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Thread started 26 Jun 2008 (Thursday) 19:17
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Homemade spherical-panorama head

 
Hogster86
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Jun 26, 2008 19:17 |  #1

Hi all :)

This is a follow on to this thread:

http://www.rcgroups.co​m ...s/showthread.php?t=​698953 (external link)

I've just built a new panorama head for my Canon EOS 40D / 10-22mm lens combo and thought I'd share the build with you! Sit back and enjoy! :D

Soo, as with all my designs, I start with a pencil and paper:

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/1.jpg

I already had a pretty good idea in my mind of what the eventual head would look like, so the sketches were just a way of noting down the key dimensions. Fortunately the key dimensions for my camera/lens combination were already available here (external link) so I didn't have to calculate the location of the lens' "entrance pupil" (why the original site isn't working I'm not sure ... I'm glad Google had a cache of it!).


With that done, I made a start on one of the trickiest parts of the build, the knobs. As with the previous head I designed, I wanted to make the knobs myself. I did this by using Polymorph plastic to create a mould of an already-existing knob, and then using car body filler to create duplicate knobs. The knob I selected came from an old audio amplifier I think (I found it in the 'KNOBS' box in our attic ;)). So, first stage is to pour the Polymorph pellets into hot water:

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/2.jpg

When heated, they turn from white to transparent – once they're transparent you can start moulding with it. You have to knead the pellets first (like bread dough) to get rid of any air bubbles. Once that was done I pressed the existing knob into the plastic, and formed the plastic around the knob:

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/3.jpg


Once the Polymorph has cooled (which can be sped up by dunking the mould in cold water), it turns white again, and is INCREDIBLY tough!

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/4.jpg

David Hogg LRPSexternal link | My Gear! | Horizon Imagingexternal link

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Hogster86
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Jun 26, 2008 19:17 |  #2

With the mould finished, it was time to make the first knob. :) I need three in total for this head, two with M6 (6mm) threads, and one with a 1/4" BSW thread which will screw into the camera itself.

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/5.jpg


The knobs are made from P38 car-body filler which comes as a two-part mixture (the red stuff is the hardener):

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/6.jpg


One has to work quickly, as this stuff sets pretty fast! The filler was poured into the mould (which had now been greased with Vaseline to help the knob come out easily ...... blimey, one shouldn't read that out of context! :eek: :p), and I used a screwdriver to push the filler into all the corners of the mould.

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/7.jpg

David Hogg LRPSexternal link | My Gear! | Horizon Imagingexternal link

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Hogster86
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Jun 26, 2008 19:18 as a reply to Hogster86's post |  #3

About 10 minutes later I pulled on the bolt and the new knob came out :) ... Hmm, not terrific, but those holes can easily be filled with more P38:

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/8.jpg


20 minutes of filling, filing and sanding later ... much better!

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/9.jpg


The knob was then sprayed a few coats of grey primer and then a few coats of satin black paint (knob shown here during the priming stage):

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/10.jpg


The above steps were repeated until I had created a total of 3 knobs :)


Onto the structure of the head itself. I found this lovely piece of hardwood in my Dad's garage and it's perfect for this application! Really tight-grained and very hard. :) Here I have already marked out in pencil where it needs to be cut:

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/11.jpg

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Hogster86
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Jun 26, 2008 19:18 as a reply to Hogster86's post |  #4

I use this mitre-saw for all the cutting - it ensures a perfectly perpendicular cut :)

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/12.jpg


Then the holes were drilled ...

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/13.jpg


... and ... hang on a minute! Tapping a thread into wood?!

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/14.jpg


Yup! I stumbled across this technique by accident a while ago ... if you tap a thread into wood and then soak the hole in thin CA:

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/15.jpg


... it forms a very hard plasticised thread! You just have to make sure the CA has tried before you test-fit the bolt :p ....

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/16.jpg


Next I rounded the corners using a belt sander:

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/17.jpg

David Hogg LRPSexternal link | My Gear! | Horizon Imagingexternal link

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Hogster86
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Jun 26, 2008 19:19 as a reply to Hogster86's post |  #5

Unlike the previous head I built, I wanted to have a separate knob for screwing the head to the camera. Unfortunately this would mean either having a large spacer between the two vertical parts of the head, or to chisel some of the wood away on each of the vertical parts .... hmm, picture = 1000 words ;)

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/18.jpg

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/19.jpg

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/20.jpg

As you can see I chose the chiseling option, simply because I didn't use a long enough bolt when making the upper knob to allow a large spacer to be used! :rolleyes:


The problem with panorama heads, is that if you're using a large, heavy camera (with a heavy lens), friction alone (from tightening the upper knob) will not be enough to hold the head at the desired angle. To get around this, I devised this simple system, consisting of a large washer with holes drilled in it, CA'd to a stack of washers behind it, CA'd to one part of the head. On the other part, I sunk a small nail with a flattened end:

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/21.jpg

You can probably see how it works :) I decided on the spacing of the holes by experimenting to see how much I needed to rotate the camera between each row of photos.

