Introduction: DIY Articulating Arm Mount for Phone or Camera
Filming and photographing projects is one of the real obstacles to sharing a creation. I've always found tripods and other setups to be cumbersome for filming on a workbench or a desk. You can buy nice articulating camera mounts, but I had this idea for building my own and I am pretty happy with how it turned out!
By merging a simple work lamp and a selfie stick I was able to make a mount that works well for a phone, but also has a 1/4in UMC thread that can accommodate most small cameras or other standard attachments. I even added in a USB cable for charging. I tested it out with both my Galaxy S7 and my GoPro and it worked well with both. It would probably also work great with any small point and shoot camera, however this setup is probably not strong enough to hold up anything significantly larger than that. I have not tested it, but I don't believe it could keep the weight of a DSLR suspended in the air. Modifying the springs or some similar modification might make it work.
I built this primarily to film what I am doing on my desk or workbench, but it could also be used to film and photograph in the kitchen, or anywhere else you want to have a flexible phone mounting option. This mount is also great for just watching videos on your phone without having to hold it up. You could even mount it to your bed and use it to hold your phone lying down!
I've included a YouTube video where I run through my idea for the build, and the entire process of putting it together, as well as some footage to give an idea of how the final product turned out. You can follow the video, or the following step by step instructions to build your own!
Step 1: Tools and Materials
Materials and tools for this build are pretty straight forward. The only tool I had on hand was my Leatherman Wave, and I was able to put everything together with just that. If you have some basic tools those will work even better. You could plausibly build this with any old cutting tool and a screwdriver if you really wanted to.
I've included a link to IKEA for a a cheap work lamp, however I found mine at the local home improvement store. The selfie stick or a similar one can be picked up at most dollar stores, though if you want the ability to mount a camera be sure to look for one with a 1/4 UMC thread. If you want to include a charging cable like I have I recommend a USB cable that's at least 1 meter in length, but longer is better. These too can be picked up at a dollar store.
- Phillips Screwdriver
- Small Saw
- Hobby Knife or other cutting tool
- File or Sandpaper
- Leatherman Wave or similar multitool
Step 2: Disassemble the Lamp
We only need the mechanical frame of the lamp and the swiveling joint at the head of the lamp, everything else can be removed. I found it easiest to mount the lamp and remove the springs so that the lamp stayed still while I worked on it. Be sure to keep track of the springs and other pieces, as these will be important when reassembling the lamp at the end.
- Remove springs from lamp and set aside
- Mount lamp in a convenient location
- Use the Phillips screwdriver to remove the head of the lamp. (Depending on the lamp you buy, a different screwdriver may be required)
- Use the pliers to cut the power cord running from the lamp frame to the lamp head
- Discard the lamp headand power cord (Depending on where you live, be sure to take this and the other unused pieces of the lamp to the appropriate recycling center)
- Use the screwdriver to remove the lamp head joint for further disassembly in the next step, be sure to keep track of the attachment screw, washer, and knob
Step 3: Disassemble the Lamp Head Joint
The lamp head joint is the key piece that gives the mounted camera or phone its great range of motion. Be sure to keep track of the order these parts go together, as this will be essential in reassembling the joint later.
- Separate the components of the lamp head joint
- Set aside components, keep the lamp head bracket for use in the next step
The lamp head bracket is the piece with the holes for the mounting screws of the lamp head. This piece will be joined with the head of the selfie stick.
Step 4: Disassemble the Selfie Stick
The selfie stick is pretty straightforward to disassemble. Be sure to set aside the phone gripping adapter if you intend on using this mount to hold a phone.
- Remove phone gripping adapter
- Unscrew and remove the tightening bolt and friction washer
- Twist the head of the selfie stick 90° and pull to remove it from the shaft of the selfie stick
The head of the selfie stick will be joined with the lamp head bracket. Set a side the other components, and discard the shaft of the selfie stick.
Step 5: Unite the Lamp and Selfie Stick
Now the lamp and selfie stick will truly become one! If you have a drill, or other tools and materials then there is likely a better way to join the two components. However, cutting everything to size and gluing it together worked just fine.
- Cut the head of the selfie stick down to size using a small saw or appropriate cutting tool.
- Sand or file the remaining plastic down until it fits nicely with the lamp head bracket
- Use the pliers to bend the lamp head bracket if necessary to provide a better fit
- Glue the lamp head bracket and selfie stick head together, make sure everything is lined up straight
- Let the joined piece dry thoroughly
Depending on how much you use, the glue shouldn't take long to set. While I let mine dry I ran the USB cable through the inside of the lamp frame to provide power to my phone while it is mounted.
Step 6: Alter the Micro USB Cable
This step may not be relevant depending on the charging cable you are using and the lamp you purchase. For me the Micro USB head was too big to fit down the inside of the lamps frame. It is entirely possible to run the cable on the outside of the frame, but I was pretty set on running it on the inside. I was able to remove the plastic casing of the Micro USB head. This made it just small enough to fit down the inside of the lamp.
- Carefully separate the end piece of the micro USB from the rest of the plastic case using a knife
- Remove the plastic casing from the connector and set aside the end piece
- Carefully use the knife to cut a slit along the length of the plastic casing to allow the casing to be removed from the cable
- Remove the plastic casing from the USB cable, pliers may be helpful
- Set plastic pieces aside for later
Step 7: Disassemble the Lamp to Run the USB Cable - Then Reassemble!
Despite cutting down the USB head I still had disassemble the lamp almost entirely in order to run the USB cable through it. At each joint a small plastic end cap prevented the USB from fitting easily down the insides of the hollow shafts that make up the lamp frame. Depending on your lamp you may have this problem too.
- Use the screwdriver to disassemble the lamp. Only the pieces of the frame which you will be running the USB cable through need to be fully detached
- Run the USB cable through the insides of the lamp frame, and through the plastic end caps, making sure to keep it out of the way of any joints that may impinge on it
- Reassemble the lamp frame with the newly installed USB cable
- Reassemble the USB connector and glue the plastic casing back together. This is not entirely necessary, but it makes the package look a little nicer and protects the USB connector
Now the USB cable is installed all that is left is to reinstall the modified lamp/selfie-stick joint that we left to dry in Step 5.
Step 8: Reconstruct and Attach the Modified Lamp Joint
Now the final assembly!
- Reassemble the modified lamp joint
- Reattach the modified joint to the lamp frame using the attachment bolt, washer, and knob
- Attach the selfie stick mount to the modified joint using the tightening bolt and friction washer
- Reattach the springs to the lamp frame
The articulating arm is complete! Now all that's left is to add the appropriate mount for a phone or directly attach a camera!
Step 9: Attach Phone Mount or Camera - Finished!
The multi-use phone/camera articulating arm mount is ready to use!
- Attach phone or camera
- Plug in power charging cord
You can attach the phone gripper attachment that comes with the selfie stick to hold your phone. I found it works really well and hasn't dropped my phone yet. Again any 1/4 in UMC attachment should also work with this setup.
Let me know if you have any questions or any suggestions for this build!
Also this is my first instructable so any critiques on the writing, explanations, or photos are welcome!