Introduction: Hands Free Camera Mount for Wheelchairs, Bikes, Wrist, and More!

I love to take photographs, but due to my disability, it gets difficult to hold a camera steady, particularly for any length of time.   I've tried various tripods and other means of holding a camera, but nothing seemed to work very well, particularly when I need to use one hand to drive my wheelchair.  Then I had this idea for a camera mount that could easily attach and be removed from a wheelchair, bike, or even someone's wrist.  The first step I did was to draw a design for this concept, then I began looking for materials to make one myself.

This unique camera holder consist of a camera mount and a strap that can be attached to the frame of a wheelchair, bike, or even around someone's wrist like a cuff.  For my particular purposes, I designed it for hooking to my wheelchair, though it would work just as well for many other uses.  It holds the camera on the frame of the wheelchair allowing the camera to be held steady.  It is also perfect for taking action shots, attaching easily to a bike or just about anything with handle-bars or something which you can attach the straps around.

This build requires the following materials.
1 Dollar-store tripod - (Look for a cheap tripod that you can remove the camera mount from.  I choose a common dollar store model that uses a single screw to attach the legs to the camera mount.)
1 scrap piece of leather
4 VELCRO®  strips or other fabric hook-and-loop fasteners( Recommend fabric hook-and-loop fasteners without glue backing if possible)
1 sheet of paper
Hot glue gun
Screwdriver
Sharp scissors
Marking Pen

Estimated build time: 20 min

Step 1: Step 1 Make a Template

The first step is to make a template of what you want the leather strap to look like.  You may either print out the image below or make your own template on paper. (Note:  you may have to enlarge the image for using as template.)  Cut out the template from paper first to ensure that the straps you will be making for your camera mount is the right size for your purposes.  The straps are adjustable, but ideally you don't want them too long or too short.

For my camera mount, I made the template into an "H" shape.  The camera will mount in the center of the "H" with each of the straps extending from the center used to hold the camera in place.  You may wish to make the straps longer or shorter depending upon what you wish to attach the camera to.  For example, if you wish to strap the camera onto your wrist, measure how long the straps must be to go around your wrist such that VELCRO®  on the straps may touch.  If you plan to hook the mount to a wheelchair, make sure that your template's straps are long enough to wrap around the frame of the chair where you wish the camera to be mounted.

Please note, for my camera mount, I used two sets of straps.  This alows the straps to attache easier to curved bars.  However, you may be able to get away with a single strap cutting out a simple rectangle of leather.

Step 2: Step 2 Cut Template and Trace the Template Onto the Leather

 The next step is to simply trace the paper template onto the leather.  For doing this, I used a permanent marker.  If you don't want to leave visible lines, you may wish to use chalk.  The paper template allows you to find the best location on the leather to cut so there is as little waste as possible.   You can always use the scraps for another project!

Step 3: Step 3 Cut the Leather

The next step is to cut out a piece of leather to create the strap that will hold your camera.  I am using leather scraps purchased from a craft store as these are cheaper than a sheet of leather.  You may be able to substitute another material besides leather, but it must be very stiff and have the ability to grip to prevent the camera from slipping.

Use the marking pen to trace your template onto the leather.  If you are using leather scraps like I am, you need to be sure that the leather is large enough to accommodate your template.

Use scissors to cut out the leather along the lines traced from the template. For my camera mount, I cut the leather in an "H" shape.  The center of the "H" is where the camera mount is bolted.  Carefully punch a small hole in the center of the "H".  This is where the screw that holds the camera mount will be located. 

Step 4: Step 4 Disassembling the Tripod

For the particular tripod that I am using, a single screw holds on the camera mount.  This particular camera mount is commonly available at a large number of Dollar Stores and other retail stores.  You may find other tripods that will work at yard sales or flea-markets.  If you are unable to find a camera tripod of this type, look to my design at the end of this instructable for my original design.  If you have the ability to work with metal or plastic, you may be able to make your own camera mount following these plans.  Essentially, you want the camera bolt to be held by the leather strap for mounting the camera.

Remove the screw holding the tripod legs from the camera mount apparatus.  BE CAREFUL NOT TO LOOSE THE SCREW!  Save the tripod legs for future Instructables project.

Step 5: Step 5 Glue on Fabric Hook-and-loop Fasteners

For this step, I recommend hot gluing the VELCRO® or other fastener onto each of the four leather straps.  You may use the glue back fasteners, but experience has shown me that the sticky-back fasteners peel off after just a short time.   If you use sticky-back fasteners, be prepared to replace them after several times of removing the camera mount. Two straps on the one side will have the hook fasteners on the top and two straps on the other side should have the loop fasteners on the bottom such that when the two straps overlap, they fasteners connect.  The leather acts like a cuff that can be tightly wrapped around just about anything from wheelchair bars to bike handlebars. 

