Movable wall mounted boom arm (redesign) – House of Hacks

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Movable wall mounted boom arm (redesign)


Need to wall-mount a boom arm? In this episode, Harley looks at a movable wall-mounted boom arm redesign. An overhead adjustable boom arm is a useful piece of photography studio equipment. Previously he showed a design for wall mounting a boom arm that didn't work so well. Today he will present a better design. Overhead boom arms can support many things in a photography studio: hair lights, soft boxes, overhead remote-controlled cameras and many other things. The Impact 7' wall-mounted boom arm has simple holes in it to mount directly to the wall. Harley shows how to mount it to a bracket that can be positioned in many places in the studio.

Horizontal toggle clamps used: (Affiliate link)
Heavy duty horizontal toggle clamps: (Affiliate link)

Unboxing of the boom arm:
Video of the first design for the mounting bracket:

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For a written transcript, go to Movable wall mounted boom arm (redesign)

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Today we're going to look at the failure of this moveable wall mounted boom arm bracket and look at the failure reasons and come up with a new design. Hopefully, one that works.


Hi! Harley here.

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You know, sometimes you have a great idea, but the execution of it just doesn't work quite right.

Well, that's what happened last summer. I made a video up here about making a moveable wall-mounted bracket for this Impact 7' boom arm that's used in a photography studio.

And the idea was we'd have a piece of metal that's mounted to the wall and this bracket could be mounted anywhere along that metal to provide adjustability for where the long arm boom arm is mounted.

The idea was there'd be a couple pins here that drop in to holes in the metal and there's a cam activated lock here that keeps it from shifting around while it's being used.

There were a couple problems with this design.

First, of all, the pins that were epoxied in place in here didn't have enough depth to them, into the wood, and so they fell out fairly easily.

The second problem is this cam lock is asymmetrical in the way that it was providing support.

The boom arm can swing to give you adjustability on your position of whatever you have mounted to it. And if you swung one way, this worked fine. But if you swung it the other way, the whole mounting bracket would have a tendency to tilt because it didn't have support on both sides.

So, in this redesign, I'm going to address both these issues.

OK. The new game plan is to replace the pins that fell out with some bolts that will go through the wood all the way. The bolts are longer than this wood and so the bottom of the bolt will drop into the holes in the perforated tubing that's going to be on the wall to hold it in place.

To hold the bolt in the wood, I've got some T-nuts that will just go in like so, so it'll be flush on the bottom where it mounts against the wood, or against the metal and it'll just be held in like so.

To lock it in place, I've got some toggle clamps. These are inexpensive. I picked them up on Amazon, a four pack for less than $9. I was really surprised that I could get some this inexpensively. And I'll leave a link to it down in the description in case you're interested in something like this.

They're rated at 100 pounds each. I'll have two, one on each side. So that should be able to hold it in without any problem. I'll cut a couple pieces of wood, this size, to mount on each side here to mount this to and I'll set the spacing such that when they're open, there's enough room to drop it into place and when it's closed, it will lock up tight against the metal on the wall.

So, let's start putting this all together.

[Project work]

OK. After I got the bolts in and tried test fitting it in the holes, the clearances were just such that there was a little bit more interference than I would have liked. And so I took the bolts off and put them on the lathe and just filed off the ends of the bolts.

(You can probably see it a little bit better with the contrast.)

So the part of the bolt that sticks out of the T-nut is filed off but the threads that thread into the T-nut are still there. So it will still go in just fine this way and, as this gets bottomed out and tightened up, we can see there's just enough extra room for those to fit in there just fine.

So now I'll go put this back on the mounting bracket and figure out where the toggle clamps go.

[Project work]

So, I mounted the clamp on the wood such that the fixed part of the clamp is fairly flush with the end of the wood. There's some adjustability in here so I wasn't looking for exact precision, just kind of got in the ballpark.

And the bolts that are coming out of the T-nuts, extending beyond, is less than the total throw of this bolt on the latch. So, the difference between the closed position and the opened position is a certain measurement. And that measurement is greater than the length of the bolts that are extending out the bottom of the T-nuts. So, in theory, I should be able to set one of these clamps in the locked position and put it right up here against the perforated pipe and mark the block's position here on the mounting bracket. And when this is mounted in, when it's closed, it should be locked and when it unlocks there should be enough movement to be able to pull the bracket up off the perforated pipes. That's the theory. We'll put it together and hopefully everything works out.

[Project work]

OK. I'm much more pleased with the way this works. It's much more sturdy. It seems much more secure. I think it's going to work much better.

As you may have noticed, I was making some adjustments to this. The way this works is there's a barrel that moves in and out in this bushing and in the end of the barrel, there's a screw that has a rubber tip on it and a lock nut, so you can adjust the length of the screw that's coming out of it with the rubber bumper on it and then you can lock it in place with the lock nut. And that's what I was doing with the pliers, was just kind of getting that tightened down and adjusting that. So now when you lock it in place, there's just a little bit of resistance before it locks in and so it holds it pretty secure. And I did that on both sides.

Like I said, these are rated on the web site at, I think, 99 pounds of force that they should take. So, both of them combined is 200 pounds and that should be plenty sufficient, I think, even with the leverage that this will have when you put a light on it.

But we won't know until we really get it in place in the studio. So, let's head over to the studio and see how it works in real life.


OK. That looks like it's going to work pretty well. It's a whole lot more sturdy than it was before particularly when it's out on the outer edges which is really where we had the problem last time. Like I said last time, it would have a tendency to torque this base sideways when it was out at the far angles and not having any problems like that now. It's really, really good and solid.

So, I think this is going to work. We'll now put it in practice here in the studio and let people use it and see how it works in the real world. Hopefully this will be the last time I have to address this issue.

Thanks for joining me on this creative journey that we're all on.

Until next time, go make something.

Perfection's not required.

Fun is!