Samstag, 4. April 2009

Additional details of the hinge-mechanism

Since I received several requests regarding the construction of the rig, here are some additional information and pictures to explain the construction. You'll need the following parts: 
  • 2 Metal Brackets (I used a standard size of 70mm length and 16mm width)
  • 1 Metal Hinge (Length 51mm, with 12mm, total width 30mm when unfolded)
  • 8 small magnets (10x4 mm, with a thickness of 1mm) 
The Metal parts should be fairly standard parts that you can get from any DIY shop. I purchased the magnets from a german online-shop.
Before you begin the construction, you must first measure the exact distance (d) from the tripod-socket of the camera to the middle of the lens. For the Ixus 55 d=27mm. If you double this distance you get the total distance (2d=54mm) that the two bottom-sides of the brackets must have to ensure that the camera lenses are on the same height.
The second measurement you need is the distance between the left side of camera and the middle of the tripod socket (s=28mm in case of the Ixus 55), because you have to drill corresponding holes into the brackets later to mount the cameras. The following picture explains this hopefully a bit better:

Von Fotoarchiv

First step then is to shorten the metal brackets to the size you need using a saw. The side of the bracket that will be connected to the hinge should be roughly equal to 2d, which should of course roughly match the lenght of the hinge you purchase. The other side of the brackets should be long enough to support the cameras firmly. In the case of the Ixus 55, 40mm turned out to be the optimal size, because this will provide enough stability but also lets you access the battery chamber when the cameras are still mounted.
The next step is to drill the hole for the tripod connector, because this will be more difficult when the brackets are already connected to the hinge. As you can see in the following picture there were already holes in the brackets, but of course not in the right position for the Ixus 55 (well I did not expect to be so lucky ;-):

Von Fotoarchiv

Next step is to connect the hinge to the brackets. It took me a few attempts before I found the best solution for the connection. In my case there were already predrilled holes in the hinge. So after I placed the hinge over the bracket I was able to mark the position for the corresponding holes on each bracket. I then drilled small holes (2mm if I remember correctly) into the bracket and then used a 3mm threader to cut threads into the bracket so that I could fix the hinge to each bracket simply using 2 screws that I shortened so that they do not extend into the inside of the bracket where the cameras are supposed to be mounted. This turned out to be a very easy but still also a very stable connection that also had the big advantage of being relatively thin, so that the camera-spacing is not increased unnecessarily.
Von Fotoarchiv

After I was sure that everything is stable and sufficiently aligned, I fixed the screws using some superglue. Last step then is to glue the magnets in place. Finding magnets with the correct thickness is important to ensure that the brackets are still aligned when the hinge is closed and the magnets are connected, so the optimal thickness of the magnets is determined by the space between both sides of the hinge when the hinge is closed. When you arrange the magnets so that there is some space near the axis of the hinge you can use that space for the cable connection between the cameras as you can see on the picture above.