How to Make a 3 in 1 Tripod

Hello everyone, glad to see you guys again. This time I have come up with a 3 in 1 tripodproject, which resembles those one in the commercial market. I have also added some other functions to make it more interesting and unique.I did have some idea of making the tripod at the beginning and refereed some instructables projects to get some practical ideas on it. I’m mentioning those links below. Along with these, I also refereed some commercial tripod designs to get more idea about the design work.I’m also participating in the Remix contest and if you find this project interesting, then please support my work by voting for me.I believe this multipurpose tripod is a good upgrade and a remixed version of a normal DIY tripod. Coming up with a feasible design and a build plan for this 3 in 1 tripod project was very interesting and challenging for me and I’m glad that it turned out well. Since my design doesn’t involve any 3D printing, any one with few hand tools could build this project without further setup. Also everything is designed mostly with PVC fittings and thus the build cost is very low. I also really wish to make a 3D printed version of this project, but unfortunately I don’t have one. So if any one is attempting it, please let me know and I’ll be very glad to hear that.Before we start I would like to take a moment to give you an overview about the projects. What I have made is a portable multipurpose tripod for smartphones. The overall design is similar to those seen in the market but there is much more to the story. This one could serves as a tripod, selfie stick and a car phone holder, thus the name 3 in 1 tripod. Further, the tripod legs are fixed in a particular arrangement so that by twisting the upper body, the legs would arise and transform into the tripod. The idea behind implementing such a design was to provide a much sturdy leg base. As we could see in the conventional ones, the legs have a single hinge support which could be unfolded by hands to form the tripod setup. This may however have a tendency to collapse during use. Since in my design the legs could be only unfolded by the twist mechanism, the legs don’t collapse under any other circumstances. Implementing such a design into the tripod was a bit daunting but at last I came up with a good solution.The car phone mount feature could fix the phone on the car air vent and this would be helpful for the usual needs like map navigation and all. Further the car mount could be coupled with the selfie stick setup so that the phone could be fixed at different highests & positions. This opens a more possibilities for vlogging, and videography inside the car.I have also made a Bluetooth camera shutter wristband so that it could be either strapped on to the tripod body or to the hand wrist. This makes it easier to operate the camera from a distance without any trouble. So I hope this would give you a brief idea about the project.I have also put extra effort for making the tripod to look good in both proportionate & aesthetic way. For those who are trying to attempt this project, I would suggest you to stick with my dimensions or a proportionate value.Along the way I’ll be mentioning things like 0.5 inch pipe 0.75 inch sockets and all. So just to make it clear for everyone, the measurement in inches would be the diameter of that section. It’s the standard way of naming a PVC section. Also I’ll be mentioning the length of the sections in cm. So just don’t confuse between these two. Being that said, let’s get into the details.

Step 1: Making the Legs

As you can see from the picture, the legs are made from cutting a PVC pipe into 3 equal pieces. The pipe have a diameter of 1.5 inch and a length of 10cm. In order to cut the pipe into 3 equal pieces, I first measured the circumference of the pipe with a paper strip. Using a ruler the length was founded out (12.8cm), which in turn is the actual circumferential length of the pipe. So in order to mark 3 equal sections on the pipe, a strip having one third of this length (12.8/3=4.2cm) is cut out. This cut out could be now placed on the pipe to mark the 3 equal sections. Then using a hack saw the sections are cut out into 3 equal pieces. It goes without saying that the edges are sanded after cutting.Another important aspect to consider while choosing the PVC pipe is to use the one with minimum wall thickness. The pipe that I used have a thickness about 2.1mm. On a later stage we are adding some layers of cloth over the legs for aesthetic looks. So it will automatically add up the thickness and thus it’s better to use the pipe having minimum thickness.Next step is to make the hinge support which connects these legs to the main body. The hinge should support the entire weight of the tripod along with the wear due to the leg movement. So going for a metal hinge would be the proper solution. Since aluminium is much easier to cut & machine than steal I preferred it more. For an electronic hobbyist like me the next thing that came into my mind is to make the hinges from an aluminium heat sink. The sections were cut accordingly as seen in the picture. Further 2 vertical & 2 horizontal holes (2.9mm hole diameter) were drilled on the heat sink. The vertical holes were used to fix the heat sink onto the legs and horizontal ones were used for the hinge support and the twist unlock mechanism for the legs. It would be explained in detail in upcoming sessions. The hinges were fixed to the 3 legs using small bolt & nuts. The holes on the legs were drilled in such a way that, a length of 1.5cm of the hinge should extends from the legs. To make things fail proof, I super glued the bolts so that it won’t come off. This completes the leg setup. While seeing the hinges it’s sure that some portion has been cut off to form a particular shape. For understanding this some other things has to be said first so, we’ll discuss about this in the later section.

Step 2: The Female Threaded Socket

The main body of the tripod is made up of a male and female threaded socket. First we’ll discuss a about the 1.25 inch female threaded socket. The legs are attached to this section using bolts but in order to accommodate the hinges, 3 slits should be cut on this section. To make this clear, the socket have a threaded end & a non-threaded end. The slits are made on the non-threaded end so that the threaded end should be facing up. Most of these sockets do come with a hexagonal design on the circumference. This makes our job super easy. Find the midpoint of the alternate hexagonal sides and cut a slit wide enough to fit the hinges and we are done. The alternate sides of the hexagon automatically sets the angle between the slits as 120 degree and no further complications. You can use a hack saw and a soldering iron to cut the slits. Then drill holes for the bolts, onto which the legs would be attached at the final stage. This completes the female socket.

