I always have a knife in my pocket. It's just something I picked up from my dad back as a kid, he was/is never without a knife, and when I was old enough he passed one down to me and I haven't been without one ever since. When I'm in the woods hiking or geocaching I always have my knife handy and usually a camera too to record my many adventures. More often than not I'd want to take a picture and would end up perching my camera perilously in the crook of a tree or on a stack of rocks, attempting to take the best possible photo. I've considered taking a dedicated tripod to remedy this, but I already carry a lot when hiking and the added weight and girth of even a small tripod was more than I wanted to add. So one day in a moment of inspiration I unfolded my knife, plunged it into an old dead tree as horizontal as possible and rested my camera atop it's flat handle to capture the perfect picture. Once home I went about polishing this concept into this pocket knife camera mount which allows me to mount my camera into any wooden surface providing a sturdy, small, adjustable, and rugged option for taking pictures and video on the go.
In this instructable I'll be showing you how to make a pocket knife camera mount of your own. This is a super simple project that will only take you a few minutes in the garage and can probably be scrapped together using things you already own.
Features of the Pocket Knife Camera Mount
Mount your camera just about anywhere - any wooden surface becomes a camera mounting point!
Adjustable - the Construction of the mount allows for 360 degree rotation of the camera as well as up and down adjustment.
Small - Tiny enough to fit in the palm of your hand and weighing just over an ounce, you'll forget you have it until you need it.
Easy to use - Attaches and Detaches from your pocket knife in a matter of seconds.
Universal - Fits all cameras that use 1/4" X 20 mounting systems....so basically every camera ever.
Bonus Camera Handle - With the knife closed the camera mount becomes a stabilizing handle allowing you to take higher quality photos and videos on the trail.
Clip-able - flip the Camera mounting bracket around and take advantage of your knife's pocket clip to mount your camera onto straps or clothing.
Inexpensive - The knife mount will run you about 4 dollars to put together, (not including the pocket knife).
All Metal Construction - This puppy isn't going to cheap out on you.
Cool Factor - You know you're going to look pretty B.A. when you whip out your pocket knife and slam it into your grandparent's oak dinner table to take the coolest family picture ever!!! yea.....ummm.... please don't do that.
If you enjoy this instructable please consider voting for it in the "Photography Tips" Contest. Thank you!
Disclaimer - Someone will mention this in the comments so I'm going to preempt it here. Knives can be dangerous. I'm writing this instructable on the assumption that you know how to properly handle and operate a pocket knife in a safe manner. When the knife mount is in use a section of the blade is exposed and if improperly handled this does pose a laceration risk. These risks are acceptable to me when offset by the usefulness of the knife mount and my years of experience safely handling knives and pocket knives. If the risks are not acceptable to you, then this is maybe not the project for you. If you do decide to make and use the knife mount, please be careful and use it only when you have solid footing and with no one else in your immediate vicinity. Thank you.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
This is one of those awesome projects where you can pick up pretty much everything you need from your local hardware/home improvement store, and what's even better is that you can do so very inexpensively as this handy little gadget only costs about $4 dollars to make. So here's what your going to need:
- Pocket Knife - I'm going into this assuming that you're a good boy/girl scout and that you already have your own pocket knife. If not, the one I'm using for this tutorial is a Spyderco Persistence. It has a price tag of about $25 - $30, which is a real steal considering what a useful and well built tool it is. One other thing, your knife needs to have a lanyard hole for attaching the camera mount.
- L Bracket - Pick the smallest one you can find, the one I'm using is about 1.5" long per arm.
- Machine Screw - make sure it is small enough to fit through your knife's lanyard hole, for the knife I used for this instructable the proper size was 6/32, but your mileage may vary.
- Wing Nut - Same size as the screw you use.
- 1/4" X 20 Screw - 1/4" X 20 is the standard size for tripod mounts on cameras and related devices. You can find 1/4" X 20 screws in all sizes at home improvement stores, but the ones I'm using for this project were specially designed for use with cameras and tripods. You can find them in all shapes and lengths on Ebay by searching, "Tripod Screws".
- Drill and Assorted Drill Bits
- Something to cut a small section of metal - A hack saw or rotary tool with a cut off disk would be perfect.
- Files or Sand paper to clean up your cut.
Step 2: Modifying the L Bracket - Cutting
The first job is to slightly modify the L bracket to shorten one of the arms. All you really have to do here is to lob off a section of the brackets arm leaving one of the 1/4" holes as it will be used to mount the camera later on. Instead of cutting the bracket straight across I opted to curve the end tracing a penny to create the curvature. This will allow the camera mount (modified L bracket) to double as a wrench for tightening the camera mounts on other tripods or for opening a variety of coin slot objects such as the back of my Polaroid Cube. The cut ended up being a little rough, but not to worry as the next step is sanding.
Step 3: Modifying the L Bracket - Sanding
With the end of the L bracket roughly cut to shape I did a little work on the bench top sander to smooth out the jagged cut into a gentle curve. I ended up shaping both ends of the L bracket to keep everything uniform in appearance.
Step 4: Modifying the L Bracket - Drilling the Hole
As luck would have it, the 1/4" hole one the short end of the bracket is just the right size to accommodate the tripod screw that will be used to mount the camera, so no need to drill there, but I did have to drill a hole into the longer arm to fit the 6/32" screw that will be used to hold the camera mount onto the pocket knife. Once the hole was drilled for the 6/32" screw everything was ready to be assembled.
Step 5: Assembly
Assembly is pretty simple, you're just going to sandwich everything onto the 6/32" screw and use the wingnut to hold it all together. This is where the roofing washers shine, their metal backs allow for them to evenly distribute the clamping pressure of the bolt head and wing nut and their rubber sides hold everything snug in place while not damaging the knife scales or camera mount, pretty cool eh?
Step 6: How to Use the Knife Mount
It's worth taking a moment to explain how I think this neat little gadget ought to be used. What you don't want to do is to mount your camera onto the knife mount before securing the mount into place. Remember that it takes a lot of force to sink the tip of a pocket knife into a wooden surface and if your camera is along for the ride when you attempt to do so all of that force will be transferred up through the knife and into your camera which will probably make for a broken camera in no time at all. Instead, the way to do it is to stick the knife in place first, and then assemble the mount onto it once it's firmly in place. Assembling the mount only takes a few moments, basically all you have to do is insert the bolt through the parts and tighten the wingnut, so putting everything together after sticking the knife is without a doubt the best way to go.
Step 7: End
Thanks for taking the time to check out my instructable on how to turn a pocket knife into a stick anywhere camera mount. This is a simple to make project that will only take you a few minutes in your workshop/garage but the end result is a really useful small/light weight gadget that allows you to take great photos almost anywhere you go.
If you enjoyed this project please consider voting for it in the "Photography Tips" contest.
Thanks and Best Regards!