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Old Feb 10, 2012, 8:31 AM   #1
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Default DIY Wooden Monopod

In the spirit of my wooden tripod, I thought I'd try to make a monopod for the times when it's easier to walk around with just a single leg. I realize that my shoddy-looking equipment may not be up to par with some of the nice stuff put out by RRS, Manfrotto, Gitzo, etc., but for now I'll be happy with something that is functional and then spend the money as it is available on better equipment. Oh, and this cost me $13.77 to make.

The top of the monopod. The shaft is a closet dowel, the head is the fixed mount for the closet dowel, the 1/4"-20 mount is a stainless bolt that is tapered/threaded down about 3" into the predrilled dowel, and the cork is from a self-adhesive sheet.

Nothing really here to describe - just another angle from the bottom of the head. There is also a solid setting of Gorilla Glue inside of the head - I filled the cup with it before threading the bolt down into the dowel and then just wiped off the excess when it filled the cavity and started overflowing.

Here's a shot of the monopod looking down the shaft. I know it isn't adjustable like any you'd buy at a store or online, but the thing is very solid and lightweight since it's a pine dowel.

I put a slight taper to the bottom to help keep it anchored when using it on the ground. I didn't want it to come to a sharp point as that would just promote splintering.

I just hand tighten this self-locking nut onto the top when the camera isn't mounted. This should keep the threads in good shape and not get dinged up if it's jostled around in the back of my Jeep.

I realized that I could improve upon the design a little more. Monopods give you great vertical stability, but the horizontal control is still shaky at best since you are attempting to stabilize it from so close to the center of axis. With this handle mounted to the dowel it gives me a point to hold onto and stabilize from that is further away from the center axis thus giving you a much better photo. I played around with/without this when putting my little Flip Video camera on the monopod and the there was a stark improvement in control with the handle mounted.

Here's the end of the handle - just made from a cut off section of the dowel and has the threaded rod about 4" into it. That's the deepest I can put my drill press down. It's very rigid overall but I'd like to cover the threads at some point. I'm thinking a black sheath of heat-shrink tubing leftover from a wiring project may do the trick.

Here's the handle mounted to the dowel. The wooden nut is just another section of dowel with a 1" tall threaded nut pressed into a smaller hole on the dowel. The 1" nut is normally used to join two threaded rods together, but in this case it works great for creating an easy way to tighten down the handle without the need of tools.

Here's another shot of the wooden nut - you can see the 1" tall nut that is pressed into the piece of dowel.

I also put two different holes through the dowel for the handle. This should give me 4 mounting points 90 apart. Since the camera is just threaded down and seated against the cork I wanted the ability to always put the handle somewhere to the left side of the monopod.

That's about it. Nothing fancy and I'm hoping it works great. Time to head out and give it a test run.
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Old Feb 12, 2012, 8:05 PM   #2
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An interesting design. Your idea of the handle is an interesting way to deal with adding extra stability, I'll be interested to see how it will work in real use.

One way some people use to help stabilize a monopod is to put the end against something, have the monopod at an angle and lean on it. I've never been able to do that successfully though. Are you going to be able to add a rubber stop at the bottom, to protect the end when hiking?
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Old Feb 13, 2014, 12:18 PM   #3
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Excellent post. I am waiting for my camera to arrive, and I ordered a screw 1/4-20 and 3/8 at the ends. Photo:

This will be the business end of a pistol grip for my tiny camera. I plan to use a sawed-off baseball bat (grip at bottom). I will hold this in my left hand, while operating the buttons with the right.

What do you think of the idea of a compact grip?
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Old Feb 13, 2014, 2:41 PM   #4
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G'day mate

All good ideas are good ideas - and on the topic of a monopod, there are many possibilities

Has Lumix mirrorless & superzoom cameras and loves their amazing capabilities
Spends 8-9 months each year travelling Australia
Recent images at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ozzie_traveller/sets/
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Old Feb 13, 2014, 3:13 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by mtngal View Post
... Are you going to be able to add a rubber stop at the bottom, to protect the end when hiking?
I think a better way to protect the end is some Plasti-Dip. It would certainly be more secure than a simple rubber stop, and it can be pealed away and replaced when it gets damaged. Plasti-Dip is available at any home improvement store.

The downside is that it would cover your excellent woodworking, and possibly damage any finish you applied, though the damaged finish would be concealed.
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Old Feb 13, 2014, 4:05 PM   #6
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That's a neat idea! I am going to make one as well. Thanks for the idea. And, I'm really interested in your stabilizer idea. I should have saw this before I bought mine!
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Old Feb 13, 2014, 4:15 PM   #7
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I use replaceable feet made for canes or walkers, which come in packs of 2, and can be had in 3/4" and 1" sizes at most any drugstore. Just a matter of turning the base to the required dimension.
To cover the camera mount threads, a capnut gives a more finished look. Hardware stores will have them in the plumbing section, usually, as they are made for holding down toilet bases. Available in 3/8" and 1/4" sizes. Can also use the studs in the end of your monopod directly. (wood screw thread on one end, and machine threads on the other.
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Old Feb 13, 2014, 4:42 PM   #8
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I was thinking the same. Use a lag bolt. It would give a much stronger hold.
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Old Feb 13, 2014, 10:53 PM   #9
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After damaging a carbon fiber mono pod that I since have repaired, I made a wooden mono pod/hiking stick out of a garden hoe handle. Bought the handle for $10 at the local hardware store. Put a 1/4 by 20 combination threaded lag screw into the top and a rubber cap on the bottom. I have a small ball head that fits on top. Works great as a mono pod and a hiking stick.
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Old Feb 15, 2014, 3:10 PM   #10
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That's what I'm afraid of doing, damaging my carbon fiber mono pod. If I know I'm going to be hiking for awhile I take my aluminum mono pod instead.
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