Friday, December 23, 2011

DIY GoPro Pole Mount

This year, I decided I wanted to step up the snowboard filming a little bit. Last year it was mostly hand-held goPros... which can be ok, but leaves room for improvement. I have been seeing some cool videos taken by mounting the goPro on a pole and using it to point at yourself, someone else, or get a higher/lower shooting angle. There is a commercially available solution for this (The go-pole, $40) but I was feeling like a crafty cheap-ass and thought I could make my own.

I decided on using one of the goPro mount extensions, rather than one of the clip-mounts, and after hunting around Home Depot with it in hand I came up with what I thought would be a good plan. Here is the basic shopping list:

* 36" PCV riser (sprinkler section)
* 1/2" PVC cap
* 1/2" PVC 90 degree elbow, threaded both sides

also needed:
* goPro mount extension
* glue (I used PVC Pipe Cement)
* small file
Materials For DIY Pole Mount

You will quickly notice that the goPro mount piece does not actually fit inside the threaded elbow. I was able to pretty easily get a tight fit by lining up the mount as straight as I could and marking the corners. Then, take a file with a corner (90 degree if you have it) and file notches into the internal threads of one side of the elbow joint. Do this a little at a time and keep checking the fit of the black goPro mount extension, you want it pretty tight in there.
File Notches Into Threads

Here you can see the resulting fit I was looking for. The black piece fits tightly into the filed notches. It is held in line with the pole, which is attached to the other end of the elbow joint.
Mount Extension Fits Into Notched Threads

I searched around the shop at my work for some kind of glue to attach the black goPro mount to the threaded PVC elbow. Eventually I found a can of Christy's Red Hot Blue Glue - PVC Pipe Cement. If you are using a glue like this, be careful. The fumes from this stuff are some of the strongest chemical fumes I've ever been around, I would definitely recommend a vent hood or something. My nose is burning just writing this paragraph.

I am not an expert in gluing plastics, so it is totally possible that this is the wrong choice in glue and that you know of a better one. It seemed to work pretty well for this application on the two days I've taken it snowboarding so far.
Glue Used To Secure Mount Piece

I applied the glue to the threads and the mount piece, and assembled it quickly while the stuff was still wet.
Mount Piece Glued In Place

Screwing on the cap and the elbow complete the basic pole mount. I left it alone for 24 hours so the glue could set.
Assembled Pole Mount
I checked the weight of the assembly, it is 0.723 lb, which is roughly 78 grams heavier than the go-pole that I linked above.

The materials cost for this project came out to $3.67, much better than the $40 solution if you ask me! However, I did have to sacrifice one of my mount extension pieces to this project, and didn't have to buy glue which could probably be expensive.
Project Materials Bill


After two days of using this on the mountain, I have some comments on design and performance. Also, you can see some pictures from the setup in this other blog post

1.  I liked the pictures and videos we were able to take with this, everything I had hoped for.
2.  Need to fashion a wrist strap, I am working on this now. We didn't ever lose the thing but it would be good peace of mind.
3.  A bit of grip tape helped, I used the same stuff I use for my hockey stick.
4.  After a crash, we noticed one of the black mount legs had snapped, but we still used it for another day.
5.  After another (worse) crash, the goPro housing leg next to the snapped mount leg also broke.

I was able to make another elbow-mount to attach to the pole (sacrificed another mount extension for this)  and I was able to repair the housing. I'll evaluate the durability a bit more next week in Tahoe and report back if anything else breaks.

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