Tripod Extender for 360º Camera



Introduction: Tripod Extender for 360º Camera

About: Gadget fan, woodworker, photographer, husband, cyclist, kayaking SUP riding real ale drinker who does a bit of bouldering.

I have been adding 360º photos to Google Street View for a while. Previously I have used the Street View app on my iPhone. A couple of months ago I bought a Samsung Gear 360 camera (currently £240 on Amazon UK, March 2017), it's a great way of taking 360º pictures in a single shot.

There is however a problem that I needed a fix for.

The tripod that comes with the camera is very short, the camera fits onto my Joby GorillaPod SLR which is great for shooting 360º videos. For my Street View shots I bought a taller tripod which is more like a monopod with feet, this however is still only 80cm (31.5") high. The trouble is the height makes it look like all of the shots are taken by a 6 year old.

Step 1: Gather Your Parts and Tools

Parts Used.

1 x 1/4-20 UNC nut (standard tripod thread) ***
1 x 1/4-20 UNC bolt 15mm long (standard tripod thread) ***
1 x 1/4-20 UNC bolt 45mm long (standard tripod thread)
1 x length of 8mm fibreglass tube. I used a kite spar
Some two part epoxy
A couple of strips of fibre glass ***
Fibre glass resin ***
40mm x 18mm length of metal rod (I used an aluminum / brass alloy)

Tools Used.

Dremel tool with cutting disc
A few mixing sticks
Some disposable gloves (it's going to get messy)
Face mask (if you're cutting the fibreglass tube)
Metal lathe
8mm drill bit
5.2mm drill bit for the tap hole
1/4-20 UNC Tap

Please make sure you read all of this Instructable.. There are some parts *** you won't really need, there were quite a few mistakes (learning curve) in this build. I've left in mistakes to show the process.

Step 2: Prep the Nut, Bolt and Rod

Using the Dremel with cutting disc i chopped the head off the bolt, this is going to be inserted into the end of the fibre glass rod.

Next I needed to find a way of holding the nut on the end of the rod while the epoxy hardened. I settled on putting a screw though it. This needed to be padded out with some masking tape to wedge it in the rod.

The internal dimension of the rod is 5.9mm, i couldn't insert the bolt without splitting it so it needed to be opened out, I did this first with a 6mm drill then a 6.5mm one.

Step 3: Stick It Together

I mixed up some two part epoxy, this was wiped around the inside top of the rod, the cut off bolt was then pushed into this end. I used a bit of masking tape to hold the bolt in place.

The nut with its screw was wedged into the other end of the rod. I then used the epoxy to cover the nut and build up a fillet around the rod.

Unfortunately this was where I had my first (of many) problems.
The epoxy was taking a while to set, I had to hold and constantly rotate the rod to stop the epoxy sagging, running down the rod or dripping off... This took about 45 minutes...

Step 4: Next Problem

Once the epoxy had finally set fully I found my next problem.
The bolt in the top had set at quite an angle.
I decided to cut my losses and chopped it off with the Dremel. Be careful when cutting the rod, I'm sure those fibres aren't good to breath in.

I had a longer 45mm bolt, i chopped off it's head, mixed up some more epoxy. Again was wiped around the inside of the rod and the bolt was pushed down inside. Because the bolt was so much longer the tension of the epoxy was strong enough to hold it straight.

This longer bolt is a much much better solution.

You need to leave about 6mm of the bolt free from the end of the rod to allow the camera to be screwed on.

Step 5: Ahhh Yet Another Problem ?

Now I had a nice straight bolt to attached the camera, I screwed the extension to the tripod.
Unfortunately the epoxy fillet around the nut wasn't strong enough to hold the camera it started to move and crack.
I needed a stronger joint.

Thankfully I had some glass fibre and resin left over from another project (possible Instructable to come).

Time to put on your gloves... This bit gets really messy.

I soaked some glass fibre strips in resin and wrapped them around the nut and up the rod.
WOW I'm really not very good at this glass fibre stuff. I made a huge mess as you can see in the picture.

Step 6: My Word This Is Ugly

Yep, now it's dried it is still ugly.

It actually sanded down quite nicely though.

Unfortunately the fibre glass is super strong (I guess this is what I was after) but I got too much over the bolt thread. I had put this bolt in so I didn't get resin in the nut thread.

AHHHH I managed to twist the whole thing off...

Step 7: Yet Another Option Needed

Thankfully my dad is into metalwork (I'm more of a wood man), I had a plan for a much more solid connector.
My thought was to make a sleeve to fit over the glass fibre rod, I would then tap the other end for the tripod screw.

First off I cut a 40mm length of aluminum brass rod.
An 8mm hole was drilled 30mm deep, this would be to receive the rod.
Next an 5.2mm hole was drilled in the other end, a thread was then cut into this hole with a 1/4-20 UNC tap.

Step 8: WOW !!! I Think I Have It...

This last version of the tripod connector works brilliantly, it is super solid.
It is very tall and takes a little time to settle (bit of a wobble), normally about 5 seconds. This gives me enough time to get out of the frame when taking a picture for Google Street View. Once it has settled it is very stable. I don't think it will work too well outside in the wind.

As you can see from the 4 pictures, this extension raises the camera to normal eye height, I think this is much better as it gives a true perspective for the shot.

Step 9: One Last Problem

I have created one last problem for myself.
My great new extension doesn't fit in any of my current Lowepro bags...

I hope you're able to follow this Instructable and can learn from my many mistakes.

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