Recently I lost the Quick Release plate for my Manfrotto 785B (modo) tripod. I could not find it in my local Manfrotto Service Center. So I decided to make a temporary one - until I get a replacement. This is a small guide about how to make this plate.
1. Small piece of Bakelite/ Hylam sheet (The one used in old type switchboard face plates)
2. A piece of bicycle/ bike rubber tube
3. A screw/ bolt suitable for mounting your camera on the tripod. (its size and length should be as per your need)
4. Small size nut bolts to hold two pieces of hylam sheet together. (counter sunk head)
5. Epoxy Adhesive (like Araldite), General adhesive (like fevibond)
Not much needed. A small hacksaw, file and drill machine.
I'll provide a general idea of carrying out this task. The replacement quick release plate is to be made using the hylam sheet. The sheet is thin enough to slide into the tripod slot and quite strong to support a DSLR with light lenses. However, it is not thick enough to put a camera mount screw. So we need two layers of the sheet, bonded together with an adhesive and bolted together for further strength. I call the two pieces as lower piece and upper piece.
Getting the dimensions and shape:
Approximate the dimensions and shape of the plate by sliding a thin paper into the tripod slot and marking the size. Adjust the size of the paper using scissors until it reaches the final dimensions. (pic 4).
Making the Lower piece:
Now cut a piece of hylam sheet in the required shape based on this piece. This will be our lower hylam piece. I fixed the paper on the sheet and cut it with a small saw. (Cut it slightly bigger so that we can file it down to required size.) Adjust the shape and dimensions by repeatedly filing and trying to fit the piece in the slot, until it slides in effortlessly. Please note that there should be no play, and the piece should fit snugly. Now drill a bigger hole at the center. The hole should be sufficient to let the head of camera mount screw pass through it. (So that the screw gets flush with the base of sheet, and can be slided into the tripod slot.) The other two holes are for bonding the two pieces together.
Making the Upper piece:
Next cut the upper hylam piece with slightly lower dimensions, since it will rise above the tripod plate holding slot. (exact shape like the lower piece not needed.) Put the lower plate on top of the upper plate, properly aligned and mark the center of all three holes, now to be drilled in this piece. The center hole should be just large enough to allow the mounting screw threaded portion pass through. Other two holes are for bonding the two pieces together with small size bolts.
(Note: the third small hole shown in the picture is not needed. I drilled it wrong.)
The next picture shows the two pieces together along with the camera mounting screw. (before the drilling of smaller holes).
Now put some adhesive on the two pieces and tighten them together using the two smaller nut bolts. I had a longer bolt, so I cut the additional length of the bolt and filed it to make it flush with the nut. Please note that the smaller holes must be countersunk so that they are flush with the plate. On the top side, where camera is to be mounted, a slight protrusion is acceptable as it will be further covered by a piece of rubber. (cut from the bike tube). I made small indentation in the rubber to hide this imperfection and make the final top layer flat.
The bolt I used did not have a slot on the screw head. So I made one using the hack saw.
Next, cut a piece of rubber tube and scissor it to required size. Put it on top of the upper plate and paste it with a general adhesive. Leave it overnight to let the adhesive properly dry. Last two pictures show the plate mounted on camera and camera mounted on the tripod.
The tripod quick release plate is now ready for use!