Tripod socket for DIY Large format camera

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by reefman77, Feb 18, 2010.

  1. reefman77

    reefman77 Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I am in the process of building a 8x10 field camera and i am wondering what the best way to make a tripod socket is. are there parts you can buy some where? i have a 1/4-20 thread tap so i could tap the threads myself but im just not sure of the materials to use, how to mount it on the base, etc.
     
  2. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

    Messages:
    3,126
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    35mm
    What you need is a T-nut. I bought one at my local hardware store for $1.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

    Messages:
    8,003
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    An ultra simple way is to go to a hardware store, get a 1/4-20 nut, chisel a recess for it, and install in into the bottom of the camera (or a piece of wood, and then attach the piece of wood to the camera.

    This is how I did it with my 12x20 pinhole. I carefully chiseled out a six-sided hole for a hex nut, from the back side, leaving about 3 or 4 mm of thickness in the bottom plate underneath the nut. I then glued a plug over the nut to retain it (though I did not glue the nut itself).

    I suppose you could do just as well by drilling a simple circular hole that is a bit undersized, and then bashing a hex nut in with a hammer, and aligning it with a nail punch. Obviously, this should be done in a piece of wood separate from the camera, and then the wood should be attached to the camera.

    There are other sorts of nuts aside from hex nuts too. I just got lazy.
     
  4. reefman77

    reefman77 Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Thanks for the fast responses!
    i think the T-nut is what i need. i tried using a regular nut but it just didnt seem sturdy enough to me.

    Thanks for the tips!
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    18,000
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Barry Young here on APUG made a couple of nice brass tripod sockets for me at a very reasonable price.
     
  6. ras351

    ras351 Member

    Messages:
    163
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2005
    Location:
    Tasmania, Au
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you can't find a T-nut at your hardware store, try a model store. 1/4-20 T-nuts are frequently used, in addition to nylon bolts, to hold the wings on model aircraft.

    Roger.
     
  7. 3e8

    3e8 Member

    Messages:
    71
    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    Location:
    Maryland, US
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    You can get 1/4-20 threaded inserts at most hardware stores, you drill a larger hole and this screws right in, and has a 1/4-20 threading on the inside. This is probably the easiest way to do this.
     
  8. Allen Friday

    Allen Friday Member

    Messages:
    878
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    I agree with 3e8 on this point. I tried t-nuts on 16x20 and 20x24 inch cameras. They were not strong enough for that size, but may work for 8x10. The problem with t-nuts is that the load is placed on the base of the nut, with little of it spread into the supporting wood. Over time, the shaft will become loose in the wood and the camera becomes wobbly. With the treaded insert, the load is moved up into the wood. Because the edges of the insert are curved, attaching the screw actually forces the sides of the insert into the wood, creating a more solid bond. I now use the inserts on all my big cameras. But again, the t-nut may work fine for 8x10 as they are not as heavy.
     
  9. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,464
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Montgomery,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The T-nuts should be installed from the top so when tightened down on the tripod it clamps the wood rather than being pulled away from it.
     
  10. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    18,000
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    With a T-nut or the kinds of sockets that Barry made for me (with 1" flanges, which are wider than most T-nut flanges and wider than the flanges on the original tripod sockets used on both cameras), the flange should be on the inside of the baseboard, so that when the camera is screwed into the tripod or QR plate, the flange presses down on the wood and makes the camera more stable.

    I use Arca-Swiss-style QR plates, so I got these sockets to add a second tripod hole to my 7x17" Korona and 11x14" American Optical cameras, enabling me to attach a QR plate with two screws for additional strength, and so the camera doesn't twist on the tripod.

    The attached images show the flanges of the two sockets on the Korona looking down from the top. The one with the larger flange is Barry's and the smaller one is original. The bottom view shows the RRS B35 QR plate attached to the bottom of the baseboard.
     

    Attached Files:

  11. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

    Messages:
    9,066
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Another option is to use an existing part from a defunct camera. I used the threaded insert from an old Mamiya C33. Behind the vinyl trim are three fixing screws.

    [​IMG]


    Steve.
     
  12. reefman77

    reefman77 Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Shooter:
    Large Format
  13. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    18,000
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I just used ordinary wood screws. One advantage of having Barry make them is that I could specify a flange size that corresponds to a flat drill bit that I already own (1") for the countersink.
     
  14. lxdude

    lxdude Member

    Messages:
    6,907
    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Location:
    Redlands, So
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I would recommend the B or C type shown instead of the barbed types. Secure them with screws. You can also use glue under the flange for added stability.
    If the wood is robust enough, I like the idea of the threaded insert. That's very stable, even more if it is installed with glue. Also, those are usually brass instead of thin walled aluminum.
    Whatever you use, if you use glue as part of the installation, insert a screw with a film of oil on its threads into the threads of the insert. Remove it after the glue dries.
     
  15. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,464
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Montgomery,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Note that the Kirby site show the fittings inserted from the top also.
    When installed like this, the woodscrews aren't really a working part of the tripod socket. They just keep it from rotating or becoming loose.
     
  16. reefman77

    reefman77 Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I had noticed that on the kirby site and that seems like it might be the strongest option but im not exactly sure how to do it. all that i got out of his write up was that he uses a brass bush? does anyone know more specificly how to make a tripod socket like that? im realy concerned about stability. it would be very disapointing to have all my hard work destroyed after the camera comes crashing down because of a faulty tripod socket.
     
  17. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,464
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Montgomery,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Either the Barry Young route or T-nut.
    With a standard 1/4 or 3/8 t-nut the flat section will be about 3/4" diameter. That seems to be about the norm.
    The advantage to Barry's is it's a much larger flange & will spread the load better. If it's brass, it will be prettier too.
     
  18. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

    Messages:
    9,066
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Something worth considering if it's a very heavy camera is that the tripod thread isn't actually 1/4 20 UNC. It is 1/4" British Standard Whitworth which is also a 20 threads per inch thread but is cut at an angle of 55 degrees instead of 60 degrees for the American UNC thread.

    For all practical purposes they are interchangeable but if you are having a brass insert made specifically for this purpose it would be a good idea to have it tapped with the Whitworth thread.


    Steve.
     
  19. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

    Messages:
    4,885
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Location:
    Keeping the
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The Skink tripod socket is what I used on a 4x5 pinhole camera I made. They are obviously very heavy as they are made of stainless and quite large diameter. That said, it is the way to go for holding anything large.

     
  20. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,464
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Location:
    northern Pa.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I think that if your camera is large and heavy, that a 3/8" t-nut or insert would be the size of choice, as opposed to 1/4". Looks like the Skink is well made and should fit the bill nicely.

    Rick