11 Dollar Collapsable Monopod.




Introduction: 11 Dollar Collapsable Monopod.

About: married, 2 kids, 2 businesess. no time.

I wanted to make a monopod that fit the following criteria:
1. cheap. super cheap.
2. no duct tape this time.
3. it had to be collapsible or telescoping.
4. The camera has to mount to it, not just sit on it.
5. I had to be able to make it in a few minutes because I have the attention span of a gnat.

Step 1: Determine the Specs

I wanted the thing to be roughly shoulder height, but collapsible down to something that would fit in a floorboard of a car. It also needed to have the proper thingy to mount to the camera.

Time to go to the hardware store. I had 15$ to work with. I brought with my, my camera to find a bolt that would thread into the bottom. From what I have seen, all cameras have the same threading. it turns out that the threading is 1/4 inch. nice.

Step 2: Buy the Stuff.

Note: this is where you could make the design MUCH better for not much more cost. I'll get to that in the end.

I found these pipes that threaded together neatly and felt decently sturdy. They were super cheap, like 3$ a piece.

I bought:

2 pipes
1 joiner
2 end caps
1 1/4 inch bolt, long enough to go through an end cap and thread into the camera.
3 nuts to secure the bolt
1 huge washer to help steady the camera when connected.

My total was 10$ something.

Note: I bought some extras because I thought I would screw it up. so its actually cheaper than I said!

Step 3: Create the Mounting Thingy for the Camera

take an end cap and drill a 1/4 inch hole in the top center. Try to center it as best you can or else the camera will be tilted... like mine.

then assemble like this:
1.insert bolt into hole and thread into camera. Note how much extra space you have on the bolt.
2.add nuts on the inside of the cap to shorten the length of exposed bolt. (remember you'll need a bolt on the outside as well to secure it.)
3.place a bolt on the outside to secure it. Tighten A LOT.
4.screw your camera back on again to double check the length of the bolt. it should show any thread between the camera and the nut.
5.once you are secure with the length of the bolt, slide the washer over it. It would be wise to secure it with some j.b. weld or something to that effect. Mine keeps falling off. I'm sure I'll lose it.

Step 4: Assemble the Rest of the Monopod

screw the pipe pieces together like the picture. that's it! It's pretty sturdy.

You can un screw the middle section to collapse!

Step 5: Improvements

There are( lots of places that this thing could be better.

Idea #1. A rubber tip on the bottom. (cheap)
Idea #2. Make it from pvc so it could be telescoping. A simple pressure fit thingy should do the job without any modifications. (probably not any more expensive)
Idea #3. Add a hand grip. (cheap)
Idea #4. A level on the mounting bracket would be cool. (could be pretty cheap)
Idea #5. A quick release boot on the top instead of screwing and unscrewing the camera manually. (probably require more work and not as cheap)
Idea #6. Tilt ability... pretty big feature in hindsight. (probably require more work and not as cheap)



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    19 Discussions

    Camera bolt threading is actually a 'whitmore' threading which is slightly different from the standard U.N.C. american thread in the angle of the thread cuts, but regular UNC bolts do work though. Unfortunately in europe even normal U.N.C. bolts are a bit harder to come by due to the normal bolts all using the metric M system and those have completely different threads and won't work :/

    For the tip you could either glue on a piece of rubber (Piece of old shoe sole?) or just use a big dab of shoe goo or similar epoxy - dries to approximately the same consistency of rubber, though you probably want to sand/rough the surface for a stronger bond.

    You could easily buy a cheap level @ a dollar store, they often have keychain levels.

    For a quick release boot you could just take a non-threaded end cap and barely sand the inside so it's snug, but not too snug. With a spring and a penny nail you could even make a "safety catch".

    For a tilt you could probably either use a stiff ball joint, or somehow tighten a loose one. I'm sure for <$20 you could probably add all the parts to make it even nicer! Good job!

    I was thinking about it and you could make that completely collapsable and self contained. Use different sized pipes and bushings. I made a mockup image to explain. You can even lock the center pipe into the outer pipe for travel, so it won't come out unless you want it to come out. Keep in mind proportions are out of wack to show all parts needed. Pipes will need to be longer, etc. Think of this way, when you pull the center pipe out the bushing will screw into the top end cap and vice versa when closed. The bottom bushing will screw into the bottom end cap.

    C:\Documents and Settings\joseph.adkins4\Desktop\monopod.jpg
    1 reply

    Obviously aluminum pipe would be lighter, but iron pipe would work just as well and be very sturdy. All end caps are also metal.

    I think it is great. I bet it doesnt start to colapse from the weight of a full 35mm with flash on it the way some of the inexpensive commercial ones do. Next time Im on vacation in a pinch, I will remember this as a quality option. Maybe Ill just make the actual mount and keep that in my camera stuff. If Im in a bind I can just buy a length of PVC and consider it disposable for $2.

    1 reply

    after use, one single disposable piece would be almost identical. I haven't had to collapse it yet.

    I made one of thee today. My cost totaled at 10.91, so 11 dollars is right. I made it out of steel pipes. I got one 1/2in 10ft length, and one 3/4in 10ft length.

    Well I took your idea, and made plans for my own. I figured out how to 1. make it easier to collapse. and 2. make it somewhat tilt able. 1 I will have the two pipes overlap, and then drill a hole through both of them, so when its extended, I will push a small bolt through each hole, making it so the pipes cant move up or down. 2. It can only be portrait or landscape, but I will drill a small hole through the 1/4 bolt, and then put a nail through the pipe, with the bolt on it. This way the bolt will be able to pivot along where I will cut the cap from the center, to horizontal one one side of the cap. Then I will just make something similar to my number 1 fastener, to fasten it when its landscape. Gravity will work during portrait.

    8 replies

    That makes perfect sense. I think you would have to use a larger pipe to get the space you need to pivot. You would also have a problem fastening the bolt to the camera as it would spin freely. Your idea definitely gives the ability to pivot on the cheap. I like it.

    How would it spin freely? There would be a hole in the bolt, and a nail would go through bot the pipe and the bolt, so the bolt can only move from vertical to horizontal, any other tilting i would want would have to be don't by rotating the tripod, or moving the camera a bit. But I figure Ill only want portrait or landscape.

    Just now - I thought of a quick release mount...how well is the cap on? If it could come off, then just pull it off :D

    I see what you mean about the nail. the top is screwed on. it would be just as much effort to unscrew the camera.

    Oh, were there any rubber caps? Anotehr idea would be to mount a cap onto about 2 inches of larger pipe, so the you can just pull off the the top...you'll just have a bit of pipe hanging down, but it wouldn't be too bad. Sometime in the next few days Ill be going to home depot to get this stuff. In the mean time, I need to think about what to use for a padded grip, and what to use for a loop to hang down and go around the wrist.

    if you do it like me, you would probably drill a hole and tie a shoelace through. As far as a padded grip goes... duct tape and cloth. Or a bicycle grip. I like stuff to be so cheap that I don't care if it breaks or gets forgotten. The fun is to see what works on the cheap. If you're going to invest 20$, go buy a new one. I prefer to build my own though.

    A shoelace is a good idea, I think i'll do that. And I was thinking id take an old shirt and tape it on with electrical tape (for looks) as a grip, so pretty much the same thing.

    wow, I hadn't seen those. I guess this project should be called. "monopod in 1 minute!" instead. I think I'll buy one of those!