Simple In-Car Camera Mount for Less Than $2




Introduction: Simple In-Car Camera Mount for Less Than $2

About: My name is Jason Poel Smith I am a Community Manager here at Instructables. In my free time, I am an Inventor, Maker, Hacker, Tinker, and all around Mad Genius

You have probably seen quite a few videos that were shot from inside a moving car. My favorites are the videos of a meteor exploding in the skies above Russia in early 2013. You never know what interesting sites you might come across while driving to work.

There are a lot of different designs of in-car camera mounts. Some have the camera mounted to the windows. Others mount the camera to the dashboard. But the design that I like the best has the camera mounted to the headrest. This design is sturdy that doesn't require any modification to your car.

In this project, I am going to show you how you can make a simplified headrest camera mount.

Step 1: Materials

21" piece of 2" x 2" lumber ($1.75)
1/4"-20 x 1" Machine Screw ($0.25)

Wood Saw
Screw Driver
Power Drill and Bit Set

Step 2: Measure the Space of the Headrest Supports

First you need to measure the size and spacing of the headrest supports. Measure the distance from the center of one post to the center of the other post. Then measure the diameter of the posts. In my car the headrest supports were 6 inches apart (center to center) and each post was 1/2 inch wide. We will use these measurements to make the mounting holes on the camera support.

Step 3: Cut and Drill the Camera Support Bar

The camera support bar is basically just a piece of 2" x 2" lumber with several holes drilled in it. Start by cutting a 21 inch long section from your 2x2 board.

On the right side of the board, drill a 1/2" hole about 1 inch from the end. Then, drill a second 1/2" hole six inches to the left of the first hole. When drilling large holes it is often a good idea to first drill a smaller hole and then gradually widen the hole with larger bits until you reach the desired size. This helps to prevent the wood from splitting or breaking up. It also helps to place a second piece of wood underneath the one that you are drilling. By drilling directly into a second piece of wood, it helps to keep the exit hole clean and even.

On the left side of the board, drill a 1/4" hole through the board about 1 inch from the end. Then on the bottom side of the board, counterbore the hole with a 1/2" bit so that a 1 inch long 1/4-20 machine screw can reach through the board and stick out the other side. Again, it is often helpful to use several bits to gradually widen the hole. This helps to prevent too much damage to the wood. Repeat this process at several locations along the board. This gives you several options as to where to mount your camera. I recommend having the mounting holes no closer than one inch apart.

Step 4: Mount the Camera

Decide where you would like to position the camera. At the corresponding mounting hole, insert the machine screw through the bottom of the board. Place the camera on top of the board so that the mounting screw hole on the camera lines up with the hole on the board. Using your screw driver, tun the screw and thread it into the hole on the camera. Tighten the screw just enough so that camera is securely held in place but you can still turn it by hand.

Step 5: Mount the 2x2 Onto the Headrest

In your car, remove the passenger headrest. There is usually a release button that will let the headrest just slide out. Insert the two posts of the headrest through the two 1/2" holes that you drilled on the board. The counterbored side of the mounting holes should be on the bottom side. Then reattach the headrest to the seat.

Step 6: Adjust the Position of the Camera

This design gives you several ways that you can adjust the position of the camera. To pan the camera right and left, you can simply turn the camera by hand. If necessary you can use your screw driver to loosen it first. To tilt the camera up and down, adjust the angle of the passenger seat. To slide the camera right or left, unscrew the camera, and relocate the camera and the machine screw to a different mounting hole. Unfortunately, this design doesn't give you any way to roll the camera, but that shouldn't restrict you too much. 

Step 7: Test Out Your Camera Mount

Now you just need to test out your new camera rig. So hit record, and go for a drive. You may not capture exciting footage on every trip but it is still a fun little project. 

If you are driving on a rough road, the video can get shaky. If this happens you can pad the camera support by placing a rolled up cloth such as a shirt or towel between the board and the seat.

Safety Note:
Never operate the camera while driving. If you want to make adjustment to the camera while on the road, have a friend sit in he back seat and operate the camera. 



