Board & Bolt Tripod Platform

Laser cut acrylic & 1/4-20 nuts and bolts for some weird tripod platform fun.

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So I recently saw a kickstarter for a new PlatyPod and wanting to see if I could make one myself with mostly off the shelf parts, I came up with this. It is _crude_ and definitely not something I would trust my expensive cameras to. But it was an interesting mental and build exercise to understand how something like this might work.

Please support PlatyPod and buy their awesome gear.

After going through the process myself, I found that this wasn't something for me, I'm heavily invested in full sized tripods/etc. But it's interesting nonetheless. Design files and such are not going to be released, I suggest going here ( ) if you want to get a high quality board-style camera/accessory mount system.

The unit is comprised of the following components:

* Laser cut Acrylic sheet (via ponoko)
* 1/4-20 Hex Nuts
* 1/4-20 3" or 4" long bolts
* 1/4" washers
* 3/8-16


  • Laser cut Acrylic sheet (via ponoko)
  • 1/4-20 Hex Nuts (Home Depot)
  • 1/4-20 3" or 4" long bolts (Home Depot)
  • 1/4" washers (Home Depot)
  • 3/8-16 Hex Nuts (Home Depot)
  • Super Glue (lots of super glue)

Step #1: Designing the board.

So, I was inspired by the PlatyPod type boards. I was originally made aware of them via their recent kickstarter for their PlatyPod Ultra. I was super excited, but then wondered, "is this something I would actually use?" So instead of backing the project and waiting and seeing if it would be something I would use, I decided to make a protoype of one and see if it was something I would actually use or find useful. Plus... gave me a chance to design and make something.

I used Adobe Illustrator and a 181mmx181mm template from Ponoko to design the board. I used 5.6mm thick red acrylic... because I thought it would match my camera bags, which contained a good deal of red. Plus Sony cameras tend to have a touch of orange/red, so I thought it blended well. Turns out most of the hex nuts I had were just shy of 5.6mm, so they would fit in the board thickness just fine.

I realized I could fit two boards so designed it with two boards in mind.

I added 1/4-20 hex nut openings in the corners and various edge midpoints to facilitate flexible "leg" placement. I added in alternating 1/4-20 and 3/8-16 hex nut holes along the centerline so I could use either bolt type to secure a tripod head, flash unit, etc. I added rounded openings for 2" wide straps. The outer corners of the board are likewise rounded. I kept the rectangular shape since it made sense to minimize sharp corners.

In total, from upload/order to arrive at my front door, it took about 4 days. Woot.

Cost of materials/etc from Ponoko for the cut board and this is how it arrived...

Sliced and diced. Covered with protective sheet on both sides and one side has a strong adhesive sticker to hold everything in place, so no lost bits! I ended up with a whole mess of little red hexagon tiles. :)

After everything was split out, I ended up with two sweet looking red boards:

Then... the next step was to get the hex nuts in place. When I did the hex dimensions, I opted for the maximum rated dimension for the nuts, so I figured, if the openings were a bit too big, I could shim. But if they were too small, it would be a mess.

The nuts fit with just a tiny air gap for both the 1/4-20 and the 3/8-16. WOOT!

Yes... the image is upside down. No... I'm not going to fix it.

I used loctite super glue(liquid) so that it would flow between the spaces. I would glue one side, then the other. I would then follow up with a reinforcement washer on one side with a nice thick ring of glue. The other side is left bare so I could have the mount point flush.

I let it cure overnight. Some light wiping/rubbing of the acrylic cleared up the super glue haze.

Here it is on the flip side with the haze and the 4 x 4" 1/4-20 bolts that would serve as legs. Note, the threads on these bolts and nuts are "coarse" threads so there is ALOT of spacing and the legs will wobble. Using a "fine" thread bolt/nut pairing would result in MUCH sturdier leg setup and with no wobble. As would using a longer nut setup.

Here it is with 3 legs. It can use any number of legs that suits one's needs. You can even use shorter legs or longer legs. Just bear in mind, it will take a long while to get the leg to the right height. Also, it would be advisable to wrap the hex head in something like Sugru to provide a soft rubber head to use as a "foot".

So here it is with 4 legs, a 20mm ball head installed on one of the central nuts. A Sony Alpha A7ii with 35/1.4 lens on it. It actually balances quite well and can be tilted in a variety of ways, which would make this a very versatile tool..... however...

What I Don't Like About This Concept....

  • The bolt legs take a LONG time to get installed and adjusted to the right height/length. The longer the leg, the more versatile, but also the more time required.
  • The plate itself IS flat and makes for easy...
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  • 4 × 1/4-20 4" Hex Bolt
  • 2 × 3/8-16 Hex Nut
  • 1 × 2D Cut Mount Plate/board

  • Modification To Initial build - Adjustable Magic Clamp Arms Instead of Legs

    Wing Tang Wong06/16/2017 at 06:15 0 comments

    So, to address some of the issues I felt existed in the original bolt leg solution, I took some mini magic clamps I had and installed them onto the board. Since I used "industry standard" 1/4-20 nuts, that meant that a good deal of video rig and photography accessories will be "compatible" with the board I built.

    So here it is with a smaller ball head and three magic clamps on articulated arms:

    Below, it the articulated ball join segments are turned flat against the underside, making it more portable.

    Here it is with the clamps screwed on, which can serve as "feet" or mounted on the side for a wider foot base.

    The magic clamps allow the platform to be clamped to vertical rods and other surfaces...

    Here it is, clamped to a wire rack shelving unit and with an A7ii mirrorless camera and a 35mm lens. The 2 clamp mounting is very rigid. The third clamp can provide additional reinforcement or hold a scrim or shade to prevent light from getting onto the lens.

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