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Old Monday 6th June 2016, 09:05   #1
bugbear
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Replacing head on Slik 500 ?

I was wandering a car boot (yard sale, USA) when I saw a small tripod.

I picked it up to take a look, and was amazed at the low weight.

Everything seemed OK, so I bought it.

A quick bit of research when I got home showed it to be a Slik 500.

Sadly, closer inspection revealed that the lock-ring of the pan was broken, although it does still hold (almost...).

Further googling reveals that these heads are either weak "as made" or become brittle with time, because I found lots of posts about Slik 500s with broken heads.

Sadly, to keep cost and/or weight down, the head does not fit to the tripod with a standard screw; indeed the machine end of the vertical pillar is part of the head.

Here on this very forum, is a post showing the top of the pillar.

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=40903

Would it be possible to saw off the head, tap for 1/4" x 20 TPI, and glue in a 1/4" stub to fit a normal head?

BugBear
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Old Wednesday 8th June 2016, 09:27   #2
iveljay
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Interesting, I have done many things to old tripods, but never this.

Having had a look at the schematic in the link given in the final posting of the thread you reference, it looks possible, assuming that the machined top you intend to cut down hasn't been hollowed out during manufacture. You need to check this out if possible before cutting as you want a reasonable depth of metal for the safety of your photographic equipment.

Otherwise it looks a relatively straightforward project (don't they all!) I have never cut a thread in light alloy, but I assume with care it should be OK. Obviously the key issue assuming everything else is OK is making sure everything remains squared up. A good dollop of Locktite/glue (depending on your skills) once everything is OK is clearly vital.

My main hope is that in the schematic it looks like the machined top is threaded into the tube and I hope it isn't an interference fit or just glued. To some extent this will have to be a 'suck it and see' exercise.

I believe the original maximum load for this tripod was around 1 Kg when new, so it will make a good support for relatively lightweight usage.

Last edited by iveljay : Wednesday 8th June 2016 at 09:32.
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Old Friday 22nd July 2016, 13:27   #3
bugbear
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iveljay View Post
Interesting, I have done many things to old tripods, but never this.

Having had a look at the schematic in the link given in the final posting of the thread you reference, it looks possible, assuming that the machined top you intend to cut down hasn't been hollowed out during manufacture.
Some probing with a piece of 5mm dowelling from below revealed that the machined-top is definitely hollow, to some extent.

A trial 2mm axial hole drilled from the top, showed that the top "skin" of the hollow shape is around (only) 3mm thick.

I'm still probing to find out more, but the top piece has either been machined away for lightness, or was made by "spinning".

Fortunately, my cameras are a Canon A630 and a Panasonc TZ8, both nice and light.

I think drilling and tapping to 1/4", and a 1/4" pan head (or truss head) brass screw, inserted from below, and thread-locked with adhesive, should provide a "good enough" mount for a small ball head.

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Old Monday 25th July 2016, 09:34   #4
bugbear
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I drilled out the 2mm pilot/test hole to 5mm, and tapped to 1/4" x 20 TPI.

I fixed a 1/4" pan head bolt to the end of a dowel with blu-tack, and inserted it all the way up the tube, and managed to run it partially through.

I then grabbed the protruding end of the bolt in a soft jawed vice, and tightened up.

I think the pan-head was slightly too large, because the bolt didn't come through as far as I though it would; I may yet run it back out and file the head down a little.

But - in principle - I have a method of fixing a 1/4" stub to the tripod, and thus a way of replacing the broken head.

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Old Tuesday 26th July 2016, 12:45   #5
iveljay
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Well done, I like this kind of project.

In the days of film, stripping down and repairing cameras needed much the same sort of approach and gave great satisfaction after turning a scrap camera or two into one fully functioning pristine model.

My favourite rebuild (which actually failed) was a Russian 'basic' 35mm point and shoot. The optics were a sealed cell and far exceeded the needs of the camera. The chassis, aperture control and wind mechanism was fairly standard, but the shutter mechanism and interlock had clearly been designed by a steam locomotive design bureau - cams and pushrods in vast numbers with the occasional spring just to operate a simple twin blade leaf shutter! The camera was never sold in the West - the chances of it ever working from new were slim. Still it was worth a try.

Western coupled rangefinder, semi automatics were far easier!
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