Introduction: DIY Dash Cam 2.0
In this part two of the smart phone based dash cam I will show you how to make a stronger streamlined version of the rear view mirror mount. In this version I have created a stronger mount that utilizes less materials. This mount requires little skill to complete and can be made by just about anyone. Using the same concepts as the first design this mount utilizes an old smartphone. The bracket is designed to hold the phone inline with the vehicles rear view mirror. This is an ideal mounting location giving a good view of the road along with complying with state laws. Through out the U.S there is a front window obstruction law which prevents hanging anything from the front of a vehicle. If a dash cam is mounted hanging from the roof of the vehicle it violates this law. While there are other mount designs out there most violate this law resulting in the potential to be pulled over by police personnel. In this tutorial I will show how I created the mount using household materials and common tools.
Step 1: Materials
This project requires little to no materials and utilizing common household items. The things you will need to complete this project include a
- Metal coat hangar
- vice or pliers
- old smartphone
- tape measure
Before starting this project it is important to know the size of your rear view mirror. The mount will stretch around the mirror and will allow a solid and tight fit. In this project the most important dimensions will be the height and thickness of the mirror and the phones dimensions. In the case of this project my mirror was 2 1/2" high and 1" thick. Not all mirror dimensions are equal so be sure to work around your mirror dimensions and not mine.
After obtaining the mirrors dimensions the project can be started. The first thing I did was cut the coat hangar at the top on both sides by the actual hangar itself. This will help utilize the most of the material along with leaving extra material at the end, which will be trimmed off. Having more material on hand gives lee way allowing for a margin of error to occur. If your dimensions aren't perfect extra material will allow for redesigning. If there is to little material you may have to start over and use a new hangar.
After cutting the hangar at the top I straightened it using a vice. Now that the hangar is straight it can start to take the shape of the dash cam mount. The first thing I did was find the center of the rod and then determine the width of the bracket based on the phone that will be used. The wire was 33 1/2" long with the center point being 16 3/4". In order for my device to fit snugly without risk of if falling out I will need about 3". To get this amount I measured 1 1/2" from the center point on both sides. I then bent the metal at these two points like the image above.
After creating the basic width of the mount I marked off another inch and a half on both sides like the image above. I then created a bend at these points creating two 90 degree angles. As more bends are made to this mount it will become harder to bend smaller components so be sure to experiment with some different bending techniques to see what works best.
Now that the top of the mount is nearly complete it is time to form the bend that will determine how well the phone fits. To do this I measured the phones thickness and then marked off the dimension on both sides of the mount. Be sure to leave enough space so that the phone can easily be removed from the mount yet will still remain solid while mounted. After these marks are made the rods can be bent to form another set of 90 degree angles. The mount should now look similar to the image above.
Next using the measurements of the phones width the bottom bend length can be determined. After the phone was measured it was determined I would need about 2 1/2" for the phone to fit and still be able to be removed. Measuring from the top bend with the rods going down I marked off about 2 1/2" on both sides. After marking these two points I bent the wire ends to form another set of 90 degree angles.
Using the previous dimension of the phones thickness I repeated the top step to create the phones base support. I marked the phones thickness on both sides of the wire and then bent the wires up on a partial angle similar to the image above. At this point in time the two bare ends or the wire should be touching the wires first initial bend like the image above. I then slightly unbent the mount so that the two wire ends ran through the mount similar to the image above. This will help support the mount and help hold it sturdy using the phones weight to keep the bracket in place. Be sure your wires rest on this support otherwise your mount may not work.
After feeding the wire through the bracket I created a slight bend upwards. Then using the mirror and its dimensions as reference I determined the point that would be best to bend the two ends to form the brackets arm. This piece will determine if the phone is inline with the mirror so be sure to double check that it is in fact centered. After marking the area I bent the wires at the two locations. For this bend I made sure that it securely fit my mirrors thickness before continuing.
Now that the mount will fit securely on the mirror I marked off two points that where equal to the mounts first bend. After marking these points I bent the wires inward and then trimmed off the excess. To finish the mount I wrapped the two ends of the wire in tape. This will help keep the mount together along with providing protection for your mirror to prevent scratching.
Step 11: Finished Product
This project took a very short period of time to create and uses household materials. This brought the total project cost to zero dollars. This version two mount is a lot stronger and can easily be adjusted by bending the phone bracket forward or backwards. Through the testing of this mount I found that it stays in place and doesn't move event on rough terrain. This mount has been tested while going on back roads, over speed bumps,and over potholes. Through all these tests the mount remained in place and the camera in focus. This mount is an easy solution to a dash cam and is mounted in an ideal location that unlike other mounts wont result in a ticket. The demo video bellow shows the mount in action. The quality can be improved by a better phone and angling and position. Unfortunately I was battling my vehicles window tint strip which hurt the video quality. So be creative with your mount and work around your situation. Leave your ideas and feedback in the comment section bellow.