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    42 Discussions


    Well it's organised junk then that's all I can say ha!
    I have a slither of walk space in my garage looks like Moses has parted the junk out the way for me

    Great idea. Your garage is very tidy lol

    1 reply

    wow, nice video Wheatridge!

    I like the camera mount too. simple and easy to remove.

    have to laugh at all the people saying its crude or needs to be finished as if spending hours sanding, priming and painting it to match the interior would make it perform any better. Nice project, thank you for sharing it

    Good gravy, the sheer number of Nannies in this thread makes me wonder if I am on a website dedicated to knitting cozies for your teapots and putting plastic bumpers on every corner of your house incase you happen to lose balance while your jasmine tea steeps, or a website in which you can learn how to make a laser that can cut through metal, make a welder from a microwave oven transformer, potato guns, trebuchets, an electric motorcycle that goes 100MPH, a handheld laser pointer that can burn and pop balloons inside a star trek phaser, and dozens of things that either use high pressure or high temperatures...

    And everyone is jumping all up and down on a bit of wood to a headrest?

    Sheesh... Give it a rest people. Get off this website if you don't want to see things like this.

    2 replies

    HAHAHAH Great rant man - I almost died laughing! HAHAHA "you're on a site that makes deadly cancer causing and blinding lasers and you complain about my stupid piece of wood in a car?" HAHAHAH!!!!

    This is Distracted Driving and is Illegal in most states,
    and it will get you in more trouble than you have money to get out of.

    Think before you do this one!

    I've done something "similar" about 10 years ago, and is even cheaper.

    Despite what Bubbler says I did something like this for my van a few years back right here in Australia and used it numerous times to record time lapse videos. I never got a grumble from the police and I only mothballed it a few months ago because I got a new van it didn't fit in.

    Nevertheless despite the fact that many DVD screens also attach to the head rest pins; and no one thinks twice about some timber lose in the car when coming back from the hardware shop; not to mention having a lose camera on a trip; it has to be a bit more dangerous having something heavy at neck level. In fact we had an accident and my camera that was sitting on the floor, badly bruised my wife's shin.

    My wooden mount design was clipped to a metal transverse structural member already in the van and had all the weight and camera near the windscreen, so in front of the driver. I also used very light timber and I used a ball mount to allow the camera to be positioned correctly:

    But now with windscreen mounts and car cameras so cheap I am going that direction, so my wooden mount will probably be recycled for materials. I suggest you do the same even if it is just in case a critic gets the last laugh i{^_=}.

    I like it. I will admit that my first thoughts were "whoah, this ain't safe, surely". But then I looked again and went through it. How is it 'not safe'. It isn't really unsafe as such. I suppose it could have an added extra bit of security built in just in case there was that million to one chance of something coming through the windscreen. The catapult effect that has been mentioned. Just cut a slice through the wooden arm about a third through. If anything (unlikely I would say) were to then come bursting through the windscreen it would hit the wooden arm which would then simply break backwards and sort of hinge into the rear of the car. no neck injury for the driver... Though, whatever has burst through the windscreen might just have decapitated said driver :( Nice simple 'ible', cheers.

    Instead of drilling holes for the headrest posts I would drill the holes and cut notches in the wood to the outside (see image). This way it is not necessary to remove the headrest (some cars it is almost impossible). I would also probably use 1x2 or 1x3 not 2x2 and a very light camera.

    Also this way in an accident the wood can fall out and be less of a danger.

    camera mount.png

    I like the idea of a in-car cam, you will have hours of boring footage, but maybe get some good evidence in case of an accident as long as the your contraption doesnt hurt you, you could always watch a movie on it in the back seat. I am always worried about my GPS suction cupped to my W/S you could always velco it to your dash and save the price of the screw and wood?? I have thought of that, but a cam flying around has bothered me but good luck...

    WELL I LIKE IT! that tiny knotted board couldn't break anyone's neck especially if the seats empty. ignore the haters...