I took a HP HD 4310 webcam apart to see inside. Mainly out of curiosity and for fun, but also to check out my options for system integration. Webcams generally come with some kind of mechanism that helps them perch on top of a wide variety of surfaces, ranging from flat tabletop to the narrow bevel of a computer monitor. One thing they are not designed for, however, is to be rigidly mounted to a 3D printer chassis. Some webcam bases have integrated a standard 1/4″-20 camera tripod mount, but the HP HD 4310 is not one of them.
The built in base on a HD 4310 can unfold to sit flat on a surface, or grasp a computer monitor. In my intended usage, however, it is not useful and gets in the way. Fortunately, once we take the case apart we could access the single screw necessary to remove the base.
I considered designing and 3D printing something to slot in the exact same position as the base, but it is small and the single attachment point is difficult to ensure rigidity. (A problem in its normal usage as a webcam as well.) I think it is more likely for me to remove the two short case screws and replace them with longer screws. This allows attachment to a much wider and therefore more stable bracket.
I was also concerned about inadvertent button presses launching functions unexpectedly. I don’t plan to use the buttons so I had planned to cut some traces on the circuit board to disable those buttons. Fortunately, the physical buttons can be removed to eliminate inadvertent activation.
These mild modifications should be enough to help me get started. If I want to go further, there’s the option to host the circuit board in a new enclosure. The main obstacle here is the USB data cable: its hard rubber protective strain relief bushing on the back shell has been installed very tightly. I suspect it could not be removed without destroying the back shell, the cable, or possibly both. The other option is to cut the wires and build my own USB data cable, but I’m not willing to put in that much effort for an early first draft prototype. In fact, I probably shouldn’t have put in the amount of effort I already have.