Ian Mackay of Ian's Ride has been a long-time user of RAM® mounts and friend of the RAM® team. Ian’s mounts have kept his phones secured to his chair during long rides outdoors, and were recently used to break a Guinness world record, which you can learn more about here.
Recently we worked with Ian to develop a new mounting rig for his chair. This new kit has been tested and has exceeded Ian’s expectations, so we are excited to share what we built and how we built it so any other wheelchair user can get the same setup.
Ian reached out to RAM® looking for a new camera rig to take out on the trails. He shared two key features that the ideal mount would have that his current setup was missing. The first was for camera to be centered in front of him and the second was to keep the camera close to eye-level.
With the features of Ian's dream camera rig outlined, our team got to work and identified the top three challenges we'd need to address:
- 1. Wheelchair mounts typically are mounted from one side with limited extension towards the center; ensuring ideal placement of the camera would require extra rigidity to withstand trail rides.
- 2. Camera mounting for video would need extra stabilization for smooth video.
- 3. The ability to quickly remove and switch out the mount with minimal effort.
The ongoing challenge with wheelchair mounting is finding the balance between easy to adjust and remove while not sacrificing any stability or security. In other words, it needs to be easy to move, yet does not move easily. Given the overwhelming variety of RAM® components available, we knew it could be done but were not sure how. After testing a few different options with Ian, we finally found the parts to make it work.
In 2021, we launched a line of wheelchair mounts using the RAM® Adapt-A-Post™ base with the RAM® Flex Rod™ system, which offers a quick release & swivel feature. The most common kit using this design has been the RAM® Tablet Mount for Wheelchairs with Quick Release & Swivel Feature. While this is a great solution for most wheelchair users, anyone outdoors on rough surfaces could experience some movement of the mount. However this movement is not caused by the mount itself, but by the armrest supporting the additional leverage of the mount.
For Ian’s camera rig, we took the same Adapt-A-Post™ concept but connected to both arm rests instead of just one. And instead of an 18” Flex-Rod™ we used a 30” rod that we pre-bent and routed to both armrest connection points. The name “Flex-Rod” might be deceiving, as these are extremely rigid, ½” diameter aluminum rods that take some strength to bend to the right position. Once you bend it to the position you want, it stays in that position. When connected to both arm rests, the 30” Flex Rod™ braces the armrests against each other, which makes the armrests more stable, thus anything mounted to the armrests are more stable.
Once the Flex-Rod™ is secured and pre-bent for the chair, you can then mount anything along the bar using the small RAM® Torque™ Ball Base. This new User-Inspired Kit includes one of these bases, but you add any number of ball bases along the rod system for mounting multiple devices. Simply position the ball where you want and cut the corrugated tubing around each base and the solution is complete.
Are you more of a visual learner? Check out our step-by-step assembly guide.
The Best of Both Worlds
This design truly gets the best of both worlds by combining two innovative RAM® Mount designs: The Adapt-A-Post™ for quick disconnect and the Flex-Rod™ for ultra stability. Now wheelchair users can mount any range of devices to their chair with peace of mind that their equipment will remain secured in all environments, while effortlessly disconnecting and reconnecting when needed. Whether it is a tablet, phone, cup holder, or in Ian’s case, a camera for vlogging, RAM® makes it possible to mount anything, anywhere.
Be sure to check out Ian’s Ride and follow them on Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook to keep up with the nonprofit’s upcoming events.
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