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Old October 24th, 2001, 09:07 AM   #1
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Metals Used for Equipment

I'd like to find someone to custom mould a couple of pieces of equipment to attach to my XL-1 and Varizoom shoulder brace. Problem is, I don't know the technical name of the lightweight, sturdy metals often used in photo equipment. Without knowing that, I don't know where to get started.

There is a special type of aluminum, I think, that is used not only for photo equipment, but also in airplanes. Anyone know the jargon for it?

I'd like to make a much slimmer version of the MA-100, without the shoulder pad, so that it can be used along with my Varizoom shoulder brace. The MA-100 takes up a lot of unnecessary vertical space if you're not planning to use it as a shoulder pad, and it prevents the XL-1 from being lowered to proper viewing level once mounted to the shoulder brace. I removed the pad from my MA-100 since I don't plan on using it as a shoulder pad, but the way it's designed still takes up too much vertical space thus making the camera sit too high for comfortable viewing.

By making the bottom portion of the mount thinner (basically moving or removing the XLR jack area), it could be used interchangeably on a tripod or on the shoulder brace. This will require either eliminating the XLR jacks (which I don't use right now anyway) or perhaps stacking them vertically on the new mount.

I'm also planning on making a utility holder to screw onto the back of the Varizoom shoulder brace (there are screw holes already in the brace). This could hold a couple of brick batteries for my light and monitor, and also provide a mount for my wireless transmitter.

These two pieces of equipment would be really simple to make...and they'd be lightweight and relatively cheap. The design I have in mind would allow the two pieces to work in conjunction with one another (loops in the on-camera piece for threading battery cables through from the brace piece) or separately. Hopefully, the brace piece would help to balance the rig a bit more also.

If anyone's interested in working on this, please let me know. I'm not doing this for commercial a way to make a buck...but doing it because I need it.

Maybe someone has already come up with something like this?
John Locke
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Old October 26th, 2001, 06:34 AM   #2
Obstreperous Rex
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Two things in response, John...

First, believe the material you refer to is magnesium. Like aluminum, but... better.

Second, on your VariZoom VZ-LSP. I have one of those, and I use it with an XL1 with MA-100 attached, easily. With the camera mounting bracket (which slides vertically and horizontally) shifted vertically to about the middle position position, what you do next is loosen the swivel joint where the curved shoulder brace attaches to the VZ-LSP main bar. I'm talking about that short vertical pole that holds the swivel joint... there's about three inches of travel. Slide the swivel joint and the main bar up that pole, so that the curved shoulder brace is as far down as it will go. The swivel joint should be resting against the upper pole bracket.

Now the MA100 will clear the shoulder brace, but the XL1 won't be sticking up so high. Hmm, maybe I need to take some photos of this arrangement, but my XL1 is currently in for service... I'll try to remember to do so as soon as I get it back.

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Old October 26th, 2001, 06:46 AM   #3
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any kind of aircraft grade alloy will do the job nicely. If you have the budget, or the connections, US military machine shop, titanium is the ducks nuts.
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Old October 26th, 2001, 11:52 AM   #4
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Thanks for the info, Chris and afterburnerDV.

I tried to do what you said, Chris, but the camera still sits too high and too far forward. This is what I did:

- Slid the horizontal piece that attaches to the bar on the shoulder brace all the way up
- Slid the camera mount piece horizontally as far back toward the brace as possible, and adjusted the lift all the way up (had to in order to make room for the MA-100) Even after removing the pad from the MA-100, the bottom of it still rests against the shoulder brace. No way I can lower the camera mount any more.

One interesting thing...I met a local XL-1 shooter through the DVInfo community and we got together to shoot an air show last weekend (pretty cool actually meeting someone from one of these discussions!). He has the Varizoom shoulder brace, too. We got to comparing them and noticed that they're not the same! The differences are subtle, but they all affect the amount of lift and horizontal space.

I still plan to track down a machine shop here and ask them to make up a "battery holster" for the rear of the shoulder brace. Your input about the magnesium and aircraft alloy metals is helpful. I'll let ya'll know how it turns out.
John Locke
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