Introduction: 3-axis Ballhead Mini Tripod Thingie (aka. the Tennisball-pod)

Picture of 3-axis Ballhead Mini Tripod Thingie (aka. the Tennisball-pod)

I guess the title is pretty self explanatory, but a picture is worth a thousand words!

This is my first instructable so constructive comments are appreciated. I originally posted this on my blog, and after much grudging by my friends to post here, I decided I should. So here goes.

This thing turned out to be surprisingly versatile, and much better to use in practice than I had originally anticipated. The one pictured here gives me about 120 degrees of movement around the two horizontal axes and 360 around the vertical. Not too shabby.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

the bill of materials is ridiculously small, and not restricted to these options. You can easily find replacements for all these parts.

You need:

. one tennis ball.
. 1/4' bolt (that fits your camera, be careful to get the right tread. what's it called?)
. a nut, butterfly nut and a washer.
. a tube or can that the tennisball will snugly fit into. Doesn't matter what kind, it should be sturdy. Try using the can that the balls come in.
. some tape and a knife or something.

Step 2: Make the Ball

Picture of Make the Ball

using the knife or a corkscrew make a hole in the tennis ball that's large enough to squeeze the head of the nut through. It should best be a tight fit. You could make an X like I did but I don't recommend it, because there is a loss in stability when you do it like this.

Insert the bolt into the hole, put a washer on it and screw it down in place with the nut. Make it as tight as you can. This should securely hold the bolt in place.

Step 3: Prepare the Tube

Picture of Prepare the Tube

Seal up one end of the tube using a piece of cardboard and tape. Use hot-glue if you like.

Cut it down so that when you put the ball in, a segment of it pops from the top. I.e, somewhere between the radius and the diameter of the ball. The longer the tube, the more restricted your range of movement will be. On the other hand, if it's too short you'll probably loose stability. I think in the end it's best to aim for 2/3 the diameter of the ball.

Step 4: Make the Top

Picture of Make the Top

Now you should cut up a piece of cardboard or, in this case, the lid of the can. Make a hole in it that's large enough to fit over the ball and on the tube. It should ideally be a tight fit and provide the ball with some resistance so that the head is sturdy when you put the camera on it.

Step 5: Done!!!

Picture of Done!!!

now tape the top in place and you're done! You could glue it down, nail it or weld it for all I care. It really depends on the materials you use.

If you notice that the the ball moves too freely inside the tube, you could try drilling a hole on the side of the tube and gluing a nut on it. Inset a bolt there which you can tighten or loosen according to the tension you want. In my case this wasn't necessary as the top offers enough friction to keep it in place once the camera is attached.

I don't recommend using this for larger camera's, but small point and shoots should work great!

You could try attaching something like a suction-cup to the bottom and you get yourself an attach-anywhere...spiderpod? hehe.

visit my blog for more small projects.


Uffe (author)2014-02-02

Certainly a unique idea. Wonder what was the inspiration for this creation?

kavinat123 (author)2009-04-17

that's cool i will try it . it 's very interesting.

thebboy (author)2008-11-14

very cool. might try. 5/5

Hellchild (author)thebboy2008-11-15

no. dont' "might", Do.

thebboy (author)Hellchild2008-11-15

what? i might.

Hellchild (author)thebboy2008-11-17

DO IT!!!

thebboy (author)Hellchild2008-11-17

ok, now i just need to find a nut that'll fit my camera.

Hellchild (author)thebboy2008-11-21

just take a camera to the hardware store and test different nuts or bolts, that's what I did

thebboy (author)Hellchild2008-11-21

ok. do you know how to make it longer?

Hellchild (author)thebboy2008-11-22

What do you mean?

thebboy (author)Hellchild2008-11-22

the tripod. it's too short, it needs to be a little longer.

Hellchild (author)thebboy2008-11-23

I'VE GOT IT!!!! Wrap it in 10 strips bacon, then put in your closet for a week. and when you take it out it will have gotten linger by 2 feet! I tried it, It works!!

thebboy (author)Hellchild2008-11-23


Hellchild (author)thebboy2008-11-24


thebboy (author)Hellchild2008-11-24

wow, that is crazy.

Hellchild (author)thebboy2008-11-24

I know, right?

thebboy (author)Hellchild2008-11-24

ya, people say that a lot

Hellchild (author)thebboy2008-11-26

what, My Bacon thing?

thebboy (author)Hellchild2008-11-27

no, i know right. they say i know right a lot.

Hellchild (author)thebboy2008-11-29

Is that bad?

thebboy (author)Hellchild2008-11-29

no, but it's starting to get annoying.

Hellchild (author)thebboy2008-11-30

deal with it.

thebboy (author)Hellchild2008-11-30


Hellchild (author)thebboy2008-12-01


thebboy (author)Hellchild2008-12-01

uh, now what?

Hellchild (author)thebboy2008-12-02

now You Do the fricking bacon thing!!!

thebboy (author)Hellchild2008-12-02


Hellchild (author)thebboy2008-12-02

DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!

thebboy (author)Hellchild2008-12-03

uh, thanks for the idea, but i'll try this other idea i have.

Hellchild (author)thebboy2008-12-03

what is it?

thebboy (author)Hellchild2008-12-04

i'll find a long tube that's tight enough so that it will hold the ball without anything inside the tube, but loose enough so that it can move freely without too much resistence. I can probably find somthing like that.

Hellchild (author)thebboy2008-12-04

but then the ball will probably fall through though

thebboy (author)Hellchild2008-12-05

maybe. if it doesn't work i can fill it with card board or something.

Hellchild (author)thebboy2008-12-05

ok. but, just sayin', that would be a lot of cardboard circles

thebboy (author)Hellchild2008-12-06

true, but i think i can find some.

Hellchild (author)thebboy2008-12-06

ok then

thebboy (author)Hellchild2008-12-06

well, ok.

SoE (author)thebboy2008-11-23

well you could try making turning it into something like a monopod? Should be fairly simple to stick this on top of a pvc pipe or something similar.

thebboy (author)SoE2008-11-23


Hellchild (author)thebboy2008-11-22

extend it?

SoE (author)Hellchild2008-11-15

yea don't might, do :) that sounds like a pretty good slogan

Hellchild (author)SoE2008-11-17

Thanks. if you use just be sure to give me credit.

girl next door (author)2008-10-31

I just made one of these for my brother. we're doing $15 an under this christmas. it works really well. i used tennis balls and a raquetball tube - tight fit. i might add some weight to the bottom of the tube to stablize it some more. any suggestions?

SoE (author)girl next door2008-11-01

how about putting something like modelling clay around the inside bottom rim? the ball isn't going to touch this space anyway, so might as well make use of it.

SoE (author)2008-10-03

Whoa that was fast. Thank you for the comments guys.

codester (author)2008-10-03

Whoa! That is awesome!!!!

rimar2000 (author)2008-10-03


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