Tag: equipment

Webcam Tripod Mount

I miss playing Magic with my friends.

I want to play paper Magic rather than online. None of the digital clients run on computers that I have access to (translation: everything is written for Windows, an operating system I have, to summarise, problems with) but to stream an overhead view of a playmat while also seeing your opponent’s (or opponents’) board state requires an external camera.

So I ordered a webcam. Pandemic times being what they are, it took six weeks to arrive. I had intended to get a camera with a tripod mount, but a combination of not reading the listing properly and a limited array of choices meant that the camera I received does not have such a thing.

The camera instead has a clamping bracket intended to wedge it against the top of a screen (flat monitor or laptop lid). So attaching it to tripod needs a bracket for the clamp to attach to which can itself then be mounted on a standard tripod thread.

Technical Details

The standard tripod thread is 1/4″ / 20 UNC. I cannot give a definitive statement on what those numbers mean, but I have exactly that size of thread in my tap and die kit1.

The ideal material for this would probably be an angle of extruded plastic, something like HDPE, about two inches on a side. It would be simple to drill and tap, and it’s definitely strong enough to carry the load of a camera that weighs less than 100g.

But I don’t have any of that, and since this is a project where I would like to use what I have on hand I will be making this out of 1″ x 1/16″ mild steel bar.

The Plan

The bracket is going to be an ‘L’ shape, two inches on a side.

The fabrication plan is therefore:

  1. cut a 4″ piece of bar stock
  2. clean up rough edges
  3. drill appropriately sized hole (use matching bit to 1/4″ / 20 tap) an inch from one end
  4. tap the hole
  5. bend the bracket in the middle

I am fairly confident that the steel is thick enough to take a meaningful portion of thread especially since, as noted already, the camera is not heavy. Indeed, the bracket itself is likely to weigh more than the camera.

That’s it. I will report back on how my fabrication efforts proceed.

[1] the ability to cut threads into an appropriately sized hole or onto bare rod stock lets you solve problems fairly easily that you might otherwise fix with glue. Currently I only have a set with SAE sizes because living in the US means that those are the thread types you encounter most often.

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