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DIY Binocular mount


MarkRadice
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I spent the past few evenings knocking together a homemade parallelogram mount to sit on top of a second hand ali tripod.  Nothing fancy, just made from scraps and odds and ends in the garage.

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So easy to make (apart from the cock ups) and surprisingly effective.  A build video is here: 

 

The long and short arms are made from slats from an old bed I took apart. The upper sections have holes drilled in to reduce the weight and therefore the necessary counterweight.

I ripped a cut in the centre with the table saw and then glued a piece back in to provide a channel for the counterweights to slide up and down.

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The tripod pier and upper part is made from a piece of 2.5x1.5” pine (approx. 60x40mm) from some old garden furniture that was being chucked out. 

The lower part pivots about an M10 carriage bolt sitting on furniture sliders and a CD.

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The upper section has a 3/8 tripod nut epoxied in that carries a pan-tilt camera head. This will be replaced with a homemade binocular head in due course.  

The arms pivot about nylon washers and carriage bolts. 3 pivots are held in place with nyloc nuts while one is a thumbscrew to fine tune the tension.

So all in all, odds and ends from the off-cuts bin and a few things from B&Q.  Comfortable binocular observing with no more pain in the neck!

That being said, the pleasure of binoculars is their simplicity. The need for a tripod, mount and counterweights does change this somewhat! I look forward to testing it once summer arrives (he says in August!). 

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Neat. Very neat. I keep looking at this type of mount because I love looking through binoculars whilst my imaging rig is doing other stuff. Not sure I have the skills though. A sky mirror looks more my scale of DIY.

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Old Eyes - I know what you mean.  It is nice to just look up isn't it?

I have a sky mirror and, although the logistical footprint is much reduced and the observing position is sooo comfortable it really loves dew  and is quite a challenge to star hop!

Hmmmm! Decisions, decisions.

 

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  • 4 months later...

I love this.  I just wanted to say how helpful your video has been.  I'm building my own parallelogram mount at the moment, and watching your video has given me a much needed boost!  I'm at the point now where I just need to mount my counterweight and sort out the azimuth bearing/tripod mounting arrangment.  I've gone with a double-hinged rotating l-bracket for the binocular mount.  I'll put a post up as soon as it's ready for demonstration!

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On 08/01/2022 at 10:08, tombardier said:

I just wanted to say how helpful your video has been

Hi Tom - so glad that the video has been of use.  I look forward to seeing your workmanship, especially the L-bracket as I am thinking of upgrading mine along those lines.  

 

On 08/01/2022 at 13:32, ollypenrice said:

Super mount, Mark, and also a super helpful video

Cheers Ollie - much appreciated.  

 

Clear skies to you all!

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3 hours ago, MarkRadice said:

I look forward to seeing your workmanship

Workmanship is a strong word..  I have a workshop full of metalworking tools which I just about know enough to use without injuring myself.  My carpentry skills are pretty much non-existent!  I had to google how to drill a hole without a horrific exit wound the other day (and also got ideas for that from your video!).  I have stumbled through all this as a learning exercise as much as anything.  I want to get it all together, and figure out what works, troubleshoot etc etc.  I fully anticipate a version 2! 

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Need some counterweighting arrangement for the rotating axis on the L-bracket:

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I'm working on the azimuth bearing using some ridiculously large billet aluminium!

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On 10/01/2022 at 13:14, tombardier said:

I want to get it all together, and figure out what works, troubleshoot etc etc.  I fully anticipate a version 2!

That looks amazing, I like the double hinge approach.  What made you chose that over a single hinge?  Regardless it looks great, although it could do with a drinks holder for those warm spring evenings that are just around the corner (I hope!).  

The aluminium billet looks grand! Definitely not under-mounted!

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On 15/01/2022 at 19:59, MarkRadice said:

I like the double hinge approach.  What made you chose that over a single hinge?

Cheers!  Because the binocular isn't on any sort of rotating bearing, it just made sense to have it double-hinged like that.  If the binoculars were free to rotate, a single hinge would just work.  Anyway, I'm retro-fitting a justification, I didn't think about it this much at the time, it just seemed to make sense :)

I haven't done the azimuth bearing yet.  I'm going to drill and tap and screw some teflon furniture pads on to the bit of billet that pairs up with the one you see on the mount.  They'll glide over a CD.  I have a dividing head, but it's a bit big for the milling machine, and I also have a rotary table which is also not a very good fit.  Maybe instead of that, I'll just use some geometry/protractor/pair of compasses etc stc to get equally spaced radial holes.  Having been back at work over the last week, and fitting in part time study, I just haven't touched on it!  I really want to start using this though.  Having my binos on a normal photographic tripod is a literal pain in the neck!

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  • 3 weeks later...

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