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01-24-2019, 02:23 AM - 2 Likes   #1
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DIY Gear

I thought I'd share some of my DIY gear that I've made - figuring that I can't be the only one who makes bits and bobs for their photography!

I've made a few fun or interesting things in the past - mostly 3D printed but sometimes I commit random atrocities acts of carpentry for when I need larger things like tripods! When out shooting birds at short-to-medium ranges, I use a red-dot reflex sight on a little adapter in the hot-shoe mount (model courtesy of BikeyCyclist on thingiverse, though I do have a few of my own models that all have their own shortcomings!).

My latest mini-project, just leaving the design stage, is a combined fine-focus adjust/lock and lens support to help me do astrophotography. My design was inspired by these two thingiverse projects - but I wanted to build my own so that I could be certain it'd fit my lens, while making use of the parts I have, with easier-to-remove fittings and a mount for the tripod, and support for adjusting the zoom on a push-pull style lens.



This will make use of a 9mm wooden dowel driven along the rail by an M6 screw - the idea being that the driven section can slide along it longitudinally (zoom-axis), but motion is drastically reduced laterally (in the focus-axis) - or if you don't want to change the zoom, just butt the driving and driven bodies against each other. I've also designed them with a clamping design with a hinge to allow greater range of adjustment - though this might not actually be needed (I will remove it from future designs if I find it superfluous)

Should hopefully have pictures of the finished bracket up tomorrow - assuming of course that I don't have any issues printing!

Are there many/any other DIY-gear aficionados on the forums here? Feel free to share your ideas/designs/failures here too!

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01-24-2019, 02:40 AM   #2
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Ingenious! can't wait to see the finished item
01-24-2019, 07:10 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by LensBeginner Quote
Ingenious! can't wait to see the finished item
--Afraid credit for this idea goes to some of the folks on thingiverse (and it's entirely possible that they've been inspired by others themselves!) - all I've done is design my own version with a hinge and some tweaks that I wanted

I'm looking forward to giving it a go myself! My current sigma lens has a habit of slipping slightly when I use it for astrophotography - and of course, the focus nudges at the sniff of a wet rag!

I'm a bit concerned with my design actually, I'm pretty sure there will be slop in the drive rod (yellow), even with the holes I've left to add strengthening bars in. I might need to use a sliding dovetail arrangement instead - we'll see how it turns out first though! I can also make a small cover for it with some brass inserts, so that its held more rigidly in a perpendicular position against the leadscrew.

We'll cross that bridge if we come to it! In the meantime, finger's crossed - will hopefully get it printed tonight - but I suspect I'll need to get half tonight, and half tomorrow - either way, I'll be able to see how the slop turns out!
01-24-2019, 07:32 AM   #4
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First of all kudos to you! it is awesome to see people invent their own gear, and this looks like a must have tool for somebody doing astro-photography or macro. From my modest analysis, there seems to be something missing in the design. there's a certain degree of freedom in movement to the yellow rod. i think it should be constrained by a rail on the near end mounted on the clamp to avoid turning around the screw axis and also a second hollow rail mounted on the other side of the clamp to further minimize the turning. I think utilizing the bed of the sliding path for this effect would result in to much grinding between the parts.
Check put this sketch i did real quick

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01-25-2019, 02:06 AM   #5
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I did wonder about that - the bed of the slide is currently being used to arrest radial motion of the driving rod (yellow) - BUT if the leadscrew (an M6 bolt in this case) has any play in it, it will be transferred to the driving rod.

If you look at the design, there are two smaller holes beside the hole for the leadscrew, with the intent of installing some thin metal rails (1.6mm welding rod in this case) to further reduce any movement.

My intention was, if there is any additional movement, I was going to install a small saddle-shaped part over the rod, which would overlap the edges of the bed and arrest motion in both axis.


