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Kenji
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PostWed Aug 25, 2021 6:58 pm 
I've been using a carbon-fiber tripod for several years.  When I needed to get new trekking poles, I thought they could be as good and light as the carbon legs of a commercial tripod.  Of course, I'd need three poles but can leave two legs home.  Here is my first attempt, and I will be testing them next week.


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kite
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PostWed Aug 25, 2021 9:22 pm 
how about a trekking staff, its comes apart in 3 sections

https://zpacks.com/products/carbon-fiber-staff

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Bowregard
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PostWed Aug 25, 2021 10:00 pm 
I like the concept Kenji but I think the design needs some work. I bet the center post, metal supports, and platform weigh as much as your carbon fiber tripod (and I hope your Neewar ball head is a heck of a lot lighter than mine). Unless you use the tops of your poles a lot hiking I would consider modifying them by drilling a hole for a threaded insert. You might have to reinforce the insert with potting compound, Epoxy, or Gorilla glue but once you get inserts securely attached to your poles you could build a mount to thread the poles into that would support your tripod ball head. I am thinking the mount could have inserts and male/male threaded connectors with a pressed in disks (small) that would thread into the 3 poles and mount. The mount would have to securely attach to your tripod head but that attachment would be dependent upon what the head looks like. If you made the inserts a standard 1/4" thread you could use one pole as a monopod if you needed a quick set-up. For the mount I am thinking a ball shape that could be flattened on 3 sides for the pole attachments would work but I am not sure what material to use.

Of course this assumes that you can do without the easy height adjustment which depends upon the photos you take. The photos of your I have seen (fantastic photos by the way) are generally landscape or sky shots which you could probably get away without the easy height adjustment but people shots might be a different story.

If I were working on this I would start with some cheap tubes the same diameter as my poles to perfect the pole mod first and make a solid mock-up before I touched my poles. I would probably start with a plastic ball that I could flatten the sides and drill for the inserts to support the legs. Then if that works OK but it too heavy search for a lighter alternative material.

Good luck with your project. Your design looks solid enough to me. I just don't know how far you could take it.

edit: It looks like the Neewer ball head mounts with a simple threaded shaft (at least that's how mine mounts). I would probably make the mount out of aluminum and get some Helicoils or other type of threaded inserts to avoid galling of the threads. After taking a look at my tripod I have to ask what your goals are. I assumed it was weight but the ball head is so much heavier than the rest of the tri-pod that can't be it. Bulk maybe?

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Gil
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PostThu Aug 26, 2021 2:03 pm 
Interesting idea, Kenji. It'll be interesting to see how your project progresses. Perhaps a machined metal piece that has three threaded sockets for screws in the top of your poles to fit into? Then a 3/8 inch screw on top to hold the ballhead?

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Bowregard
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PostThu Aug 26, 2021 2:50 pm 
Thanks Gil,

That is exactly what I spent way too many words trying to describe.

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Schroder
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PostThu Aug 26, 2021 3:01 pm 
I've been using this for years


InFlight, kite
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Kenji
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PostThu Aug 26, 2021 4:26 pm 
Thanks for the pics!  I've seen that years ago!!  Using poles upside down is interesting, certainly much easier than handles for attaching.  Back to drawing board, got two more days before leaving.

Yes, my goal is to lighten my backpacking load.  My tripod weighs 1lb11oz, the prototype 16oz w/o poles (a bit lighter head).

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Bowregard
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PostThu Aug 26, 2021 5:22 pm 
I hadn't considered mounting the poles upside down. That simplifies mounting them although I liked the idea of sharp points securing the legs.

The challenge is all in the pole attachment. If you don't solidly fix the poles to the mount then you have to limit the ends from rotating out and limit shear rotation. Your design requires the top plate to pin the top of the poles and the wires/center shaft to control the rotation out and shear rotation. The Trailpix, threaded inserts, and threaded socket designs fix the poles but unfortunately all but the Trailpix require modifications to the poles.

