Introduction: Tertial Webcam

Picture of Tertial Webcam

The Tertial light offered by Ikea is much more that a work lamp.  Its adjustable arm and many points of articulation make in an excellent platform for mounting things.  In this Instructable I'll show you how easy it is to combine the Tertial swing arm with a webcam to make an articulated camera.

Step 1: Supplies & Materials

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Required materials:
- Tertial Lamp
- Sugru, or all purpose adhesive
- needle nose pliers
- philips screwdriver
- rubber bands (to stabilize the cam while the adhesive dries)
- a few zip-ties for cable routing (optional)

[If you don't already have a Tertial you can get one at your local IKEA for around $9.00]

Step 2: Preparing the Tertial Arm

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- Start by removing the shade from your Tertial.

- Remove the two screws holding the switch and socket assembly the arm.

- Take a moment to make sure your lamp is NOT plugged in.

- Now cut the cord, freeing the socket and housing.

- The lamp cord can now be removed, perhaps for use in another project, or just to get it out of your way.

- The springs can also be removed now.  Unless your webcam is extremely heavy, they won't necessary.

Step 3: Choose Your Cam

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I managed to find this Logitech C200 on clearance for $5.  Any web-cam will do, so find one that meets your needs.

Step 4: Prepare the Webcam for Mounting

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Remove the clip assembly from your webcam.  Mine had a fairly involved clip assembly and despite my attempts to disassemble it properly, ultimately it came down to brute force.  Your model may differ, but mine didn't seem as though it was made to be taken apart.

Now is a good time to look for a mounting point on the back of your webcam.  The C200 has a nice void just below the data cable exit point.

Step 5: Choose Your Glue

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There are a few options for mounting the camera. While any all purpose adhesive such as epoxy or super glue would do the trick; I went with Sugru.

Step 6:

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I wasn't sure if Sugru would stick properly to this particular type of plastic, but I need not have worried – it has a strong hold.  Apart from being extremely user friendly, I also appreciated the ability to colorize my bonding agent to match the project.    Given the colors of my components and the fact that I had access to black and white Sugur, I opted to mix up some gray.  One packet of white (5g) and a very little bit of black got me the color I wanted. 

I applied  two grams of Sugru to the end of the arm and pressed it into the back of the web-cam. 

I used rubber bands to hold the cam in place, and then proceeded to use the rest of the Sugru covering things up and filling a small hole I made when removing the clip mount.

Allow 24 hours for Sugru to cure, or wait the specified amount of time for your adhesive of choice.

Step 7: Finishing Touches

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The USB cable was routed along the length of the arm, zip-tied in place with slack to allow for movement.

Step 8: Finished Product

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Step 9: Action Shots

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The images and videos were taken with the webcam.


brianandrewparker (author)2012-01-15

For those of you who asked (Boomshadow, jackruby1123), I did a little test to see how much the arm would support, both with and without the springs.

I began with a starting weight of 250g (8.8oz) and increased by 50 gram increments until the arm failed.  "Failure" was the inability to maintain position at any given point in its range of motion.  

The Tertial held both with and without springs loaded to 250 grams.  
300 grams proved too much for the Tertial without springs, it couldn't maintain position fully outstretched.  

With springs it handled 300 grams just fine.  350g also not a problem.  

At 400 grams it was clearly under strain, creaking springs and all.

I wouldn't recommend a load of more that 400 grams (14.1oz) in an overhanging situation where the center of gravity is far beyond the anchor point on the desk/table etc.  

In a non-overhang situation the arm could hold more; how much exactly would depend on the particular position.

So, if you want to mount a kindle touch (212g) - no problem.  A kindle fire (413g), maybe.  An iPad 2 (600-610g) - look elsewhere.

Amon-100 (author)2014-05-06

Nice idea, i had thought about doing something similar to use with Evernote to capture notes and book pages. If you have any experience using your setup to do the same I would love to know.

contactscolored (author)2013-03-26

Thank you so much for sharing this! I did this project in school - many years ago and forgot how to do it. Now that I have a son I have been wanting to share this with him.

softenersreviews (author)2013-03-02

Thank you so much for sharing this! I did this project in school- many years ago and forgot how to do it. Now that I have a son I have been wanting to share this with him.

JensonBut (author)2013-01-20

Those pictures are amazing. I made this with my science class, but never that much. Wowzer.

RuudvandeLooij (author)2012-06-27

I like it. Started my build at the moment I saw this one. But I actually put my webcam, a Trust spotlight pro, in the backpart of the shade. I also remounted the shade for better looks.

