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Old Jul 24, 2003, 8:15 PM   #1
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Default Custom Tripod Mounting Plate Example - Minolta S414

I posted this over in the Minolta forum and somebody suggested I repost it here:

One of the big weaknesses in the Minolta S414, which most of the reviews mention, is the absurd placement of the tripod mount screw. I didn't like it, so I made a new mounting plate. I cut a piece of plastic the same shape as the camera's bottom (I scanned the camera sitting on a scannerglass, then traced it) only I enlarged it a bit. I used a laser cutter, so I had it cut the hole for the camera's tripod screw at the same time, but if I'd cut it by hand I would have used a drill press to make it. I countersunk the back of the hole so the screw I used wouldn't stick out the bottom. Then I drilled (can't laser cut a hole to be tapped - not precise enough in material this thick) and tapped a hole in the dead center of the plate for a tripod head mounting screw. (Most tripod screws are the VERY common 1/4:20 thread size.) Finally, I attached some latex-impregnated cloth that's sold in drugstores for sports bandages to the top of the plate with some double-faced sticky material called twin-tack, and pressed it all together in a hydraulic press so it would be nice and flat (this step wasn't really necessary, but I hate bubbles in my twin-tack.)

Now I can fasten the camera to the plate and the plate to the tripod head, which means the camera's kiester isn't hanging out in the breeze because of the weird location of the tripod screw. Thanks to the latex cloth, the camera can't pivot even though the blankety-blank tripod mount makes it want to be a lever.

Here's a picture:

(I was also asked about the screw holes and whether I had used a metal insert for the threads) The hole for the screw that goes into the camera is a through-hole (I had the cutter cut it to .255) which is counter-bored to recieve a 1/4-20 machine screw which holds the camera on the plate. The hole for the tripod mount screw is tapped at 1/4-20. The plastic is a *VERY* durable material (a variety of polycarbonate) and there is no danger of the threads tearing out. If it got cross-threaded, I'd just drill another hole a few tenths over to one side - it wouldn't change the balance much.

I did something similar with the flash bracket I had for my Kodak DC290 so I could mount it on a tripod without taking it out of the bracket. I can wear and shoot with the plate mounted on the camera, so I still only have to unscrew one screw. I'm not so much bragging - well maybe a little - as I am showing that it's not too hard to get around problems with the physical aspects of a camera with some imagination.

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