapskate. I am writing this on a seven year old laptop that I got for free in exchange for some computer repair. The wireless router I use to connect it to the internet was found behind the DVD players at my local Goodwill ($2!). When I use Skype to call my friend in Taiwan (free video phone calls!) I use the 6 dollar webcam I bought at the local computer reuse and recycling center.
Of course, being this cheap does have its downsides, like the fact that the webcam is pretty flimsy and the clip started to break.
So with sugru in hand I decided to make a better (and hopefully more visually appealing) webcam mount. I've named it Splat! because it looks like a muppet sneezed on my computer.
Step 1: Gather Materials
You will need just two things, sugru and a webcam. That's my shortest ingredients list ever! I guess you could say you need a computer or a laptop too.
As to tools, you'll need a small phillips screwdriver, a small flat screwdriver, and a hobby knife. When working with sugru it's also good to have a clean, smooth workspace.
Step 2: Dismantle the Webcam
In order to do this properly, you'll need to remove as much of the weight of the webcam as you can before you open up the sugru.
The webcam I was working with was basically three parts: the clip, the swivel mount, and the camera body. I didn't want the extra weight of the camera pulling everything apart before the sugru cured, so I removed it completely from the swivel mount (see below).
The part of the swivel that stuck into the camera body had a tendency to flop around instead of staying put. I had a sneaking suspicion that there was some sort of rubber or soft plastic bushing that was supposed to create friction inside that had worn down. When I got it all apart I found my suppositions confirmed, at the top of the swivel was a soft plastic cross that was designed to rub on the inside of the camera body, creating friction and keeping the camera in whatever position you placed it in. I removed that and blobbed some sugru in there, figuring I might be able to carve it into the right shape after it cured.
Step 3: Build the Mount
After discussing it with my daughter, we decided on a swirly pattern of blue and black sugru for the mount. It only took one package of each for this project.
Remove the sugru from the packs and blend it together somewhat, but not so much that they merge into a blue-gray color (see below). Special thanks to India, she helped out a lot on this part both mixing the sugru and taking pictures.
After you have the color swirled to your satisfaction, grab you laptop or PC monitor and about two thirds of your sugru blend. Since I was working with a laptop, I flattened out the sugru and folded it over the top edge of the monitor and pressed it firmly into place. If you're working with a CRT, I imagine this would still work out fine, you just wouldn't be able to fold it over three sides.
Wrap the other third of the sugru around the bottom half of the webcam swivel mount, then press that into the sugru on top of your monitor.
Once you've merged them, shape the sugru into whatever form you desire. I was going for more of a splat than a well defined shape, but if I did it over again I'd probably make it more regular. Let it cure overnight and move on to the next step.
Step 4: Finishing Up
Sugru's kind of finicky about what plastics it will bond permanently to. It stuck pretty firmly to the inside of the laptop, but not so much to the outside. Fortunately, I've found that with a bit of prodding you can usually remove the sugru from whatever it's stuck to, with limited damage to either one.
Once everything's cured, peel the sugru off your monitor. You'll probably be left with a sugru-colored smudge, but at least for me that was easily cured with a dry washrag. Your new camera mount is now all done, all that's left is to reinstall the swivel into the camera body.
With mine, I took my hobby knife to the blob I'd shoved in the top end and roughly formed it into a cross shape. With a little trial and error I was able to get it into a size and shape that allowed it to fit inside the camera body and create just the right amount of friction.
Step 5: Final Thoughts
If everything's gone right, you'll have a new mount for your webcam, exactly customized for your laptop or monitor. Mine looks like some sort of horrible black and blue cybernetic slug, which is
somewhat disturbing totally awesome!
Thank you all for visiting! Please take a moment to rate, comment, and subscribe! If you should build something like this, please post some pictures in the comments below, and I'll send you a digital patch!