Intro: Animation Photographer / Bipod Camera Stand
Well i needed a way to take pictures facing straight down. while i drew things beneath it, and took pictures occasionally. So i decided to make this contraption. I know this will not work for everyone, It was built with my needs and my camera in mind. Someone who needs repetitive accuracy (Although this has been pretty accurate so far) or has a camera with a different field of view might construct this quite differently.
You will need.
1 - 8ft 1/4 in. Piece of a wood of your choice (preferably something dried to prevent warping)
2 - Dual threaded bolt thingy (pictured below)
2 - wing nuts
2 - Washers
1 - Bolt (universal camera mount size)
Scrap metal is optional
-Table saw / hand saw.
-Portable or stationary jigsaw.
-Small nail gun
Lets get started
First were going to cut up that beautiful piece of wood you selected. The table i wanted to place this on was about 30 inches across and i wanted it to barely fit so after accounting for the feet i made it 25 inches. This is also a nice size if you want to use it on a larger table. Boom! top size selected. Now the legs are 20 inches because at max height (about 19.2 inches) the feet are just out of view. The small pegs are for support which it needs unless you sink the legs into the feet. Sinking the legs into the feet would be way better, look nicer and take more time and tools to do properly. Much to my fathers dismay (He's the master craftsman that could do this with his eyes closed and still make it showroom quality) i won't be doing that on this project for my own reasons.
The foot size however i believe was random.
So you're going to cut with the saw you selected.
-1 piece of wood 25 inches long
-2 pieces of wood 20 inches long
-2 pieces of wood 7 inches long
-4 pieces of wood 3/4ths of an inch long
I broke a blade on this next step so i let the pro take over while i take pictures =]
First were going to draw some guide lines on the legs. You should find the center of the board by measuring its width and dividing it by 2, then we're going to mark off a segment we can cut out. It should be just slightly wider than your dual threaded bolt. grab the legs and drill a hole in each (within the guidelines), the size of the hole does not matter as long as you can fit the blade of a jigsaw inside of it. Then we cut that segment out and sand the edges so machining threads on the dual threaded bolt slide up and down easily inside it.
Now this part might be tricky, you need to get the wooden threads in the sides of the top board without breaking it. so first we drill into the sides with a bit that is just a tiny bit bigger than the center of those dual threaded bolts. we want the teeth to grab without it expanding the wood too much. First were going to measure and find the center of the wood again but on the edge. We marked it with an awl for accuracy when we drill. the size we drilled was about 1/4 of an inch but may vary for your bolt. try to keep your hole as straight as possible. I only needed to drill about an inch and a half in to cover all the wood threads. then we clamped the machine thread side of the bolt in a vise. A vise can destroy the machine threads on the bolt so put something between the vice and bolt like a piece of wood or in our case soft plastic. then we just pushed the hole against it and turned carefully until all the wood threads were covered. do this for both sides of the top piece.
Boom! with the top piece almost done we can start working on the legs.
Here were going to find the center of the two feet and attach the legs. So far the legs should have a slit cut into them The bottom is the end that has more space between the end of the board and the slit. were going to find where it sits in the center of the foot and mark it with a pencil. Then apply a little bit of wood glue to the bottom of the leg, you can smooth it over with your finger you don't wan't too much on there just enough to cover the whole surface and not have too much come out of the sides when you press it down. press it firmly into the designated area of the foot. This next part is optional some people would clamp it as is and wait for it to dry, But i chose to nail it, to nail it you need to hold it upside down and put 2-3 small nails in the bottom of the foot making sure they go right under the leg. If you didn't put too much glue the foot should stay in place without too much effort. Now do the same thing for the 4 small pieces of wood you'll be glueing 2 sides (the sides touching the leg and foot), These are just for a bit of support.
Now this next step is completely optional, but i felt that the tops of the legs needed some support. I'm sure it would break easily at the top of the slot that was cut and if i had something holding the two together, even if a crack did form, it would be alright. I had some "L" brackets that i cut with an angle grinder to make little support braces. In the end its just a piece of metal with two holes in it. you can buy or make them yourself. drill holes and screw them in place.
now all we need to do is add the bolt that holds the camera on. I believe the bolt size is universal on cameras but it wouldn't hurt to check just in case yours is different. You can take your camera to any hardware store and find a bolt that fits into the bottom we need something short so it will hold your camera against the wood i got one that was about 2 inches and it was just a little bit too long i ended up putting a small plastic washer to take away some length. I didn't but i believe it would be a great idea to use a hard rubber instead of plastic it would help it keep the clamping force and still keep you from over tightening. You are going to want to find a good spot on the top piece to mount the camera and remember that the hole on the camera for mounting is not always directly under the lens. This just means the bolt might not go directly in the center, it could be offset by a couple inches so check your camera. Once you locate the perfect spot drill a hole that is about the size of the bolt you are using or ever so slightly smaller. it should be able to turn but not fall out if not attached to a camera.
now test it. try to attach the camera and if it holds tight, just assemble and you're done =]
if not...... and the bolt is too long try adding a washer to the bolt BEFORE you put it through the top board. that way you are not holding the camera away from the board and it can clamp well and you are less likely to lose the washer.
now we just assemble the stand, to assemble put the two bolts from the top piece into the slots in the legs, add washers and the wing nuts and you are ready to rock and roll =]