Photography Rig

 

Since I started 3D printing my projects and posting them on Thingiverse (after sometime, also here), I had the need to take pictures from the objects I had printed, the assembly and even recording them. I purchased a Cutting Mat, gree, with dimension markings painted all over it, which helps a lot on the picture contrast and also to give an idea of the objects size. But the biggest problem, when taking pictures is always lighting.

I could have purchased a professional photograpy rig, with lights and stuff, but It would be expensive and, probably, would exceed my space limitations. So, I decide to go on a custom made project, described here.

 

Parts List

  • PVC pipes (the lengths given here are based on my needs, you may need different lengths)
    • 1 meter of 1″ pipe (25,3mm)
    • 1,80 meters of 3/4″ pipe (20mm)
    • 4 3/4″ pipe caps
    • 2 3/4″ pipe tees
    • 2 90 degrees 1″ pipe elbows
  • Files for printing
  • LED Emergency Lamp (w/ battery). The model used is an FLC one (sorry, no english on their page).
  • 4 M3 screws + nuts
  • Scotch tape (duct tape, electrical tape, …, almost any tape works)
  • Optional
    • 1 PVC glue
    • 4 printed feet to sit the frame nicely on a surface
    • 10cm x 10cm of EVA rubber to glue under the feets
    • 4 small / medium ZipTies, to strap the feet on the frame

 

Frame Assembly

1. Cut 2 pieces of 1″ pipe to the length of 33cm

2. Cut 1 piece of 1″ pipe to the length of 55cm

3. Cut 2 pieces of 3/4″ pipe to the length of 33cm

4. Cut 2 pieces of 3/4″ pipe to the length of 20cm

5. Cut 2 pieces of 3/4″ pipe to the length of 31cm

6. Fit and glue (optional) each elbow to one 1″ pipe x 33cm (1)

7. Fit and glue (optional) each of the remaining elbows socket to one 1″ pipe x 55cm (2), in a way then, when laid down on a surface the frame resembles a U shape

Steps 6 and 7 – Elbow attatched to 2 pipes

 

8. Fit and glue (optional) each each of the 3/4″ x 33cm (5) in the vertical socket of each tee

9. Fit and glue (optional) each each of the 3/4″ x 20cm (4) in one of each horizontal sockets of each tee

10. Fit and glue (optional) each each of the 3/4″ x 31cm (5) in the remaining sockets of each tee

Steps 8 to 10 finished

 

11. Fit and glue (optional) each of the caps at the end of each 3/4″ horizontal pipes

 

 

12. Wrap some scotch tap around the tee vertical 3/4″ pipe, in a way it offers some resistance when the pipe is inserted into the 1″ pipe (1). This is necessary to allow the frame to change and maintain height.

Duct tape wrapped around the 3/4″ pipe

 

13. Print the rig feet

 

 

14. Glue the EVA rubber under the feet. Put some glue on the concave part of the feet and attach them to the pipes using some zip ties

  

 

15. Print the LED lamp mount

 

  

 

16. Screw the lamp mounts / clamps attaching them on the horizontal 1″ pipe

  

 

Finished Project

  • It’s a compact rig that can be folded in a way it only needs 3 inches of horizontal space (when stored vertically).
  • It has a variable height.
  • Serveral types of equipment (besides the LED lamp) can be attached to the rig in different positions (the GoPro cameras have bike accessories that can be attatched to the frame of the rig).
  • It’s easily upgradable : if necessary, all the pipes can be changed to different lengths, increasing / decreasing the size of the whole rig. To allow this upgrade, the pipes cannot be glued to the fittings. Also, in a different manner, it’s possible to have diffente base sizes or U structures and mix them up.
  • It’s practical: Using an emergency LED lamp, allows a “wireless” use of the rig. Once the lamp has its own battery, it doesn’t need to be connected to a power outlet. Also, in case of a power outage, you can use the lamp on its original goal.

 

  

  

  

 

Future

  • Using only one LED lamp is ok for photography, but when recording, specially with GoPro cameras, which are not very good on low light situations, the resulting recordings get very dark. So, one of the possible updates on the project would be to include a 2 lamp mount.
  • Instead of fit the elbows and tees directly to the pipes, some better fitting, including a screw, maybe, could be modeled and attatched to the pipes, in order the rig can be entirely disassembled and reassembled easily.
  • Create a lamp mount with a rotating mechanism that would allow the lamp to be attatched to the vertical pipes and therefore more close to the subject, providing more light.

 

Printing

Nozzle 0.4mm – No need for smaller one
Material ABS: Scale the object in 1.01 to compensate the material shrinkage
Infill 30% is ideal
Other

 

Author

Fábio Lutz

Bachelor degree in Computer Science by UFRGS / Brazil; 18 years of professional experience on software development (Delphi/Pascal, Java, PHP, Javascript, ...
About The Author