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Old 17th of April 2009 (Fri)   #1
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: San Ramon, CA
Posts: 147
Lightbulb My homemade spherical panoramic head design (w/ pics)

Moderator Update 10/9/2009: It was brought to our attention that this design is from Dr. Sean Parkin Please give credit where credit is due.:

UPDATE 4/21/09: Added actual build details starting from post #41.

Update 10/9/09: Modified post to indicate that this design is based off a design from Dr. Sean Parkin.

I was interested in desigining my own Panoramic head. Initially I was looking at purchasing the Panosauras, but after much research decided I wanted something a bit sturdier and also something that could I could disassemble easily for travelling. I also looked at the ever popular Nodal Ninja, but did not want to shell out $300-$400 for the NN5 (as the NN3 was too small for my camera). I ended up modifying a design that I came across here This was a design from Dr. Sean Parkin, and the only modification I made was to remove the use of the Manfrotto plate, and also added the ability for some detents to be placed every 30 degrees or so on the rotator.

I started with the plan of using a Manfrotto quick release plate that would be permanently attached to the head, like how Sean designed his head. The vertical arm is removable by unscrewing the one knob at the bottom. Unscrewing the vertical arm will be the only thing that will need to be done to take apart the head for travel (no tools needed!).

I then created a simple Visio diagram which detailed all the necessary measurements that I would need for my specific camera and nodal point, taking into account the thickness of the material, and the Manfrotto plate.

I purchased the Manfrotto plates from Amazon, but after receiving them had second thoughts on using them. The plates were rather heavy and bulky (and a bit pricey ~$30), so back they went.

Here is my revised plan without using the Manfrotto plate. In order to keep with my criteria of not needing tools to assemble or use the head, I needed to add a spacer between the vertical arm and the arm that the camera mounts to.

To validate how this adapted design would look, I then made a 3D model using Sketchup.

Model with the arm rotated up 90 degrees.

And finally, model with the camera mounted and ready for action.

If all goes as planned I should have my head completely finished this weekend . I will post a build thread once complete.

Last edited by 5teve : 9th of October 2009 (Fri) at 19:02.
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