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Old January 31st, 2006, 06:36 PM   #1
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Make your own bulletproof car mount

Giving back a bit.....

After doing some research I came up with this parts list for a rig to mount your cam just about anywhere..although this rig is intended for car/boat mounting.

The basic five parts:

Manfrotto 251 6.5" pump cup.
Manfrotto 484RC2 Ball Head (with removable camera plate..fits 701RC2 fluid head too)
Manfrotto 5327 Mount
Avenger D200B Grip heads
5/8" solid aluminum or 5/8" stainless tubing (ordered from local metal supplier)

You can google for US prices...all of the Manfrotto parts were ordered from my local friendly camera shop. You'd be looking at around $330 US plus the rod for these parts. Filmtools has similar setups..but you'd spend $400, and have smaller 4.5" cups.

Add in a few Manfrotto 035 (I did) super clamps and you're all set.

Pics here.

Last edited by Dennis Wood; January 31st, 2006 at 07:17 PM.
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Old January 31st, 2006, 07:15 PM   #2
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It looks like a nifty piece of equipment; I especially like that suction ball mount. I built a car mounting system myself but it looks nothing like your rig. Mine has an alloy frame with four fixed rubber cups and an height adjustable arm, and is secured by straps.It can also be mounted on the top or side of the car. Different principle but same result. Its great to see that creative mechanical devices can be made cheaply with a bit of lateral thinking.
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Old January 31st, 2006, 07:30 PM   #3
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Manfrotto makes a lot of cool rigging! The nice thing about this setup is you can use the parts for lots of other purposes too.
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Old February 1st, 2006, 01:05 AM   #4
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How would the rig handle a heavy camera like the Canon XL2 ?
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Old February 1st, 2006, 06:39 AM   #5
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I suspect the XL2, would be no problem. The ball head is rated at 8lbs...but any 1/4" or 3/8" mount head would work fine too. Obviously you'd want to rig up a tether (safety strap) for the rig/cam if mounted externally. Another grip head/rod would allow further triangulation of the head, to stiffen the supporting rod with heavier loads. The Manfrotto hardware, particuarly the pump cups are made very tough...everything except for the pump and rubber cup, is metal.

It's also probaly not a bad idea to support cams like the Xl2 with a larger base plate, and/or a second support point. I'd want to reduce torque loads on the tripod mount if I was bouncing around a rough road with a heavier cam.

With any of these mounts, you need to pay attention to what's mounted vertically, and how much side loading you have. Ideally you'd have one or two of these cups mounted horizontally, and one (or none) vertically mounted.

Last edited by Dennis Wood; February 1st, 2006 at 07:11 AM.
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Old February 1st, 2006, 10:59 AM   #6
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this set up works great

http://store.yahoo.com/cinemasupplies/wicamonew.html
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Old February 1st, 2006, 12:39 PM   #7
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That, with the 3 point addition was what I was referring to in the original post....

Upgrade to the Manfrotto 251 6.5" cups, add a few grip heads and rod, and you've got what I posted.
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Old February 3rd, 2006, 08:21 AM   #8
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I have been getting my vacuum cups from these folks.
Every bit as good as the Manfrotto and less expensive.
I have received good service from them. YMMV
http://www.powrgrip.com/cgi-bin/powr...ra_mounts.html

While the Avenger gripheads will work these are a bit better because they are smaller.
Unfortunately they are more expensive as well.
http://store.yahoo.com/cinemasupplies/fil58clam.html

Cheese plates if you need one. :-)
http://store.yahoo.com/cinemasupplies/cheeseplates.html

Extension arms (Careful shipping cost is high so bid accordingly.)
I have lots of these the first ones were aluminum the last batch were steel.
http://search.ebay.com/Pair-of-40-Ex...msQ20Q2dQ20New

Bill
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Old February 3rd, 2006, 08:40 AM   #9
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Bill, great links. The Manfrotto cups are more expensive...but remember they include a very strong ball joint and 5/8 rod/stud clamp. I factored that into my decision to buy them. If you want a 5/8 rod to attach to a cup with a threaded stud, you need to add in a threaded spud, and grip head. With that considered, I figure the manfrotto 6.5" cups at $62US is a good buy...simpler too.

Also, although the Avenger grip heads are larger, I'd consider them an excellent buy. One of the things I came up with researching grip heads was that at this price point ($22), other heads did not lock effectively when tightened. The Avenger grip heads will clamp effectively to just about any size of rod under 1" due to their discrete clamp jaws. They also have a large tightenting surface so you can tighten the living daylights out of them if you need to.

