Homemade large tripod

tripod with 25x100 binoculars mounted

This page describes how to make a very sturdy, very tall (almost 2 meters) tripod. It will easily hold your giant binoculars, your 150 mm refractor or even a lighter 250 mm Newtonian OTA! Buying such a tripod (if you can find one that is this tall) will easily cost you more than 400 €.

Materials needed:

40 x 40 mm hardwood 9 pieces, 1 meter long per piece
3" male-male pipe connector (nipple) 1
steel square profile 40x30 or 40x40 30 cm in length
flat steel, 3x30 mm (lightning conductor for ex.) 2 meters in length
4x25 mm wood screws 24
M10 threaded rod 1 meter
M10 wing nuts 9
M10 end nuts 3
M10 oversized washers 6
chain 1.5 meters
rubber feet 20 mm diameter 3
end caps 30x40 or 40x40 (depending on profile used) 3

Tripod head

We start with cutting the square steel to pieces 70 mm long. The squares are then welded to the hexagonal pipe fitting,
at 120 degrees apart.

20 mm of the edge of the square, drill 10 mm holes, for the M10 bolts. These will hold the legs of the tripod. Paint with primer, then color of choice. At the end, insert the finishing plastic caps. Picture shows finished tripod head, with legs already attached.

The leg clamps

A little more metalworking is on the way.

We need a minimum of 3, or for better stability, 6 leg clamps. They are basically a flat piece bent to a U shape, and a M10 nut welded over the hole.
If you will use this tripod to hold your binoculars, 3 clamps are OK, but if you want to put a larger , EQ mounted telescope, 6 clamps are necessary.
Also, paint with primer and color of choice.

Preparing the bolts:

Out of the M10 threaded rod, we need to cut three pieces 140 mm long, and 6 (or 3 if 3 clamps) 30 mm pieces. The 30 mm pieces are welded on M10 wing nuts,  but of course, if you can find such bolts ready made in your hardware store, you can skip this.

Now, some woodworking :)

Each leg assembly is made out of 3 wood pieces, 2 upper part, and 1 lower part.

On 6 wood pieces, drill a 10 mm hole, 20 mm from the edges, and make a 45 deg cut 30 mm from the other end (sketch to the left)

On three pieces, cut a "spike" , 70 x 20 mm.

Round the corners, either with a router, or sandpaper. Paint with whether proof varnish

Assembling the tripod

I found that the easiest way to do this is if you hang the tripod head on the ceiling. Mount the upper wood pairs with bolts and washers. Put the middle wood piece between the 2, and tighten the wing nuts on the tripod head. This will hold the pieces in place until you mark the holes and attach the leg clamps

Glue a coin on the wood under the M10 wing bolt, this will distribute the pressure evenly and the bolt will not damage the wood. Attach the rubber feet with a woodscrew to the end of the "spiked" leg.

To prevent the legs spreading out under weight, attach 3 hooks to the inside of the tripod (picture above)
Spread the tripod legs to 30-40 degrees, and measure the chain length needed. Cut 3 equal pieces, and attach the ends to the hooks. Bend the hooks fully closed, so that the chain is securely attached.

And, that's it :) Depending what you want to mount on your new tripod, you will either want to make an alt azimuth head for your binoculars, or attach a adapter plate for mounting your EQ head.

Binocular alt azimuth mount

 Tripod folded

©  1999-2005 Berislav Bracun