Introduction: Overhead Camera Arm

About: Part software developer, part maker.

Hi Everyone,

In this Instructable, I’m making an overhead camera arm for my workshop. This arm will help me while filming my projects there and will provide better shots of what I’m doing while staying out of the way.


Step 1: Prepare the Arm Sections

The arm is built out of three 1-meter long aluminum tubes that are 2cm wide and 1 cm high. I’ve cut the first one in 3 equal parts and the other one in half. The third one will be used as a rail on the ceiling so the arm can be moved back and forth.

Step 2: Cut the Rail

The aluminum piece that stayed in its full length needs to have a groove cut out on one side so the screw can move freely. If you can source locally a t-track extrusion, you can skip this step entirely and use that instead.

I could not find such extrusion so I made one.

Step 3: Make the Sliding Block

To move inside the rail, I’ve made a wooden block that fits perfectly inside out of two pieces of 15mm by a 5mm wood strip that is glued together.

To mount on this block, I’ve cut the head of a screw to make it rectangular and I’ve drilled a hole in the wooden block to house it. The screw is later glued in using 2 part epoxy so it stays firmly in.

Step 4: Make the Rotating Attachment

The entire arm will be attached at the ceiling but I wanted it to be able to spin in any direction. To achieve that, I’ve cut out a 10cm square out of a pallet board and tuned it in a circle with the help of my belt sander. The circle is then drilled through and an additional square hole is made in order to attach a small piece of the tubing. This will be the point at which the entire arm will then hang from.

Step 5: Drill Mounting Holes in the Aluminum Tubes

The arm will be able to move in 3 points where the individual sections are joined. To join them I’ve used M8 screws so I needed to drill the appropriate holes.

At one side of the last section, I’ve drilled a smaller hole so I can later attach the camera screw attachment.

Step 6: Fix Screw Heads

To lock the sections in place I’m using wing nuts but since the other side of the screws is not fixed, they start to spin easily. To prevent that, I’ve roughened the surface of the aluminum tube and sanded the sides of the screws to create a grip surface for the epoxy glue.

I’ve then applied a generous amount of the glue to both the tubes and the screws and I left them to dry overnight while being clamped with the wing nuts on the other side.

Step 7: Attach the Guide Rail to the Ceiling

The rail is attached to the ceiling using two screws at the ends and one bracket in the middle as there is not enough space for a screw through it there. The bracket I made out of perforated metal tape that is attached to the ceiling with a screw.

This prevents any sagging in the middle of the rail when the arm is in the center position.

Step 8: Assemble the Arm

As a final step, I’ve assembled all of the parts and I’ve attached a ball joint at the end so the camera or phone in my case can be easily turned in any direction needed.

Step 9: Keep Making and Enjoy Filming!

With everything complete, I could not be happier about how it all turned out. The arm is very easy to operate and adjust and literally, any angle can be staged.

It is now a turn of finding more time for projects and making them!

If you liked this project, then be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel and check out some of my other Instructables.