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FreedomCam Sun Visor Mount

Update: 15 April 2016 (4rd Generation FreedomCam Windshield Mount)

This new design is a big departure from the original design.  I learned SolidWorks as part of my engineering degree. I decided to build an arm that would connect the dash cam to a windshield suction cup mount we had from an unused cell phone holder.  I was also able to print this out in ABS plastic.  This design is a lot smaller than the original and thicker.  Also, direct exposure to the sun is less because it doesn't lay right against the windshield and it gets some shade from the windshield mounting assembly.  All these changes have resulted in a design that is better able to tolerate the heat in Phoenix, Arizona.  We haven't had any trouble with the plastic melting or getting soft.


Isometric view in SolidWorks

View of other side

Hidden Lines Visible view
 

Printed in ABS plastic.  We weren't able to choose the color it was printed in. But we're happy it wasn't a darker color that would absorb more heat
 Fully assembled






Dash Cam Arm-redo.SLDPRT
 Here is the SolidWorks file


13 June 2014 (3rd Generation FreedomCam Windshield Mount)

This new design has a slight change.  There are small bumps on the suction cup slots to hold the cups in place so they can't slide around.  That was something that became an obvious problem when we started using the last design.


The 3rd Generation version.  The code is below.

Close-up of the modification


// Windshield Mount for FreedomCam (3rd Generation)

// Requires: Four Suction Cups (8 mm dia. x 1.5 mm tall neck, 14 mm dia. flange) and a Suitably Modified 2" Binder Clip

// Color added to make editting easier

// Written by: Athena Michelle Roberts

// 13 June 2014


$fn=50;

difference()

{

minkowski()

{

// Creates the 160x115x3 mm board

translate ([10,10,0])

cube([140,95,1.5]);

cylinder(r=10,h=1.5);

}

// Creates the suction cup slot at (20,20)

color("orange")

translate ([40,20,-1]) cylinder(r=7,h=6);

color("cyan")

translate ([21.6,16,-1]) cube([16,8,6]);

color("yellow")

translate ([20,20,-1]) cylinder(r=4,h=6);

color("tan")

translate ([20,20,1.5]) cylinder(r=7,h=6);

color("fushia")

translate ([20,13,1.5]) cube([20.5,14,6]);


// Creates the suction cup slot at (20,95)

color("orange")

translate ([40,95,-1]) cylinder(r=7,h=6);

color("cyan")

translate ([21.6,91,-1]) cube([16,8,6]);

color("yellow")

translate ([20,95,-1]) cylinder(r=4,h=6);

color("tan")

translate ([20,95,1.5]) cylinder(r=7,h=6);

color("fushia")

translate ([20,88,1.5]) cube([20.5,14,6]);


// Creates the suction cup slot at (141,20)

color("orange")

translate ([120,20,-1]) cylinder(r=7,h=6);

color("cyan")

translate ([123.4,16,-1]) cube([16,8,6]);

color("yellow")

translate ([141,20,-1]) cylinder(r=4,h=6);

color("tan")

translate ([141,20,1.5]) cylinder(r=7,h=6);

color("fushia")

translate ([120,13,1.5]) cube([21,14,6]);


// Creates the suction cup slot at (141,95)

color("orange")

translate ([120,95,-1]) cylinder(r=7,h=6);

color("cyan")

translate ([123.4,91,-1]) cube([16,8,6]);

color("yellow")

translate ([141,95,-1]) cylinder(r=4,h=6);

color("tan")

translate ([141,95,1.5]) cylinder(r=7,h=6);

color("fushia")

translate ([120,88,1.5]) cube([21,14,6]);


// Creates the binder clip slot at (54.5,11)

translate ([54.5,11,-1]) cube([51,6,6]);


}


color("lime")

{

// Creates the suction cup lock at (20,20) slot

translate ([22.7,12.5]) cylinder(r=4,h=1.5);

translate ([22.7,27.5]) cylinder(r=4,h=1.5);

// Creates the suction cup lock at (20,95) slot

translate ([22.7,87.5]) cylinder(r=4,h=1.5);

translate ([22.7,102.5]) cylinder(r=4,h=1.5);

