March 12, 2014

Create a Leveled Panoramic Rotator via the SCV-Flip-Kit - Part Two

Inverted Sunwayfoto FB-36 BH w/ SCV-FK Flip kit - tilted
I closed the previous article Create an Economy Leveled Panoramic Rotator via a Ball Head Flip-Kit, with a promise that as soon as other Flip-Kit versions were prepared, enhanced with more screws, bushings etc in order to cover more ball head or quick release mounts, I would come back with updates.

Therefore, this second part is an addendum to the original article in order to present the enhanced Desmond SCV-FK Flip Kit along with more illustrations of a different type conversion.

The refined idea of an inverse mounted ball head equipped with a panning base, which automatically gives to it leveling base attributes, as well as how I arrived to designing the SCV-FK Flip-Kit is fully described and explained in the original article.
Therefore, in order to avoid repeating myself, please refer to the previous article if you find difficulty comprehending the process or the purpose.

The Enhanced Flip Kit
Pursuing the goal  that "anyone" can use the Flip-Kit, the prerequisites regarding the ball heads covered by this first version of the Flip-Kit, which applied some restrictions, were almost eliminated by the release of the enhanced kit.
Now the majority of ball head types are covered falling in the following categories:

A. The Ball Head should have a Quick Release Clamp attached via an M5, M6 or 1/4"-20 screw.
B. The Quick Release Clamp should have a center hole with 3/8"-16 or 1/4"-20 thread or no thread at all but be wide enough to permit the insertion of an 1/4"-20 screw.
C. The Ball Head should have an independently locking panning base with a 3/8"-16 or 1/4"-20 thread mounting hole on the bottom.

Desmond Boss adapter for Manfrotto 490 and 050 series
Even more, with the recent release of the Desmond Boss Adapter for Manfrotto 490 and 050 Series Ball Heads (sold as an extra) owners of the 494, 496, 498 or 054, 055, 057 Manfrotto® ball heads can use the Flip-Kit as well.

Kit Components

SCV-FK Flip-Kit components
The enhanced version of the SCV-FK Flip kit contains ten (10) components, compared to the five (5) of the original. all intended to support a flipped over ball head.
  • One Aluminium Base 58 mm (2.28") in diameter by 20 mm (0.79") tall.
  • Three stainless-steel hex-socket cap bolts with 1/4"-20, M5 and M6 threads.
  • One 4 mm and one 3 mm Allen hex keys,
  • One stainless-steel 40 mm (1.57") in diameter male 3/8"-16 to male 3/8"-16 thread adapter disk.
  • One 3/8"-16 to 1/4"-20 thread conversion bushing.
  • One SS 1/4"-20 flat-head hex-socket screw 1" long.
  • One stick-on Rubber Washer ∅ 35mm
Except for the Aluminium Base all other components are made of stainless steel in order to ensure best rigidity and corrosion resistance.

In the previous article, I had described and illustrated the relocation of the existing ball head QR clamp at the bottom of the ball head utilizing the male 3/8"-16 to male 3/8"-16 thread adapter disk since both the ball head bottom mounting hole and the clamp center mounting hole were threaded 3/8"-16.

Ball Head Conversion Example II

For this example, I picked for the illustration the Sunwayfoto FB-36DL Lightweight Ball Head (reviewed) with a Duo Lever / Knob quick release clamp which fits the description of a ball head with narrow ball-stem using M5 size screws for clamp attachment and an 1/4"-20 clamp center hole.

Removing the QR Clamp

Sunwayfoto FB-36 BH - QR clamp removal sequence
First step is to remove the ball head quick release clamp. After locking the ball tightly via the ball head lock-knob, we unscrew (turning counter-clockwise) the QR clamp using the provided 3 mm Allen hex key appropriate for the M5 screw.
SCV-FK aluminium base w/ hex socket cap screw and Allen key
Then we isolate the SCV-FK Aluminium base and the appropriate hex socket cap screw from the kit, choosing the one that matches the threads of the screw removed from the QR clamp. In this case we need the M5 thread screw/bolt, actually the smaller of the three.