Step 3: The Male Threaded Socket

Similar to the previous female socket, the male socket is also a 1.25 inch one. Since the male socket consist of few extra parts arranged inside it, it’s more time consuming to build than the female socket. Also it’s the most important part of the entire tripod because it provides the twist unfold mechanism of the tripod legs and the locking of the selfie stick extension poles.The male socket would be coupled with the female socket (simply by tightening the threads) at the final assembly. It’s the threaded rotation of the sockets which makes the legs swing out and swing in. This mechanism of the legs opening while rotating the male threaded socket is similar to the design used in an umbrella. When we open an umbrella, a metal part sliding on the main extension pole goes up, all the spokes connected to this metal part stretches out and thus unfolds the umbrella cloth. Similarly the reverse happens while we close an umbrella. This same mechanism is adopted to unfold the tripod legs. I hope you have noticed a black PVC plunger concealed by the legs becomes visible while the legs get opened. Well this is the thing which goes up and down to unfold & fold the legs respectively. Like those spokes on an umbrella, we have 3 hook setup connecting the legs to the plunger. More details on the hooks later.The second function of the male threaded socket is to provide the necessary grip for the PVC extension poles. Without the grip setup, the extension pole will be loosely moving through the socket and would be total useless. In order for both of functions to work additional parts has been inserted in the socket and it’s listed below.1) The plunger head2) The PVC grip ring3) The concealing section4) The washer lock plate5) 4 bolts and nutsNow let’s discuss each part in detail.1) The plunger headLike I said before, when the male threaded socket rotates on the female sockets, two type of motion occurs. One the rotating motion & second, the linear motion of the socket while rotating on the thread. However we only need the liner motion for the leg mechanism and should totally arrest the rotation motion. This is where the plunger head (made up of PVC fittings) comes into play. It is free to rotate inside the male socket and thus the rotation motion from the male socket is not transferred to the plunger and instead only the linear motion of the socket turning through the thread is transferred to the plunger. In short when the male socket is tightened, the plunger moves down and if it’s loosened then the plunger goes upwards.This plunger system has two separate parts. One is within the male socket called the plunger head and the other outside the male socket called the plunger body. Let’s focus on the plunger head now.The plunger head is made by joining a 3/4 inch PVC pipe on a 3/4 inch end cap. Both the fittings are joined by PVC solvent. Then the closed side of the end cap is cut off in such a way that only 1 cm of the end cap remains. This completes the plunger head section.2) The PVC grip ring

As I said before, the male socket also serves the function of holding the telescopic extension poles of the selfie stick. This PVC grip ring inside the male socket deals with it. For making it, cut the junction of a 1 inch to 0.75 inch PVC reducer. This leaves us with two parts and take the 0.75 inch part. Now cut a 1 cm slit on it. Next step is the heat it with a heat gun and reduce its current diameter. Since the PVC pipe used for the telescopic extension poles are of 0.5 inch, this grip ring should be a bit smaller than the 0.5 inch so that it could firmly get a friction the surface. So the PVC ring is heated and reduced to a bit smaller diameter. But don’t overdo it since too smaller diameter ring would be tough to fit so find a sweet spot. You could reheat and tweak to the optimum diameter to your satisfaction. This finishes this section3) The concealing sectionRemember the other half of the PVC reducer from which the previous grip ring is made? Well it’s the concealing section. It encloses the male socket to form a closed structure. Now insert the previous top plunger section into the male threaded socket followed by the concealing section. We need the concealing section to align with the top portion of the male socket to make it aesthetically look good. But unfortunately the plunger section kills the space and the concealing section pops out from the male socket. So necessary cutting should be done at the bottom side of the concealing section so that it perfectly aligns with the top portion of the male socket. Now drill 4 holes on the male socket so that it extends to the top covering section placed inside. This results in 4 hole on the male socket corresponding to the 4 holes on the top covering section. We’ll insert bolts through this holes at a later stage.Now it’s time to assemble the male socket section. Insert the top plunger section followed by the PVC grip ring and the top covering section. The grip ring is free to rotate inside this setup and the slit on it makes it easy to fix the bolts form inside. Align the ring in front of a hole and insert the bolt from inside. Then rotate the ring to align with the next hole and the process is repeated for the 3 holes. However the final bolt insertion is a bit different. Since the ring is freely rotating inside the setup, the PVC extension pipes inserted through the grip ring would be also free to rotate which is not at all acceptable. In order to arrest this rotation I used a small washer. The washer is bend on both sides with a hand plier. This is then inserted to the slit on the ring with the bolt so that it’s tightly fix the PVC ring from rotating. Once all the bolts are inserted, it’s tightened by the nuts with the help of hand pliers. The excess bolt length are cut off using a hack saw and the nuts are further secured with superglue. This finishes the male threaded socket. On the top we have a flat surface of the concealing section which encloses the grip ring and the top plunger section. On the bottom threaded side of the male socket we could see the extension from the top plunger section and this section is free to rotate within the male socket. The second part of the plunger is connected at this extension and it’s discussed in the next session.

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