// Creates the suction cup lock at (141,20) slot

translate ([138.3,12.5]) cylinder(r=4,h=1.5);

translate ([138.3,27.5]) cylinder(r=4,h=1.5);

// Creates the suction cup lock at (141,95) slot

translate ([138.3,87.5]) cylinder(r=4,h=1.5);

translate ([138.3,102.5]) cylinder(r=4,h=1.5);

}



Update: 8-12 June 2014 (Improved FreedomCam Windshield Mount)

The original windshield mount worked OK.  There was one major problem.  The suction cups kept popping out when we remove the mount from the windshield.  I had made the holes small enough to keep the suction cups attached but still barely large enough to get them in the holes with a lot of work.  The problem was the suction cups worked too well staying connected to the windshield and came out anyway! :-)  This looked like a good opportunity to experiment with 3D printing.  Some problems with this design are that it is printed out of PLA plastic (low melting point), the design is thin (large surface area to volume ratio), and a large portion of it is exposed directly the the sun.  Because cars are notorious for their greenhouse effect, it gets much hotter in the car than outside.  So, melting was a problem.  We had to make sure not to leave it in the car.  We didn't always do that and often had to leave it on the dash hoping the heat would cause it to flatten out somewhat.


I started with a new batch of suctions cups and a new 2" binder clip.

This is a not-to-scale drawing of the suction cups.  I purchased them at a local Walmart.  They are the kind with the metal hooks wrapped around the neck.  It's not difficult to remove the hooks.  Brand: Dorman. Model: 1356. website: dormanhardware.com.  If you are not able to get these, then anything with the above dimensions will work.  Or you can modify my code to fit what you have.

This is a CAD drawing I made, using OpenSCAD, of what the mount is supposed to look like.  It's dimensions are 160x115x3 mm.  Notice the recessed fitted slots for the suction cups.  The code for this drawing is below.

I wanted to make a new clip for this mount since I wasn't totally satisfied with the original one because I had used a grinder to remove the excess metal.  This time, I used a Dremel tool with a cutting wheel.  The results are much better. :-)

Printing the mount.  One of the guys at HeatSync Labs was kind enough to get me set up with the 3D printer there.
The completed prototype printed with PLA plastic. ABS would be better in this application for its greater heat resistance,.  Unfortunately, PLA was all that was available.  This means we can't leave it in the car during the Phoenix summers. :-)  Eventually, we'll get it printed in ABS.
 Back side with the hardware installed.
Front side with the hardware installed.
Mounted in the car.

Cabin view of Paul taking it for a spin.
Road view.
 

Code for the dashcam mount:

// Windshield Mount for FreedomCam

// Requires: Four Suction Cups (8 mm dia. x 1.5 mm tall neck, 14 mm dia. flange) and a Suitably Modified 2" Binder Clip

// Written by: Athena Michelle Roberts

// 8 June 2014


$fn=50;

difference()

{

minkowski()

{

// Creates the 160x115x3 mm board

translate ([10,10,0]) cube([140,95,1.5]);

cylinder(r=10,h=1.5);

}

// Creates the suction cup slot at (20,20)

translate ([40,20,0]) cylinder(r=7,h=6);

translate ([20,16,0]) cube([16,8,6]);

translate ([20,20,0]) cylinder(r=4,h=6);

translate ([20,20,1.5]) cylinder(r=7,h=6);

translate ([20,13,1.5]) cube([20,14,6]);


// Creates the suction cup slot at (20,95)

translate ([40,95,0]) cylinder(r=7,h=6);

translate ([20,91,0]) cube([16,8,6]);

translate ([20,95,0]) cylinder(r=4,h=6);

translate ([20,95,1.5]) cylinder(r=7,h=6);

translate ([20,88,1.5]) cube([20,14,6]);


// Creates the suction cup slot at (141,20)

translate ([120,20,0]) cylinder(r=7,h=6);

translate ([125,16,0]) cube([16,8,6]);

translate ([141,20,0]) cylinder(r=4,h=6);

translate ([141,20,1.5]) cylinder(r=7,h=6);

translate ([120,13,1.5]) cube([20,14,6]);


// Creates the suction cup slot at (141,95)

translate ([120,95,0]) cylinder(r=7,h=6);

translate ([125,91,0]) cube([16,8,6]);

translate ([141,95,0]) cylinder(r=4,h=6);

translate ([141,95,1.5]) cylinder(r=7,h=6);

translate ([120,88,1.5]) cube([20,14,6]);