I have seen PVC pipe fittings that have 3 ends each 90 degrees from one another. I don't know if they make them big enough but if you had one of those fittings with a large enough diameter to fit the end of your poles into then drilled a vertical hole for threaded rod to fit your ball head mount that might work. You might have to add short pipe sections to the fitting to support the poles and glue a small flat plate across the top for the ball mount. Maybe use a light knob with the threaded rod to secure the ball head.

That PVC pipe is cheap and easy to work with. I would build it out of that and refine it with aluminum in a later revision to really lighten it up.

Just throwing ideas out. The pipe fitting would not be ideal as it would be better to limit the angles between poles to 15-20 degrees so thin pipes bound together at the top and spread with a thin plate would be better.

Here is an example I found that is similar to what I was getting at:https://thefogwatch.com/trekking-pole-camera-mount/

If you search on (ultralight tripod trekking poles) you get a bunch like that most all of which mount the poles upside down.

Glad to hear your Neewer tripod and ball head is a lot lighter than mine (which I would never consider carrying on a hike). My ball head is 14.6 oz. and the tripod is well over 2 lb. (and yes I said "ball head" - my "bald head" is much heavier.)

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jackchinook
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PostThu Aug 26, 2021 9:50 pm 
Same boat as Schroder, been using a Trailpix for a few years now.

I dug up an old email to a friend and found some of my own data on it:
Trailpix plate (30g) + mini ballhead (70g) + QR plate (37g) = 137g or 4.8oz, or 0.3lbs

It's a pretty awesome little piece of photog. kit for users that have realistic expectations....but doesn't seem available anymore maybe. There do seem to be some alternatives made on 3d printers it seems.

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Kenji
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PostSat Aug 28, 2021 11:05 pm 
Just ~finished my 3rd prototype.  Made a base plate similar to Trailpix, but with the lower shafts of 3 section poles.  It seems pretty stable, enough for my XT3 and lenses.  The total weight is about 1lb: ball head+base+one leg (other two will be from my trekking poles).  I will refine a bit more after a 6 day trip starting tomorrow.


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Bowregard
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PostSun Aug 29, 2021 11:21 am 
Hi Kenji,

I like the concept of replacing the upper section of your poles. It gives you a very standard sized attachment that should work for most any set of poles. I was tempted to make that suggestion but figured you would not want to give up the extra height. This looks like a solid prototype that you can improve on until you are completely satisfied. You might even be able to mimic the clamps used on your poles with a lightweight mount with short tubular legs.

Let us know how it works out.

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Gil
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PostMon Aug 30, 2021 7:44 am 
I like this idea, but my problem is that I typically carry only one trekking pole. If you carry two poles, what about the third pole?

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Klahini
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Gil
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PostMon Aug 30, 2021 7:47 am 
Also, Kenji, with that last photo, could you replace those three outside plates with aluminum?

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Klahini
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domaz
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PostMon Aug 30, 2021 11:06 am 
Gil wrote:
I like this idea, but my problem is that I typically carry only one trekking pole. If you carry two poles, what about the third pole?

Could probably buy some carbon fiber rods and cut them to trekking pole length yourself. Would be much lighter than carrying a fully fledged pole and not terribly expensive.

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InFlight
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PostTue Aug 31, 2021 10:01 am 
domaz wrote:
Gil wrote:
I like this idea, but my problem is that I typically carry only one trekking pole. If you carry two poles, what about the third pole?

Could probably buy some carbon fiber rods and cut them to trekking pole length yourself. Would be much lighter than carrying a fully fledged pole and not terribly expensive.

Here are some options-
https://www.mcmaster.com/carbon-fiber/ultra-strength-lightweight-carbon-fiber-rods/
https://www.mcmaster.com/carbon-fiber/ultra-strength-lightweight-carbon-fiber-round-tubes/

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