RGBDToolkit Aluminum Mount for Kinect & DSLR/video Camera

Introduction: RGBDToolkit Aluminum Mount for Kinect & DSLR/video Camera

These instructions are for making a durable mount to attach an Xbox Kinect to the base of a HDSLR or conceivably any camera that has a standard tripod mount. This is meant for use with the RGBDtoolkit for 'volumetric' filmmaking with the xBox Kinect. 

The mount is designed with the following constraints; that the relationship between the Kinect and the camera stays fixed and isn’t susceptible to bumping or slipping, the lenses are as close as possible without obscuring one-another, the whole system can easily be mounted on a tripod.

This is by no means the only way to do this. There are aspects of this system that could use improvement: most notably the mechanism for adjusting the angle of the Kinect in the mount. We would be thrilled to see your modifications, additions or complete redesigns of this mount.

Finally, I would not recommend going by this tutorial alone – follow along with the photos & diagrams or consider downloading the Google sketchup file at the bottom. 

Drill press or household drill with a steady hand
Table, hand or miter saw - as long as you can safely make straight cuts in aluminum any of these should work
Misc. screw drivers & wrenches
Lubricant (see instructions)
1/4"-20 tap - If you are using a drill press I recommend getting the all-in-one screw+tap sets.
10-24 tap
1" hole saw

Camera Quick Release Plate Adapter Set
This one differs from the Manfrotto version in that it is less expensive but not threaded. It has a 1/4" counter-sunk hole in the top instead of the threaded 3/8". If you would like to use your existing Manfrotto quick release, see note below.
4x 1/4"-20 x 3/8" screws
1x 1/4"-20 x 1" counter sunk screw
5x 1/4" lock washers
We recommend using these to prevent overtightening with the soft aluminum.
4x 10-24 1/2" thumb screws
Can be substituted with regular screws
1x 15" of 2" angle aluminum
We recommend getting plenty extra in case you make mistakes.
1x 1/4"-20 nut
Coarse sandpaper
Self-adhesive silicone bumpers
2x Silicone Wristbands

Cut the angle aluminum into three pieces – 2”, 4.5” & 7” long.

2-Inch Piece:
Drill 2 x 1/4” holes 1” apart on a line that is 1” from the apex of the angle aluminum. Drill & tap a 1/4”-20 sized hole in the center of the opposite side.

4.5-Inch Piece:
Place the 2” piece on the inside of the 4.5” piece so that they form a “C”. Align the smaller piece in the center of the larger and mark the holes to match those that you’ve already drilled and score the edges of the smaller piece onto the larger piece.

Tap those two holes with the 1/4”-20 sized tap and check the fit with screws.

Drill a 1/4” hole that is mid-way between the mark you just scored and the outside edge and 1/4” from the inside corner of the angle aluminum.

Place the quick-release plate you’re choosing to use in the center of the opposite side, lining up the ‘front’ (opposite the release lever) with the apex edge of the aluminum and mark the location of the hole then drill a hole to match.

7-Inch Piece:
Place the 4.5” piece against the 7” piece in the way that they’ll eventually be put together (see diagram.)

Place it so that the top surface measures 0.85” from the top edge of the 7” piece and make a mark through the two holes. It is important that it is level, so measure both sides carefully.

Tap those marks with the 1/4”-20 bit and make sure the two parts fit together.

Cutting a hole for the Kinect ‘foot’:
Next step is making space for the base of the kinect. This could be done in a few ways. I used a 1” hole saw, then a band saw to cut them out. When you do this part make sure that you clamp down the aluminum to your work surface and lubricate your bit well.
An alternative method could be to make two cuts in about 1.5” from the edge outside edge, use a vise-grips to bend that portion out/down, then cut it off and file off the excess.

Adjustment mechanism:
The last step is to make adjustable ‘risers‘ to change the angle of the Kinect. I have done this by tapping holes in the the ‘feet‘ of the mount with the 10-24 bit and cutting 1”-wide strips from the angle aluminum as inserts. See photos.

Finishing touches:
Add the silicone bumpers on the inserts and the back wall of the mount. Then, in order to mount the kinect, double-wrap it with the silicone wristbands. There are various ways you can do this, but make sure that the kinect is firmly pressed against the bumpers and will not slide or twist. Another solution is to semi-permanently attach the mount to the kinect with some industrial strength Velcro. This shouldn’t present a problem if you – for some reason – decide to use your Kinect to play video games down the line.

If you already have a Manfrotto quick release plate and adapter on an existing tripod that you’d like to use instead of the kind that I recommend above, you’ll have to drill a 3/8” sized hole in the aluminum base and buy a 3/8"x1/2” hex cap screw.

When screwing, tapping or sawing aluminum make sure to lubricate the area first. This will prevent it from galling or tearing the aluminum and will keep aluminum pieces from fouling your tools. You can use WD-40 or machine oil – even olive oil should work fine.

We owe a debt of gratitude to Thomas Haggerty for working with us to design the first generation of this mount, upon which all following mounts have been modeled.

Diagrams & images

Model in the Google 3D Warehouse


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    2 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    It's designed to be used with a set of software called the RGBDtoolkit which allows you to calibrate a regular video camera and an xBox Kinect together to make a sort of hybrid 3D cinema. You can see more at rgbd.tumblr.com or rgbdtoolkit.com.