Celestron SPM Tripod Shelf Do-It-Yourself Design

by Ed Stewart <stargazera_tskymtn.com>

Photo--SPM tripod shelf

The Celestron SPM uses a very popular wooden tripod design, but you will probably notice a lot of image shaking. I have traced much of the cause to the legs--the design introduces instability and flexing with its weak thumbscrew clamping of the three components. Also the legs have little triangular stiffening from tip to attachment on the tripod head, allowing an azimuth torsional twisting of the head. And then there's the accessory tray. It requires threading on three tiny wingnuts, upside down. I'm sure many of these are lost in the grass forever!

My solution is to replace the original metal apparatus/shelf in the center of the tripod legs with a wooden shelf of 3/4" or 19mm plywood that has three pairs of parallel 3/4" X 3/4" wooden arms. My shelf is round only because it was a scrap left over from another project. It can be any shape; a hexigon would work great and be easy to cut. Each pair of arms extends outward and encompasses one of the legs clamping on to it with a bolt and thumbscrew. The arms greatly reduce the torsional twisting and flexing in the legs. The result is a magnitude gain in stability, plus a more functional shelf that you can easily customize for your accessories.




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