Saturday, November 22, 2014

Improved Paint Pole Camera Mount Progress

I've been busy working on the new improved paint pole camera mount project that I post about a couple of days ago.  I managed to get the four 3D printed parts made in quick order and they turned out great.  I always make some test parts when I have an assembly that needs to be made using my 3D printer and this project was no exception.  I wanted to make sure assembly and dis-assembly of the tilt head worked properly. I hate to print a part for three hours and find out that it does not fit right because of a hole that was to small to fit a bolt through.  Worth the effort to make a test part first.

The tilt head that I designed on my first paint pole camera mount had a friction fit tilt head on it.  This was okay but the wing nut holding the head at any angle needed to be cranked down pretty tight in order to work.  With this design I eliminated this problem and instead designed the tilt head with a series of holes that were lined up with a locking pin mounted in a vertical arm.  This arm holds the locking pin in place.
   The tilt head pivots on a single 1/4" carriage bolt and has seven holes aligned in a semi-circle to match up to the locking pin.  The head can be tilted up or down as much as 45 degrees using the seven holes in the tilt head.  Each hole will tilt the head 15 degrees at a time. The carriage bolt only needs a wing nut on the end to hold this bolt in place and no longer has to be cranked very tight to work.  The tilting assembly is bolted to the paint pole mount using a standard 1/4" bolt and the pole mount then screws on to any standard paint pole.

Here the new design is completely assembled and ready for use.  On the very top of the mount is a  quick release camera mount that makes it simpler for me to add or remove my digital camera or my video camera.  The aluminum rods that stick out of the paint pole mount are used when I want to bring the camera and it's mount down from shooting.  This way when I want to rest the assembly on the ground my camera will not touch the ground and be safer when I need to adjust anything. Little rubber tips protect the tips of the aluminum rods and give the assembly a nice finished look.

My efforts to keep the design clean and uncluttered paid off with the way the assembly turned out using my 3D printer.   With a single wing nut to loosen, I can pull the assembly, adjust the tilt head angle, and reassemble it all in less than a minute.

With the use of a carriage bolt to hold the tilt head in position the locking pin is hidden inside the vertical arm when everything is assembled.  A nice clean look.  You can see the holes in the tilt head for the various angles that it can be rotated to. Also the vertical arm slides in nicely into the tilt head base with the use of small extrusions on the lower sides of the part.  These match up perfectly with the female indentations on the base.  

  I have all of the parts order now for the video monitor and various hardware that I will need to connect to my video camera when I am using this assembly.  Hopefully everything will be here in the next couple weeks.  Then I will be able to work out the design to mount the video monitor to the paint pole as well.  The monitor will be connected to my video camera using a 10 foot HDMI cable. and be powered by a small rechargeable battery.  Should be a pretty slick setup once I get it all together.  Stay tuned for further developments and have a good day in your workshop!

Friday, November 21, 2014

IPad Tripod Mount STL Files Now Available

I have been using my IPad tripod mount for quite some time now and have gotten some inquires about the STL files that are needed to 3D print this project.  I am happy to say I finally got to work today and pulled all the information together to be able to now offer the plans and STL files on my blog for $5.00. 
  This mount is a great project that can be 3D printed in a day and used the next.  I have used the mount as a teleprompter, a video display stand, a camera stand to steady my IPad photos as well as a video stand for excellent time lapse video!  Much easier than trying to hold the IPad still for any length of time.  If your interested in getting the files and instructions on how to make this project go to the Project Plans and 3D Printer STL Files page on this blog and place your order today!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Upcoming Projects

The weeks seem to fly by now with the fall weather gone and the winter snow arriving WAY to soon.  It has been several weeks since I put out another post so I thought it time to get something out today to let everyone know that I am hard at work on new projects.  In my last post I spoke about a BMW sign that I had made for a friend of mine and with that thought in mind I decided to make a Mini Cooper logo sign to hang in my garage.  This project when I have completed it will look something like the computer image I created shown below.

