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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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sparkin
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Baker1444 wrote in post #8777120external link
This sucks!!

Yes, that sucks.

A Google search on "needle thrust bearing" returned a bunch of Amazon pages. The 2.5" bearing in the rotator I designed is like the one here:

http://www.amazon.com ...ial&qid=1254937536&​sr=1-1external link

It says it ships from "Reid Supply Company".

Hope this helps, Sean

Post #76, Oct 07, 2009 12:51:13




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Baker1444
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Thanks Sean! I just ordered my parts from Reid Supply Company and this time I phoned them and first asked if they ship to Canada. They should be here in a week or so. They had some good prices too; everything came to $88.62.

I'll keep you updated.

Rob

Post #77, Oct 09, 2009 16:59:27




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sparkin
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Baker1444 wrote in post #8792607external link
Thanks Sean! I just ordered my parts from Reid Supply Company and this time I phoned them and first asked if they ship to Canada. They should be here in a week or so. They had some good prices too; everything came to $88.62.

I'll keep you updated.

Rob

Cool. Be sure to let us know how it turns out.

My next suggestion (if Reid had been a dud) would have been to call the nearest research University machine shop (usually in physics, chemistry or engineering) and ask where they get supplies. This has worked for me in the past.

Post #78, Oct 09, 2009 18:27:18




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sparkin
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5teve wrote in post #7816183external link
Sean, I've gone through and edited my previous posts to give you credit where due. You definitely have a great deal of information on your site.

Thanks, I appreciate this.

Post #79, Oct 09, 2009 18:28:08




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sparkin
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joeseph wrote in post #7758237external link
them pan head screws are likely the most stressed points in the design I think - I'd be inclined to get the best quality ones you can.

This is entirely correct. When I made the original (i.e. the one that 5teve copied), I had to deviate from my plans because I boneheadedly cut the upright a little too short. I added the base block to lengthen the upright a little. A better, much stronger way to attach the upright piece to the horizontal arm is with a piece of angled metal, as in my mk2 head, here:

IMAGE NOT FOUND IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
http://xray.uky.edu ...head_mk2/panohead_2​_4.jpgexternal link
HTTP response: 404 | MIME changed to 'text/html' | Byte size: ZERO

joeseph wrote in post #7758237external link
Only other area I'd suggest might need beefing up is the threaded aluminium for the swing arm doesn't have a lot of threads for the load you'll be putting on (and every time you tighten it up) if needed you can always suppliment this with a captive steel nut.

This is precisely the reason that I countersank the hole for the camera arm, had the bolt go through the other way, and used a female-threaded knob to tighten it up. If done the way 5teve has it, the threads will likely get stripped with repeated use.

Post #80, Oct 10, 2009 16:08:55




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dbur
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I've been through many patent processes over the years (I have about 15 patents). The comment on obvious is valid, but it depends on the examiner you get. I've seen some really bad patents that should never have been issued, also some good ones that were blocked by examiners for stupid reasons. In any case you probably lost any opportunity to patent by publicly publishing it here. What many people actual get when they say they have a patent is a design patent rather than a utility patent. Design patents are easy as pie to get around. They just prevent someone from making something that looks like your product. By changing anything they are no longer constrained by your patent.

A utility patent on a pano head would probably have to focus on some specific detail, since the rest has been done and published, or obvious. It seems you could get a good utility patent on some innovative rotator, or bracket, or adjustment mechanism, or something like that. Just don't tell us about it before you file your provisional application.

Also, a patent costs $5,000-$10,000 (USD) typically before it's all done, and may take 2-5 years to complete. Make sure you really have something and you will get a return on that investment before making it.

There is a huge amount of work to produce a marketable product. The inventing and prototyping that you (or Dr. Sean) have done probably represents less than 5% of the work you would do to make this a commercial success, and by the time it's all done you may not be able to sell it for much less than similar heads that are already on the market.

I don't mean to be discouraging, but that's the truth. As an engineer and small business owner I often have people come to me with their idea they think is worth a million bucks, while not realizing that having the idea is only 5% of the effort required for commercial success.

David B

Post #81, Jan 01, 2010 04:12:26 as a reply to post 7771722




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sparkin
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dbur wrote in post #9300878external link
I've been through many patent processes over the years (I have about 15 patents). The comment on obvious is valid, but it depends on the examiner you get. I've seen some really bad patents that should never have been issued, also some good ones that were blocked by examiners for stupid reasons. In any case you probably lost any opportunity to patent by publicly publishing it here. What many people actual get when they say they have a patent is a design patent rather than a utility patent. Design patents are easy as pie to get around. They just prevent someone from making something that looks like your product. By changing anything they are no longer constrained by your patent.

A utility patent on a pano head would probably have to focus on some specific detail, since the rest has been done and published, or obvious. It seems you could get a good utility patent on some innovative rotator, or bracket, or adjustment mechanism, or something like that. Just don't tell us about it before you file your provisional application.

Also, a patent costs $5,000-$10,000 (USD) typically before it's all done, and may take 2-5 years to complete. Make sure you really have something and you will get a return on that investment before making it.