I should mention for comparison purposes that a 20 foot length of 5/8" stainless steel (.049" wall) was around $75 US. It was ordered locally, so shipping was included in that price. I had reservations on that wall thickness, and couldn't find any comments on this on the web. Having used the stainless now for my 35mm adapter rails project, I believe it is the best bet for grip rod. With SS, there's no paint, rust, or aluminum oxide (the dark powder) on your hands. You do of course have to cut it yourself. So basically I'd highly recommend stainless over steel or aluminum after having tried all of them.
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Old February 3rd, 2006, 08:54 AM   #10
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I just bought this one as one piece. Around $100 whern I bought it and it looks like it's still on sale. Works OK up to my fully loaded PDX-10. Don't kid yourselves, that's a heavy little camera when loaded with long battery, mic adapter, tripod plate, etc.

It holds well, has an indicator to let you know if it is loosing vacum. If this isn't enough for your weight or stability is an issue, look for a multi point mounting system.

Looks like this:
http://store.yahoo.com/cinemasupplies/succupmoun.html

This is also where I bought mine.

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Old February 3rd, 2006, 02:44 PM   #11
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Hi,
I may be shooting shortly on a very expensive borrowed car using a single manfrotto mount. Is there any risk of damaging paintwork etc. when using one of these mounts?
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Old February 3rd, 2006, 03:10 PM   #12
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If in doubt, mount to the glass. Having multiple cups helps here as you have more options...

If you must mount to the paint, make sure both surfaces are spotless...really spotless, before you mount up. If there is any residual marking, it should polish off.

My one concern that I can't help you with is panel deformation on areas with very thin sheet metal. This shouldn't be an issue, but every car is different. If the hood is carbon fibre or fibreglass (as some exotics are) you should have no problems in this area.
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Old February 3rd, 2006, 07:21 PM   #13
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Dennis,

Good points. On the vacuum cups I use a 5/8" pin and a griphead so I did not need the extra pieces with the Manfrotto cups. Thus less expensive for me.

I have a bunch of the Avenger gripheads as well, great units.
However if you are using arms that are 12" or less it gets a bit crowded, if you are using longer arms the 2 1/2" gripheads work just fine.

As to the stainless pipe also a good way to go, however for the same $75 I got 33 feet of pipe and it was power coated black. Bottom line is both are good ways to go and lead to same end. Had I had a local source for stainless tube I might have gone that route as well.
As a side note the aluminum was .065 wall vs. .035 for the steel. If I remember correctly.
Anyway robust enough for my XL2. :-)

Sounds like different solutions for the same problem. That's what is great about these forums you get different points of view. I know hearing and seeing what others have done has helped me.

Bill



Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Wood
Bill, great links. The Manfrotto cups are more expensive...but remember they include a very strong ball joint and 5/8 rod/stud clamp. I factored that into my decision to buy them. If you want a 5/8 rod to attach to a cup with a threaded stud, you need to add in a threaded spud, and grip head. With that considered, I figure the manfrotto 6.5" cups at $62US is a good buy...simpler too.

Also, although the Avenger grip heads are larger, I'd consider them an excellent buy. One of the things I came up with researching grip heads was that at this price point ($22), other heads did not lock effectively when tightened. The Avenger grip heads will clamp effectively to just about any size of rod under 1" due to their discrete clamp jaws. They also have a large tightenting surface so you can tighten the living daylights out of them if you need to.

I should mention for comparison purposes that a 20 foot length of 5/8" stainless steel (.049" wall) was around $75 US. It was ordered locally, so shipping was included in that price. I had reservations on that wall thickness, and couldn't find any comments on this on the web. Having used the stainless now for my 35mm adapter rails project, I believe it is the best bet for grip rod. With SS, there's no paint, rust, or aluminum oxide (the dark powder) on your hands. You do of course have to cut it yourself. So basically I'd highly recommend stainless over steel or aluminum after having tried all of them.
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Old February 4th, 2006, 03:31 PM   #14
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Yep, plenty of ways to tackle the mount issue Bill. The Avenger grip heads are neither small, nor super light...so if weight's critical look elsewhere.

And yes, to clarify on the cups...if you already have grip heads and 5/8" pins, it makes no sense to get the Manfrotto 251's. One thing's for sure, you sure feel like McGyvor (dating myself there) with a pile of this stuff on hand.
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Old May 19th, 2006, 07:51 PM   #15
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Hi Dennis, excellent information! I just emailed you but in case you did not get it, I am building a rig for doing exterior automotive photography and your rig has given me a lot of insight on what do build for mine! There is one issue though, I am having trouble locating the Manfrotto 251 6.5" Pump Cups. My local store, Huppins/Onecall.com and even BHphotovideo does not seem to have them. Any ideas on where to get these? Thanks!
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