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Standing a mount tripod on the lawn?


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I'd like to stand my mount tripod on the lawn so I can image a different part of the of sky... currently it stands on the patio. Any ideas how I can form a stable base for the tripod? I was thinking of digging three holes and putting a brick in each or some cement. I would prefer a less intrusive solution... perhaps something like a spike with a flat head. Maybe there's some kind of camping/gardening thingy that would do the job? I should add the lawn is not flat but slightly sloping.

Edited by ChrisEll
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I just went out in the rain to my campervan specially to take a photo for you.  As you can see they are a bit muddy from camp use, but you get the idea.  Hard plastic, flat on the underneath.   

Hi Chris, before I had an observatory I used to set up and break down every session on my lawn. To give me a repeatable set up I sank 3 metal rotary washing line spikes into the lawn into which I coul

I do the same when setting up on grass, but for visual there is less of an issue if the tripod settles a bit. I guess for imaging you need more certainty so that polar alignment doesn't go out. Y

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I often place my tripods on the lawn for visual observing and find that grass / earth is better at absorbing vibration than the patio slabs. So I just put the tripod feet stright onto the grass. You can adjust the tripod legs to even up the lawn slope.

 

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I do the same when setting up on grass, but for visual there is less of an issue if the tripod settles a bit. I guess for imaging you need more certainty so that polar alignment doesn't go out.

You can get pads that spread the weight out to prevent this, or just use some circles of plywood, with a hole drilled if you want, to locate the tripod leg in. A more permanent solution is three bricks laid below the level of the grade so you can mow over them, with holes drilled to locate the feet.

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The trouble is with grass the pointed tripod feet have a tendency to sink into the ground which is not what you need when you're imaging. 

So when I go to astro camps I have some footpads (with a round depression in the middle for the pointed feet) these are about 5" wide and also have holes in them so they can be pegged to the ground.  Unfortunately they don't seem to be for sale any more, but if you can make something like it that it would be good.  I don't think I have a photo of them or I'd post it up.

Carole 

 

 

 

Edited by carastro
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1 hour ago, ChrisEll said:

Any ideas how I can form a stable base for the tripod?

Hi Chris, before I had an observatory I used to set up and break down every session on my lawn. To give me a repeatable set up I sank 3 metal rotary washing line spikes into the lawn into which I could place the tripod feet. They were set at an angle to line up with the tripod legs and just below the grass surface so as not to interfere with the mower. I had to do an initial set up one summer evening as soon as polaris was visible marking the tripod feet position, then removed the mount and tripod to hammer home the metal spikes. They provided a very stable platform for several years and allowed me to preserve very good instant polar alignment for visual observing and only small tweaks required for imaging. I used the same set up for both my 10" Meade LX200 and my NEQ6 with 4" TSAPO100Q. They cost me about £5 each rotary line hole (similar to these https://www.amazon.co.uk/JVL-Rotary-Multi-Fit-Adaptor-Diameter/dp/B00WIYPD62/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1516538743&sr=8-1&keywords=rotary+line+spike). If you wanted more than one location just repeat the set up - they are invisible so no adverse impact to your daytime lawn views :icon_biggrin:. Good luck, Geof

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Just found these on amazon, they might do the job and also have holes to peg them down.  Might need to open out the top hole a bit. 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kampa-Universal-Bigfoot-Pack-4/dp/B004R2E3E6

 

Also here:

https://www.caravanaccessoryshop.co.uk/product/kampa-big-foot/2236

Edited by carastro
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21 minutes ago, Stu said:

They look handy Geof. Apologies for the daft question, but do you leave the plastic insert in to place the feet on??

No, the 'holes' were narrower than the tripod legs so the tripod just dropped into place. Every so often I needed to clear the holes as the grass would overgrow them so if I didn't use them for a while they would disappear. Once I'd got my tripod leveled by adjusting the leg lengths I locked those into position when I broke everything down, so set up was just placing the tripod with mount attached into the holes, adding the scope and other equipment and I was up and running. I also made up 3 walking boards using decking offcuts to place on the 3 sides of the tripod to make set up easier and prevent the lawn from becoming to trashed durig the winter. If I can find some photos of the set up I'll post them, but a quick look just now was unsuccessful....

