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How to build a ‘Vintage Tripod Standing Light’

Last updated on 13th April, 2019

Here is a nice weekend project for you. Back when my wife and I got married, I made a vintage photo booth in my VW Campervan. This included a nice vintage tripod to mount the camera on. Since the wedding, I haven’t needed a tripod mounted vintage photo booth. As a result, I decided to put the tripod to better use as a vintage tripod standing light !

Inspired by designer lighting, I decided to build a vintage tripod standing light. The beauty of this project is that it is easy, cheap and looks great!

What you’ll need

The materials list for this project is really straight forward. In fact, like me, you might already have everything lying around the house! All you need for the vintage tripod standing light is:

  • Wooden Legs
    • 34mm x 12mm x 700mm – or similar size (QTY9)
  • Fixtures and Fittings
    • M8 Nuts (QTY6)
    • M8x60mm Bolts (QTY6)
    • M8 Plain Washers (QTY12)
    • 3x10mm wood screws – or similar size (QTY12)
  • 3D Printed Parts
    • End Guide (QTY3)
    • Guide Runner (QTY6)
    • M8 Thumb Nut (QTY3)
    • M8 Handle (QTY3)
    • Light Hub (QTY1)
  • Lighting

Like I said, I had all of the above lying around the house but if you don’t, it shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg. The timber should cost you £4 from B&Q or similar. The fixtures and fittings will be around £2. The 3D Printed parts is come to about £4’s worth of material. And the lighting kit will set you back around £10. So for the grand total of £20 – you can have yourself a nice designer style, vintage tripod standing light.

3D Printed Parts

There are 3 main parts to the vintage tripod standing light and then some small M8 handles and thumb nuts. I made these on my custom built 3D printer, although, most 3D printers should be able to make these parts.

The ones here have been printed in black PLA but many materials will work. I think one of the brass filled filaments would work fantastically for this project as they would polish up nicely giving that vintage look. If you try any new materials, please send me through some photos.

I’ve attached all the .stl files below and the quantities can be found in the list above.

Wooden Legs

The wooden legs are really straight forward. As mentioned above, you are looking for something in the region of 34mm x 12mm x 700mm. If you change the width or thickness of the legs, you will need to modify the 3D printed parts to suit. The length is entirely up to you. I found 700mm worked well and allowed the light total height to be around 1.5m.

To prepare the legs for assembly, drill some 8.5mm diameter holes in the top of six (out of nine) wooden legs. These holes are the pivot points for the legs at the hub and should be a generous clearance hole for M8. Round off the outside corners on the end where you have just drilled the holes. This will allow the ends to pivot nicely in the hub.

If you want to finish off the wooden legs with some varish, wax or paint, now is the time to do it.

Assembly

Once you have all the parts needed and the legs prepared, it is a very simple job to assemble – in 10 easy steps as they say!

Time needed: 30 minutes.

Once you have all the parts needed and the legs prepared, it is a very simple job to assemble – in 10 easy steps as they say!

  1. Assemble the thumb nuts

    Take 3 of the M8 bolts and attach the an M8 Thumb Nut to each. If the printed parts are a bit of a tight fit, use a couple of washers and an M8 nut to help them press fit into place.

  2. Assembly the handles

    Repeat step 1 with the M8 handles.

  3. Prep the light hub

    Insert 3 M8 nuts into the corresponding holes on the light hub.

  4. Attach the upper legs

    Next, attach your 6 drilled legs to the light hub and secure using the 3 bolts with thumb nuts.

  5. Attach the end guides

    Take 1 of the 3D Printed End Guides and attach it at the end of a pair of the upper legs. Use 2 of the small wood screws to secure the 2 legs to the end guide.

  6. Prep the guide runners

    Take 3 of the 3D printed guide runners and insert 3 M8 nuts into the corresponding holes.

  7. Add the 3rd Leg

    Slide the 3rd leg into the end guide assembly from step 5

  8. Attach the guide runners

    Attach 2 of the guide runners to the end of the sliding leg you just installed and secure (to the sliding leg!) using some small wood screws. Next, take one of the M8 handle assemblies (that you made in step 2) and run through the guide runners to the M8 nut (that you installed in step 6).

  9. Finish up the other 2 legs

    Repeat step 8 for the other two lower legs

  10. Add your light

    Finally, add in your light by passing the cable through the slot on the lighting hub. The plastic fitting on the light assembly should be a nice snug press fit into the lighting hub.

The Finished Tripod

Time to stand back and admire your vintage tripod standing light!

Built one or what one?

If you’ve built one of these, I’d love to hear how you got on. Please send me some pictures through via the contact me page or add some comments below.

Do you what one but don’t have the time or parts? Get in touch – I have lots of spares and happy to help you by build one. I can rather send you the parts for you to assemble yourself or even build a whole one and send it complete.

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