Adding a ball head to a GoPro suction cup mount

Adding a ball head to a GoPro suction cup mount

A ball head attached to a GoPro suction cup mount
The finished mount used for filming the in-car portion of automotive reviews.

I have a GoPro, and bought a handful of mounting accessories to go with it, including their suction cup. If you have one of these, you’ll know that the GoPro mounting system is pretty orthogonal – you can tilt and roll easily, but not pan (short of undoing the suction cup and repositioning).

For my gig of shooting car review videos for YouTube, getting fine positioning of the camera has been a huge pain for our in-car shots in particular. I didn’t want to buy a new suction cup that featured a ball head, and I didn’t want to make any permanent modifications to my existing gear.

I found the Giottos MH1004 mini ball head for under $15 that would work well for the Hero 3, especially since I already had the tripod mount.

But, how to attach it to the suction cup?

Check out beyond the break for more detailed images and how I made it.

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Slotted together Christmas Trees and Snowflakes

A collection of laser cut slot-together Christmas TreesA week and a half ago, I created a slotted together Christmas Tree decoration as a test. My older daughter saw it and asked if she could decorate it, but I couldn’t let her as I needed it for work. Given how easy it was to create, I went ahead and made her several more to color.

These were laser cut out of not-quite 1/8″ lite plywood. The Christmas Trees are 6″ tall, and the Snowflakes are 4″ tall. The flat ones were jammed into the open spaces on the sheet of wood so I didn’t waste as much material.

The items were downloaded from Shutterstock as they had several vector graphics containing multiple Christmas Trees, so I’d only need to buy one image. Same with the snowflakes. I looked for ones with simple, symmetrical designs.

If you want to make these, here are the steps (it’s really simple):

  • Size the tree to whatever you want in Illustrator, Inkscape, whatever…
  • Measure the thickness of your material.
  • Make a rectangle that is half the height of your tree, and where the width is the thickness of your material (in my case, 3″ x .11″).
  • Center align the tree and rectangle.
  • Duplicate the pair of items.
  • On one, ‘bottom align’ the tree and rectangle. On the other, ‘top align’ the items.
  • Use the pathfinder options to remove the rectangle from the tree, and you’re done.

Go past the jump for more photos:

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Box for crayons – custom engraved

A wooden box holding crayons

At this point I’ve created a few laser-cut tabbed boxes (trading card box, boxes for custom puzzles, and another as an electronics enclosure). None of these had an attached lid, but since this particular project was a gift for the 2-year-old daughter of a colleague, I thought that was the way to go.

I took measurements for a package of crayons that was part of her birthday present, and added in the thickness of the .11″ (really, it couldn’t be a full 1/8″?) lite plywood I had. The box maker web application by Rahul at ConnectionLab has been my go-to for these, but, I found that the pieces generated for this particular box had weird corners. I tried using another box maker found at MakerCase and it worked pretty well.

The pieces were symmetrical so it made it a little easier to work with, at the expense of the center tabs having irregular measurements compared to the others.

A wooden box with hinged lid

I took steps to smooth out the top edges of the pieces, and eliminated the tabs from the lid. Pins for the hinge were added, and I created a hole for the pin to go into. The biggest problem was that I initially made the center line of the hole above the part, so the lid didn’t sit flush with the box. I modified the file slightly dropping the hole down, and recut the 2 parts. At least those 2 pieces were pretty small so it wasn’t a huge deal.

Since most little kid birthday parties we’ve been to lately don’t include opening presents, and I haven’t been back at work yet, I don’t know how it was received. Hopefully she loved her name being engraved on the lid!

Ella engraved on the top of a wooden box
Ella and a small bird engraved on the lid of a custom laser-cut tabbed box.
Front view of a wooden box holding crayons
A custom laser-cut tabbed box for crayons.
Ella engraved on the top of a wooden box
Ella and a small bird engraved on the lid of a custom laser-cut tabbed box.