Gorilla Pod




Yet another camera tripod project with Loc-Line modular hose. This instructable owes its existence to the Gorilla Pod instructable by benthekahn. Before reading this one, read that one.

This extends and, hopefully, improves and simplifies the instructable mentioned above. This version of the tripod folds flat and allows for a variety of upper camera mounts. This increases the number of angles at which a (lightweight) camera can be held. It retains all of the advantages of the Loc-Line model -- flexibility, durability, and general coolness.


Step 1: Blah Blah Blah

This step is here because the first step seems to appear below the Introduction. I don't understand why and I don't think it is a good idea.

Step 2: Tools and Materials

This project requires access to a few woodworking tools -- saws for shaping the base, drills for drilling the holes, grinder for shaping bolt heads. The only unusual tool I used was a 1/4" NPT tap. It is hard to believe the tap is called 1/4" because it looks at least 1/2" in diameter, but I believe the measurement refers to the inner diameter of the pipe/hose.

This is interesting and fun stuff from ModularHose.com, master distributors of Loc-Line modular hose. Buy the pliers for assembling segments and connectors. Buy lots of this stuff because it just has to be useful for other projects. It's expensive enough that it better be useful.

41401 Loc-Line Hose Segment Pack for 1/4" system
41406 Loc-Line 1/4" NPT Connector for 1/4" system

Each tripod uses four (4) of the connectors (they come in four packs) and 24+ segments of hose (8 apiece for the three legs; additional pieces for extensions). Each two pack of hose contains 2 x 10 segments.

The base can be of any material that can be tapped with a 1/4" NPT tap. I used a small block of mahogany (scrap that I had kicking around from a project from twenty-five years ago) but a chunk of wood, metal or plastic would work as well.

Step 3: Base

The actual dimensions of the blocks are not crucial. What matters is that they are thick enough so that the threaded ends of the connectors do not collide and big enough so that the stress from the connectors do not crack out the sides. It also helps to have enough space around the connectors to be able to tighten them with a socket wrench.

These block are mahogany (soft wood) with dimensions 2 7/8" x 1 3/8" x 7/8" (2.875" x 1.375" x .875"). The initial holes were drilled with a 31/64" bit (probably 1/2" would be fine but I used what I had). They were attractively spaced three on one side and one on the other. They were then threaded with a 1/4" NPT tap. Yes! I threaded soft wood with a pipe thread! The threads were solidified and holes very slightly widened by cranking a connector in.

The wood was finished with three coats of Tung Oil and a single coat of wax.

Step 4: Tap

The 1/4" NPT (National Pipe Thread) tap creates a tapered hole for NPT threaded pipe. In addition to the hole being tapered, the cut thread on the connectors is also tapered. One drawback to this is that, because the tap does not go entirely through the block (although it could), the holes are just a little smaller than the threaded end. This caused one or two of the blocks to crack from the pressure.

Step 5: Bolt

The bolt is a 3/4" 1/4-20 bolt, the standard size for a camera mount. I had to grind down the heads of the bolts so that they would fit up in to the connectors. They are glued  in (with hot glue which is probably not ideal). While the glue was setting, I threaded a single nut (not shown) on the end sticking out to set a uniform extension.

Step 6: Assembly

Screw the four connectors into the base and attach the three legs to the connectors. Because of the modularity, it is possible to have legs of any length (even unequal length if that makes sense). I settled on eight segments for the leg and four for the longer neck. The eight seem long enough to give the tripod some height and allow the legs to wrap around things and the four is just long enough to get a 90 degree bend (see pictures in next step).

Loc-Line is hard to attach by hand. The assembly pliers make it much easier. Use the pliers to attach the legs and make sure the mounting pieces as screwed in.

All done! See photographs of the finished tripod in the next step.

Step 7: Finished

The tripod and Loc-Line is strong enough to hold an SLR, but I would NOT trust it. To maintain balance it is necessary to open the legs of the tripod, but this then puts weight on almost horizontal Loc-Line. The tubing cannot support weight this way and will buckle. With the legs in position to support the weight, the camera/tripod is top heavy and will tip over.

Smaller cameras, however, can be held at all different angles and make taking pictures straight down or vertically aligned easy.