Edited by geoflewis
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I just went out in the rain to my campervan specially to take a photo for you.  As you can see they are a bit muddy from camp use, but you get the idea.  Hard plastic, flat on the underneath. 

 

 

Tripod footpad.jpg

Edited by carastro
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3 minutes ago, carastro said:

I just went out in the rain to my campervan specially to take a photo for you.  As you can see they are a bit muddy from camp use, but you get the idea.  Hard plastic, flat on the underneath. 

 

 

Tripod footpad.jpg

I have a set of those that I acquired with a used scope purchase a while back, they work well.

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Shame they don't seem to sell them any more.  I think they were around £23, so those Amazon ones I posted above will be a lot cheaper even if the top bit needs to be sawn off. 

Carole 

Edited by carastro
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Would normal vibration suppression pads do the trick?

They might do, but they are quite expensive, and are aimed more at reducing vibration.  I just wonder whether they are wide enough to stop sinking into the lawn.

Carole 

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1 minute ago, carastro said:

They might do, but they are quite expensive, and are aimed more at reducing vibration.  I just wonder whether they are wide enough to stop sinking into the lawn.

Carole 

You are probably right Carole. I'm sure some plywood discs or squares with holes in the centre would be just as effective and far cheaper.

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1 hour ago, carastro said:

They might do, but they are quite expensive, and are aimed more at reducing vibration.  I just wonder whether they are wide enough to stop sinking into the lawn.

Carole 

I’ve got some suppression pads (which I rarely use to be honest), but the grass would have to be really seriously  waterlogged before a tripod and scope would make them sink in I think. 

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I was put onto these when I used to put my tripod on the grass, these are proper suppression pads and what I finally did before fitting a pier was: -

1. Identify North and ensure your tripod is facing as perfectly as you can.

2. Mark and cut out a 4 inch circle out of the grass where each foot was.

3.I fitted some flower pot bases into the holes so that they were a snug fit but didn't stand proud so that you could mow the lawn.

4. Purchase 3 of these : - https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Superb-Tripod-Vibration-Suppression-Pads-Dampers-for-Telescope-Spotting-Scope/202152477682 then setup your tripod so that it is level.

5. When you start to set up your gear on the next session, drop these suppression feet into the bases and place tripod onto them and you should be virtually level and pointing north with just some minor adjustments.

This should save you a load of time and make things easy for you each session

Edited by Jkulin
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On 21/01/2018 at 21:36, Jkulin said:

I was put onto these when I used to put my tripod on the grass, these are proper suppression pads and what I finally did before fitting a pier was: -

1. Identify North and ensure your tripod is facing as perfectly as you can.

2. Mark and cut out a 4 inch circle out of the grass where each foot was.

3.I fitted some flower pot bases into the holes so that they were a snug fit but didn't stand proud so that you could mow the lawn.

4. Purchase 3 of these : - https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Superb-Tripod-Vibration-Suppression-Pads-Dampers-for-Telescope-Spotting-Scope/202152477682 then setup your tripod so that it is level.

5. When you start to set up your gear on the next session, drop these suppression feet into the bases and place tripod onto them and you should be virtually level and pointing north with just some minor adjustments.

This should save you a load of time and make things easy for you each session

Hi. I know this thread is quite old, but can you explain a bit more about the flower pot bases and what they are doing? 

Thanks 

Mark 

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18 hours ago, markclaire50 said:

Hi. I know this thread is quite old, but can you explain a bit more about the flower pot bases and what they are doing? 

Thanks 

Mark 

When I used to use a tripod it was useful to be able to line up to Polaris as near as possible, so once I had good alignment I used these bases to drop my tripod in each time, saved an awful lot of time in pitch blackness.

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