// Creates the binder clip slot at (54.5,11)

translate ([54.5,11,0]) cube([51,6,6]);


}



Update: March 2014 (FreedomCam Windshield Mount)

The visor mount worked well.  But, there were four problems.  The first was the camera couldn't be centered on the windshield due to being mounted high up on a visor.  That interfered with getting a good panoramic shot of the road ahead.  The second was that being mounted high up also had camera shooting through the window tinting on the top on the windshield.  The third problem is that being mounted high up also meant the camera was mounted further back.  That resulted in the camera being unable to capture what is going outside the passenger and driver-side windows.  The forth was that we could no longer adjust the visor it was mounted on to block the sun. 

Here are a couple of stills of the camera's view being mounted on a sun-vizor
 
 

We really needed a portable and stable way to mount the camera in an ideal place (the middle of the windshield as far forward as practical) in any car we might be driving.

My idea was to attach the paperclip to a piece of plexiglass with suction cups attached to it.  I found a scrap piece of plexiglass around the house and bought some suction cups from the local Walmart.

What I started with

I've never cut plexiglass before.  Fortunately, there are many sites on the internet that will explain it for free.  One such site is here:  http://www.wikihow.com/Cut-Plexiglass.  The advice seemed fairly straight forward.  A glass cutter didn't work that well for me because I couldn't score the plexiglass deep enough to make it break where I wanted it.  I ended up using a Dremel tool to score the glass on both sides.  That worked very well and I got a clean break.  I used a wire wheel and some sandpaper to polish and round off the edges.
 
Plexiglass cut to size

The next step was to figure out where I want to mount the cam on the plexiglass.  I drew a line where I wanted the clip to go through the plexiglass, drilled a hole at each end of the line, used a Dremel tool to cut out the stuff in the middle and a file and some sandpaper to enlarge and polish the slot as needed.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The paperclip mounted through the plexiglass.
Please watch your fingers when pushing the clip through the slot.

The next step was to drill holes in the corners for each of the suction cups.  I have a 3/8" drill bit, which is a little too small to squeeze the suction cup mount through, and a 1/2" bit, which is too large.  I ended up using 3/8" bit and a round file to make the hole just barely large enough to push the mount through.  I was also careful not to scratch the face of the cups, so they wouldn't lose their ability to keep a seal, by pressing only in the middle of the cup.  My thumbs were sore after I completed this step.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Finished product
 
 

Mounted in the car
 
 

New camera view
 
 

The new forward view works better except for the windshield wipers blocking the camera view and we have too much of the dashboard in the frame.  We can fix this by repositioning the camera and fixing the windshield wiper system because the blades often don't go all the way down when we turn off the wipers.  The cabin view is perfect.  We can see what is going on out of both side windows.

December 2013

Last summer, my boyfriend bought a FreedomCam to put on the dash of his car to record what was going on inside and outside the car while it was moving and any interactions with police (hopefully rare).  The idea being to have an objective record of what happened.  Not that anything bad had happened yet.  This purchase was mainly about preparedness.  The dash cam comes with a permanent mount to attach it to the windshield.  That works fine if we only wanted to use it in his car.  It doesn't work well if we want to also use it in mine or in a rental car.  We weren't having much luck finding something online to fix this problem and I realized this was something that could have a very easy fix.

I got a hold of one of those giant paperclips, made some modifications with a bench grinder and a Dremel rotary tool, and Presto!

The dash cam, its permanent mount and my modified paperclip.
 
 


How the paperclip goes onto the dash cam mount


How it all mounts on the sun visor
 
 
 



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Athena Roberts,
Oct 24, 2016, 12:07 PM
ą
Athena Roberts,
Oct 24, 2016, 12:07 PM
ċ
Dash Cam Arm-redo.SLDPRT
(395k)
Athena Roberts,
Oct 24, 2016, 12:27 PM
ą
Athena Roberts,
Oct 24, 2016, 12:07 PM
ą
Athena Roberts,
Oct 24, 2016, 12:07 PM
ą
Athena Roberts,
Oct 24, 2016, 12:07 PM
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