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Old Jan 23, 2012, 5:23 PM   #1
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Default Building a tripod

So in an attempt to possess a tripod while spending the least amount of money, I've decided to build my own. I've looked at many photos online of wooden tripods, and while they definitely look heavy, I think that one would work fine for me until I can come up with a newer model.

I started with a few Lowes gift cards from Christmas and an idea in my head - 2 hours later I walked out the door with $33 worth of supplies and lots of ambition.

I have the legs finished and am in the process of building the tripod's head (not the camera head). I have a design in mind for connecting the legs, but am curious if anyone else has tackled this. Does anyone have any photos, designs, or ideas they wish to share? I won't have time to work on the head until Wednesday so there's time for me to regroup if necessary. I have a drill press, miter saw, router, circular saw, and a dremel. So one way or another I'll be building the head with just those tools (plus the normal hand tools that one acquires over 40 years!).

As far as the actual camera head goes, I'm going cheap and making a soft cloth bag filled halfway up with airsoft pellets and resting it on the top. Once I get enough money saved up I'll be buying a nice new head....and eventually some new legs for it

So, anyone have some ideas?

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Old Jan 24, 2012, 3:42 PM   #2
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I started winging it with what ideas I had in my head. Here are a few shots of what I have so far. Feel free to jump in and offer any/all criticism

Oh, now I'm up to $37 in supplies on the gift card.











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Old Jan 25, 2012, 8:21 AM   #3
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Looking good!

I haven't tried to make a tripod for a camera but I have made a stand for a telescope.using similar designs.

You might try checking in at some of the astronomy/telescope making sites for additional ideas on making portable stands.
Here is one site I used for ideas http://www.cloudynights.com/item.php?item_id=1309
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Old Jan 25, 2012, 11:43 AM   #4
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Thanks PeterP - I have looked through that website a few times trying to get ideas. It seems that most of the legs are modeled in similar fashion; the only major differences is whether they are adjustable or fixed in length.

I had some time this morning so I played around in the garage a little more. Trimmed some hardware down, sanded a few pieces, and then bolted it together to see how it'll look. All in all though it's already pretty solid and a good height for me. I was planning on light chains to limit the leg expansion and a hook to hang my bag for stability, but the thought of just adding a removable platform seems worthy too. I may end up knocking off about 4" from the height, router the edges for a more finished look, add a valance to the head, and then give it a good stain and poly treatment.








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Old Jan 26, 2012, 4:50 PM   #5
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Here is some progress from today. Basically just sanding and cleaning it up. Hopefully tomorrow I'll get some stain and sealer on it.





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Old Jan 27, 2012, 12:29 PM   #6
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....and finished. I'm sure it isn't the prettiest or most functional tripod around, but it's rock solid, a perfect height for me, and only cost me a total of $55 in supplies. That's not including the RAM mount - I had the camera mount from my suction cup mount and the bottom mount from an iPad Jeep mount I had made last summer. All in all I'm very happy with the way it turned out. I know a DIY isn't normally the type of thread I've been seeing here but maybe it'll give others ideas on new projects.







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Old Jan 30, 2012, 2:28 PM   #7
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That looks like one solid tripod that's not going to go over in anything short of a hurricane. Do your leg chains have a clip or snap to allow you to remove them? There could be times when you want to get lower than collapsing the legs will allow and you might want to splay the legs out further. I would think that the way the legs attach to the small platform on top would allow just about infinite adjustability, something useful when shooting flowers or shooting on uneven terrain, where you might want a wider base for extra stability.
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Old Jan 30, 2012, 10:10 PM   #8
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Funny you should mention that. I was thinking the same thing so I added three more pins to the legs a little higher up. The chains easily hook and unhook...so if I hang them on the higher pins it increases the stance and lowers the tripod considerably. I'm planning on putting some adjustability to the leg lengths in the way of slots and clamps but for now it's better than nothing.
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Old Sep 22, 2012, 1:30 PM   #9
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Default BEAUTIFUL tripod!!

This is a beautiful example of a handmade tripod. I'm on various astronomy forums, and there are people who build their own tripods there as well.
I hope no one minds if I post a link to this thread on one of them.
The head is one thing that trips most people up- and your solution is elegant. I was going to make a tripod at one time for astro use, but I never got to it... just used the ash I had set aside for the legs for another project.
This is one of the best homemade tripods I've seen. Kudos!!
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Old Sep 22, 2012, 2:23 PM   #10
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I thought you were building a tripod for the Hubble telescope. Its a bit overkill for a little wee camera like a full size DSLR. Nice project, but I wouldnt want to be you when you have to lug it around in the field. You might want to consider adding a collapsible shelf to hold an iPad. With the iPad you can take control of your camera for all sorts of shooting situations, like HDR, focus stacking, and time lapse.

Last edited by Bynx; Sep 22, 2012 at 2:27 PM.
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