The "tripod" made from a string and a 1/4 inch bolt is a well functioning and cheap classic that every photographer should have in the photo bag. But I have always had a problem with the string entangling in their bag, so here is the solution that makes sure you always have a tripod handy and don't look like a fool unraveling strings...
Step 1: Material and Tools
You need the following material:
- A rubber band
- 3-3.5 m (12ft) of string – braided nylon works well
- 40x80 mm 9 mm plywood
- A 1/4 inch 37 mm bolt (1.5 inch)
You need the following tools:
- A 7 mm trill
- A jigsaw
- Sanding paper
- A hammer
- A lighter
- A scissor
Step 2: Template for the Coiler
Print the template and cut it out.
Test if the bolt fits the camera's tripod mount and measure how
deep it goes. Use a marker to draw a mark on the bolt, where it sticks out of the mount. Lay the bolt with the mark on top of the template to determine if you need to adjust the size of the coiler. The coiler needs to start at the mark. The bolthas to stick out a couple of mm so it will screw into the tripod mount.
When you have determined the exact size, draw the template on the plywood.
Step 3: Making the Coiler
Cut out the coiler with a jigsaw.
Drill a 7 mm hole across the coiler according to the template
Sand the coiler's edges
Saw two narrow slits for the sting in the left and right side of the hole
Step 4: Fixing the String to the Coiler
Pull the two ends of the string through the hole and fix them in the two slits
Push the bolt through the hole to fix the string
Cut the strings' ends so that there are only a couple of mm sticking out
Melt the ends of the strings with the lighter so they aline with the coiler and seal the hole
Step 5: Done
Add the rubber band so you can fix the string when you roll it up on the coiler
You are done!
Time to test the tripod! Every camera has a different mount, so the bolt may or may not fit the exact depth of your bolt, but don't worry if it doesn't fit tight, it's not important for the stability of your tripod...
The image was shot at 1/2 a second exposure time at ISO 200 @ 28mm with the tripod – check out the 100% cut out from the center – pretty impressive! (Stability improves a lot if you place the camera against your forehead by using the eye viewer. Also using the self timer will prevent camera shake from pressing the exposure button...)
Use the tripod by standing on the string and pulling the camera upwards to make a tight triangle. This will stabilize the camera and make up for around 3 or 4 f-stops – enjoy!