The Better Swing Arm Camera Mount

Introduction: The Better Swing Arm Camera Mount

About: Writer, engineer, techie. I've been using computers since the original Apple II in 1978 and have always been interested in technical topics. Check out my articles on They include how-to...

This instructable can be accessed at the author's website - If you link to this instructable from another website, please include a link to the Neat Information website. I saw an Ikea swing arm lamp converted into a camera mount and realized I could go one step better and make a more flexible combination lamp / camera mount.

A camera you can position wherever you want over your worktable is very useful for documenting your projects or streaming video for a live demonstration. It’s easy to add a tripod mount to a swing arm lamp without affecting the lamp’s normal operation.

This setup is suitable for small digital camera or a webcam with a standard tripod socket.

Materials -

I picked up a swing arm lamp with magnifying glass at a yard sale for $5. Typically these units retail for about $15 new.

A 1/4"-20 bolt, about 1.5 inches long.
A 1/4"-20 nut.
A 1/4"-20 free spinning washer nut.

The hardware is available at any decent hardware store for about $1.50.

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Step 1:

Use something sharp to make a small hole on the lamp’s plastic case in a suitable place. Use a drill with a 1/4 inch bit to make the final hole. Clean any burrs out the hole.

A suitable place is place which won’t interfere with the light or magnifying glass. After my first experiments I realized it would be better to mount the camera on the side of the lamp which faces the back of the desk (e.g. away from you).

Step 2: Add Bolt and Nut

Insert the bolt into the hole you just made with the bolt sticking out. Screw the normal nut on top. You can glue the nut and bolt in place for a more permanent and stronger setup.

Step 3: Attach the Webcam

Screw the free spinning washer on the bolt with the washer facing out.

Screw the camera (webcam or small digital camera) on the bolt and tighten it in place with the free spinning washer.

Use a couple of bread twist-ties or nylon ties to attach the USB cable to the swing arms to keep the cable out of the way. Make sure the cable won’t interfere with the swing arm’s normal movements.

Step 4: You're Done

The key limitation I’ve found is parallax, since the camera is not aligned with the magnifying glass. While the magnifying glass is the best way for you to examine what you’re working on, you may want a computer monitor in easy range so you can see the camera’s field-of-view.

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