Camera Mount For a Wheelchair? [Great Idea for a Community Project, y'all! /edit by Lisa]

This is my very first post in this forum and I’ve never actually visited this makerspace in person so I apologize if this is the wrong avenue to post this in, but I’d appreciate if I could get some help. This site was recommended to me. Thanks!

First, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Court and I am (was?) a photographer with muscular dystrophy. (Think: “ALS family.”) Basically what this means is that I’m a mutant, kind of like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles… Except I didn’t get any cool superpowers, but rather a condition that progressively makes my muscles weaker. Several years ago in high school I was able to join a graphic design / photography class and really discovered my love for it all. Photography was a hobby that I had no disadvantages in compared to the average person. Being in a wheelchair meant that I had to be creative with my angles, but it was a challenge that I loved. I enjoyed using my school’s cameras for the 1.5 years that I was there, and for my graduation present my mom even got me a camera of my own to enjoy.

Here’s the problem (and why I posted)… I didn’t really get to enjoy my camera because of how heavy it was. The prime muscles that are used to hold a camera up and balance it as you use your other hand to manually change the settings… I don’t have that anymore, and all of the equipment that I have is basically a paperweight now.

An amazing organization in Canada* had made a camera holder for me that is essentially the exact same thing as THIS. I was so excited to receive it but quickly found out that my camera (Nikon D3200 – 1.5~ lbs) and its standard lens were way too heavy to be held up by the loc-line/coolant tubing. :frowning:

THIS is an example of what I would love to make or have made for me. This was something that was made on a Kickstarter several years ago but is no longer being sold. I haven’t been able to get in contact with the maker of it or even the company, which seems to have been abandoned. The mount seems perfect for me, though. It can actually hold a camera up, and I still somewhat have freedom with where I want to put my camera. I just don’t know where to begin with learning how to do this. My only alternative to get something from a medical company that can do this costs over $1,000, and I could barely buy the camera in the first place :frowning: haha.

Worst case scenario and I can just buy a mount that stays still (kind of like a cupholder) which isn’t bad but is moreso made for people with paralysis, and who can’t really use their hands at all. :confused:

Anyway, I’d love to get back into photography again so if any of you have any ideas or better places that can help me with this, I’d really appreciate it. Thank you so much!

edit: “Camera” definitely isn’t a synonym for “Canada.” Aah!


@Committee_Chairs: I think this is a problem we can collectively solve, if we can design all manner of robots, circuits, machines, devices, and tools - this should be damn well within our capabilities or shame on us.

For anyone interested in solving this problem, speak up. Let’s do this. This sounds like something we could do as community project that spans lots of disciplines.



Would you be willing to come to my school and have a group of students try to solve this problem? After April 20th the students are going to have real(ish) world problems to solve for people with disabilities.
While this might not yield you the perfect thing I’m just looking for my students to brainstorm FOR a solution.

PS I will be posting a message thread about this today.


Hi Court (@projectcode18)!

Thanks for posting a bit about yourself and the project you are looking into…

While I can’t make any promises; I agree with David (@Photomancer) that this is something that (hopefully) we might be able to turn into a “community project” in order to help you out.

I have edited the title and moved the thread into our “DMS General” category - because we have several different “groups” of members in various committees who might be able to help out.

Again, no promises; but, I’ve got my fingers crossed for ya! :smiley:

1 Like

Oh that would be an awesome approach, too! :smiley:

I’m still holding onto hopes that we, as a community, can do something to help, as well! :smiley:

1 Like

Do you currently have a tripod and head? Modifying a set would probably be pretty easy with a couple of custom brackets.


Placing a couple of adjusting elbows and a mounting bracket at the base would work for a monopod, too.

@Dawsmart & @frank_lima ~ Do y’all have any ideas to toss around as far as design goes?

They could help brainstorm - we can fine tune and fabricate. Or make it competition … HS vs Maker Engineers & Tinkers!


