Introduction: PVC Camera Mount

Picture of PVC Camera Mount

PVC is a great material. It's like Tinker Toys for adults. You can use it to build greenhouses, furniture, musical instruments, kayaks, toys, and yes, even plumbing. I thought it would be a great material for building low-cost camera equipment; the only problem is how to connect the PVC to a camera. This is the method which has worked well for me for the past couple of years. Once you build this one device, you're only limited then by your imagination!

If you like my design, feel free to vote for me in the Digital Days photography competition!

Here's the video version:


 

 

Step 1:

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Gather the Materials:

This is the hardest step of the project. I found all these pieces easily, but I've been informed that they aren't available everywhere. A bit of footwork and possibly ordering online should get you all these parts.
 


Hardware:

three ¼ inch hex nuts

one ¼ inch lock washer

one ¼ inch regular washer

one ¼ inch x 1 inch fender washer

one ¼ inch x 2 inch bolt (threaded the entire length)

 

PVC:

¾ inch schedule 40 end cap (flat)

½ inch schedule 40 plug

one inch of ¾ inch SDR Schedule 21 PVC pipe

Note that the PVC pipe is NOT Schedule 40. This pipe has 1/16 inch walls, as opposed to the more common Schedule 40's 1/8 inch walls.

Step 2:

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Drill holes in both the end cap and the plug. The hole should be large enough for the bolt to slide through relatively easily. You can either use a pair of scissors or a 3/8 inch drill bit.

Step 3:

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Attach the bolt to the ½ inch plug. This is accomplished in this order: bolt, regular washer, plug, lock washer, nut. Tighten it all together using your tools of choice. I find the best way to keep the nut from spinning as you're trying to tighten everything is to put a flathead screwdriver on the side of the nut while tightening the bolt. Once it reaches the bottom, the lock washer should hold it in place for the final tightening.

Step 4:

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Put the PVC pipe over the top of the plug. If you have schedule 21 pipe, it should move freely. The schedule 40 won't fit.

Step 5:

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This step takes a little tweaking, but it's still not that bad. You're going to attach the fender washer by sandwiching it between two nuts. The trick is that you need to leave a very small gap between the fender washer and the pipe. I try to get it around a sixteenth of an inch. You want the ½ inch plug to spin independently from the PVC pipe, while not being overly loose.

Step 6:

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Slide the end cap over the pipe, with the bolt threads coming out the top. The plug should rotate freely while the pipe and end cap stay in place. That's it!

Step 7:

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To use the PVC Camera Mount, line up the bolt threads with your camera's tripod hole. Twist the ½ inch plug clockwise, and the PVC Camera Mount will tighten up against the camera, forming a secure base. Then just insert the bottom of the Camera Mount into any ¾ inch PVC fitting, and build to your heart's content.

 

Some examples of devices I've designed/modified are as follows (linked to videos or other instructions if available):

Monopod

Treepod

Fig Rig -- (Thanks to Twist for his Instructable)

Counterweight Stabilizer

Tabletop Demonstrator

Versa-Pod

Tripod Adapter

Low-Tech Crane

Spearpod

Umbrellapod


Also check out my blog -- goodenoughstuff.blogspot.com -- for more information on many of my projects and more.


And as a bit of shameless advertising, don't forget to vote for me in the Digital Days photo contest!
 

Comments

guy90 (author)2010-03-25

 Thanks for the upload, very informative! *thumbs up*

Greenish Apple (author)2009-10-13

Hi Paco!
I've just recently watched all your videos on YouTube, neat, innovative and fun! Great ideas. You got my vote.

Only one concern, will the camera fall off if you tilt the support/pods(s)? What if you drill a hole thru the Camera Mount and the support (not thru the middle but offset) then use a hitch pin to hold it on? You could tie a pin to each support with a string or wire.

David
(Afraid of dropping my $$ camera)

Good point.  I've created something along those lines.  It's a securing clip made out of a coat hanger or bike tire spoke.  And if I had an expensive camera, I might use it.  It seems to be very secure, even when I shake the camera around.

Having said that, I've only used the clip once, because my camera is only a hundred bucks, and it's not worth the hassle for me.  The PVC Camera Mount seems to be relatively secure by itself, but if I ever attach my camera to the front of my car, I'll probably use the clip.

I'm glad you enjoyed my videos, and thanks for voting for me!  I have a feeling I'll be in the bottom 5%, but it's nice to know someone is watching.


alaskanbychoice (author)2009-10-11

That was fun and informative, Great instructable. I only have one suggestion and that would be to put a drop of lock-tite or superglue on the second nut you use to keep it from going down any further or you might try fingernail polish.

That's a good idea.  I've never had any problems with that specific part (I've occasionally had the nut next to the lock washer move), but would be good to make the entire thing more permanent.

Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for the suggestion!

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