Topic: the Slik tripod improvement project.

A few weeks ago, I found this old Slik Master tripod on Craigslist--right here in town--for 25 bucks.  I THOUGHT it was pretty heavy duty,  until today.   I had decided to remove the factory head, which is integral,  and see if I could modify it to use my Bogen ballhead instead,  and maybe in the process, keep the factory head to be used also.

When I removed the head,  I about dropped.  The "key piece"  which holds the ENTIRE LOAD of the lens/camera is the pictured round piece, either cast aluminum or 'pot metal',  which has a short brass piece cast within.   This is a 1/4" US thread, and is only about 3/8-7/16" long so it's not very substantial.  I could just picture my new 100-400L and the Canon Xt toppling to the ground if that failed!!!

I made the second piece on the lathe out of a starter solenoid plunger out of an old GM starter, and "hand ground"  the flats to fit inside the center tube.  Drilled the center for 3/8 thread,  and will have to cross-drill it to pin to the tube, later.   

It will be easy to adapt the old head if I want,  just drill the original post for a 3/8 bolt,  only THIS TIME   I'll go clear through the damn thing. 

The original tripod, head,  and new plug for the ballhead

The new tube plug, drilled and tapped for 3/8

and the old head mount, showing the ridiculously poor brass nut arraingement   cast into  the swivel

Re: the Slik tripod improvement project.

And, FINALLY, got the new plug   pinned in place,  and my Bogen 486RC2  ballhead mounted.   This thing just works awsome!!   As you can see,   I can articulate the camera straight down with no interferance,  the ball head really works better than ANY  tripod head I have.  It doesn't "creep"  very much with a big lens when you try and tighten it down after aiming. 

Shown here,  with "just something to hang on there",  my Rebel G with Tamron 500mm mirror mounted.