I guess the title is pretty self explanatory, but a picture is worth a thousand words!
This is my first instructable so constructive comments are appreciated. I originally posted this on my blog, and after much grudging by my friends to post here, I decided I should. So here goes.
This thing turned out to be surprisingly versatile, and much better to use in practice than I had originally anticipated. The one pictured here gives me about 120 degrees of movement around the two horizontal axes and 360 around the vertical. Not too shabby.
Step 1: Materials
the bill of materials is ridiculously small, and not restricted to these options. You can easily find replacements for all these parts.
. one tennis ball.
. 1/4' bolt (that fits your camera, be careful to get the right tread. what's it called?)
. a nut, butterfly nut and a washer.
. a tube or can that the tennisball will snugly fit into. Doesn't matter what kind, it should be sturdy. Try using the can that the balls come in.
. some tape and a knife or something.
Step 2: Make the Ball
using the knife or a corkscrew make a hole in the tennis ball that's large enough to squeeze the head of the nut through. It should best be a tight fit. You could make an X like I did but I don't recommend it, because there is a loss in stability when you do it like this.
Insert the bolt into the hole, put a washer on it and screw it down in place with the nut. Make it as tight as you can. This should securely hold the bolt in place.
Step 3: Prepare the Tube
Seal up one end of the tube using a piece of cardboard and tape. Use hot-glue if you like.
Cut it down so that when you put the ball in, a segment of it pops from the top. I.e, somewhere between the radius and the diameter of the ball. The longer the tube, the more restricted your range of movement will be. On the other hand, if it's too short you'll probably loose stability. I think in the end it's best to aim for 2/3 the diameter of the ball.
Step 4: Make the Top
Now you should cut up a piece of cardboard or, in this case, the lid of the can. Make a hole in it that's large enough to fit over the ball and on the tube. It should ideally be a tight fit and provide the ball with some resistance so that the head is sturdy when you put the camera on it.
Step 5: Done!!!
now tape the top in place and you're done! You could glue it down, nail it or weld it for all I care. It really depends on the materials you use.
If you notice that the the ball moves too freely inside the tube, you could try drilling a hole on the side of the tube and gluing a nut on it. Inset a bolt there which you can tighten or loosen according to the tension you want. In my case this wasn't necessary as the top offers enough friction to keep it in place once the camera is attached.
I don't recommend using this for larger camera's, but small point and shoots should work great!
You could try attaching something like a suction-cup to the bottom and you get yourself an attach-anywhere...spiderpod? hehe.
visit my blog for more small projects.