Monday, February 20, 2017

Inexpensive 3D Printed Action Camera Hand Grip Project

Some time back I picked up a nice little action camera on Kickstarter similar to a GoPro but at a much lower price. The camera is called Mokacam and shoots in beautiful 4K video.  Impressive for such a small camera.  I have played around with the it a bit and plan on taking it with me this summer while I am traveling on my motorcycle.  I thought it would be interesting to use.  With this in mind I started looking at a hand grip for the little camera to help with this idea. Prices for a hand grip made specifically by and for a GoPro cost anywhere from around $25 - $30.  This would not do as the mount is all wrong for my little camera and the cost was also way out of line for what I had in mind. 
My computer design skills and 3D printer came to the rescue once again.  I worked out the design using Fusion 360 software and figured out what little hardware I needed to make my idea a tangible accessory for my little camera.

Pictured above is what the new grip looks like after some fancy design work in Fusion 360.  The hand grip for the camera is 1.25" in diameter and stands 4" tall.  This gives you a pretty good idea of how small the Mokacam is.  I really like using Fusion 360 as it is great software to design anything I can dream up and make a beautiful image of the project before it is even built so I can get my ideas out to all of you here on the blog before it is even built. Works for me.

I played around with different colors for the handle but in the end decided to make it entirely black.  But with the handle being designed into four separate pieces this made it simpler to actually print and make changes to individual parts as the project progressed. 

The hand grip is held together with a standard 1/4-20 bolt 4" long with a recessed nut in the upper section of the grip.  This was easily tightened down and held the assembly together securely. Also you will see in the images above that the inner red pieces of the grip have small  3D printed pins extruding out from them.  These pins eliminate the possibility that the sections will spin while assembled.  There are also two additional pins that are separate from the lower portion of the grip that needed to be made to serve the same purpose.  These pins could not be designed into the lower section of the grip as the 3D printing would not work correctly to recess the head of the 1/4-20 bolt in the assembly.

The Mokacam then was mounted to the protruding threads at the top of the grip by spinning it on to the camera mount that is in the bottom of the camera.  I had to adjust the amount of threads that needed to extend out of the top of the grip to get it just long enough to work but not to long so the camera could not fasten tightly to the top of the grip itself.

At the very bottom section of the hand grip shown above you can see the recessed area for the head of the 1/4-20 bolt along with two smaller openings.  The smaller opening have a hole between them so that the safety hand strap can be attached to the final assembly.  This will provide a bit of security to the should I ever loose hold of the hand grip.

Here's a photo of the finished grip along with a wrist strap that I had cannibalized from a dead point and shoot camera that I had in my work room.  I was very pleased with the 3D printing of the handle and the design itself.  I then calculated the total cost to make the handle.  The 4" bolt and nut was 44 cents and the ABS plastic to make the 3D printed parts for the grip came to only 66 cents. The wrist strap being free brings the grand total for this project to a spectacular $1.10.  This is a far cry from $25 - $30 for sure and I still ended up with something that I am happy with and will be even more happy to show off and use. Another great project and another good day at the Tinker's Workshop! 

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