Unfortunately, 3D printed rails as per your design would be difficult (not impossible, but quality might suffer) - put simply it's difficult to print in mid air - so I'd need to build a scaffold onto it, which adds to post-processing as I'd need to carefully remove afterwards - and even then, I've not had much luck with scaffolds in past prints.

ANYWAY - you have however given me an idea! If I close the top surface of the bed (turning it into a slot) and install the driving rod into a T-Shaped bearing block inside that, it will be unable to move radially or laterally relative to the leadscrew!

I printed the Driving-Bracket (the most complicated part xD) last night - took 3 hours, not too bad - I'm worried about quality though as there seems to be a bit of delamination (this is my fault for not dialing in the right settings for the print) - BUT it will let me see how much slop I'll have to deal with, and in which directions.

I actually like the idea of this T-bearing block (wait, is it considered a bearing? Huh... It will look kinda like a T-bolt but with space for nuts on either end so it can attach to the leadscrew, and have a hole in the centre to accommodate the drive rod) - despite having an extra part (the bearing) it's actually a simpler design, and means I can drop the two stiffening rods (weld rods) I added for support, which means I don't have to be quite so concerned about the precision of the holes drilled in the driving rod.

So, I think I'll go with that idea - thanks for the suggestion/input!

--EDIT--
Just had a thought - it may also be possible to redesign this contraption to use a rubber drive belt (instead of a rigid clamp) so that it can fit on any lens. Hrm - I'll need to investigate that for the next version after I get the 3D printed prototype working!

I'm currently in the process of adding the modifications you suggested/inspired

Last edited by cprobertson1; 01-25-2019 at 02:41 AM.
01-26-2019, 04:38 AM - 1 Like   #6
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Yup! - very slight slop as we expected - but surprisingly, very little in the up-down direction - the rod, being pressed against the bed, struggles to move on that axis - yet it slides smoothly to either end of the bed with very little effort.

Definitely going to migrate the design over to the T-slot style I think - that should arrest the movement in all directions, while also reducing the exposure of the leadscrew, meaning it will need less oiling (and be less prone to dust/dirt buildup).

As a side note - holy canole - was that difficult to print! It took six attempts! First I had delamination problems, the next four failed due to curling corners (as the print cools, it contracts and tries to curl up - causing corners to peel off the print bed), and the fifth popped off the bed entirely, leaving me with a blob of plastic! Sheesh!

I've got the settings nailed down now - I've also got the print time down to 1-1.5 hours per part - so we should have it done before monday... only a few days late! This was meant to be a quick and easy project!
01-29-2019, 12:43 AM - 3 Likes   #7
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There we go - that's it finally built - just need to build a support for the bottom (there is a mount for a second tripod on the driver-ring.

Seems to work exceptionally well - at least for macro work - I took a few random macro shots of things in the livingroom and I was thoroughly impressed with it actually!

The mechanism runs as smooth as butter and is pretty damn sturdy - there is a tiny amount of slop in the wooden rod - which I believe is the rod itself flexing - but it really isn't noticeable (by which I mean once you set the focus, it stays there even if you move the camera around a bit).

All-in-all, I'm very impressed with it!

There's room for improvement (there always will be!) but I'm certainly happy with it so far! Can't wait to give it a go with some astro work!

Ps - note the finish isn't great - I've still to sand it and paint it - so there are a few burrs here and there; but the moving surfaces have all been cleaned up - the movement is ::Barry White voice:: Smooooooooth. Oh yeeah.

--EDIT--
Added images showing use of lens-support
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Last edited by cprobertson1; 01-30-2019 at 03:01 AM.
04-29-2019, 05:22 AM   #8
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Might anybody happen to have a copy of the dimensions for the PK bayonet mount?

Im struggling to find a copy of any sort of schematic - can only seem to find a diameter and a few miscellaneous measurements, nothing detailed enough to replicate it!

