Introduction: Sturdy But Adjustable Camera Holder
Some people still believe it's not possible to build sturdy things using a consumer 3D printing. Let's build a a new counterexample!
The aim is to create a very robust camera holder usable at a desk for instance, fitting any standard camera even heavy such as a Canon Reflex. I build this system to be able to record my leather work, but I believe it may be fine for a lot of purposes, that's why I share it here :)
For this build, you only need a 3D printer (or find a way to print your parts), some screws and basics tools.
Interested? Let's go!
- A 3D printer, mine is Ender 3 pro and I recommend it!
- Some plastic filament, PLA is totally fine.
The following screws, washers and nuts can be changed (especially for US screws), but here is what I used:
- 1 cylindrical head M10x50
- 1 cylindrical head M10x20
- At least 3 cylindrical head low profile M10x35
- 5 cylindrical head M6x16
- optional: 2 cylindrical head M4x12
- At least 4 diameter 10 type M
- 2 diameter 4 type M
- At least 4 M10, type S is better but M are OK too
- Optional: a small piece of leather to create the strap. Fabric may be fine :)
- M10 tap
- M6 tap
- optional: M4 tap
- Tools to screw everything up: screwdrivers and a drill may help
Step 1: 3D Model Your Part, or Use Mine!
So, the first part is to model what is going to be printed. In this phase, you need to keep in mind how everything is going to be assembled and how everything is going to move or not!
If you're not familiar with 3D modeling, you can of course use my design and I'll share ".stl" files ready to be printed. Using my design, you can be sure that everything assemble correctly and it sturdy enought!
If you need to change something (screw size for instance), I'll also add CAD file ready to be imported into your favorite 3D software and edited. I used Creo Parametrics so file are ".prt" formatted, available here on Github.
Please be aware that all theses parts are open source licensed and may not be used to sell products.
I'm going to cover all parts to explain every mechanical solution I used in this section :)
First, let's have a look at the arm. It is composed of several times the same part called a section.
In order for these part to be sturdy, we need to use specific junctions. Moreover, they allow one degree of movement to adjust the futur height of the camera!
To do this, I used a screw between each section. The model is suitable for M10x35 cylindrical head screw with a 10 washer type M (standard one) and a M10 nut.
This may be the trickiest part. As the camera may be far away, the lever arm onto the base may be high and these parts must keep everything up!
In addition, they should be able to add some movement liberties to the ensemble.
Thus, I created 2 parts: "the base" and the "base adaptator".
The base is going to be fixed on the table (or any thick enough surface) using the specific screw. It was created using a "trapezoidal thread" that is going to stay in place after screwing. Also known as ACME in the US, even if norm are a bit different, that's the same principle.
The second part is mounted on top of the base using a M10x20 screw. I tap the base plastic to create the M10 thread, but you also can add a nut after modifying the model. To change the orientation of this part regarding the base, you just have to unscrew, raise and screw again the system.
Finally, the junction with the first section is the same type as between sections themselves but I used a longer screw to be sure that this junction is going to handle all constraints.
Camera holding system
To finish, the camera holding system is based on the standard screw of the camera. Usually, all camera have a screw (1/4''-20 originally but M6 is OK if you're not going deep) on the bottom.
Thus, I created a plate to hold the camera using this screw. It's linked to the last section using a small part that allow a new rotation to ensure full liberty degrees within the system by 4 M6 screws.
To be sure that everything will stay in place, I added 2 holes that can received 2 M4 screws after tapping. I'll use them to add a leather strap.
3D printing parameters
Here is the important part, you need to be sure that parts are sturdy enough to handle your favourite and expensive camera.
The number of sections is depending on your need. I'll use 3 of them.
I used the following parameters for all of my parts:
- infill: 15% fast honeycomb
- 3 bottom and top layers
- 3 shell walls
- no supports: you just have to orient correctly each part during the print. Usually, holes are not an issue. Of course it can depend of your machine and you can add supports if you want too.
Total print time is about 35-40 hours. That's a lot but that's the cost to have solid parts!
Step 2: Preparation
All your parts are printed ... finally after a couple of days. But some preparation is need before assembly.
To tap holes, you can use tap bits and a specific handle. Usually, there are 3 for each size: 3 bits for an M10 thread for instance.
You need to use them in the right order to be sure to remove material progressively and not damage the part. Moreover, as the first bit is rough, it's possible to use a drill but be sure to use the handle for both last bits and ensure good result.
- Tap M10 hole inside the base.
- Tap M6 holes in the camera holder.
- Tap M4 holes in the camera holder.
- Ensure that the specific large screw is running well in the base. At first, you should "force" and then go back and so on until everything is fine.
Step 3: Build
Now let's assemble everything up!
- In the second part of the base, add the M10x20 screw inside and screw it on the base. You can change the orientation here.
- Add the first section using a M10x50 screw, a washer and a nut.Add next sections using M10x35, washers and nuts.
- Assemble together the 2 parts of the camera holder using 4 M6 screws. Again, you can change the orientation.
- Screw the holder in the last section using M10x35 screw, washer and nut.
Step 4: Add the Camera and Enjoy!
Finally, add the camera on the holder using a M6 screw or a 1/4''-20 if you have one.
Again, the orientation of the camera can be change here in addition to the orientation of the holder itself.
This is totally optional, but I added a leather strap to be sure that the camera stays in place. There is not risk of falling with the M6 screw but the camera may rotates as there is only one attach point.
I used two M4 screws with washers to attach the strap.
Enjoy the result and thanks for reading! Share if you built it!
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