How to make "The Robot"

Not winning any design awards.

I posted yesterday some images of the homemade nodal tripod head that I designed with my friend Mike and which Mike was kind enough to fabricate for me. Jason asked if I would be so kind as to share the specifications and build details. So here they are. I've included the part numbers and prices from McMaster-Carr.

8910K147 Low-Carbon Steel Rectangular Bar 1/4" Thick, 2" Width, 6' Length (Same as 8910K557) $33.71

8920K11 Low-Carbon Steel Rod 1/4" Diameter, 6' Length $3.45

95475A636 Zinc-Plated Steel Fully Threaded Stud 3/8"-16 Thread, 3" Length, Packs of 10 $7.93

90480A031 Zinc-Plated Steel Machine Screw Hex Nut 3/8"-16 Thread Size, 5/8" Width, 1/4" Height, Packs of 100 $8.15

90073A231 Plain Steel Washer for Socket Head Cap Screw 3/8" Screw Size, .55" OD, .125" min Thick, Packs of 100 $4.98

5993K53 Four-Arm Knob Nylon, 3/8"-16 Thread, 1/2" L STL Stud, 1-3/4" Dia $1.64 each

As I mentioned yesterday, the purpose of designing and building this ourselves was to have the fun of manufacturing the idea and product. The design allows one to take panoramic photographs in landscape mode quickly. It has a quick release plate for the Bogen QR system I use on my camera, the rotational point can be changed to match almost any lens and camera combination. It's built like a Mack Truck (i.e. heavy as one and can take a beating) and is a bit rough around the edges. Made out of carbon fiber, with a little finesse I think this kind of tripod head could be a hit with the photo crowd interested in panoramic images, but unwilling to shell out for the weight and expense of other models. The trick would be finding someone who wants to craft me one from carbon fiber ....

Anyhow, on with the specifications. I've included some images from a simple PDF I put together with the specs once upon a time. That the thing works at all is a credit to Mike's ability to read from this document any semblance of what the tripod head is supposed to look like. Feel free to use the design non-commercially and please send me your results! You can download the PDF here (this document includes the design for a leveling base that isn't just ugly, but also never would have worked, so enjoy that!):

Justin Kern's and Mike Boehmer's Homemade Nodal Tripod Head.pdf

Screen shot 2011-06-16 at 9.07.53 PM
Screen shot 2011-06-16 at 9.07.53 PM
Screen shot 2011-06-16 at 9.08.20 PM
Screen shot 2011-06-16 at 9.08.20 PM
Screen shot 2011-06-16 at 9.08.13 PM
Screen shot 2011-06-16 at 9.08.13 PM
Screen shot 2011-06-16 at 9.08.00 PM
Screen shot 2011-06-16 at 9.08.00 PM
Screen shot 2011-06-16 at 9.07.53 PM
Screen shot 2011-06-16 at 9.07.53 PM

Here are a handful of images of the thing during construction (the one on the left is Mike's - it comes from a smaller, initial design that didn't fully accomodate the D700, battery grip and certain lens combinations):

Welding
Welding
Awaiting powdercoating
Awaiting powdercoating