Introduction: DIY Monopod Stand | a Space-Saving Solution | Concrete Craft
As you can see in the 2nd photo, I have a setup for taking photos and video that has...many legs. They get tripped over and they are always getting in the way, so I wanted to take my large and heavy tripod and replace it with a monopod.
So I bought the sturdiest monopod I could find, bought a tripod ball head mount, and then made a solid concrete base to hold the monopod steady. As you can see, this saves me a good amount of space (and aggravation!)
This is a really good solution if you make your own YouTube videos, or do your own product photography and need a mini photography setup in your home.
I hope you enjoy this project :)
- Monopod: You are best buying a thick-stemmed monopod - the sturdier the better. I bought mine off Ebay. The monopod will be positioned upside down on the stand, with a screw adapter and ball head mount attached where the 'foot' of the monopod was attached, and the top attached to a screw adapter in the concrete base. You'll therefore need a monopod with a screw-on foot as this will be how the ball head mount will attach.
- Tripod ball head mount: I bought a 1/4" £8 mount from Amazon.
- A tripod screw adapter to attach the tripod ball head mount to the bottom of the monopod; I used a 1/4" male to 3/8" male screw adapter.
- Pre-mixed cement: I used a 6kg bag of 'Jetcem rapid setting sand & cement'. It doesn't need to be rapid setting but it does need to be able to fill a deep mould. This cement mix says it can be used to fill up to 15 cm in one application.
- Plastic buckets/tubs: You'll need a bucket to mix the cement in, and a tub to use as the mould. I used an old paint tub and a bird feed bucket. My mould was approx. 24 cm in diameter.
- Female tripod adapter: This needs to screw onto the top of your monopod. I made mine and to do this you'll need a lathe, various drills/taps, and a tap wrench. The size of mine is 3/8" BSW.
- Scrap wood
- Dowels (or other small pieces of wood): These are for the rubber feet to be attached to within the cement. I used 8 mm dowels.
- Rubber feet & matching screws
- A spirit level
- Dividers & ruler
- Drill & drill bits
- Paint mixer or other method to mix the cement
- Gloves, breathing mask & any other safety equipment
- Utility knife
- Flat trowel
- A bolt to match your tripod adapter - or thereabouts: Mine was a bit smaller but I used some silicone rubber tubing to make it fit :)
- Marking gauge (optional)
- Countersink (optional)
- Brush (optional): I used the brush you get with a dustpan. This is just for the finish smoothing/texturing of the cement.
- Wax (optional): Just to help the screws go into the dowels easier.
Step 1: The Monopod & the Rubber Feet
These are just some close-ups of the monopod I am using (with male and female threads at the top and bottom), the ball head mount with a matching screw adapter, and the 28 mm rubber feet I bought.
The ball head mount connects to a screw adapter, which connects to the female thread at the bottom of the monopod, and the male thread at the top of the monopod will need to screw into the cement base.
Step 2: Marking Where the Feet Will Go
On the base of the bucket you will be using for the mould, mark where each of the 3 feet will attach.
To do this, first decide how far from the edge you want the feet to go. For maximum stability, they should be positioned at the edge of the cement base - just make sure you take into account the thickness of the plastic bucket walls when you decide where the feet need to sit.
Make a mark in the centre of where one of the rubber feet will be positioned, then use dividers to scratch a circle into the bucket base that distance from the edge - this will help you place all of the feet the same distance from the edge.
You can then use dividers again to work out where the other 2 feet need to go so that all of the feet will be an equal distance apart. You can do this by trial and error, or you can work it out exactly by searching for 'how to calculate the pitch circle diameter (PCD)' - or use this calculator.
Step 3: Drill Holes & Shorten the Bucket
Drill a hole through each of the 3 marks you have just made - big enough for the screws that match the rubber feet to go through. Then countersink these holes inside and out.
Use either a marking gauge or a ruler & pen to mark a line around the plastic tub where you want the cement to come up to. I made my line 60 mm from the base (which resulted in my cement base being 55 mm deep due to the thickness of the tub base, so keep that in mind too).