Very cool! Having the camera inside part of the original housing looks great.

Boomshadow (author)2012-01-10

Awesome project! How much would you say the arm holds with and without the springs? I would be interested in mounting other things on it, such as a microphone and reflexion filter.

look like 250 grams without the springs, around 400 grams with the springs (I made a comment describing my testing process on the instructable itself.)

Thanks! I'll keep that in mind. (Clearly I won't be able to use the Tertial for my condenser mic/reflexion filter assembly, as the condenser itself weighs about 1 kg or so.)

Agentfern (author)2012-01-13

For anyone who wants to know how much weight it can hold, just leave the springs on. Then, after you take the lamp bit off, weigh it (the lamp bit). The monopod thing will be able to hold that amount of weight, possibly more.

about 250 grams without the springs, 400 grams with the springs (I made a comment describing my testing process on the instructable itself.)

jackruby1123 (author)2012-01-09

Fantastic idea! One question though. How much weight do you think i could put on the arm? i have a couple nice microphones that could use proper swing arms but they are considerably heavier than a small, cheap webcam is.

rlambertnj (author)2012-01-06

Did you remove the springs as well?

Nice catch, I did remove the springs. I've updated the project to mention that they're typically not necessary. Thanks!

It wasn't so much a catch, I have trouble doing these things and so.... Now for my next gotcha. The nearest IKEA is 5 hours away and the Tertial isn't available on the net. So I might go to a local big-box hardware store and try this with one of their lights. will let you know how it goes. :-)

... and thanks for your response

MisterHay (author)2012-01-08

I love that lamp, I've used one as a microphone arm as well as a webcam document camera (like your project here). Currently at my workbench I have one of these with a webcam attached to the hood, so it also works as a lamp :)

Great instructable.

That's awesome, I love the Tertial's versatility.

leroym (author)2012-01-08

I'm thinking that a further modification would be metal spike type thing to push into the ground. Maybe something like a tent stake. It would have a hole of the appropriate size drilled into the top so that this unit could be used to support a lightweight video camera such as the Kodak Zi8 or similar.
It could be folded and slipped into a backpack.
It's funny how things work out. I woke up in the middle of the night and was trying to figure out how to support a monopod for the same use. Then I crank up my PC and there's an 'Instructable' that would work better.
Thank you!

brianandrewparker (author)leroym2012-01-08

Glad to be of help!

Ryutso (author)2012-01-08

Hello flexible microphone mount.

Questor (author)Ryutso2012-01-08

I've actually been using a similar set up (ie non Ikea) for about the last 3 years in my Voice over 'studio'

StarborneWorks (author)2012-01-08

Wow, I did almost exactly this with some broken lamps and a PS3 Eye. :)

A couple of improvements I found;
* If you remove some of or change the springs used it helps retain the poise-ability. Just needs adjusting for the lighter weight.
* You need to get the webcam pan joint perpendicular to the ground and put the tilt joint on top of that, or as it turns side-to-side the picture will end up tilted.

I ended up combining two broken lamps into one that had three spans per arm. Way more than needed, but was thinking of motorising it at the time so overbuilt it to take more load.

jpf55 (author)2012-01-08

It may be off topic but could it support the weight of an iPad 1st generation?

michaelnelson (author)jpf552012-01-08

Nighthawke (author)2012-01-08

Quality webcams and cameras (including most point n shoots) have a standard 1/4-20 SAE threaded mounting point. One could take the stand and thread the mounting point with a decent die, or if you know a machinist or mechanic that has a tap and die set they could do it for you.
Then after that, you could mount anything (within reason and weight spec) to the stand without having to redo the mount each time. You might have to tweak the springs and counterbalance it a bit for the heavier items but be reasonable when you go about it.

abizar (author)2012-01-08

Nice! Might make sense to not remove the lamp and to add the camera on an arm attached to the lamp so you would get spot lighting for your camera too!

DanYHKim (author)2012-01-06

I am making a mobile Skype virtual tour cart for my department to host virtual tours for schools. It uses a similar articulated webcam arrangement. I have a picture here:

That's really cool! Thanks for linking to my Instructable!

CHARLESCRANFORD (author)2012-01-04

Nice. I am thinking of all the Instructable action shots I could take if I had one of these. So many ways this would be better than a tripod mounted camera

Thanks for sharing,


Thanks Charles!

This first attempt was more proof-of-concept than anything else. I'm tempted to make another, namely one featuring a HD webcam. There's always next weekend right?

About This Instructable




Bio: I am a remixer of products, a MacGyver of materials, and a Sugru guru.
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