How To Make a Five Dollar Video Camera Mount



Raw materials:

  • (1) 1/4"-20 x 1/2" bolt, coarse thread ( I bought a pack of four from Autozone, with nuts which are handy for keeping everything together when not installed, for a buck or so. )
  • a strip of flat, hard material, 3x8" or so. I use 6061 aluminum that I buy from McMaster-Carr because it is available in 3x24x.125" strips for $14.30, which is enough for 3 mounts. If you want to get high-tech, they have inch-thick Neoprene backed by 1/8" aluminum in 12x12" for $71. There's nothing magical about the 1/8" thickness, it is just sufficient and convenient.
  • optional: a lock washer for the bolt

Tools:
  • Tape measure or similar
  • Drill
  • Hacksaw, cut-off tool, circular saw or something else to cut the raw material to desired size.

Build it (easy way):

  1. Pick an image from the left; top one for a 1991 Toyota MR2 ( should fit 1991-1995, at least ), bottom for 2003 Subaru Impreza WRX ( and probably other years ). The angled edge on the lower image is not required.
  2. See note below if making the "four-hole" version for the WRX.
  3. Copy image, and blow up until the mount is 3x9". Print it.
  4. Using the template you just made, cut and drill your material to match.

Build It (hard way):

  1. Cut raw material to desired size. The mount pictured is 3x9", but 8" is about the minimum necessary length. 2 inch width would also work, perhaps sacrificing some stability.
  2. Drill a 17/64ths hole in the middle of the piece lengthwise for the bolt. You may want to offset this slightly, as shown, to get more of the mount under the (typically heavier) front of the camera.
  3. Measure the diameter of the headrest poles. Grab drill bit just slightly larger.
  4. Measure the distance between the poles and drill two holes equidistant from the first.
  5. The fourth hole on the lower mount pictured on the left is to allow the mount to be used on the rear headrests of the Subaru. Same process as above, except I reused one of the holes, instead drilling a fifth. If you are going to mount it in the rear, I recommend an 8 inch length, as the additional material gets in the way.
  6. If you are trusting enough, and lazy enough, to want to use my measurements, here they are (center-to-center where applicable);
    Measurement WRX MR2
    Post diameter 3/8" 3/8"
    Front seat spread 6 1/4" 5 15/16"
    Rear seat spread 5 3/32"

Installation:

  1. Depending on camera model, you may have to insert your tape or disc first.
  2. Insert bolt ( with washer ) and tighten into threaded hole on camera.
  3. Remove headrest and slide posts into mount.
  4. Replace headrest.
  5. Aim camera.
  6. For off-road use, and depending on the size of your camera, and the thickness of your material, you may find you want to make an additional notch on the headrest post, to securely lock it in place. I used an air cut-off tool on my MR2 headrest. Measure twice, cut once.
Installed picture.

Comments and questions to David Hillman.



Copyright 2003, David Hillman