Attaching the Aluminium Base

Hand testing of hex-socket cap screw on ball head stem
At this stage it would be wise to hand test the hex-socket cap screw into the ball stem threads in order to ensure full compatibility and avoid causing damage to the threads.
SCV-FK aluminium base mounting sequence on Sunwayfoto FB-36
Next step is to invert the aluminium base on top of the ball head, taking care to align the ball head stem bosses with the relevant anti-twist groove on the base top platform (as shown on the top left photo). Then we should align the center hole with the ball head mounting hole and gently screw the hex-socket cap screw a few turns (top right photo). Then using the appropriate Allen hex key we screw all the way and tighten the base in place.

Preparing the QR Clamp with the 1/4" Screw

Preparation sequence of DLC-42 Duo clamp w/ 1/4" screw and rubber washer
In this case we shall utilize the stainless steel 1" long 1/4"-20 flat-head hex-socket screw, which we have to screw-in from top into the DLC-42 QR clamp center hole. As the center hole is threaded 1/4"-20 the screw has to go all the way and tightened well on the clamp first so as it resides flush with the clamp surface (top right photo). Then on the under side we can fit the stick-on rubber washer which will play the role of an anti-twist mechanism (bottom photo).
I should point out that the glue on the underside of the rubber washer is very strong, therefore it is up to you to decide on which side your want to stick it. The clamp bottom or the ball head base.

Attaching the QR Clamp on the Ball Head

Clamp attachment sequence via 3/8" to 1/4" bushing on Ball Head bottom
Now we can flip and stand the Ball Head on the SCV-FK base. The 1/4"-20 to 3/8"-16 thread conversion bushing should now be screwed into the ball head's 3/8"-16 bottom mounting hole (top photos) in order to accept the 1.4"-20 screw.
All we need now is to screw into the bottom hole the prepared QR clamp with the 1/4"-20 screw and tighten it well with the included 4 mm Allen Hex key.
Inverted Sunwayfoto FB-36 BH w/ SCV-FK Flip kit - complete
Our leveled panoramic rotator is now ready! Should I mention here, that the stick-on rubber washer has a dual role. Besides preventing the QR clamp from twisting it also acts as a spacer between the ball head and the QR clamp. This is a provision for ball heads, which have the panning lock-knob placed very close to the bottom, thus avoid interference between the clamp knob and the ball head knobs.

Using Your Inverted Rotator

Tripod mouting sequence of inverted Sunwayfoto FB-36 BH via SCV-FK Flip kit
The inverted ball head is now easily mounted on a tripod top mounting plate stud, like the Nest NT-6294CT Carbon Fiber Traveler Tripod pictured above, via the 3/8"-16 mounting hole on the bottom side of the SCV-FK Aluminium Base. (If your tripod has a non reversible 1/4"-20 stud then an extra to 1/4"-20 to 3/8"-16 conversion bushing should be used - not included).
Ball head operation examples in tilted or vertical orientaton
The Flip-Kit base is both sturdy enough to hold and tall enough to permit any kind of ball head movement from slight tilting to full vertical tilting without any interference with the panning base (panning top now) or the QR clamp knobs.
Inverted Sunwayfoto FB-36 BH w/ Desmond DNR-120 Nodal Slide
Adding a low budget Nodal Slide like the Desmond DNR-120 pictured above or a lens ring equipped with an Arca style foot, you may come up with a very versatile and low cost, entry level panoramic solution, yet fully Arca-Swiss® compatible.

In the next example article, Part Three of Create a Leveled Panoramic Rotator via the SCV-Flip-Kit, I shall illustrate the conversion of a more common but still sturdy ball head as the Benro B-2, which deploys an M6 screw for its clamp attachment, but the clamp features an unthreaded center hole.

Update March 31, 2013
Create a Leveled Panoramic Rotator via the SCV-Flip-Kit - Part Three

I hope you found the article and ideas useful, thank you for viewing.
Design, Photos & Photosynths: © 2014 S.C.Vlachos

Price & Availability:
Introductory price of the Desmond SCV-FK Flip-Kit is US$ 24.95 9.95 and is available from Amazon and from eBay

Referenced Articles:

Sunwayfoto FB-36DDH Lightweight Ball Head Review

Nest NT-6294CT Carbon Fiber Traveler Tripod Review

New Budget Line of Nodal Slides and Multipurpose Rails from Desmond

Desmond Boss Adapter for Manfrotto 490 and 050 Series Ball Heads Review

Relevant Articles:

Create an Economy Leveled Panoramic Rotator via a Ball Head Flip-Kit

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