David Hogg LRPSexternal link | My Gear! | Horizon Imagingexternal link

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Hogster86
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Jun 26, 2008 19:19 as a reply to Hogster86's post |  #6

Not much left to do now. :) This is the bottom part of the head, and I'm using three 1 1/4" brass screws to hold the two parts of the head together ... definitely don't want those coming apart!

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/22.jpg

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/23.jpg


To add a final extra bit of strength, I CA'd a 45° wedge between the two main parts of the head:

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/24.jpg


With that complete, I could start with the painting!

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/25.jpg

Again I gave the parts a few coats of grey primer, and then finished it off with satin black.


Whilst painting I realised I hadn't quite finished building yet! I needed to make the spacer that sits underneath the head, which connects the head to the tripod. This is simply made from two discs of wood (the same wood the head is made from) which are CA'd together, with a different thread tapped into each one:

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/26.jpg

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/27.jpg

In one half is an M6 thread, and in the other is a 1/4" BSW thread (which the tripod screws into).

David Hogg LRPSexternal link | My Gear! | Horizon Imagingexternal link

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Hogster86
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Jun 26, 2008 19:19 as a reply to Hogster86's post |  #7

With that done, the building was *finally* complete, and I just had to finish the painting :)

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/28.jpg


So here it is, the completed head!

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/complete1.jpg

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/complete2.jpg

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/complete3.jpg

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/complete4.jpg
(the white material is non-slip rubber matting :))

David Hogg LRPSexternal link | My Gear! | Horizon Imagingexternal link

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Hogster86
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Jun 26, 2008 19:20 as a reply to Hogster86's post |  #8

and now with the 40D / 10-22mm lens attached :)

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/complete5.jpg

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/complete6.jpg

IMAGE: http://hogster.rchomepage.com/panorama_tripod_head/40d/complete7.jpg


Initial tests show that a) it works well as a panorama head, but b) my current tripod has difficulty supporting the weight of the camera when it's so far away from the centre ... so I'm now going tripod shopping ;) It's about time my 40D had something decently sturdy to support it .....

I will update this thread with sample panos as I taken them :)

Cheers for now!


David :cool:

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PETERSYMES
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Jun 26, 2008 19:28 |  #9

Impressive stuff.
Love to hear how you get on with it and see some results.




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joayne
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Jun 26, 2008 19:31 |  #10

Brilliant!

Nice shop there.


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V8Rumble
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Jun 26, 2008 19:31 |  #11

Excellent build. The idea of making the knobs is brilliant. Going to have to remember that!

I presume you drop the ball head into one of the slots and then swing it around? Pics of it in action.


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Hogster86
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Jun 26, 2008 19:43 |  #12

Thanks all :)

joayne - See hereexternal link for a panorama I made of the garage using my previous panorama head!

V8 - Yes you lock the vertical angle using one of the 3 holes, take a row of images, then change to the next hole and repeat. I've found I only need to do two rows, and then one directly up - around 15-18 images total :)

Cheers!


David


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elses_pels
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Jun 26, 2008 20:46 |  #13

you are a good craftsman and those panoramas in your website are great. you should shoot the naval college in greenwich. the painted hall could do withteh panorama treatment ....and then sell it to Greenwich university


Hey Santa, how much for your list of naughty girls?
5DII/ canon24-105 ISL / canon 50mm 1.8 / tripods, welding glass and other gadgets
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GSansoucie
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Jun 26, 2008 21:24 |  #14

OK, that is pretty cool. If I made one though, I couldn't shoot my workshop as there are way too many spider webs down there. . .


-=Glen=-
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greenxeyezz
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Jun 27, 2008 00:55 |  #15

so uh yeah, what would you charge for uh yeah making another one with "different" specs? lol wow GREAT JOB! almost 10000% certain much cheaper than the alterantive of buying one for ~ 750 bucks!


5D - 85 f/1.2 L - 24-105 f/4.0 L - 70-200 IS f/4.0 L - Nifty Fifty - 430EX - Just Starting Out

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Homemade spherical-panorama head
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