Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Do-It-Yourself Universal or Magic Arm Mount
A new Ablenet Magic Arm switch mount arrived in my classroom today to replace the second gooseneck switch mount (by Enabling Devices) to break in six months (I am never ordering another one of those again). The Ablenet Magic Arm came in three pieces, the clamp, the arm and the plate. That got me thinking, perhaps it is cheaper to buy the pieces and assemble the mount yourself?
So I did some research and long story short it is cheaper.
Here is the breakdown:
The clamp is called Bogen - Manfrotto Super Clamp and runs $30-40.
The arm is called Bogen - Manfrotto Variable Friction Arm and runs from about $90-100. (The arm is also sometimes called an Israeli Arm.)
There are many plates you can attach to Velcro or screw the switch to they include the Bogen hexagonal mounting plate and the Bogen rapid change mounting plate these range from $18.00-50.00. Your best bet might be the ones made specifically for switches sold by Ablenet for $19.00.
You can even buy the clamp and arm together for $116.00 from Amazon.com.
This buying the arm and clamp from a non-special needs vendor and the plate from Ablenet maxes you out at about $136.00-160.00 versus $210.00 for the Ablenet Mount, $219.00 for the JR Cooper Mount or for the mount. That is a savings of about sixty or so dollars.
Want to spend that sixty bucks? Look around at some of the Bogen - Manfrotto accessories for the magic arms like for the cord clamp for about $4.00 and the mount base (replaces the clamp) about $30.00.
Want another cool mounting option? This runs $20-55 depending on the size you choose. I haven't tried it yet but this is the Joby Gorillapod (and I want one). It is a flexible tripod mount for cameras, but add a switch plate from Ablenet (see above) or even the $5 flash clip and you can use it to mount a switch or what ever you want. The legs can wrap around things like wheelchair arms and stander parts to position your switch.