When I was thinking about a solution on how to produce a tripod mount, I could only think of one way of doing it: 3D printing.
3D printing is the way to go not only for rapid prototyping but also for small productions. Also, this tripod mount weighs only about half as much as a comparable aluminum tripod mount!
After that decision, the next tough one had to be made: Which material to use? Here again, the choices were quickly narrowed down to PLA, PETG, and ABS. Each of them has advantages over the other.
I tried all three materials. The print with PETG resulted in a very soft tripod mount. That was ruled out quickly. I had my hopes up when I received my print made out of ABS. However, the second ring turned out so soft that it did not feel right. Therefore the #1 choice was PLA for several reasons. PLA is very rigid and it takes quite some force to break it – I tested that too. Precision is also a very important factor for me as well. PLA can be printed very accurately. The only disadvantage PLA has, is that it is not as heat resistant as ABS. If you heat PLA over 60C, you can bend the material. However, the real question is: Do you really leave your expensive photo equipment at a place where the temperature reaches 60C ?
If you intend to use a tripod next to a volcano, I would strongly advise against using my tripod mount as it could catch fire – maybe a minute after your shoes have caught fire…
I do not print the tripod mounts myself. I have found a 3D print service which I have grown very fond of (goedis.de).
Once I have received the prints, the following measures are taken:
- I treat the prints with filler to smooth out the surface.
- I sand off the filler and polish the piece.
- I spray paint it black again (if you want, you can have it in a different colour – just ask me.
- I Insert the threads and screw
- I test the tripod mount on my own lense
- Finally, package it and ship it to you
As you can tell, each piece is unique and to a certain degree even hand made. I take pride in each piece.
Produced in Germany and made in Germany and delivered from Germany.