Carefully use a utility knife to cut along this line. Make sure the tub is well supported when you do this. Depending on the thickness of the tub, you may want to use a different cutting method.
Note: To know how high you can make the cement base with the amount of cement you have, you will need to make a calculation. And even if you have plenty of cement mix, you will still need to make this calculation to know how much cement you will need to mix to fill your mould.
I used a guide that said mortar is 2.16 g per cm³. I worked out the volume of the cylinder shape that I'm using for the mould, using the formula πr²h. In my case that is π x 12 cm x 6 cm, which is 2714 cm³.
2714 cm³ x 2.16 g = 5862g = 5.8 kg
I bought a 6 kg bag of cement so I therefore knew I had enough to fill this size of mould. So make sure you have enough cement to fill your chosen size of mould.
Step 4: Drill the Dowels
I wanted to embed three 8 mm dowels into the cement for the rubber feet to be screwed into. This is because drilling into cement will make it crumble and risk cracking it.
To help prevent splitting, I drilled a 3 mm pilot hole into the end of 3 dowels, in order to fit my 3.5 mm screws into quite loosely.
Step 5: Attach the Dowels
If you have some wax, it's a good idea to rub it onto the threads of your rubber feet screws so that they go into the dowels more easily.
Then put each screw through a penny washer, through a hole in the plastic tub, and screw it into a dowel. Repeat this 2 more times.
You will then have 3 screws and washers visible on the base, and 3 dowels standing upright inside the tub.
Step 6: Making the Adapter
If you have a lathe and wish to make the monopod adapter, then that is also an option. Otherwise you can buy one, which in this case would be labelled something like '3/8" female spigot adapter' or '3/8" female tripod screw adapter'.
To make one from scratch you will need to drill and tap a metal rod (see diagram for more information on sizes).
I used a mild steel rod, then shaped, centre drilled, and began tapping it - all on the lathe - but finished tapping it by hand with a tap wrench. Remember to only turn the tap wrench no more than 1/2 a turn forward, then 1/4 turn back, and keep repeating that until the thread is deep enough. A taper tap and then a bottoming out tap were used.
This adapter will be mostly embedded in the cement, but with the threaded end slightly sticking out of the top.
Step 7: Make the Support
In order to embed the adapter into the top of the cement base, it'll need to be suspended above the cement in some way until it hardens. To do this, you can use a piece of scrap wood that will need to sit across the centre of the mould.
I drilled a hole in this scrap wood piece to fit a bolt through, and this bolt then attached to the adapter and held it below the wood. I needed to use washers because the bolt was too long otherwise, and I couldn't find a bolt the same size as the adapter so I used a smaller one and used a little bit of silicone rubber tubing to make it fit snugly. This rubber tubing helped keep cement out of the thread too.
Step 8: Moulding the Cement
First, make sure you have everything ready - especially if you're using rapid-set cement mix. You'll need a level surface to make sure the cement sets level. I used a scrap wood platform outside.
Mix the cement powder with water - my instructions just said to make a smooth paste. So keep adding water and mixing according to your instructions. I used a paint mixer attached to a drill. Make sure you wear protective gloves and a breathing mask when you are mixing.
Pour the cement into the mould and use a trowel to move it around the dowels and smooth it off at the top. Try to remove trapped air by striking all the sides of the container.
Press the adapter attached to the scrap wood into the cement. Try and place it in the centre. I sat this wood support on top of 2 wood shims in order to be able to fit a washer between the cement and the monopod later on.
Try and move the cement around the adapter carefully so that it is properly embedded and there isn't trapped air around it.
Smooth the top with the trowel as best as you can.
As soon as the cement hardens enough to support the adapter, remove the bolt & washers from the wood. Smooth the top some more with your trowel. You can use a bit of water to help with the smoothing. You can also use a brush to smooth and add a light even texture before it completely hardens.
Step 9: Remove the Mould & Attach the Monopod
Use a utility knife to carefully remove the mould from the hardened cement.
Screw the rubber feet to the wooden dowels, and screw the monopod to the adapter on top of the cement base (with a large washer in between).
And that's it, it's finished!
Runner Up in the
Stone, Concrete, Cement Challenge