PVC is a great material. It's like Tinker Toys for adults. You can use it to build greenhouses, furniture, musical instruments, kayaks, toys, and yes, even plumbing. I thought it would be a great material for building low-cost camera equipment; the only problem is how to connect the PVC to a camera. This is the method which has worked well for me for the past couple of years. Once you build this one device, you're only limited then by your imagination!
If you like my design, feel free to vote for me in the Digital Days photography competition!
Here's the video version:
This is the hardest step of the project. I found all these pieces easily, but I've been informed that they aren't available everywhere. A bit of footwork and possibly ordering online should get you all these parts.
three ¼ inch hex nuts
one ¼ inch lock washer
one ¼ inch regular washer
one ¼ inch x 1 inch fender washer
one ¼ inch x 2 inch bolt (threaded the entire length)
¾ inch schedule 40 end cap (flat)
½ inch schedule 40 plug
one inch of ¾ inch SDR Schedule 21 PVC pipe
Note that the PVC pipe is NOT Schedule 40. This pipe has 1/16 inch walls, as opposed to the more common Schedule 40's 1/8 inch walls.
Drill holes in both the end cap and the plug. The hole should be large enough for the bolt to slide through relatively easily. You can either use a pair of scissors or a 3/8 inch drill bit.
Attach the bolt to the ½ inch plug. This is accomplished in this order: bolt, regular washer, plug, lock washer, nut. Tighten it all together using your tools of choice. I find the best way to keep the nut from spinning as you're trying to tighten everything is to put a flathead screwdriver on the side of the nut while tightening the bolt. Once it reaches the bottom, the lock washer should hold it in place for the final tightening.
Put the PVC pipe over the top of the plug. If you have schedule 21 pipe, it should move freely. The schedule 40 won't fit.
This step takes a little tweaking, but it's still not that bad. You're going to attach the fender washer by sandwiching it between two nuts. The trick is that you need to leave a very small gap between the fender washer and the pipe. I try to get it around a sixteenth of an inch. You want the ½ inch plug to spin independently from the PVC pipe, while not being overly loose.
Slide the end cap over the pipe, with the bolt threads coming out the top. The plug should rotate freely while the pipe and end cap stay in place. That's it!
To use the PVC Camera Mount, line up the bolt threads with your camera's tripod hole. Twist the ½ inch plug clockwise, and the PVC Camera Mount will tighten up against the camera, forming a secure base. Then just insert the bottom of the Camera Mount into any ¾ inch PVC fitting, and build to your heart's content.
Some examples of devices I've designed/modified are as follows (linked to videos or other instructions if available):
Fig Rig -- (Thanks to Twist for his Instructable)
Also check out my blog -- goodenoughstuff.blogspot.com -- for more information on many of my projects and more.
And as a bit of shameless advertising, don't forget to vote for me in the Digital Days photo contest!