I came across this design online and as I am currently driving a Mini Cooper S this fit the bill.  The reason I have not posted any information about this project until now is because I have been shooting video of the entire project so that everyone can see what it takes to put this kind of project together first hand.  The project in itself is a bunch of work (or should I say fun) and so to add to the complexity of the project I have the task of trying to shoot video at the same time.  I am in desperate need of a video camera operator here at the shop so it just takes me that much longer to get the shots that I want while building this project at the same time. 

  Along with this project I am also working on a redo of an earlier project that I put together a few years back.  I had designed and built a camera mount that would fit on to a standard paint pole.  This allows me to shoot video or photos at a height of 12 or 15 feet above the ground. Here is what my first attempt at this project looked like once it had been completed.

This paint pole camera mount worked out okay but as with any project there was room for improvement. The simple point and shoot camera that I use was good as long as you were lucky enough to get the camera pointed in the right direction.  Then you still had to figure out how to press the shutter.  I had made a simple mechanical remote trigger that again was just okay to work with. 
I still could not see where the camera was looking.  The rods sticking out of the base mount on the project are there so that when you rest the paint pole on the ground your camera will not touch the ground when you lay the rig down for cleaning or adjustments. On to Paint Pole Camera Mount 2.

This is the new and improved paint pole camera mount.  I designed this one in mind so that a video camera can be mounted to the tilting platform using a quick disconnect mount.  The platform can be tipped up or down from zero to forty-five degrees in fifteen degree increments.  The camera then is connected to a small video monitor by the use of a HDMI cable.  This will allow me to see exactly what the video camera is seeing in real time.  I have a remote for the camera to turn on or off the record feature as well as zoom in and out so this works out nicely.

This is the monitor that I will use for the project.  It is a 7" LCD display for entertainment purposes in your car.  It can be powered by rechargeable batteries and measures 7.6" x 5.15" x 1" thick.  I will have to work out the mounting hardware for this monitor and still purchase the necessary batteries and 10 foot HDMI cable for the project but I think it is very doable and will be a great accessory for my video projects.  As for shooting photos I can take the video footage that I shoot and then take still from it if I need a single shot.  The stand that the monitor is pictured with has to be assembled to the monitor if used in a car.  I will not need it so it will be an easier task to mount it the way I want without the hassle of figuring out how to remove a stand if it came that way assembled. 
  I especially want to say thanks to Scott Eggleston from The Frugal Filmmaker website for the info and help in getting this project off the ground.  For you film makers out there check out his website at the link I have here.  He has some great inexpensive projects for shooting video that you just have to see. 
  Also for everyone stay tuned for further developments on these two projects in the coming weeks as it should be interesting to see how they come together.  Have a good one and keep on tinkering!

The Frugal Filmmaker

Monday, November 3, 2014

Large BMW Logo Sign

Two weeks ago I posted about finding a couple of projects that I had completed but never blogged about.  One was the custom built coolers I had made for my motorcycle cargo trailer and the other is a large BMW sign that I had built for a  friend of mine who still works at the same dealership.  Jeff Wilson and I became good friends over the past few years after I had purchased my first used Mini Cooper from him.  He wanted a BMW logo sign to hang in his garage and so this is what my post is about today.
Here is a photo of the BMW log that I shot at the dealership when I started this project.  The logo is about two inches or so in diameter but I planned on making one much larger than that to hang on the wall.  Thirty inches in diameter to be exact. 

I started off with a 1/4 inch piece of plywood and cut out the 30 inch diameter circle. On this piece I also drew out the circles for the placement of the parts that would make up the rest of the sign. 

The outer ring and inner target pieces were cut out next again using 1/4 inch plywood.

In this photo additional pieces to this puzzle are starting to be cut for the assembly. The rectangular pieces will make up the cross pieces needed for the center of the sign. The smaller curved pieces will be added to the outer ring to thicken up the assembly.
Here the additional curved pieces are glued and taped to the outer ring and let to dry.
The rectangular pieces in the earlier photo are also glued together to make a thick more solid assembly.

Here the assembly has been laid out with the various pieces after the glue had dried over night.

