I had 4 spare GORM columns and I decided to build a super tripod for photography.
Step 1: Material
For the simple tripod you would need:
3 GORM columns(but additional columns can be exploited as extensions or to reinforce legs) as an alternative they can be replaced by wooden planks with similar sizes(they are about 174cm x 9cm and about 16mm thick ) but the pre-drilled holes of the GORM can be useful)
3 bed staves(I recovered by a broken bed, they can be replaced by similar pieces of plywood)
A piece of plywood 2cm thick. dimensions of 27cm x 16 cm would be enough.
3 big hinges (as close as possible to the width of the columns)
6 small hinges (narrower than the bed staves)
various screws and bolts
Step 2: Tripod Hub
On the piece of plywood trace the hexagon with sides of 9cm and the equilateral triangle(s) with sides 9cm.(you would need one of the 2)
then cut every other side of the hexagon at an angle. this angle would influence the maximum inclination of the legs when the tripod is in use, therefore consider carefully the desired result before cutting.
Usually the inclination of tripod legs slightly exceed 30° when the tripod is open. Other tripods have the possibility to change this angle in different steps(for example 30°, 45°, 60°) to achieve lower position or greater stability.
I decided for a maximum inclination of about 40° and then use bolts to limit the inclination in an adjustable manner.
Step 3: Legs
Now we have to attach the legs(GORM columns) to the tripod hub using the large hinges.
They must be attached in corrispondence with the inclided sides of the hexagonal hub such that the legs in open position rest on the inclined surface. Therefore the hinges are not placed at the legs top end but about 2.7cm lower . The hinges are to be screwed under the hub and under/inside the legs.
I suggest to start by screwing the hinges to the hub such that the free half is flat on the inclined faces(this assures that each is parallel to its side and at the same distance from the edge. Then unscrew the hinges and mount them on the legs, and finally rescrew them on the hub in the existing holes.
Be careful in choosing the screws' lenghts to avoid come out of the wood on the other side.
Step 4: Adjustable Inclination Bolts (hand Bolts)
As said to adjust the legs inclination I decided to use bolts.
I choose the spot such that the bolt, perpendicular to the leg would would touch the hub inclined surface with its tip, trying to maximize the arm between the hinge axis and the bolt and at the same time stay at reasonable distance from the edge.
Selected the right spot I drilled the leg with a bit of diameter smaller than the bolt, then I threaded the hole.
Finally I put the 3 hand bolts in place.
Step 5: Bolts Metal Rests
The plywood is rather soft and the bolts' tips tended to sink into the plywood and therefore I added metal rests.
I tried to place a screw in the spot but due to the hinge geometry(central screw) and the limited thickness I wasn't able to place a screw there without removing the screw from the hinge, then I adopted another solution.
I used 3 coins (2 eurocents each) and glued them in place with hot glue.
Step 6: Leg Braces
Place 3 small hinges on the plywood triangle and screw them in place.
Then screw a bed stave to each hinge.
(note the hinge is UNDER the triangle and UNDER the brace, it folds downward)
Then carefully place another hinge on each leg (all perpendicular to the leg, centered and at the same distance from the end) and screw them in place. Choose a place such that the braces are fully extended when the legs are open at the desired inclination.
Finally connect each brace to each leg.(note the hinge is OVER the brace and under the leg, it folds upward )
Step 7: Basic Tripod Completed
Now the basic tripod is completed and you need only a way to attach the tripod head or directly the camera to the tripod.
I have a tripod head obtained from a broken tripod and I reproduced the shape of broken tripod top with bolt, nuts and washers. I could attach this to the hub but I have different ideas.
Step 8: Extension Arm
To take advantage of the 4th GORM column I decided to attach it to one of the tripod legs using bolts, nuts and washers and taking advantage of the pre-drilled holes.
at one end of the extension arm screw the 2 leftover triangles (the "sides" highlighted in green in the picture). Place them in parallel carefully.
An additional piece of plywood is placed between the 2 sides and a threated rod passing through the 2 sides and the central piece. A couple of nuts(better hand-nuts) squeeze the sides and the central piece to hold this in position. To the central piece is attached the tripod head mount.
Step 9: Extension Arm Positions
The extension arm solution allows the tripod with a minimal increase in mass and size to reach higher positions(but also lower positions) and allows to shoot downward (almost vertically) without having the tripod legs in the frame.
The extension column can completely overlay the leg if there is no need of reaching higher position, or can be shifted upward and in whatever position the pre-drilled holes are aligned and there are at least 2 couples of holes aligned. Actually this is prevented by the hand-bolt and therefore I would consider the overlay of 3 segments the minimum(a segment is the space between 2 couples of holes, each column has 13 segments). Therefore the maximum hight is 23 segments.
If a lower position is required the extension arm can be reversed upside-down reaching positions of just few centimetres from the ground
The extension arm can also be reversed back-to-front with the tripod head under the arm to point downward (avoiding to frame the tripod legs) or over the arm to shoot horizontally or upward. This can also be exploited to move the camera weight toward the center of the tripod for better stability.
Step 10: Is It Sturdy? It Is
It can easily hold a reflex in any position and I tested the tripod with heavier weights up to 6 kg for the basic tripod and up to 5.3 kg of a Sony videocamera from the '80s.
I was not completely satisfied by the backlash of the hinges but the result is quite firm anyway.