HOWTO: Cheap Camera Handlebar Mount
Put a small camera in harm's way
I'd been looking around for a cheap handlebar mount for my small Canon Powershot SD400 to attach it to my motorcyle. Not finding what I wanted, I took some inspiration from making my climbing rope washer and decided to whip something up on my own. This mount was less than $5, making it a cheap way to attach a camera to a handlebar. Just about any camera should work, but I would recommend using a smaller one, I think the vibration on something like a video camera might hurt it. I did try a few methods to insulate the mount (and in particular the camera) from vibration as best I could, witness the rubber grommets for the mounting stud, as well as the garden hose sections where the mount attaches to the actual handlebar (this had the added bonus of protecting the finish on the handlebar from the hose clamps.)
Scroll to the bottom of this page to view a sample video taken while using this mount. There is some vibration but it is isolated to particular RPM ranges, in general the video is very watchable for using such an inexpensive mount.
List of parts:
- (1) PVC pipe T, I used 1.25" with a .75" top. This was actually a little large for my purposes, I would have been better off using a T with the interior diameter equal to the size of the handlebar.
- (1) Pipe cap, sized to fit the top of the above pipe T.
- (1) bar knob (1/4-20 thread). This is the black piece of plastic used to cinch tight against the base of the camera to hold it in place. Found at Lowes (NOT Home Depot) in their small-parts section. Likely also at Ace Hardware.
- (2) hose clamps (large enough to fit the outside of the pipe T.
- (2) rubber washers, found at the local Ace Hardware.
- 1/4-20 x 1.5" machine screw, with 2 washers and a locknut. (This is the thread for your camera tripod mount)
- (2) Sections of old garden hose.
- Pipe cement.
The order of assembly is less important than actually getting all the pieces together, so if you don't want to follow this order exactly don't worry too much about it.
|Steps to Create a Cheap Handlebar Camera Mount|
|First I had to assemble my materials. The rubber washers were the hardest thing to find, but I located them at the local Ace Hardware in their small parts section.|
|Drill the center of the end cap. I used a 1/4" bit. This is where your machine screw will be placed.|
|Assemble the machine screw into the pipe cap. I used a flat washer on each side while pinching the rubber washers directly in the PVC. You can likely skip the rubber washers but I am using them for vibration isolation.|
|Cut the pipe T roughly half-way down. The top portion is what you will be clamping to your handlebar. I used a Dremel, but a hacksaw would work just as well.|
|Glue the pipe cap with your machine screw into the top of the pipe T.|
|Since the space available on the flat part of my handlebar was too narrow for the full pipe T I had to cut the ends off to fit. In this photo the bar knob is shown installed on the thread of the screw.|
|Wrap your old garden hose sections onto your handlebar. I did this for three reasons: 1) to protect the finish on the handlebar when I clamp the device, 2) to help provide a "grippy" surface to clamp to, and 3) to attempt to reduce vibrations on the overall mount.|
|Unscrew the hose clamps all the way, wrap around handlebar and start the thread again.|
|Aim the mount, screw the hoseclamps tight, stand back and admire your handy-work.|
|Fortunately for me the windscreen is large enough that the mounted camera (a Canon SD400) is protected from on-coming debris (small rocks, rain, etc.)|
|Admire the results of your construction in building a very cheap handlebar mount for a small camera.|
The mount works surprisingly well, and it would likely work for a bicycle handlebar as well. Unfortunately for me when I have my motorcycle gloves and helmet on it is extremely hard to see or hear if the camera is actually running in video mode. This is something that I will need to work on, many times I just hit the button to "record" and hoped for the best.
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