PVC Pipe Magnetic Roof Mount

This is what my friend Rube Goldberg and I came up with today.

The mast is temporary, just for alignment purposes. I’m going to do some sort of quick-release. Also still to be done is attaching a mounting point for the safety strap. Maybe a U-hook through the PVC.

Total cost was ~ USD $30.00

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Looks great. I got 2 magnets and 2 large suction cups and might try to copy your idears.

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Thank you.

I thought about a mixed approach too. I may still do something with suction cups (like the ones used for lifting tile or glass) for the safety strap anchors. But more likely I’ll just go full redneck and pass the strap through the car doors.

One hint: If you do use a similar design, the section with the mast will be the most critical because it has to be aligned. But those magnets are strong enough that if you build the outriggers first, they should support the mast base section before it’s cemented.

So what I did was build and cement the outriggers, then cut the mast support parts except for the little sections going into the feet. Then I cut those to fit, aligned the mast, marked all the joints with a sharpie, and cemented them. It made it a really easy job.

How’s she hold up on the freeway?

I’d also be concerned about windblast vorticies/vibration of the vertical. ie the camera shaking in the breeze.

Perhaps wait till first use, but keep dampening ideas and diagonal strapping at non resonant ponts in mind

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Didn’t budge at 65 mph (105 kph), but with no camera attached yet. I had a safety line just in case, and it was still slack when I got home.

Thanks. I do have that in the back of my mind, but decided to wait because it will complicate the quick release. It’s hard to tell without a camera, but I didn’t feel or hear anything like harmonics going on.

Some more pictures of the more-or-less finished product.

The clip toward the bottom is a quick-release for the mast, which is in two sections. Not clearly visible is the top, which is just a vertical 1/4- 20 UNC screw and a wing nut, like a standard tripod.

I may shorten the mast. I made it longer than I thought I would need because it’s easier to cut them than to stretch them.

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very professional looking job. you just have to patent it now


Thank you, although I think it would all fall under the heading of “prior art.”

I did take about 20 or 30 miles of video (not time-lapse photos) last night to test the camera and mount. Other than the Fusion Studio software bringing out a previously-unknown bug that was preventing my CPU fan speed from responding to temperatures, it was uneventful. There’s no evidence of any vibration, harmonics, or anything else untoward.

The video quality itself is unremarkable by human eye standards. But in fairness, leaves on trees are a very complex thing for cameras to handle. The fact that I can actually see that they’re leaves rather than a mass of green blur is actually somewhat impressive, especially considering that the camera was moving at highway speed.

The signage is readable, however, which is the most useful thing for my purposes.

I’ll probably edit some excerpts from the video (the whole video is ~ 80GB) and upload them somewhere as soon as I figure out how. I’ve never worked with 360 video before. I also have a few screenshots that I’ll upload after I get some revenue work done.

I love it. I could only wish I could make anything similar with my own hands.
If you will consider accepting orders for this custom made holder, ping me, i am interested :slight_smile:

Thank you, but there are two problems with that.

Firstly, I really wouldn’t know how to fine tune the alignment without having the car right here. The curves and slopes of the roof are different for every car, and the last step involves fitting the final pieces until everything is how it’s supposed to be before cementing them.

Secondly, I’m not done testing it yet. It seems very solid so far, but it’s only been on the road twice. I’d want to feel more confident in it before building one for someone else. If it did fly off the roof, it could do a lot of damage to camera equipment, vehicles, and people.

PVC is easy to work with, though. All you need is a saw, a miter box, and some sandpaper for the rough edges of the cuts. You may want to look at a video or two. It’s really not difficult at all.

These are screenshots from the first video test. All were taken while moving between 55 - 60 mph with the lenses facing to the sides. It’s not exactly Spielberg-quality video, to say the least; but the signs are readable (albeit barely).

In fairness, these are screenshots that I converted from PNG to JPG, resized, and compressed a bit for the Web, so there’s a slight amount of quality loss.

I can’t edit the video itself yet because none of the editors I’ve tried seem to know how to edit a 360 video in .MOV format. I’ll try playing with it some more when I have a few hours to kill.

Also be aware that depending where you are in the world PVC (water) pipe may or may not be UV resistant. In sunlight it eventually powders off and gets brittle. In Australia grey electrical conduit is okay but the orange and white is not.

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That particular Rustoleum pain provides UV protection. Not that I’ll be leaving it mounted all the time, but you make an excellent point.

How did the side shots look? Those seem harder for cameras to handle.

The side shots were actually clearer, probably because the camera was turned sideways. I was able to read every storefront sign that I looked at.

Unfortunately, I didn’t think to screenshot any side views before I deleted the test video. I never intended to use it for anything other than an initial test, and even that test was more of the mast’s stability than anything else. My apologies.

The weather doesn’t look good for today (nor for nine of the next ten days, for that matter). If I can, however, I’ll get some more footage. I plan to build a new computer this weekend if all the parts arrive, which should make the rendering and editing quite a bit quicker.

I think I finally have this working. All I had to do was buy the camera, figure out how to use it, buy the remote for the camera, figure out how to use it, build the mount, build a new computer, and figure out how to properly export the pictures. Simple. Then wait for a day with good weather.

I captured ~ 50 GB of imagery this morning, and it doesn’t look horrible. Here’s a short section.

I might be able to lower the mast a bit more. Then again, I guess there’s no way to avoid getting your car in the picture on a spherical video, and the viewer can tilt it anyway; so maybe I’ll leave it be. I’m open to opinions.

This morning’s video was taken with the camera lenses facing fore and aft rather than port and starboard. I think the quality’s a bit better. Amazingly, no bugs splattered themselves on the lens.