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| DearWebby is actually Helmut Morscher, the CEO of Webby, inc.
Originally the "Tech Support Pits" were reports of the funniest tech support incidents, but over the years the
column gradually shifted to answering tech support questions put forward by the readers of the Dear
Webby Humor Letter.
This collection of computer and web advice was started partly because readers demanded an archive, and partly
because some questions were asked again and again. Each page has a different day's Tech Support Pits column.
Tech Support Pits column from Dear Webby's Humor Letter of
04/10/04: Downward tripod
Tech Support Pits:
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This question is not really web related, but since you
answer questions about digital cameras,...
is there a gadget for adapting a tripod to take pictures
downward, and that don't cost more than the camera ?
Just take a piece of flat aluminum bar about the size
of a ruler and shorten it so that it will fit into your
camera bag or carry-on case.
Drill a 1/4 inch (5.5 mm) hole about 2 inches
(5cm) from each end.
Clamp one end for about the length of the camera into
a vise, or with a clamp onto a table, or between a door
and the door jamb near a hinge. Then grab the bar
about a third from the other end with a crescent wrench,
vise-grip or pipe wrench, and gently twist it until the two
ends are at 90 degrees. Twist, don't bend the bar!
If one end is clamped to the table, the other end should
be straight up and down.
In case you scratched up the bar with rough tools, sand
out all scratches and knicks, then polish the bar nice and
smooth.Round the edges at the ends.
An upside down floor polisher works great for polishing,
but you can do a fairly nice job with a steel wool scouring
pad. Make it look as professional as possible, because
airport security will be quite suspicious. It doesn't hurt at
all to print a fancy logo and instructions onto an address
label and sticking that label onto the bar.
Then get a chromed 1/4 inch by 20 wing nut and a
1/4" x 20 x 1" long wing bolt and a bunch of 1/4" washers.
The wingnut is used to hold one end of the bar to the
camera mount bolt on the tripod.
The wing bolt is used to attach the camera to the bar.
NEVER saw off that bolt unless you are a journeyman
machinist. The threaded hole in the camera is in very
soft aluminum, barely harder than jello, and a less than
perfect bolt end will do permanent damage. Use enough
washers on the side away from the camera so that the
bolt does not quite bottom out in the camera. Once you
have determined the exactly right number of washers,
epoxy them to the bar so that you don't lose them.
Don't try to use metric equivalents for the wing nut or the
wing bolt. Cameras mounts are standardized on 1/4" x 20
threads per inch.
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