Homemade Rollbar Camera Mount

March 15, 2008

I like to make my own camera mounts. I've finally gotten around to taking photos of the one I did for the rollbar in the Miata.

<a href="http://flickr.com/photos/thenobot/2335198479/in/set-72157604127192277/"><img src="https://farm3.static.flickr.com/2314/2335198479_70cfea9abf.jpg"></a>

<h3 style="margin-bottom:0;padding-bottom:0;">Parts needed:</h3> <ul style="margin-top:0; padding-top:0"> <li>Aluminum angle stock (90-degree "L"), about 8-10" <li>3/8" bolt, 2" long <li>2 nuts for the bolt <li>Hose clamps big enough to go around your rollbar plus an inch or so <li><a href="http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/300403-REG/Slik_618_606_SBH_60_Compact_Ballhead_60.html">Ball head mount</a> <li>Scrap piece of rollbar padding (cheap foam kind) </ul>

<h3 style="margin-bottom:0;padding-bottom:0;">Step-by-step:</h3> <ul style="margin-top:0; padding-top:0"> <li>Drill a 3/8" hole in the center of the aluminum, diagonally through the bend. <li>Slip the 3/8" bolt through the hole -- the bolt head should be "inside" the bend, with the threads sticking out from the outside of the bend at a 45 degree angle.
<li>Put a washer, then a nut on the bolt with Loc-Tite or a lockwasher to hold it. <li>Spin the other nut onto the bolt <li>Attach the ball head to the bolt, then tighten the free nut against the ball head to keep it on. <li>File a notch wide enough for the hose clamp on the outside corner of the aluminum, 1/2" in from each end of the stock. The hose clamps will sit in this groove. <li>Cut the scrap piece of rollbar padding to fit between the aluminum/bolt and the rollbar. You will probably need to try a few different sizes. <li>Using the hose clamps, attach the assembly to the rollbar. I like to wrap electrical tape around the rollbar underneath where the clamps are to prevent them from scratching the paint off, and it makes the surface more grippy. </ul>

<a href="http://flickr.com/photos/thenobot/2335198407/in/set-72157604127192277/"><img src="https://farm3.static.flickr.com/2161/2335198407_dec55083af.jpg"></a>

<p>(Photo showing the notches in the aluminum to locate the hose clamps).</p>

It will take some experimentation to find the right position for the camera. I've found the best position puts the horizon halfway between the bottom of the windshield and the bottom of the rearview mirror.

<h3><a href="http://thenobot.org/video/watch.php?20080229-scca_school_highlights.mov">Click here</a> for a video shot using the mount.</h3>

The full setup is:

<ul> <li>Sony 580-line bullet cam 3.6mm lens ($200) <li>Hoyttech stereo mics ($30) <li>Hoyttech cigarette lighter power adapter ($30) <li>Aiptek A-HD solid state camcorder, recording from line-in ($100) <li>2GB SD memory card ($15) - 2 hours of recording time <li>Radio shack power inverter to run the AC adapter to power the camera ($30) </ul>

The mics, recorder, and inverter stay in a box bolted to the trunk floor. They plug into a cigarette lighter power jack wired up in the trunk.