There is a huge amount of work to produce a marketable product. The inventing and prototyping that you (or Dr. Sean) have done probably represents less than 5% of the work you would do to make this a commercial success, and by the time it's all done you may not be able to sell it for much less than similar heads that are already on the market.

I don't mean to be discouraging, but that's the truth. As an engineer and small business owner I often have people come to me with their idea they think is worth a million bucks, while not realizing that having the idea is only 5% of the effort required for commercial success.

David B

I'm sure you're right about all of this David. As for me, I never even thought once about patenting any of this stuff - to me it is just too obvious. The panoheads I have built that are described on my website were my attempts to make something useful to me. I wrote up the description there because I figured it would be useful to others, but I don't think I came up with anything especially novel. I lost count a while back, but several dozen people have contacted me about my website description, and used/adapted it to their own builds. Unfortunately 5teve subsequently used my website description to make a virtually identical device and then tried to pass it off as his own work here on POTN. He clearly did a great job in fabrication, but the concept of prior art pretty much negates any claims of patentability for him, or even for me. I think 5teve just got caught up in his own excitement, which is a shame, but I expect he's a nice enough chap.

Post #82, Jan 08, 2010 16:02:36




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cedricb
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Hi,

Where can I find a 3/8"-16 insert in Europe or online? ...so I can hammer it on the base rotator.
...and a little screw 1/4"-20 for a custom quick release plate? I've got a quick release plate with a little hook on the back of the screw, so something similar will be handy!

In the hardware shop in France, I can only found screw/bolt in millimetres... :rolleyes:


Cheers,
Ced.

Post #83, Jun 22, 2010 04:20:50 as a reply to sparkin's post 5 months earlier.




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Lowner
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cedricb,

The threads are 3/8" and 1/4" UTC, not metric. ebay is a good source if you cannot track down anything locally. Hardware shops are probably not the right place to look, try a specialist fastening wholesaler.

Post #84, Jun 22, 2010 13:44:14


Richard

http://rcb4344.zenfoli​o.comexternal link

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sparkin
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Or a decent camera shop - they usually have adapters to take 3/8-16 to 1/4-20 threads.

Post #85, Aug 12, 2010 21:06:23




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ilveromarcolino
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5teve wrote in post #7752281external link
I created a rendering which shows the exploded view of the base of the panoramic head. I wanted to sketch up the head to see if I could find a way for the detent indexing pin to work properly. There is a needle bearing between the upper and lower disks. I drilled out small holes on the inner washer every 30 degrees which allow the ball detent spring to index against. There is another small pin to locate the washer and prevent it from spinning inside.

Hi guys!
I'm Marco from Verona, Italy
I like this DIY project and I have a question:
Instead of build the base with bearing, can I use the pan screw of my Manfrotto 410 junior right?
The only thing that I must check is the offset between the center of Manfrotto pan axle and the center of PH body right?

thx in advance

Marco

Post #86, May 22, 2012 14:02:34




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sparkin
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ilveromarcolino wrote in post #14469461external link
Hi guys!
I'm Marco from Verona, Italy
I like this DIY project and I have a question:
Instead of build the base with bearing, can I use the pan screw of my Manfrotto 410 junior right?
The only thing that I must check is the offset between the center of Manfrotto pan axle and the center of PH body right?

thx in advance

Marco

So long as you can get the camera in the right place relative to the rotation axis then it ought to work.

Post #87, Jun 04, 2012 20:35:39




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welcomb
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sparkin wrote in post #7819763external link
The aluminium (apologies for the British spelling, but I'm British) is 0.25" thick. This gives it a barely perceptible flex (my original is essentially flex free), but in practice it makes hardly any difference.

To cut the slots I used a scroll saw (so I should have added that to the list of non-hand tools) and files. I made it about 18 months ago, and the slot cutting had slipped my mind. The slot on the camera arm is a little more complicated, as it is not just one piece of 0.25" aluminium. It is two pieces of 0.125" bolted together, and one has a wider slot. I did this to allow the panhead bolt that fastens the quick release base to lie flush with the surface so that it would not get in the way as the elbow joint moves. A proper machinist could easily cut this arm from a single piece of 0.25" thick metal.

The rotation mechanism for this one is beautifully smooth. I found that in order to forgo the normal-style rotation mechanism, which in my original head was 2.5" in diameter, then to achieve truly smooth rotation the mechanism needs to be quite long. This has to do with the maximum allowable angular deviation. That is why I built it into the centre column, as I didn't want it to become unwieldy. It is difficult to describe without pictures, but basically there's a single threaded rotating rod that runs the length of the centre column with a series of bearings, belleville washers and delrin bushings. Actually, it is really half the length of the centre column, because I chopped the centre column in half so that I would also have a half-height centre column with the integrated ball head (that came with the tripod).

I guess it is time to dismantle it, photograph the parts and do a proper write-up for this one. Maybe I'll do this soon now that the semester here is about over.

Cheers, Sean

Hi Sean,

Any chance you have done the write-up? I'm going to build one myself but I'm not very good with mechanics.

Post #88, Apr 23, 2013 01:12:03




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