Curved foam pieces are added next to complete the parts needed for the center assembly.

The outer ring of the sign is marked out on to two inch thick Styrofoam so that it can be cut using a tool called a hot knife. This tool is like a steel rod with a handle attached.  It plugs into electrical power and heats up to cut the foam precisely and cleanly.

After the foam ring had been cut out it was placed on to the assembly to check the fit for the sign.
Four additional foam pie shaped pieces were cut and placed into the inner assembly.  On the table you can also  see some curved pieces that were also needed for the build.

Lots of clamps were needed at this point to hold all the wooden pieces of the inner section together while the glue was drying. 

This photo is interesting as it was the jig that I made up to cut the foam into a dome shape on the face of the sign.  On both sides of the sign you can see curved pieces of wood.  These were guides that help make a curved cut from the top to the bottom of the sign using a hot wire cutting tool.

This was how the sign looked after just one cut.
I rotated the sign several more times to make additional hot wire cuts and end up with a fairly decent dome shape for the sign.
Here all of the pieces for the BMW sign have been cut and sanded into shape.  The dome shape at this point turned out perfectly.  Sanding on the foam is an easy task and with little effort the results speak for themselves.

The letters for the sign were just 1/4 inch plywood that was sanded smooth and painted silver.

Most of the pieces for the sign at this point had been fiber glassed, sanded and the first coat of primer were sprayed on them. 

After several priming and sanding sessions had been completed I was ready to put some color on to the center section parts.

The fit and finish of these parts turned out great for these parts so I could keep moving along with the project.

Silver paint for the center target piece was used.  With the fiber glassing, sanding and painting work done on this part, it looks like it is solid aluminum. Another pretty piece of the puzzle.

The center section of the sign is completed. Now on to the rest of the parts to finish this project.
Here the outer ring for the BMW sign is primed, sanded and painted.  Actually primed and sanded over and over again before final paint.  My efforts were worth the final result as you can see in the nice glossy black paint.
 Here finally all of the parts for the sign are ready for final assembly.

The real task in making this sign was not the making of the individual parts but was assembling all of the parts and not messing up the paint in the process.  The word for this part of the project was "CAREFULLY".  As in carefully place the parts and keep your fingers crossed that you don't mess it up.  I breathed a sign of relief when this project was competed and I could step back once again and admire my latest creation.
  I spoke with my friend Jeff just last week and the sign now will be moved from his garage to his office at the BMW dealership.  So it will be a nice display for customers that stop by his place of work. Thanks Jeff!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Recessed Computer Monitor Desk

As I get older I find some things in my life just a little more than irritating. Not with life in general but with the fact that I am getting older and my body is not as young as it used to be.  I will be celebrating my 61st birthday in a couple of days and with my advancing years comes things like aching legs from to many hours in my workshop, to my eye sight that I will have to correct once again with a new pair of bifocals. So the project that I completed today will help me eliminate an eye problem that I have been putting up with for some time now.  With having to wear bifocal glasses it becomes a problem at least for me when I try to read something at the top of the screen on my computer monitor.  See the photo below.

Here I am as usual having to crane my neck to see the top of my computer screen clearly while wearing my bifocal lens glasses.  Sure I could raise my chair so I would look more straight ahead but then I am so high up it makes it difficult to type anything on the keyboard.  

After doing some research online I came across something that I thought would work for my problem.  These computer desks are set up so that the teacher and the students can see one another over top of thier computer monitors which are recessed into the desks.  Anyone using this type of desk has to look down to view the monitor.  Perfect for what I need!

I immediately went to work using my CAD software on my new modifications that I wanted for my desk.  I could not modify my original desk top as it would have been more difficult to complete than starting from scratch.  So I would make what you see in the image above.  The monitor after having removed the stand it is normally mounted on would rest in a cavity built into the desk top and still be able to use the original platform for the keyboard and mouse. The trick was making the cavity fit in between the rails for the sliding keyboard platform. 

