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In:In the Shop

Comments Off on Tripod Accessory: The Boom Arm

After making the phone clamp to mount my phone to a tripod I decided to add a boom arm as well.  This is extremely useful for top-down shooting, reaching over the bench for videos, or just keeping the tripod farther away so I don’t kick its legs while I’m working.  The arm is 30″ long overall and has an effective reach of about 24″.  There isn’t much to cover in the general design of the arm.  I used one brass insert, installed in the same manner that was described in the phone clamp post.  The slots along the arm obviously allow the clamp to get positioned anywhere over its length.  One detail worth mentioning is what I call the “head” which is to one side of the brass insert vs. the “arm” which is on the other.  You’ll notice I left the head large (about 6″ x 2″ x 3/4″) where as the arm gets thinner, narrower, and has the slot material removed.  This is to allow the head to counterbalance the long reach of the arm.  It’s not perfectly balanced, but it helps a lot. I can add the weight of the clamp and phone all the way to the end of the arm and things stay nicely in place, however I am considering adding a brass weight to the head to improve the balance further.

Roughing out the shape of the arm.

Roughing out the shape of the arm.

Brass insert installed, holes added to define the ends of the slots.

Brass insert installed, holes added to define the ends of the slots.

Slots completed

Slots roughed in, ready for a test drive.

Tripod mounting plate installed on the boom arm.

Tripod mounting plate installed on the boom arm.

Testing the arm before final clean up and finishing.

Testing the arm before final clean up and finishing.

Close up of the test shot.

Close up of the test shot.

Completed boom arm in Sapele, finished in Watco danish oil.

Completed boom arm in Sapele, finished in Watco danish oil.

Finished shot of the arm and slot details.

Finished shot of the arm and slot details.

For now I used a simple 1/4x20 Allen head screw with a knurled head to attach the clamp. It's a bit small, but I can use it as a thumb screw, no need for an Allen wrench. Eventually I may switch to a proper thumb screw with a larger head, but this works well enough for the moment.

For now I used a simple 1/4×20 Allen head screw with a knurled head to attach the clamp. It’s a bit small, but I can use it as a thumb screw, no need for an Allen wrench. Eventually I may switch to a proper thumb screw with a larger head, but this works well enough for the moment.

Detail shot of the underside of the arm.

Detail shot of the underside of the arm.

These two simple accessories have already made things so much simpler in the shop for shooting pictures and especially videos.  Each one took only a couple hours to make so if you’re doing a lot of phone/camera juggling in the shop take some time and make these two pieces.  Or don’t.  This is America people, what you do in your shop is your business.

Cheers,
-WMT

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