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    19 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    This is fantastic!!!  Few projects get me inspired enough to emulate them, and your presentation truly got to me. I work in a machine shop so I made my version out of spare parts (aka COMPLETELY FREE).

    I used a plastic base 2"x2"x0.5" square, and did exactly what you said with the tapped holes.

    One improvement on the connection between the screw and Locline piece: I used a 1/2" bolt (http://www.mcmaster.com/#cad-2d/91274a156/=dhu97a), McMasterCarr Part # 91274a156.

    The head of the bolt is too large for the smaller hole of a Locline hose part, so I machined the hole to be a few thousands smaller than the diameter of the bolt head, put glue in the newly drilled hole, and press-fitted the bolt into the Locline hose.

    I also added a 1/4-20 nut and lock washer, so that when the camera is screwed down all the way it stays in place and doesn't swivel.

    Thanks for the awesome idea!

    2 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Wow. Thank you. You certainly got the price of it right! Completely free! It seems as if the major complaint about Loc-Line is that it is too expensive -- which it is. However, I have found the flexibility to be valuable. It's interesting stuff that should be used more. Now, how much is that machine to drill a hole a few thousandths (of an inch) smaller than the diameter of the bolt head!?


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Hahaha, that would a Bridgeport Milling Machine:


    Extraordinarily expensive for the common layman, but infinitely useful if you have access to one.

    There are machine shops in various places that allow access and memberships to use their machinery if you're interested:

    http://techshop.ws/ (as an example)


    8 years ago on Introduction

    just checked out the loc line, its expensive.. buying a gorillapod would be cheaper(and better)


    8 years ago on Introduction

    It might be cool to fasten some rare earth magnets to the ends of the legs, so it would "stick" to ferrous surfaces. ...well, maybe not the roof of a moving car.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Have you played with a Gorilla pad, they are pretty cool? I ask because, they have solid joints with a ring of rubber running around them, which along with their rubber feet help to prevent scratching what you wrap it around or set it on. I especially like the multiple heads, one standard 1/4", one with a suction cup for attaching a cell phone, and two with double sided sticky goo. The last one has goo similar to those hooks you put on the wall, that you pull on the tape to remove goo and all. The suction cup has mixed results, with my vary heavy Motorola droid phone. I need to contact Gorilla, for a better solution. Other than that, I'm happy with both my mini-Gorilla Pod, and the full sized one for full sized cameras and video cameras. I'm sure making the tripod was a great learning experience, which is what instructables is all about, but in that same line, I think determining which would actually function better for the dollars spent, is also important.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I like this idea.
    I noticed loc-line many years ago,
    and I was going to use it in a sort of way to make a tripod
    but not exaclty a tripod


    8 years ago on Step 7

    You might also try adding stiff cable to the inside of the line-loc to give it strength and security.

    I just thought of a nice modification, or addition. If you added a little alligator clip (or crocodile if you prefer) to the wood piece, it could be used to keep your hand strap out of the way. It could also be used to hold small things like maybe a flower stem or ring so that you could position them just the right way to take a shot. The clip would ideally be on some loc-line for holding stuff, but not necessarily loc-line if you just want to hold the strap.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Isn't it cheaper and better to actually buy the gorilla-pod, because those rubberised bits are much better than loc-line ?

    1 reply

    Cheaper absolutely -- Loc-Line IS expensive. Better is subjective. If my goal was just to have a tripod like this, I would have simply bought a Gorilla Pod with price and convenience the determining factors. I do like, however, that I can modify this one should circumstances arise and I find Loc-Line intriguing.

    Please let me know which areas you find incomplete. I am happy to add text and pictures to expand on or clarify any part of this project. Refer to the Gorilla Pod instructable by benthekahn referenced above for additional tips on working with Loc-Line modular hose. If this instructable seems incomplete it may be because the project is actually quite straightforward -- select wood, drill and tap a few holes, attach Loc-Line, mount camera! Again, let me know what I can expand or clarify.

    I think a final step displaying assembly instructions ("attach Loc-Line", as you say in this comment) at the end is what is missing. Shouldn't have to jump out to another ible to get that final crucial step. Just my .16 bits.