So some of you may know that this Lazy Old Geek likes to do a lot of Instructables with electronics and Arduinos. Well, I’ve always had problems taking pictures. I have a big tripod which I can use on the floor and a few little tripods(see picture). The problem with the little guys is that they work pretty good for vertical pictures but with a camera on them, you can’t angle them very much without them tipping over. So I decided to build my own.
So I’m an electronics scrounger and have a box of steel shafts(see picture) I took out of scrapped printers/scanners for a CNC machine that I will probably never build. And some plastic from cutting boards and some wood. (see picture) So I was scheming, maybe attach the swivel head from the tripod to the plastic and somehow attach it to the shaft.
Step 1: Connecting to Shaft
Problem1: How do I connect the swivel head to the shaft. I was thinking maybe some kind of a strap around the shaft bolted to the plastic or maybe a wood block drilled for the shaft. But neither seemed like the right plan.
Solution: Well, I went into my hardware shelf and HARK! I found this 4” door hinge (see picture) I’d bought for another project (which apparently didn’t work out though I can’t remember what it was anyway).
Problem2: Well, to be useful to me, I had to figure out what was holding the hinge pin in. I couldn’t see anything obvious.
Solution: So I decided to use the brute force method. I put the hinge in a vise. I took one of my shafts and started hitting it with a hammer to see if I could drive the pin out. Voila! It came out. Of course the shaft I used was too big for the opening but I was able to get it out with a big set of pliers. In hindsight, I should’ve used a smaller shaft or a punch.
Technospeak: The hinge pin has a little wider diameter at the top so that it’s held in place at the top with friction but is other wise free to pivot on the other half of the hinge.
Next I selected a shaft slightly smaller than the hinge pieces. The shaft measured 0.27” which according to the chart on my workbench is 17/64 in American decimal.
The hinge pin holes are pretty rough so I put a 9/32” drill bit in my drill press and drilled out one of the halves. In hindsight, it would’ve probably been easier to use a regular drill instead of trying to line up the whole hinge for the drill press.
Ok. Shaft fits pretty nicely on the shaft.
Problem3: Now I had to figure out a way to keep it from sliding down the shaft.
Solution: Actually, I had done some work on this hinge before. Using a center punch and a drill press, I’d already drilled a hole through the hinge and tapped it for a 6-32 screw. (see picture)
Step 2: Connecting Camera Swivel Head
Problem4: Next, I had to figure out how to connect the camera to the hinge. Well, I had a black plastic tripod from the dollar store that just had a screw attaching the swivel head to the legs.
Solution: But this metal gold one was better. It did have a screw but it also had a metal ring around the swivel mount with a threaded collar (see picture). So I could attach the swivel head to the hinge.
Problem5: Theoretically, you could mount the swivel anywhere on the hinge. But I saw a problem, the little adjustment knob could hit on the hinge if you are not careful(see picture).
Solution: So I decided to drill out the bottom mounting hole of the hinge to attach the swivel. You can position the adjuster knob so that it will clear the hinge.
Hint: you do not want make this hole small enough to tap for the swivel mount. Make it big so the whole assembly will go in and held in place with the threaded collar.
Step 3: Camera Mount Usage
I drilled a 7/64” hole in my workbench.
Problem6: I foresaw another problem, my workbench is cheap fiberboard(?). The hole isn’t going to remain very tight.
Solution: So I scrounged through my parts again and found this little rubberized wheel (I assume for moving paper). The hole was too small so I drilled it out to 7/64”. Well, the plastic had no give so I had to drive the shaft onto this wheel. I also found this rubber wheel that was tight on the shaft. (see pictures)
Insert shaft into the hole. Put the rubber wheel underneath to hold the shaft secure and vertical.
The swivel mount is pretty simple. It can be rotated and pivoted about 90 degrees.
The easiest method I found is to screw the swivel to the camera, first.
You want the adjuster to be away from the hinge either to the side or below.
So if you want to pivot the camera, up, down, left or right, determine which side of the hinge to put the swivel mount.
Insert it and hand tighten.
The hinge can be adjusted up and down with the set screw.
The camera can be rotated by rotating the shaft.
The camera can be angled with the swivel adjuster.
Start snapping pictures!! (see picture)
All of this project was made from parts I had laying around. Sometimes it’s worth being a scrounger.