Wednesday, April 5, 2017

3D Printed Action Camera Chest Mount Project

I picked up a small action camera similar to a Go-Pro some time back on Kickstarter and in the process have been thinking up ways to use it.  This in turn pointed me in the direction of how to mount the camera to things like my motorcycle and of course myself.  My action camera is called a Mokacam and shoots in 4K and only cost me around $100. The price was right and it was a few steps up from a Go-Pro so I just had to have it.  The only drawback with the mounts that I found for an action camera was that almost all of them are set up for a special mount that only a Go-Pro uses.  Useless for my little camera.  The Mokacam uses a standard camera mount that you would find on a regular camera and a good camera tripod.  This actually made things simpler to design a chest mount for the camera that I thought would be interesting to try out on my motorcycle. 

I originally thought that I would use nylon webbing and plastic clips to hold the mount to my chest.  I wanted to keep the cost down and complexity of the mount as simple as possible so instead I planned on using double sided Velcro straps.  This type of Velcro I had used a long time back and had some small pieces of it laying around in the shop so I knew what I needed.  The Velcro has one side that is fuzzy and the opposite side has the sticky loops that make Velcro work. Pictured above is the setup for the chest mount. One strap would go around your chest and two more straps that would go over your shoulders. The only reason that the straps in the images above are red is so that I could more easily illustrate how the mount looks and works.

The only real task in designing a mount for the Mokacam is to have a small platform that the camera would be mounted to and a way to strap it to my chest.  Pictured above is the CAD design that I came up with.  At the base of the mount is a small hand wheel that holds the 1/4-20 bolt that screws into the base of the camera.  On the back plate are four slots to receive the strapping that would be used to hold the mount to my chest. 

The chest strap is fed through one vertical slot on one side of the mounting plate and then again through a matching slot  and attached to itself on the opposite side.  Sewn to the upper slots on the mount are the two mating Velcro tabs to hold the shoulder straps in place when the mount is in use.  Shown above you can also see where the shoulder straps are sewn to the chest strap at the back. 

This is another good view of the Velcro straps and how they are attached to the camera mount.  The mount was designed so that the camera is positioned far enough away from the vertical back plate to allow the chest strap to easily fit when fed though the mount for use.

In the photo above you can see the actual 3D printed camera mount with the attached Velcro straps already mounted to it.  Next to the mount is the small hand wheel that is used to secure the Mokacam to the mount.  This was an easy part to create.  I designed the hand wheel so that it would hold a standard 1/4-20  half inch long bolt.  The head of the bolt is recessed into the handle to keep it from spinning freely and is held in place with a small amount of silicone rubber so that the bolt will not fall out.

This is how the Mokacam chest mount looks when you wear it.  Rather than see me with the chest mount standing in my back yard or my kitchen I thought it best to show it off in an area where the camera could actually be used.  Thanks to a some fancy photography work and Gimp software the photo is just a bit more interesting.  (I wish this was my real backyard!) Anyway the Mokacam chest mount is easy to put on or take off and works great. It will be interesting to use this summer on my travels. The Velcro strapping I found at my local builders store and I have plenty left over for future projects. Total cost for the chest mount the best I can figure with the Velcro and 3D printing material only came to around $10.   A great price for a nice accessory that should help me make some interesting videos. 

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