Introduction: Cheapest, Simplest DIY, Light-duty Tripod Made of Things You Have Around (mop/broom Handle, Clothes Hangers, Nuts, Bolts)
I have searched for days on Instructables, *Interest and other image-heavy creative repositories, also used search engines to scour the internet for a quick project I have to participate in at a request of a friend and quite frankly didn't find anything cheap, simple, relatively easy to make and also something that reuses some of the stuff the lightweight lifestyle city dweller already has around. Have thought about using large glass pan lids for the base of a tripod stand (still quite an awesome idea if you ask me) but finally settled on this clothes hangers tripod that uses the handle from a mop or broom.
The handle has to have a pretty solid plastic end on the user side, the one with a hole to hang it on the wall, because that hole will be used to insert the metallic question-mark hanging wire through as well as for fastening the clothes hangers with reversible zipties. What remains to be done is securing each hangers' arm against the mop/broom handle (please see step 6).
On a side note: all the below steps are the steps I took to end up with an usable product, they are not (yet) very detailed as in an instruction manual.
1) Clothes Hangers from the closet
2) Broom/Mop Handle
3) Mop-Head (the female threaded plastic piece that holds the mopping cotton thingie) after discarding the worn out bunch of cotton ribbons
3) Adjustable stainless Steel Duct clamp
4) other clamps to secure whatever needs to be held by this lightweight / light-duty tripod (umbrella with flash, gorillapod with smartphone, parabolic microphone, etc)
Step 1: Exploring the Idea
Step 2: Make It 3D-ish
Step 3: Make It Stand Upright to Better See What Needs to Be Done
I used some temporary cable management clips I had around to secure it enough so that it won't collapse. Now it's easier to see what the whole projects needs to make it work.
Step 4: Add Some Props to Make It Look Intentional (this Is a Feel-good Step Before Calling It a Night)
Step 5: Re-Test Concept on a Different Mop Handle
I have a better view now on what makes this setup stand, what makes it flimsy and what should be improved to make it sturdier ... now what else does the casual photographer in a city dwelling have around the house to make this work?
Step 6: Making It Rigid - Still Using Around the House or Easily/cheaply Sourceable Items -
The problem with lacquered clothes hangers and chrome-coated slippery round mop handles is that they tend to slip around and clump together, ruining the 120 degrees needed for a tripod. The use of a flexible clamp is a no-brainer (although I would have preferred a reversible ziptie) but to keep the hangers in position they shouldn't slip around the pole, hence the wine corks. Wine corks are something most of us have around the house, sometimes as a decorative item, with a glass container full of them, they are a bit squishy, conforming to the object they are pressed against, and I am quite happy with the stability of the tripod as is, even without more improvements (which I will document as I go). I like it as simple as possible so simpler than this would only be to use a more general clamp instead of the hardware-store bought stainless steel duct clamp. It can take quite some weight as I tried to push down on it with nothing going out of position or bending or breaking.
Step 7: Testing Some Actual Payload
I have tested yet another mop/broom handle and the ones with a plastic threaded end are the easiest to work with. While we are at it I want to give you a piece of advise to never throw away the plastic piece that holds the textile mop head. They are useful for a variety of stuff.
I have some lights I use to grow microgreens and they are white light so they would be perfect for some video or photo shooting or maybe product photography should you have anything to sell and want to have the edge with better than average photos.
Now let's see how can one adapt the mop-head-piece to be able to clamp a variety of stuff: camera, smartphone, umbrella/softbox, etc.
Step 8: Testing Boom Arm Capability
I had left from the work on the heating installation some copper pipes and, because I couldn't find larger eye-bolts, this one did the trick to help me test a way to setup a boom arm of sorts (with no counterweight at this time). I must say it works well, it is still stable and one can place a camera or microphone in front of it. If greased well with some mineral oil, one can even slide it through the eyelet back and forth to accomplish a zooming effect.
Step 9: Daisy-Chain Mops (handle and Head) to Get Really Tall
If mop-height is not enough for you then daisy-chaining two mops (both handle and head) is possible with simple screws. The payload should be quite light at this height because of the quite small base the hangers offer, risking tipping-over. In my case, the light light ( :P ) was a good fit.
Step 10: Umbrella and Flash Mount
This was quite a bit more challenging than I imagined. It took me some good hours to figure out a way to clamp the umbrella with little hardware variety and nothing too special (I also don't keep too many fastening items around, which helped a lot with forcing me to find a way to do it).
While I would normally 3D-print a plate of sorts that goes inside the red plastic part and have it feature all the clamping I need, this time I wanted to go bare-metal. So I used the two holes that receive M5 bolts, few nuts and washers and two small angle corners to hold the umbrella rod (I don't have the kind of reflective umbrella used in photography studios - will have to find a way to attach some reflective material and conform it to the inside of the open umbrella- so I couldn't just insert the rod through a hole of sorts). One such angle is positioned lower than the other, so that the umbrella rod is pointing a bit downwards.
The Flash Mount just piggy-backs on one of the angle corners and it's something I had laying around from an old Toshiba Camileo action camera kit. I don't own a flash so I put this on for demonstration purposes only.
Step 11: Diffuser-Ready
This setup is still requiring a reflective material at the back of the light and a diffuser in front of the light, which I don't have/own atm. I will need to figure out a way to create a foldable reflective shape that will dress the inside of any umbrella and a softbox-like front to diffuse the light even more than the light itself, which has a translucent plastic cover that is supposed to do just that.
Participated in the
Build a Tool Contest