DIY Helmet Cam

DIY Helmet Cam
If you tend to push the envelope when you're riding trails, climbing rocks or shooting rapids, you may want to share these adventures with your friends. A helmet cam makes this possible by letting others see through your eyes. If you buy a retail unit, it'll cost you a bundle. Why bother, when you can keep the cash and build a system that works just as well, with a couple hours of your time.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

A Simple, Removable Camera Mount

Things You’ll Need:
  • One .062 thick aluminum plate
  • Four 10-32 PEM nuts
  • Four 5/16 inch by 1/2 inch aluminum stand-offs
  • Four 10-32 by 3/4 cap head, grade 5, bolts
  • One 1/4-20 by 1/2 cap head, grade 5, bolt
  • One small rubber washer
  • Plastic fusion (epoxy glue for plastic)
  • Scrap piece of cardboard
  • Popsicle stick
  • Small strip of Velcro to go all the way around the camera
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • 36 grit sandpaper or knife
  • 220 sandpaper or file
  • Drill or drill press
  • 3/16 inch drill bit
  • 1/4 inch drill bit
  • Vise
  • Allen wench that fits the cap head bolts
Step 1
Remove the helmet liner. If your helmet's foam liner is attached with Velcro, this is an easy process. If it isn't, start at the front and carefully peel it away. You might need a knife to cut through the glue wherever it doesn't come off easily.
Step 2
Cut and sand the mounting plate. Measure the top of your helmet with a ruler to determine the size of your mounting plate. Transfer the dimensions to your aluminum plate and cut it on the table saw. Sand or file the edges and corners until they're smooth.
Step 3
Drill and bend the mounting plate. With your hand-held drill or drill press, drill a 3/16 inch pilot hole, followed by a 1/4 inch finish hole, in each corner and in the center of your mounting plate.

Make sure the holes line up with your desired locations for holes in the helmet. You might need a vise to bend the sides of your aluminum plate so they follow the contour of your helmet.
Step 4
Drill holes in the helmet. Use the mounting plate as a template to mark the corner hole locations on the top of your helmet. Drill a 3/16 pilot hole, followed by a 1/4 inch finish hole, at each of your marks. Be careful not to make the holes any larger than 1/4 inch.
Step 5
Install the PEM nuts and camera mount bolt. From the inside of your helmet, push the 10-32 PEM nuts into your helmet holes with the ribbed portion facing up.

Push the single 1/4-20 cap head bolt through the center camera hole of your mounting plate, so the threaded end faces up. Press on a rubber washer with a hole that's less than 1/4 inch to hold it in place.

From the outside of your helmet, push the threaded end of your 10-32 cap head bolts through the holes in your mounting plate and into each aluminum standoff. Screw the bolts into the PEM nuts using your Allen wrench to tighten the bolts just enough to lock the nuts in place.
Step 6
Glue the PEM nuts. Roughen the outside surface around the PEM nuts with 36 grit sandpaper to create a good bonding surface.

Squeeze a quarter-sized amount of plastic fusion onto the cardboard and mix it with your Popsicle stick. Apply it immediately to a quarter-inch area around each nut, making sure none of it gets in the holes. Let it dry for five to 10 minutes.
Step 7
Replace the helmet liner. Re-Velcro the foam helmet liner or apply water-based contact cement to the inside of the helmet and the liner to glue it in place. If you use contact cement on the liner let it set overnight before wearing the helmet.

Tips & Warnings

 
To ensure that your camera stays put, wrap a strip of Velcro around the camera and the mounting plate.
 
If you drill the 1/4-inch finish holes any larger than this diameter your PEM nuts will come lose. Make sure your drill bit is the right size.
 
If you over-tighten the 10-32 cap head bolts, the PEM nuts will pull through their holes and you'll damage the helmet. Be extra careful during this step.

Article Written By Dan Eash

Dan Eash began writing professionally in 1989, with articles in LaHabra's "Daily Star Progress" and the "Fullerton College Magazine." Since then, he's created scripts for doctor and dentist offices and published manuals, help files and a training video. His freelance efforts also include a book. Eash has a Fullerton College Associate of Arts in music/recording production and a Nova Institute multimedia production certificate.

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