Intro: LED Array Hot Shoe to Threaded Connection
I recently picked up a 60-LED light from DealExtreme. This inexpensive light has power settings, is extremely portable, and can be charged via usb. This LED array throws a lot of light and are perfect for photography as the bottom of the LED array has a hot-shoe clip that allows it to be conveniently placed in many SLR type cameras...unfortunately I don't have one of those cameras.
I really needed a light to help me brighten up my sets in specific locations when I am taking pictures, and since I change locations when shooting I needed something that could be easily set up and moved when needed. This light will compliment the other lights I already own and will help boost any dark areas in a set.
Here's how I modified this hot shoe LED array to work with a 1/4" threaded connection, the same connection found on the underside of almost all cameras, and on tripod mounts. Making this LED array powerful and portable.
Step 1: Unbox and Cut Hot Shoe
This item comes in a large box, much too large for what's actually inside; Unbox and discard whatever you don't fancy. I kept only the LED array and the usb cable.
The hot shoe clip for this LED array is made of molded plastic and is part of the housing. I was able to use a rotary tool to cleanly remove the hot shoe tab and leave a reasonably smooth, level surface.
Step 2: Block
I had originally wanted to embed the threaded bolt into the housing itself, but the electronics are tightly packs and drilling into the housing would have destroyed the LED array.
I chose to make a new camera mount by embedding the 1/4" threaded connection inside a LEGO brick. I cut the top nubs off the brick with a rotary tool, then smoothed the surface. Then I drilled a 10mm opening through to middle of the brick for the threaded connection. When drilling, the inside plastic post of the LEGO brick also came out.
Using the rotary tool again, I cut a shallow channel in the LED array where the hot shoe tab was, this channel is the same dimension as the LEGO brick. Seating the brick inside this channel will allow for greater epoxy adhesion and a more solid connection.
Step 3: Epoxy
The threaded connection was fitted inside the LEGO brick and a strong epoxy was used to secure it in place.
More epoxy was used to secure the threaded assembly to the underside of the LED array.
Once the pieces were fitted a clamp was used to hold the LED array in place. The epoxy was left to set overnight.
Once the epoxy is all set you are ready to attached your LED array to any 1/4" - 20 threaded bolt and start shooting.
I've used this on my mini tripod (shown here) and on my much larger tripod. Now I can have easy, bright, portable lighting anywhere I need it!