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06-22-2013, 04:21 PM   #1
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Any CNC people on here? Help with tripod head modification...

I purchased a Gitzo 2780letterwharrgarblQR tripod head due the positioning and function of the ball clamp knob. The problem is...I despise the Gitzo QR system. Normally it's not an issue, but they decided to further frustrate me by using a non-standard way of mounting the QR platform to the ball stem:



I want to use a Feisol Arca-Swiss QR plate that looks like this:



I was thinking of having something like an H&R-style wheel spacer machined:



As you can see, the Feisol uses the standard-size 3/8" thread. The real problem is the spacing of the holes in the Gitzo head--they are too close together to mount a spacer to the Gitzo stem then have a bolt sticking out to screw the Feisol head onto.

So...what to do? There is a small recess in the Gitzo head where the bubble level lives. Obviously, I don't know what the inside of the Feisol head looks like with regards to springs/gears/shafts/etc so I'm not sure it can simply be drilled through. What kind of spacer/adapter options do I have?

06-22-2013, 05:16 PM   #2
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Wouldn't it be easier to attach a Gitzo QR plate to an arca-swiss clamp? With enough red Loctite, it could be fairly solid. Otherwise, contact Nic at Hejnar Photo, and he might be able to make a one-off clamp. Of course, if you're dead set on making your own, and you have some CAD/ mechanical design knowledge, head over to eMachineshop. You can at least design and make the adapter ring you're talking about... but it might cost as much as a Feisol ball head!

EDIT: nevermind - someone else already makes a replacement clamp for your needs... http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/871197-REG/Sunwayfoto_DDC_G1_DDC_G1_Head_Clamp_for.html

Last edited by panoguy; 06-22-2013 at 05:22 PM.
06-22-2013, 05:46 PM   #3
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I've been known to Loctite/JB Weld some things, but with my heaviest setup hanging off the side, I couldn't trust it

I did see the Sunway QR clamp, although I should mention why I prefer the Feisol style as opposed to the "lift out" style (the Sunway shares its design with Wimberly platforms...err, steals if from). The safety pin on the side of the clamp holds the plate in place, even if you unscrew the clamp completely. Once it's locked, the plate or the clamp or the pin would have to break--or depress the button--before the plate comes out. It's so brilliant, I can't believe Wimberly advertises its "Safety Stops" as a benefit when all you have to do is not screw the clamp down securely, once, then flip to portrait orientation...

My Feisol head has a couple too many design flaws but it has the perfect QR system, and the Gitzo is perfect aside from the QR system!

I shall give Henjar's a shot, I suppose, and see if there is a possibility of modding a Feisol to fit...thanks for the tip
06-22-2013, 05:50 PM   #4
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Are you planning on removing the Gitzo head and installing the Feisol in its place, or adapting the Feisol to fit in the Gitzo?

What I would do is leave the Gitzo head on there, and take a QR plate, and epoxy/weld/screw that to the bottom of the Feisol, then use the QR plate to hold the Feisol to the Gitzo. Your camera would have the Arca Swiss plate on it.

06-22-2013, 06:02 PM   #5
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I would be removing the Gitzo plate entirely to replace it with the Feisol. Having a platform-on-a-platform isn't elegant enough for me

Gitzo does make an Arca adapter, but from everything I've read, it's rubbish for the $50-60 they charge because it needs to be ground down to fit correctly.



While image searching for the above, here's what the bottom of the Gitzo plate looks like (minus the threaded adapter in the center)



But now that gets me thinking...I wonder if the center stem could be threaded after the removal of the bubble level? It looks like a 3/8" space. Time to dig out the tools!
06-22-2013, 06:53 PM   #6
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Good news/bad news.

Good news, the level in the stem comes out easily, and we're left with 5/16" of metal which could be threaded



Good news, the hole is 5/16" wide so it's just under 3/8"



Bad news, I'd have one shot at threading it since it would come really close to the 3 smaller holes outside the center hole...
06-23-2013, 07:27 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by ryan s Quote
Bad news, I'd have one shot at threading it since it would come really close to the 3 smaller holes outside the center hole...
How deep are the 3/8" threads? Looks like you would still have a (tiny) bit of material between the root of the thread and the smaller threaded holes, and that is only at 3 points around the perimiter of the center hole. There is still all the other material at the three spaces between the outer holes.

A suggestion I would make is that after threading the center hole, run a set screw into each of the 3 smaller holes with red Loctite to hold them in place. Choose set screws that are just the right length to fill the holes but not project above the upper surface, and if they stick down below where the piece is tapered, use a Dremel with a grinding disc to cut them back and smooth them flush.

Also, be sure to chamfer the hole for the hole for the 3/8" threads slightly so it will resist pulling the threads up.
06-24-2013, 12:05 PM   #8
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We have an active member here who has a metal lathe and a great working knowledge of mods like this - she has done many herself.

Calling out @laurenOE for some input for you.

06-24-2013, 12:22 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
We have an active member here who has a metal lathe and a great working knowledge of mods like this - she has done many herself.

Calling out @laurenOE for some input for you.
Too funny!!!

I've been watching this and I'm sure I could do a mod to make this work.
This is the stuff that is right up my alley! It would be pretty simple.

However, I would need the parts, as I have a manual lathe and mill.
No CNC for me as I'm "old-school-self-taught". I make my measurements down to .001", so it's not much use/help to see pictures with a rule.

If the OP REALLY wants me to do something, send me the parts and give me about a month to turn it around.

The other thing, is that it's Summer time in Florida, and my machines are out in my garage, so it's not the most pleasant time to be doing stuff out there.

9 out of 10, when folks think/see a "girl" will do the mod, they tend to shy away, so I keep quiet.

I do thank Storm for thinking about me!
06-24-2013, 12:28 PM   #10
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I will say, that the holes are probably 120 degrees around the center, and the arca plate would only need to be put in a rotary table, centered, and voila, you can have the holes drilled.

I do most of my mods with the caveat of "non-destruct" totally reversible, so I would make an intermediate plate to preserve both the Gitzo and the Arca clamp.

Again, without the parts in my hands, it's hard to see exactly how I would fab a solution.

06-24-2013, 12:43 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by LaurenOE Quote
Too funny!!!

I do thank Storm for thinking about me!
I knew this had Lauren written all over it!
06-24-2013, 08:54 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by LaurenOE Quote
The other thing, is that it's Summer time in Florida, and my machines are out in my garage, so it's not the most pleasant time to be doing stuff out there.
What? Your shop isn't air conditioned?

I live in Washington (state), and heat my shop with a used motor oil furnace in the winter, and the summers are mild, so I just open the doors.

Oh, but I don't have a mill though. A drill press. And a brake lathe with a flywheel grinding attachment. Welders, torch, lift, etc.

But no mill.

I should have bought the Bridgeport mill at Boeing surplus some years back before they closed. They had several for $2,000. And some nice lathes and a few German made drill presses with infinitely variable speed adjustment.

Still kicking myself for passing up that opportunity.
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