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$9 Webcam Jig

11 Oct

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.

[thingiverse thing=12421]

 
  • Steven Devijver

    Very nice, I’ve been thinking about a “floating” webcam mount for a while myself, never thought about this approach. Thanks for sharing!

  • Warren Pattison

    This is awesome. I, too, have a C910, and have struggled with positioning it.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have a Makerbot, or access to one.

    Any chance you can gen up a couple of connectors and sell them? I’d be interested in getting one.

    • chris

      I could see doing that. When I get around to it I’ll shoot you an email and post it on my Etsy page.

      • Warren Pattison

        Awesome – thanks!

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  • Bogdan

    Nice, It would be nice, if you could route the USB cable from the webcam through the tubing, as the original lamp had. That’s just for a nicer finished look. Other than that it’s a nice solution.

    • chris

      Yeah that’s not a bad idea and would give it a more finished look. I avoided doing that because it would have required cutting off the USB plug and reattaching it and last time I tried that it….it did not go well. I decided to make sure my (pricey) webcam was still in working order so I could actually use it after mounting!

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  • Andres

    Great and simple idea. Thanks!

  • Tulsan

    Can we use the same technique to build something for iPad or a tablet – it would be great if someone could publish some steps to build this for cheap

  • Ahnult

    It’s called a camera JIB, not jig.

    • chris

      Maybe you’re right, or maybe I was writing about doing a little dance with my camera.

      OK you’re right.

  • http://gengame.net Kyle Wrigley

    I’ve used the exact same lamp as a pivoting mic stand during video game tournament commentary, It worked great for about 6 months until one day I wasn’t paying attention and pinched the cord in the lamp’s joint and cut some wires.

  • roy ixor
    • chris

      I haven’t but it looks pretty awesome. Looks like it would be really handy for close up demos and stuff like that.

  • Chester

    I am interested in 4 webcam jig brackets – maybe 6. How did you take apart the back of the Webcam Pro C910? No screws under the padding. Thanks

    • Chester

      I just found some plastic L brackets that I can put on a piece of wood that will work for me. Thanks for sharing your project. I found you via http://thetechiegeek.com/?p=1950 . I have been building a webcasting studio and this will solve the cam location and stability dilemma and saved me countless hour of searching for options (the joy of doing a project). Thanks Again.

  • Todd Lee

    There are tons of teachers “out there” who would love a blow-by-blow conversion of this thing to bypass all of the obscenely overpriced and/or limited document camera options. There are few e-tech items that can better facilitate classroom learning than a group dropping the working on a desk and everyone in the class can see what they did, with discussion coming immediately.

  • http://joesmakerbot.blogspot.com Joe Larson

    I did this same thing, using a second hand lamp as a mounting stand. Unfortunatly I couldn’t find as nice as one as you did. And I didn’t have a 3D printer at the time to make a nice mount. Faked it with scraps.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/jubbajabba07 Scott

    Hey man! I now this is a bit old, but do you hink there would be a where to fit something like a blue snowball mic onto this, instead of a webcam? That’s what I’m interested in, any ideas? :D

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