Camera Chest Rest





Introduction: Camera Chest Rest

Humana Health by Design Contest

Finalist in the
Humana Health by Design Contest

When I fractured my right arm, I realised that handling a SLR camera with a plastered arm wouldn't be possible: the grip is on the right handside and so is the shutter release button.
After 6 weeks, when the plaster came off, my hand and arm were now to weak to handle the camera.

Luckily for me, this was a matter of time. Other people are less fortunate.

This has inspired me to develop an idea that I had during my period of discomfort and to share it with you in the "Health by Design Contest". If you like it, please vote for me!

The idea is simple: a device transfers the weight of the camera to your chest. This makes the handling of the camera very light and very stable (picture below was taken with one hand, shutter speed was 1/3 !).
All you need is some PVC tubing and a special hinge.

This device can help people with a weak arm or hand, but it can be helpful to people with Parkinson to stabilise the camera.
Naturally it can be used for stabilising pocket cameras as well. You can then slim down the design by using smaller (copper) tubing. Moreover, you do not need a hinge as the lens is retracted in the camera.

Step 1: What You Need.

* Two PVC pipes (length 70 mm, diameter 32 mm)
* One PVC pipe (length 170 mm, diameter 32 mm)
* A PVC T-piece that can accomodate the PVC pipes. 
* A hinge. In the picture it's the rectangular Aluminium beam that will be cut to shape a hinge. 
* A bolt and a nut (50 mm long, 5 mm thread).

Step 2: How It's Made.

Picture 1 
Cut slots at the end of both pipes. The width of the slot should correspond with the dimensions of your neckstrap. Cut one end of the longer PVC pipe at 30 degrees.

Picture 2
Make matching slotted end caps.

Picture 3
The hinge has to operate at a 30 degree angle as well. Cut the hinge at this angle. This step can be shortened if one would start with a U-shaped beam (instead of a rectangular beam, but I did not have a U-shaped beam available that fitted nicely over the PVC pipe).

Picture 4
Drill holes on both sides and drill a hole on top for connecting the camera.

Picture 5
Place the hinge on top of the PVC pipe and drill trough the hole.The hinge has to rest flat on top of the pipe.

Step 3: Assembling.

Picture 1
Assemble the T-piece. This picture shows the hinge in one position. From this position it can only rotate clockwise (the other direction is locked).
The width of the base of the T-piece (the part that rests on your chest) should be slightly larger than the width of your camera. In my case: 180 mm.

Picture 2 & 3
T-piece with the hinge in both positions.

Glue the vertical pipe. The other pipes don't have to be glued or at least glue them once you're confident about the set-up. Be aware of the orientation of the slots with respect to the T-piece!

Step 4: How It Works.

Picture 1 
Hang the camera around your neck. Bolt the hinge to the camera and place the T-piece between both sides of your neck strap. 
In normal operation, the camera hangs around your neck as it normally would and the hinge is "open".

Picture  2 & 3
If you want to take a picture, lift the camera until the weight is supported by your chest. The hinge is now locked in place and your camera should be nicely horizontal. If the camera does not rotate neatly close to your face, adjust the length of your neck strap.



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    What a great idea... will pass this on to my camera mad brother-in-law... thanks for the instructable!

    Just built one for my dad, I think he's gonna love it!

    That's great to hear!! Let me know what he thought of it.
    June is " I made it challenge". You might want to check this out.. 

    Thanks for the tip! Here is my take on it: the limiting factor for me was the width of the aluminum hinge, (the biggest size I could find was 1"/25mm square), which decreased the diameter of the pipes, but otherwise I kept your given dimensions. Unfortunately, my dad has a shorter strap than yours, so I found a quick fix and showed him how to just tuck his straps under the chest rest, which serves the same purpose.


    Cool! The fact that you hinge is smaller, makes the entire design slimmer. I was forced to use 10 mm PVC pipe, making it rather bulky. Does it work as expected? I'll send you a patch this evening!

     PVC tubing is so awesome and versatile! There are some other great DIY photo equip made with PVC tubing on

    Another suggestion....use a remote for shutter release.  Those with Parkinson's could use both hands to steady them.  Or weak handed people, like you after the cast or people who had a mild stroke could easy look through the finder and leave their hand by their side to release the shutter.

    Great idea.  A lighter and more portable version of the camera rigs used in films where the person seems to glide to a location as you are looking at them.  Of course, that faces the actor not the audience, per se.

    Yes, there are some great hacks for remote shutters and wired shutters here on Instructables. But since they very much depend on the brand of camera, I haven't added them.

    Excellent design!  We have already begun assembling the materials.  Where did you find the caps for the pipe ends?