Step 6: Step 6 Attach Camera Mount

 Screw the tripod mount to the center of the leather "H" straps as pictured.  The screw is very short, so the leather will indent some.  Be sure to tighten this screw as much as possible and at an angle such that the camera will be held upright at the desire angle for where it will be mounted.  For example, this mount only allows tilting in one direction.  Make sure it tilts in the desired direction for where your camera will be mounted.

Step 7: Step 7 Mount the Camera and Have Fun!

Your camera mount is all finished.  Once the glue dries for the hook and loop fasteners, simply wrap the straps around where you want to mount your camera and attach the camera to the camera mount.  I've used this mount on my own wheelchair with several different cameras and it works terrific as long as the camera is not unusually heavy.  It works particularly well for action shots.

Step 8: Original Concept

Below is the original concept design that I had originally considered trying to produce.  Unfortunately, while I am good at inventing things, I haven't a clue when it comes to marketing or producing some invention.

The original idea allowed multiple length straps and belts for mounting the camera.  The optional Extender Accessory would allow the camera to be on a belt and held away from the person's body.

Step 9: Visit DarkRubyMoon.com

Finally, don't forget to visit http://DarkRubyMoon.com!

DARKRUBYMOON STORE

-Check out DarkRubyMoon store for a wide range of Apparel, Clothing, Gifts, Art, Prints, and much much more!

Comments

author
delds (author)2011-09-28

I am looking at your camera mount, I also use a power wheelchair and am looking for a method of using a video camera with the wheelchair, now with mounting it on the arm how stable of a video image is this when travelling over sidewalks or cobble stone, even though power wheelchairs offer some suppension, you still get some bumping when going over sidewalks / cobble stone, or other creased surfaces. Also is the wheelchair arm too low or is it better higher up the camera.

author
DarkRubyMoon (author)delds2011-09-28

Hi! Yes, if your riding over cobble stones or even sidewalks, the camera does shake some. My camera has anti-shake, but even so, it does get a little bumpy. On roads, on indoor carpeting and pavement, there is very little shaking unless you start and stop your chair quickly. As for camera placement, I find that the lower position of the armrest of the chair works fine most of the time unless your subject matter is close to the camera. It is a lower angle than what you typically see people filming at, but it can make the film more interesting. Most of the time I have found that if I am filming people, they are at a far enough distance from the camera that the low position does not matter, and other subjects are at about that height. I have made another type of camera mount that I haven't posted on instructables yet in which I attach the camera mount bracket to the end of a pvc pipe. When I want to film from a higher position, I attach the camera to this, and rest the pvc pipe on my knee. The pipe and camera are both very light, so I am able to film this way without much strength.

author
firefletcher (author)2010-05-03

 Nice one! Great to see something that may help other people with disabilities get more out of life!

author

Thank you!  It works great for me.  In some ways, a wheelchair is a perfect platform for shooting video as the video is much smoother than someone walking with a camera and I have a lot of control over the chair's movement.  I've often wondered why professional movie-makers haven't thought of mounting a camera to a wheelchair. 

author
evad (author)DarkRubyMoon2011-04-10

Hey! Maybe you just thought up a new career for yourself?? Maybe post some of your videos on youtube, and tell folks your idea?

author
DarkRubyMoon (author)evad2011-04-10

Sounds good to me :) I've thought of marketing it before, but I am much better at coming up with ideas then I am at producing and selling them. Thank You so much for the post!

author
tripoli9 (author)2010-06-18

Excellent idea

author
lovepirate9 (author)2010-05-09

good idea

author
bertus52x11 (author)2010-04-27

Nice one! Good luck with the contest.

author
DarkRubyMoon (author)bertus52x112010-04-28

Thank You so much!  i had been planning to post this instructable for some time... the contest helped to push me to finally writing it up to post it LOL.

author
bertus52x11 (author)DarkRubyMoon2010-04-28

There is a group here on Instructables called "Camera Mounts". You should add it there as well.

author
DarkRubyMoon (author)2010-04-27

When your finished doing this instructable... be sure to visit my store at http://www.cafepress.com/darkrubymoon   for my art on T-shirts, prints, and much much more!

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Bio: Check out my online DarkRubyMoon Store at ... * DarkRubyMoon Store CafePress: http://www.cafepress.com/darkrubymoon * DarkRubyMoon Store Zazzle: http://www.zazzle.com/darkrubymoon * DarkRubyMoon Store ... More »
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