I started with the triangle pieces for the desk cavity as I thought they would be the toughest to make.  I was luckily wrong in assuming this as in no time at all I had what I needed for the project. I put more than enough pocket holes in these parts but I thought it best for a little overkill to rule out any chance of structural failure.  Not a good thing to see you computer monitor come falling through your desk.  

Here the desktop is assembled.  I cut a large section of the aspen wood panel and then attached another piece to it to make the opening for the desktop cavity.  Notice how the opening is not centered. This had to be this way to mount correctly into my "L" shaped computer desk and allow the platform for the keyboard and mouse to work correctly. 

These two pieces make up the inside of the desktop cavity.  The "C" shaped piece will be used for the back of the cavity and the other piece will make up the base of the assembly. Both of these parts needed to be cut so that the edges would fit flush with the undeside of the desktop.  Thirty-five degree angles on each  to be exact.

Here the triangle pieces for the cavity are being lined up for assemlby to the face down desktop.  

A special clamp from the Kreg company is used to hold the triangle pieces in place until the mounting screws can be installed.  Kreg makes the jig that makes putting in pocket holes a simple task and is a great tool for this type of project.

Next the base board is attached to the assembly using wood glue, screws and pocket holes.  At this point in the project I am more than happy that everything is lining up nice and straight.  With the pocket holes on the inside of the cavity the outside of the desktop looks really good.  The pocket holes in the rear will not be seen once the assembly is installed back into the desk.

 The last piece to be assembled is the back board for the desktop cavity.  This is glued and screwed into place like the other parts already assembled.  This cavity needed to have this opening in the bottom rear of the assembly to allow for the cables to run the monitor to be hooked up.  I was glad that I made such a nice large opening for this task.  Makes things a lot simpler to assemble as well as use.

The next step in the assemble was to varnish the desktop with three coats of polyeurathane.  This was a simple task and only took a couple of days to get a nice clean smooth finish.

To mount the desktop to the legs of the table I needed to install the threaded inserts that were in the original table top.  I removed these inserts and then used a 5/16 drill to make the holes needed for the installation of them into the new desktop.

I placed the assembled desktop onto the leg assembly of the desk and then marked where I needed to drill for the threaded inserts.  The trick here was not so much marking the holes but drilling them.  The assembly at this point is kind of large and awkward to handle while trying to drill holes using my drill press.  I took my time and as you can see the installation of the threaded mounts turned out perfect.

I also marked the mounting holes for the platform for the keyboard and mouse while I had the desk upside down.  It was then just a simple matter of screwing this assembly to the underside of the desktop.  The clearance for this assembly and the desktop cavity was close but not impossible to make work. Not a hassle to get put in correctly.

Here the new desktop is resting on my kitchen table.  The desktop measures 27 x 33 inches and is nice an solid. 

I had filled the pocket holes on the triangle cavity pieces with wood putty before I did the varnishing just to see it it would look ok.  That is the word for it.... it's just ok.  So I went with plan "B" for this portion of the build.

I lined the inside of the desktop cavity with a some vinyl carbon fiber that I had left over from an earlier project that I had made.  The installation of the vinyl gives the desk a really nice finished look and was not really difficult or time consuming to install.  A great look to be sure.

Here is the section of the desk that will receive the new desktop.  Luckily the legs of the desk stand up by themselves and so getting everything to line up properly was a piece of cake.

This is one of the flanges that or on the top of each leg of the desk.  Machine screws are inserted theough the holes in the flanges and then into the threaded inserts on the underside of the desk that I and installed earlier.

Here the new desktop is ready to install.  I placed the new desktop into it's correct position and the mounting hardware slid right in nice as could be.  No fuss at all.

With everything hooked up my computer is back up and running again.  All I had to do is place the monitor into the desktop cavity and plug in the cables through the slot in the back.  Very simple installation to say the least.

This gives you a much better idea of how the project looks while being used.  It was another great project that I've been wanting to do for a very long time and will be a pleasure to use for years to come.  Now I can let the dust settle once again in the workshop and give my neck a rest as well.  Oh and by the way I'm getting my eyes checked for new bifocals next week.  Enjoy the photos and the post.