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My homemade spherical panoramic head design (w/ pics)

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Thread started 17 Apr 2009 (Friday) 13:35   
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Grentz
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Very cool, great results. Thanks for your answer on the parts too...more just curious than anything. I am not good with metal craftsmanship at all :p

I would love to get one though maybe if you end up building them ;)

Post #31, Apr 20, 2009 20:13:48


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czeglin
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First, I am not a lawyer.

I think it was great that you took it upon yourself to make a home-brew alternative to commercial heads, but I really don't think this is patentable, and wouldn't be worthwhile to patent even if it was.

However, if you were to patent it, it wouldn't matter if someone had your plans. The idea of a patent is that you make the plans public in exchange for licensing rights. In order to use your idea people have to license it from you. You can charge them a fee for that or simply refuse. But the patent, and thus your invention, becomes available to the public.

http://en.wikipedia.or​g/wiki/Patentabilityexternal link

Considering that you basically reverse-engineered existing products, I am thinking it would probably not count as either "novel" or "non-obvious". The word obvious is used as it applies to someone "skilled in the art", not a layman. Basically if most engineers working on this problem could reasonably come up with the same solution, the idea is not patentable.

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Post #32, Apr 20, 2009 21:24:28


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Nathan
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I'm not a lawyer... but I will have a law degree in a few weeks and I might be an attorney if I pass the bar. However, I've not taken any patent law classes.

That said, I'm pretty sure you can patent anything. There are crazy ideas that people patent all the time... lay people filing new mousetraps and toilet paper holders. Whether or not someone can file a patent infringement claim is a different matter... but it doesn't hurt to file a patent anyway when you have a design as detailed as this.

Consider the Gillette 3-blade Mach3 and the Schwick 4-blade Quatro. What's novel or nonobvious about either? They're both patented.

The idea is patent the product, then if you want sell the license to Really Right Stuff or someone who will mass produce it and market it. If you're not interested in that, at least patent it to protect the designs. It's worth it.

Post #33, Apr 20, 2009 22:31:55


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5teve
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Grentz wrote in post #7770900external link
Very cool, great results. Thanks for your answer on the parts too...more just curious than anything. I am not good with metal craftsmanship at all :p

I would love to get one though maybe if you end up building them ;)

I would love to be able to build these and sell them, but unfortunately they would take me too much time. I would need to look into how much it would cost to have the parts made by a CNC, but I am pretty sure that once I did that the price would skyrocket. Also, this design would not work for different camera and lens combinations, as it is fixed at one length.

The way I see it, this market is pretty well covered at the moment. You have the Panasaurus at the low end (less than $100), and companies like the Nodal Ninja covering the middle/high-end market (between $200 and $500), and then a bunch of other companies with really high end solutions. There may be room for another player in between the low and mid market, but I would need to do more market research before making that conclusion.

Post #34, Apr 20, 2009 23:03:26


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5teve
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Here are two more panorama shots that I took.

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The second one below looks like there are stitching errors on the bricks, but those errors are actually from me trying to edit out the tripod in photoshop! I need to find a good way to paint over the tripod when the ground has details such as bricks. EDIT: I was able to edit out the tripod much better without introducing what looked like stitching errors.

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Post #35, Apr 20, 2009 23:11:08


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lblaod
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amazing, good work!

Post #36, Apr 20, 2009 23:19:02




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WillOPhotos
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really nice man! how will you adjust it when used with a diff lens? fowards and backwards? or have you designed it to be used with that specific lens?

Post #37, Apr 21, 2009 03:51:57 as a reply to lblaod's post 4 hours earlier.


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René ­ Damkot
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Impressive indeed :)

Post #38, Apr 21, 2009 08:43:56


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jmik26
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Nice work! All you need is some DIY powder coating and your set...Jeff

Post #39, Apr 21, 2009 10:04:30 as a reply to René Damkot's post 1 hour earlier.


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5teve
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WillOPhotos wrote in post #7772824external link
really nice man! how will you adjust it when used with a diff lens? fowards and backwards? or have you designed it to be used with that specific lens?

I modified the design found here http://xray.uky.edu ...in/panohead/panohea​d.htmlexternal link to fit my specific camera and lens combination. In reality, however, I do not ever see myself using a different lens when doing a spherical panorama as there really would be no point in doing so (that I could figure).

For a standard panoramic shot with subjects further from the lens I am sure this head will still work fine even with different lenses as the chance for parallax error would be small at the greater distances. I will need to do another test to confirm though :).

Post #40, Apr 21, 2009 10:09:59


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5teve
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I figured people may be interested in seeing how I constructed the panoramic head, and am including the details below. I was going to start a new thread, but figured it made more sense to keep the build along with the design. I based my assembly/construction off of how it was done here http://xray.uky.edu ...in/panohead/panohea​d.htmlexternal link.

The first step I did was to work on getting the disks for the base. I used a hole saw to rough cut the holes and then cleaned up the holes later.

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Here is a picture of the completed disks (2 sets) after cutting and a bit of sanding.
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The hole saw did not cut a nice 90 degree edge so I needed to clean up the edge by using a file. I bolted the two disks together and then filed the disks while they rotated on the drill press. This process ensured that the two disks were identical, and also that the edges were perpendicular to the faces.
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I experimented using various techiniques to cut the aluminum bar and found the best technique was to use an ordinary hacksaw and a jig. Here is a picture of the jig I used. The jig helps cut at a 90 degree angle, and as an added bonus was also used to true up the cut edges.
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Here I am using the jig and a file to true up the end on what is to be the vertical arm. This edge needed to be exactly at 90 degrees.
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Once all my parts were cut I used a drill press to cut all the holes and tapped the holes that needed to accept a bolt. A drill press is an absolute must if you are planning on building one yourself.

Here is a shot of all the parts after machining and sanding.
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Post #41, Apr 21, 2009 14:23:49


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5teve
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Aluminum is actually a relatively soft metal, and I knew that if I didn't protect it that may panoramic head would become all dinged and scratched up easily. In fact by just laying the parts on top of each other for test fitting I was able to see the parts getting scratched! A solution to this problem is to anodize the aluminum. This process actually forms a thin layer that is harder than the raw aluminum and protects it.

Here is a picture of the parts being anodized.

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After anodizing the parts don't look quite as shiny, but they have a more uniform color throughout. They also appear to be a bit "whiter" than raw aluminum. Most importantly, however, the parts do not seem to get scratched nearly as easily as before.

Here is picture of the arm parts after anodizing.
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Here is a picture of the disks and associated parts.
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Here is a closeup of the indexing washer that I created. You can see the one through hole that I use with the locking pin to prevent rotation.
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Picture of the base assembled without the arm attached. The screw used to hold the assembly together rides on a small bearing to prevent it from tightening or loosening when the base is spun.
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Here is the completed head, but with the vertical arm removed. Only one knob holds the arm on so it is easy to break down for travel.
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Picture of the arm disassembled. Also, note the c-clip holding the camera thumbscrew so that it will not fall out.
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And one more final shot of the completed head.
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Post #42, Apr 21, 2009 14:24:21


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ryant35
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Wow, that really is DIY. It looked like something you manufactured in a machine shop.

Post #43, Apr 21, 2009 15:23:56



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SYS
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As in the "Small Flash and Studio Lighting," we really need a DIY sticky in the "Accessories and Storage" section here.

Great job, Steve, on your DIY, and the step by step pictorial! :)

Post #44, Apr 21, 2009 17:19:15



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kndguy
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Damn dude... fantastic work!

Post #45, Apr 21, 2009 17:50:33


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