[Hopefully I replied correctly. Still working this thing out, haha.] Hi! I would definitely be willing to come to your school for it. This seems like an awesome opportunity for all of us. Is there a way that I can email you or something? I’m in the Carrollton area but pretty much able to go anywhere in Dallas, too. Thank you. :slight_smile:


I don’t have a tripod but I do have a screw adapter for a mounting plate. (I’m willing to buy whatever I need, though.)

I looked at some monopods and think that they will be pretty neat. I can rest it on my footrest plates, and between my knees. And it won’t take time to screw/unscrew the whole stand from an arm on my wheelchair.

Question, though: In your opinion, do you think with a monopod that it’s possible to have my camera not just horizontal but to be able to turn it vertical, too?

Thank you for your help!

I was curious about how in and out you’d want to be in your chair.

The mount head is what allows flexibility to provide vertical photos. (or pointed at the sky or ground photos!) So yes, a monopod would do that.

Have you ever tried using your phone or a smart pad to set and take your shots? I think that camera allows it. What I like about that idea is that, in theory, the camera could be way over your head, but you could still see and set up, and take the images. I have a photography buddy who uses the set up all the time.

I still like the idea of bracketing it to a leg of the chair, though. Really stable that way. Could you link to a photo of the chair from a website? That will let us imagine where to bracket things.

Would some sort of motorized pan tilt platform be of use ? As in aim the camera via a joystick sort of arrangement ?

I’m not familiar with MD, but ALS is what got my Dad. I’ve seen that and I think the motorized mount would have helped him. Just trying to get an idea of your limitations and what would work for you.


Ah, this sounds great!

And yes, there is a little wireless mobile adapter that costs $60. I’ve been looking into it.

Here’s a photo of my chair. It’s kind of blurry but gives you an idea of all of the areas that I can hook things on. I’m in the process of getting a new chair but it will be fairly similar to this one so I think any ideas that work for this chair will work for that one. (It will be something along the lines of this. If you want to Google it for more photos, the name is Quickie QM 710.)

Thanks again. I really appreciate it.

1 Like

Thank you so much Lisa! Just the enthusiasm of it all is appreciated. Even if the worst happens, it’s so worth a try, and plus I’ll get to witness such an amazing community in my area!

1 Like

Just so you know, your superpower is probably your great attitude.

You’ve got a few people thinking about this, including a couple of photographers. I suspect you can safely consider it a go.

When is the new chair expected? That’s my final question for the day. :wink:

Somehow I accidentally skipped over your comment. Sorry about that.

I just looked up one of those pan and tilt tripod head things and they look really cool. It’s possible that one could help me. Just the ability for one of those things to keep the camera in place as I mess with the controls or lens will make things a ton easier on me.

I’m sorry to hear about your dad. As far as the two conditions, the main difference is moreso that ALS [in general] doesn’t appear until adulthood and when it does it’s very harsh from the beginning. With me, I’ve always had weakness (had to use a wheelchair in kindergarten) and whatnot but it’s very gradual. Hands are the one thing that I never thought of it affecting until it actually did. I’m determined to work around it for this, though. And thank you for your help.


1 Like

Why thank you, haha! :smiley: Glad to know I got some cool effect from my loss of collagen. It’s definitely not grey eyes or a white streak in my hair, but I’ll take it!

This portfolio is very old, but if anyone wanted to get a good idea of what they’re helping me get back to, click here.

And new chair date? If you ask me, I want for Christmas in July but I’m preparing for the end of August or early September. (What can you do? Gotta love health insurances! Can’t live with 'em, can’t live without 'em!) :wink:

Thanks again!


I was thinking maybe interms of this:

With a steadycam arm to support it.


You’re definitely on to something. This is kind of cool. Thank you for the link!


Ya my students would just be approaching it as a conceptual thing. We don’t have the resources to create a true finished project as we could here at makerspace.