Hack your Studio: 3D Printed Gadgets for your Tripod

3D Printed Tripod Quick Release

Why buy one when you can print it yourself?  Our goal was to create a fitting so that we could quickly move from tripod shots to close-ups.  In a small studio with only one “fancy” camera, we tend to use it for everything. The design features a captive 1/4"-20 nut to attach to the standard tripod bolt.  The foot attaches to the camera with a short 1/4"-20 machine screw.  

We've shared the STL files and build instructions on Thingiverse.




Replacement Cam Locks for Manfrotto Digi 718B Tripod

Apprentice Abel 1.JPG

After surviving the sandy cliffs of Dogon Country in Mali, the crowds of downtown Dhaka and many rides strapped to the back of a moped in Vietnam, our camera tripod finally broke during a photoshoot at a Boston medical center. Specifically, we broke one of the cam-locks on the tripod legs. In removing the broken latch, we broke another latch on the same leg.  Tim has developed a sentimental attachment to this tripod, given that it’s almost as old as DtM.  In the photo, apprentice camera crewman Abel Edon packs up the tripod after a photoshoot outside Parakou, Benin on a hot afternoon in August 2003.

We were about to dive into some tedious CAD work when we discovered that Thingiverse member frubino had already created models of our broken cam lock parts. Hooray Thingiverse!

Our remix adapts frubino's design to our Manfrotto Digi 718B camera tripod. Using Autodesk Inventor's Direct Modify tool, we made the inner walls of the medium and the large latch housings wider all around by 0.5mm for a sliding fit--thanks frubino for posting IGS files!. We also created new thinner pads for inside the cam, which allowed us to fit the cam hinge pin though both the printed part and the original thumb-lock.