Making a reflector stand for about $20*

I was looking around for a reflector stand to use indoors or outdoors on a photo shoot. Most of the stands cost at least $150 or more. With the current economical situation, and not having a job at the moment, I couldn’t justify buying one. So, I look to the Internet and decided to make one myself. I am not much of a handy person but this project was foolproof and easy to do. Here is a step by step instruction on how I did it.

*The total cost does not include shipping, tax or a cheap tripod I had around. You can get a tripod for about $20 if you shop around.

Step 1

List of items needed and approximate cost:

1 x 1/2" 5 way  $3.99 each
1 x 1/2" three way Tee  $0.24 each
4 x 1/2" 90 degree Tee elbow  $0.19 each
Purchased from PVC Distributor LLC

3 x Spring clamps 1"  $1.99 each
Purchased from Woodcraft

3 x 1/4" EMT Conduit hanger  $0.11 each (bought a bag of 10)
Purchased from Online Electric Supply

2 x 1/4" by 10′ PVC pipe   $1.47 each

6 x 1/4" – 20 Wing nuts
6 x 1/4" – 20 nylon insert lock nuts
3 x 1/4" – 20 by 3/4" hex top bolt  Hardware total less than $2.00
PVC Cement  $3.25
Purchased from Lowes

Step 2

One each of the items needed for the assembly

Tools needed:
PVC saw – I had this but you can buy it at Lowes
Hex head driver
Large philip screwdriver
Flathead screwdriver
Needlenose plier

The reflector I have is 42” in diameter so I had to use that as a guide.

Step 3

The 1/4” PVC piper were cut in to the following pieces:

3 x 46”
4 x 12”

Step 4

First, I had to mount the top piece of the tripod to the 5 way.

The original screw that came with the tripod top wasn’t long enough. So, I took one of the 3/4” length bolt and replace it, a perfect fit as you can see above looking from the bottom.

The hard part was drilling a hole on one side of the pipe, which was filled up and putting a nut inside to hold the bolt together. I had to wedge a flathead screwdriver between the bolt head and the plastic and used a needle nose plier to tighten it up. You can see the nut inside the pipe.

Step 5

Then I glued the tee piece to two 12” pieces on either side.

Then the same thing to the 5 way, making sure that the tripod bottom is aligned so that the pipes went to the sides of the tripod when mounted.

Next, I glued the elbows to the only the top and bottom pieces. The three short pieces I used above is only to align the elbows so they are glued twisted. After the glue dries, take out the three vertical pieces.

Step 6

The following several steps I got the idea from site.

This is what a EMT Conduit hanger looks like. Unscrew the whole thing, keep the bolt and the bracket but discard the nut.

This is where you will need one of the wing nuts.

Take the clamp and take off one of the plastic sleeves. You will see a hole there. Unfortunately, the hole was too small for the 1/4” – 20 bolts, so I had to use a drill and a bit to make the hole a bit bigger.

Insert one of the bolts through the hole, use the nylon lock nut and tighten.

Then you put the EMC Conduit hanger through the bolt, use the wing nut to tighten it on the clamp.

Step 6

Slip each of them over the 46” pipes, three of them.

It should look like the above picture (the picture shown side ways), two on the bottom and one on the top. The bottom clamps should face inward, like the one at the bottom. The top clamp, shown on right, should be facing straight down.

Step 7

Once you put the whole thing on the tripod, it looks like above. Adjust the position of the clamps to accommodate the reflector.

And when all done, it should look like above. You can use the tripod to adjust the angles and height.

The three long pipes come apart so that you can carry them with you easily and assemble at the site. One more thing, it is fairly top heavy and may flip over in a strong wind. I am thinking of getting a sandbag for the tripod so it will stay put.

Let me know what you think. I think the whole thing, including shipping and tax was about $35.

On January 14, 2009, posted in: Uncategorized by
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