I can also ways just measure up one of my lenses with a set of of calipers - but I have neither on my at the moment - figured I might as well ask around here! 😁

05-02-2019, 04:10 PM   #9
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That's really cool, good job.
05-03-2019, 02:14 PM   #10
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I forgot I have made something.
I added manual control to a photo diode auto flash.
And I stuck velcro onto the slave trigger so I can remove and change position of the control knob.

08-30-2019, 01:22 AM   #11
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I want to photograph in the rain more: I love the rain! That's a lie... I actually hate the rain, but I love looking at it.

My camera is a K-50, and my main lens is the 18-55mm F/3.5-5.6 AL WR - but I've always been very wary of working in the rain for more than a few minutes at a time, even with the "Weather Resist[ing]" seals and gaskets that it features. There is a thread that explains just how waterproof/weather resistant the WR lenses are, so I'll need to take another look at that!

On the other hand, I want to be able to go out in the rain without really having to worry about water damage at all - including heavy downpours, for potentially long periods - and of course, for when I use other lenses that aren't sealed as well.



Most of my lenses are a 52mm filter thread - so I'm thinking, of making a filter-thread based rain cover.

If I take a 52>55mm step-up adapter, place a bin bag over it, and screw a 55>52mm step-down adapter in the front, restoring the original thread size, and holding the bag in place, and finally cutting out the plastic so it doesn't obstruct the lends (that said, with a white, translucent binbag, maybe I could get some interesting soft focus going on).

After that, I'm going to shove a screw-in lens hood over the front (a cheap rubber one in my case) to try and keep the rain off the lens proper.

The idea is that I would then fold the bag back over the camera - allowing me to get my hands all up inside the bag to work the camera, while keeping it under its own little gazebo.

I can either go under the bag to take a photo and use the viewfinder, or trap the bag under the eyecup and poke a hole in it to use the viewfinder from outside - either way, I expect this may be a simple and easy way to make a raincape that can be replaced when it gets worn (just get a new bag!)

In the cases where the filter rotates with the lens focus, one can leave sufficient material around the lens to accommodate the rotation - and likewise, I'll need to make sure there's sufficient material for the lens to extend for zoom and focus.


Might anybody else have any cheap n' easy ideas for working in the rain with mostly non-waterproof gear? I know you can get a ton of bags and covers on the internet... but I'm a cheapskate and don't want to spend more than the 2 I spent on adapters (which I originally needed because I had a 55mm filter I wanted to use.) :P
08-30-2019, 02:31 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by cprobertson1 Quote
I want to photograph in the rain more: I love the rain! That's a lie... I actually hate the rain, but I love looking at it.

My camera is a K-50, :P
I wouldn't stress too much about it, cameras aren't as fragile as you think, my K50 and non WR Sigma 70-300mm got caught in all sorts of dodgy weather while walking in a rainforest in Queensland not long after getting it and it's still going strong. I also like to get close to the action and it's been hit by the occasional wave while doing long exposures with a plain old non WR DA35mm and it's still fine.
09-03-2019, 02:06 AM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Grippy Quote
I wouldn't stress too much about it, cameras aren't as fragile as you think, my K50 and non WR Sigma 70-300mm got caught in all sorts of dodgy weather while walking in a rainforest in Queensland not long after getting it and it's still going strong. I also like to get close to the action and it's been hit by the occasional wave while doing long exposures with a plain old non WR DA35mm and it's still fine.
You may be right! I'm probably just be paranoid because it's my first "real" camera and loathe the thought of anything happening to my baby!

That said, I suspect some of my older lenses (especially my 600mm catadioptric lens and the 75-300mm push-pull manual lenses) will be less tolerant of the rain than my modern lenses. The catadioptric in particular has a filter caddy at the base; any water getting in there is open to the parabolic mirror, lens group, and camera body - fun for the whole family!

On the bright side, both of those are easy to cover with a bag and elastic band due to their long lens-hoods!

As for the more modern lenses, I'll try to relax a little! I'll also never go anywhere without my towel (thanks for the tip, Douglas Adams!)
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