Camera arm from recycled materials – mistakes and successes

Getting increasingly annoyed with constantly adjusting and readjusting the legs of my flimsy tripod whilst making videos, I had to try and make a camera arm for increased ease and efficiency of recording in my tiny shed. Armed with the knowledge of a few camera arm building tutorials on YouTube and using only materials I already had, I set about building something that would do for the moment until more complex plans could be formulated.


Piece of conduit within a bucket.

Many of the tutorials call for a bucket filled with concrete, a heavy base to keep the arm steady. I did have a bucket but no cement. So I grabbed the plastic bucket I had and found a piece of conduit about head height. The conduit had to be held upright in the bucket, making a cross piece from old construction lumber I drilled a hole through it for the conduit to fit into. I threw a load of sand on top left over from a building project and then placed a circle of plywood on top to hold it all inside and compact it further.


The plywood circle was screwed to the bucket.

I made a corresponding plywood circle to go on the bottom of the bucket and screwed straight through it into the wooden supports inside the bucket. After that all I had to do was add a few castors so I could wheel it easily around the shed.


Adding 3 casters only means it wouldn’t rock on uneven surfaces.

The principle from then on was fairly simple; I needed an arm that would slide freely up and down the conduit with some kind of fixing ability to keep it in position when recording. The arm would be made from left over construction grade lumber and some pallet wood chunks, a pretty simple design.



A hole drilled through the pallet wood chunks made for easy positioning.

I had some unused bolts, nuts and washers which were perfect for the fixing mechanism to keep the arm from sliding down. The procedure is fairly simple:

  • Place the nut over the area where you wish to embed it.
  • Trace and knife an outline around the nut and cut out the material to a depth as deep or deeper than the depth of the nut.
  • Drill a hole through the centre of the nut hole and out at the side where the end of the bolt will make contact.
  • Insert the nut into the hole and give a few firm taps with a hammer.
  • Trace a line around a washer to cover over the nut and take away material.
  • Place the washer over the nut and then screw a piece of wood (or metal/plastic) over the top of the washer to keep it in place.

    Using a nut and bolt as a fixing system.

    I repeated this method twice, once for the adjustment of the camera arm and the other for the adjustment of the camera pole itself. For each adjuster I made a handle for the bolt that screws into the nut to make it easier to turn, especially on these cold winter days when your hands feel like they’re going to shatter.


    The finished stand.

    Over all I’m pleased that recording is now easier in my shed but after using it there are a few things I will change when I do it again.

    Firstly I will used better quality castors, the ones I bought here are from a hardware store and were the cheapest I could find. They struggle to swivel and so half the time I’m actually dragging the stand rather than wheeling it.

    Secondly I’d use concrete to set the pipe in the place and as the counterweight. As you can see the sand alone wasn’t enough and I had to add extra weights, also the conduit was slightly on the slant which I feel could have been avoided if I set it level in concrete.


    Lastly and perhaps most importantly I don’t know if I’d use this design at all but rather go with one that could clasp onto the wall perhaps. For those of you who haven’t seen my videos you might not realise but my shed is indeed very small, I have around 2m X 3m (78 3/4″ X 118 1/8″) of floor space. With shelves and my workbench and wood pile taking up some of this space it makes it rather clumsy and lumbering to move a camera arm around also.



I’m glad I made it and it does make recording faster but really, for my tiny little shed its not a long term solution and I think when the weather is better I’ll give it a re think and post my future solution on here. First ideas are often not the best.