May 08 2012

New Lives for Old Tubes: The Saga Continues; or,
How About a Security Band for a Tripod Quick-Release?

Camera tripods range from tiny things small enough to fit in the palm of your hand to mammoth professional jobs that look as if they’d be able to support a house-sized camera obscura, and while my tripod certainly isn’t the largest one going, it’s too big to cram into a pack. So it usually ends up being strapped to the outside. That’s not a problem in itself. In fact, this makes it easy for me to get at it in a hurry whenever the need arises. But I do worry about losing the tripod’s quick-release post:

Slik Tripod Quick-Release Post and Head

A lever locks the post in place on the tripod head, but an overhanging branch could snag the lever and unlock the quick-release as I walked along, allowing it to part company with the head. I’d probably never even hear it fall. What to do? Well, I could get a big stuff sack for my tripod, but the sack would be one more thing to look after, and it would certainly increase set-up time. Or I could carry the post in my pocket. But pockets develop holes. And it is convenient to have the post already mounted on the tripod. Still, there’s always the possibility that brush will snag the locking lever sooner or later…

Mind the Brush

The solution to this nagging problem came to me while I was searching among my collection of patched and blown bicycle inner tubes for the one new tube I was sure was hidden there. Why not cut a section from an old tube to make a heavy-duty rubber band, then slip it over the tripod head so as to secure the quick-release post? It ought to work, I thought. And it does:

Mind the Head

Photo 1 illustrates how the post fits into the tripod head, while Photo 2 demonstrates the operation of the locking lever, and Photo 3 shows the post retracted as far as it will go, with my inner-tube security band in place. (Photo 4 gives a top view.) I could have used a wider piece of inner tube, I suppose, but this one does the job, and it’s easier to slide into position over the rubberized tripod head than a wider band.

Would a regular rubber band work as well? Sure. At first. But rubber bands go to pieces quickly in the open, while inner-tube material hangs tough. It will rot eventually, of course. Am I losing sleep over this possibility? No way! There are several lifetimes’ worth of replacement security bands on a shelf in my workroom. Those old tubes might just as well be used for something. Waste not, want not, right?



More Uses for Old Inner Tubes

 

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