Your Guide to a DIY GoPro Handle, and My Unreasonable Need to Accessorize

When I bought my GoPro about a year and a half ago, I needed to watch an excessive stream of videos featuring adrenaline-seeking videographers jumping off cliffs or plunging into blue holes before I could justify the hefty price tag of a new GoPro camera. As an unemployed college student who had just learned not only how to SCUBA dive but also how expensive dive gear is, I was initially hesitant to drop several hundred dollars on a camera that was small enough to loose in the mess of my desk during midterm season. But after seeing the high definition, wide angle, take-me-anywhere, drop-me-off-anything footage that people achieved with their GoPros, I decided to invest in a little one of my own so that I could start documenting my start of my diving career.

When I finally payed the $400, I thought that the investment had been made and that I would jump straight in the water and start making movies that would rival any of the jacked surfers or extreme cliff jumpers on YouTube. But when you give a girl a GoPro, she’ll want to get some accessories. While GoPro sells a large selection of cameras to folks like me who forget that you actually have to do cool things to make cool videos (you mean just owning a good camera doesn’t make you awesome by its self?!?!), it has an even larger diversity of mounts and accessories, everything from surfboard mounts to dog harnesses. And attaching your camera to things with GoPro’s mounts can get pretty pricey (it costs $60 to strap a camera to Fido), which is why many people are getting creative and building their own GoPro accessories.

One of the great things about GoPro is that is spurs and actively encourages its customers to get creative. While the more expensive harnesses, straps, and selfie sticks are available for purchase, all GoPros come with a set of small mounts with a strong adhesive pad on the bottom. These are for attaching to your boards, helmets, cars, walking sticks, you name it. It challenges people to take this wildly versatile contraption and run wild.

In the time since I began SCUBA diving and using my GoPro I have struggled to keep my camera steady underwater. The camera picks up every minute shake and twitch of my hand, mainly because I have just been holding it from its base. But when I went diving with my lab 2 weeks ago, one of the guys in the group pulled out what looked like half of a tiny steering wheel covered in black electrical tape with a GoPro stuck in the center. I can’t take too much credit for the design that I am about to outline because it was Taylor who gave me all of the ideas, like making a handle out of PVC pipes and placing an electrical housing box in the center to have a flat surface for the adhesive mount to attach to. So here is my first attempt at a DIY GoPro accessory, hopefully it can give you some inspiration for your next under-$60 camera mount:

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What you’ll need:

  • PVC pipe – I used 1/2″ pipes because that felt like a comfortable diameter for me to hold onto. Feel free to use larger pipes if you have larger hands.
  • PVC elbows
  • 1 electrical housing box with 1/2″ holes cut in the sides
  • PVC cement
  • Superglue
  • Sandpaper
  • Electrical tape
  • One GoPro adhesive mount
  1. Cut the pipes into 4 pieces to be the 4 sides of the handle. I cut the two 5″ and two 6″ pipes, again because that was the most comfortable for my hand size. Scale it up or down as you see fit.
  2. Put one of the pipes through the holes in the electrical housing box. This box will be where you attach your GoPro mount to. Once you have put the pipe through the box, glue PVC elbows to the ends of the pipes with PVC cement. Follow the instructions on the container of your PVC cement, it will probably tell you to sand and clean the pipe before gluing it.

    Fit the pipe though the electrical housing box before gluing the elbows to the pipe.
    Fit the pipe though the electrical housing box before gluing the elbows to the pipe.
  3. Attach the other 3 pipes and 2 elbows with PVC cement, making a C shape with your pipes. Fit the C shape into the elbows of the electrical housing piece to complete your frame.
  4. Center the electrical housing box and line it up where you want it on the frame. Use the super glue to secure it to the pipe. The holes in electrical housing box that I used were a little larger than the pipes, so it rotated freely about the pipes. I used a good amount of both superglue and PVC cement to try to fill the gaps and fix the box to the pipe.
  5. Once the frame is all set, wrap the whole thing in electrical tape. This gives it a more uniform look and covers some of the sharp plastic and metallic edges. (Note: I used black electrical tape for the whole thing, but if you are more interesting than me you could try switching it up with some red or green or other colorful tapes).20150721_153547
  6. Once the box is all wrapped, attach the adhesive GoPro mount. This should come in a pack with your new camera. If not, you can order them from GoPro or on Amazon. The adhesive is most effect on clean, smooth surfaces and imperfections on the surface is not as good as a smooth, flat surface. There will be texture from the electrical tape, but it should be fairly smooth with bubbles and ridges smoothed out.   20150721_160630
  7. Let the PVC cement and GoPro mount set for 24 hours, and you should be good to go! I have yet to test mine out yet, but I am hoping that it will offer me more stability when I take videos under water. Stay tuned for some (hopefully) better shots from the deep!

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