Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A Small Tripod For A Very Small Camera

A couple of days ago I was playing around with a small action camera called a Mokacam.  This I acquired through Kickstarter and am just now finding the time to figure it all out.  In the process of shooting some test video I realized that I needed a small tripod to get better camera angles. I have a small tripod that I've had for years but I wanted something even smaller and lighter. 

I started going through various drawers in my computer room and came across this little suction cup device. I had purchased this on eBay some time back for a couple of bucks but found it to be near worthless as a mount for any type of video camera.  The suction cup just was not strong enough to hold properly.  But the swivel mount was just what I wanted for this little tripod.

The swivel mount was the only good thing about this little gadget as it was made of solid steel construction and I could easily remove it from the suction cup part of the mount.  It was just a matter of unscrewing it from the base.

I went to work once again on my computer using Fusion 360 CAD software to create the new mount for the tripod as shown in the images above.  It took me several tries to get the threads for the swivel head on the tripod mount the right dimensions to match up correctly to the swivel mount but it was worth the effort.  The legs are held in place using small machine screws that get fed into three mounting locations around the tripod head.  The holes for the legs themselves are a little oversized so that they pivot smoothly and do not bind.  

Here you can see the new 3D printed tripod with the original swivel mount from the suction cup assembly.

With the swivel mount in place on the new tripod the total height only comes to 5.25 inches tall.  The Mokacam then easily gets screwed on to the top of the mount using a standard 1/4-20 type mount.

The plus side to the swivel mount is that now it can be position in various angles to get the photos or videos that I am looking for.  It will come in handy in the shop when I want to shoot video and get a good wide angle view of the shop to show what I am working on. 

I designed the legs of the tripod so that they easily could be folded up to make it a snap to store when it is not in use.  The cost to 3D print the tripod was only a couple of dollars and with the swivel head I now have something I can use while shooting video in the shop or on the go and is small and light weight in the process.

It pays to look through storage drawers to scrounge for bits and pieces for projects.  I had completely forgotten about the suction cup attachment and had written it off as a lost cause years ago.  Now I find that it was worth holding on to it for this little tripod. You just never know what can be made from scrap parts, a little design time on the computer, and a 3D printer.

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