Strobist had posted up this little beauty of an idea for sticking strobes on things with minimal cost. Literally this was like under $3 US. Living in Australia, it’s a little harder to come by cheap bits and pieces.. I don’t think I’ve seen any of those metal clamps for 99c here, also those spigots are over $10 on their own down here.
I’m a big fan of DIY. Especially when it comes to anything photography. I decided to see if I could make my own flash clamp. My criteria? Cheap (Under $10… gotta start somewhere) and simple with no special bits to it. Living in Australia, Bunnings is probably the most widely known home hardware store – So that’s where I plan to get my parts from.
The spigots that are typically used have either a 1/4 thread (same as what is on the bottom of your camera) or a 3/8 thread (the larger one on the top of most light stands, etc) – I didn’t need to screw anything on to the clamp so I didn’t bother getting these thread sizes. If you want to screw on a compact camera or something to your clamp you may want to consider thread size when you purchase your bolts.
Here’s what I found to make my DIY flash clamp.
$4.98 – M8x35mm Nuts and bolts pack (Fittings isle)
M8 is the threadsize, 35mm is the lenngth. Doesn’t need to be high tensile – they just didn’t have the length I wanted the normal cheaper pack
$3.64 – Sonata 200mm nylon spring clamp (Tools section)
It has a relatively good grip (enough for a small flash) and has some teeth on the clamps for extra bite plus adjustable pads at the end of the clamps. Made of plastic which is easy to drill/dremel. A bit bigger than the commonly used metal spring clamps
Total: $8.62 – That’s cheap enough for me. Cheaper still if you just go to a nuts/bolts place and buy them separately.
I made a hole in the center of one of the clamp side arms. Pushed a bolt through it, and then screwed down the 4 nuts in the pack. This was my DIY soultion to those brass spigots that are hard to obtain down here in Australia. The umbrella swivel will just screw onto them, plus theres enough rotation in the flash head/umbrella swivel to negate having a round barrel to lock onto. (The nut only has 6 flat sides which the umbrella swivel will lock onto securely)
So how does it work? Pretty damn good for under something that took 5 minutes to make for under $10.
Something you could do, if you wanted to be totally paranoid about the nuts coming loose over time – Buy some threadlocker. Its in the same isle as the nuts and bolts and its called Loctite. Put a few drops of this on the thread of the bolt and screw the nuts down..They wont move after that.
This is just how I did it, feel free to change whatever you want to suit yourself. Let me know if you found this little tip handy though, I’d appreciate it!
The umbrella stand I used comes with a silver umbrella and is from from DealExtreme for $15 bucks shipped.