Editor’s Note: An updated (and in my opinion much improved) design is available here Walt the Webcam Mount
Last month I picked up this really nice webcam (Logitech 1080p Webcam Pro C910) from Amazon to use to record Makerbot prints. The picture quality is great, but the mounting hardware it came with is not. While the standard “clip over your laptop screen” mount is great for Skyping your friends it’s fairly useless for what I was hoping to accomplish. I removed as much of the original mount as possible and started conceptualizing a more creative way to mount the camera.
My first attempt involved mounting the webcam in my Makerbot and it started with a lot of masking tape (it also ended there because it was more or less impossible to get it aligned properly and tape it in place at the same time). The second iteration involved even more masking tape and an old desk lamp. This worked fairly well (it had several pivot points) but wasn’t suited for everything I wanted to do with it (it couldn’t point straight down).
After racking my brain I took a trip to IKEA to look for something that I could modify to fit my needs (I’ve found IKEA is a solid choice for mechanical parts at low prices just begging to be repurposed). After a little searching (and a few sweedish meatballs) I picked up a “TERTIAL Work Lamp” for $8.99 and got to work mounting my webcam to the lamp arm.
I started off by removing all of the electrical components from the lamp arm and removing the fixture from the end of the lamp. Then (like with most of my projects) I pulled up Google Sketchup and started working on a design that would fit my webcam. I designed a small bracket for the lamp with flanges that restricted movement on the X/Y axis of the camera. The bracket also has a hole to thread a a M4x25 hex bolt (leftover from my Makerbot build) through both the bracket and the webcam. After attaching the webcam I bolted the bracket down to the lamp arm and I was ready to go!
The jig works great attached to a chair or table near my Makerbot for recording prints. Because of it’s range of motion I’m also planning on using it to record a stop motion introduction for my DIY videos. It can be pointed straight down and locks into place using the set screws in the joints of the arm. Once it’s screwed in tight it stays locked down really well. One of the big advantages to using a lamp with a clamp as opposed to a heavy base is that you’re able to clamp it to an unobtrusive part of your work area without disrupting anything.