Monday, March 30, 2015

Troubleshooting Stuck Photography Backdrop Stands

Hey guys, so for those of you who use photo backdrops, this will hopefully help with maintenance and unsticking some situations for generic stands.

So after over a year of pretty regular use, I was having quite a bit of trouble getting my tripods to extend and retract. It took a lot of twisting and tugging and slamming into the ground to get it to do what I wanted.
After Evillecon this past weekend, I heard a big POP while closing one of my tripods. All the tightening pieces were suddenly able to move freely up and down the poles and rubber O rings were just loose. Oh, and the poles wouldn't budge beyond this:

Also, the retractable poles came right off the tripod when I picked it up, which is why the tripod bottom is sitting to the left there. I contacted Linco for help and they advised me that the bottom of each pole section is triangular at the bottom, so it might be wedged inside the bigger pole.

With that in mind, I figured the only solution was to physically separate all the components. Brute force was necessary.

So here are the triangular bottoms of each pole. You can see they're all scratched up from sliding in and out a bajillion times. Metal on metal friction is a killer. I busted out some gun oil to wipe down the friction-y parts. I bet graphite would be a much better lubricant, but gun oil is my go to for most metal upkeep. It fixed my Tecre button machine, it can do this. And as always with lubricant, less is more. I applied a couple drops to a paper towel and wiped down all the parts that looked like they might touch another metal part.


 After oiling, the scratches are a lot less visible. :)

 Hee hee, here's my helper.

 Now we're ready to put the whole thing back together.  
Step 1: slide the bottom pole in, triangular end first. The poles and tighteners are easy to figure out the order. Big to small, bottom to top.

Step 2: Slide the biggest tightener on. You may need to loosen the screw and retighten once it's seated. There's a lip inside the tightener piece that will stop the piece from sliding too far down.

Step 3: Stretch the biggest rubber O ring on.
Step 4: Slide in the next pole.
Step 5: Slide on the middle tightener until it is seated. Tighten screws if necessary.

 The rubber O rings are just spacers between the tighteners when the whole thing is collapsed. Press it against the next tallest tightener piece.
Repeat this until you get to the top. Mine only has 3 segments, but some have more.

Step 6:  At the top, put the finaly rubber O ring on and press the top part back in. It's only purpose is to serve as a base for the screw and nut to have somewhere to attach.

And now my backdrop opens and closes much more smoothly. I think the entire process took me about 15 minutes. Quick and easy way to fix those collapsible parts that won't budge.

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