Prototyping A Camera Mount

130414 Helmet Camera Mount 2

3D printing makes it incredibly easy to crank out new parts on a whim.

For example, I’m about to make the trek to California for RoboGames and want to use a Contour ROAM2 HD action camera to capture some of the action – especially ComBots with the massive steel robots trying to inflict mortal damage on each other. I have the camera and have access to all areas of the venue. What I don’t have is three hands. I always carry my Canon 5D Mark II for the still images and some video, and I have a light Nikon bridge camera for competition videos. The challenge was to find some way to operate the Contour that was basically hands-free.

After considering, and disqualifying, several approaches, I finally decided to use my bicycle helmet. I tried the stock Contour helmet mounts, but didn’t like the way they felt – primarily because the camera sticks off to one side and is heavy enough that it is noticeable, and irritating.

130414 Helmet Camera Mount 3

It only took a few minutes to take some measurements of the top of my helmet and design a short plug to slip inside one of the air vents. Printing a test part to check the fit took a bit longer, of course.

130414 Helmet Camera Mount

Surprisingly enough, the test part fit perfectly without any modifications. The next step is to add the top flange for the camera. The mount is a snug fit, so I plan on securing it with some tape or velcro because I want it to be easily removable.

We’ll see how it works this coming weekend when it is put into real use at RoboGames 2013.

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