DIY sand bags

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by JerryPH, Jul 14, 2009.

  1. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    After a recent tip over of a lightstand (no damage, I saved it well before it hit the ground), I looked around for prices for sandbags and was surprised at what they cost. I thought it would be interesting to see what DIY ones would cost me, and it was a huge savings without a huge drop in quality at all.

    Mine cost me about 1/10th the price of store bought ones that I could find locally. The small ones are single 6 pound bags and the larger ones are 28 pounds each.

    I use the smaller ones as counterweights for the boom and the larger ones to hold the lightstands down and keep them from tipping over.

    I made 2 of each and the total cost of the project was about $8.25 Canadian, including the pre-dried sand.

    Credit has to go to my mother for the sewing (labour is where I am sure I saved the most on!), she did an awesome job. Each sand bag is double lined and triple stitched for longevity... not that I will be all that hard on them anyways.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    I just picked up a sewing machine for making bags for an outdoor game (cornhole, bags, bag toss, baggo, whatever your area calls it).

    I might have to try something similar!

    Got any more specs?
     
  3. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    If you really want some weight, use lead shot instead of sand.

    You should be able to buy it at any gun shop (do they have those in Canada...?), finer sporting goods stores should have it as well.

    If I remember correctly, cost is about a dollar per pound.

    They look nice though. I usually just use my camera bag when I need to add some weight to the tripod (I don't know if it's good or bad that it's heavy enough for that...).
     
  4. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I like the way they attach and drape over the legs too.
     
  5. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Sure... Large bags are 14 X 22 inches and the smaller ones are 12 X 4 inches. They each hold sand and when filled are about 3-4 inches thick. Each has a "handle" built into it for being held in place on the base of the stand (not really needed for the big ones, just handy to grab on to) and to slip over the end of the boom for a counter balance to the setup.

    I used my reflector boom (way under-strength for the application) just to test it out, and the two smaller sand bags are perfect for balancing either the 28" or 50" Apollo softboxes holding two battery filled SB-600s up in the air above the subjects in a nicely balanced manner.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Oh heck, 28 pounds is more than enough to support this. :D
    My thought was also to see for how little I could make it, and for $3.25 I had a 66 pounds worth of sand in the trunk... lol

    I am sure they do, and it is a good alternative to sand if you want something a touch heavier and something that won't leak out of small holes if your stitching abilities suffer a little. :confused:

    Well, I've used the camera bag in the past too. When I am using the studio head, the Vagabond II battery pack makes a nice weight. It has straps built into the case that let you attach it to the lightstand just above the outstretched legs.

    I just thought it a fun and easy project for someone with a few hours, a little sand, material and sewing machine could do for near nothing. I also thought it would be nice to share this as it is something useful for anyone that uses lightstands indoors or outdoors and is VERY affordable.

    Getting busted lights and softboxes that tipped over becuase of a breeze sucks. :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2009
  7. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Yeah - lead would have cost considerably more...lol.


    How did you "load" the bags? I assume you didn't just pour some sand in there then throw it up on the sewing machine...
     
  8. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Uhhmm... yep! Is my mom good or what! :lol:

    Actually, the trick is to not overfill the bags and to use pins to hold it closed. It also helps to have a helper (me) hold the bags at an angle and to raise it maybe a 1/2 inch high so that it all slides smoothly through. I took the weight off and she did the rest. :mrgreen: That is for the inner bag that holds the sand. The outer "skin" is a simple jean material and by that point, the sand bag is sealed and slipped into the pocket of each side of the "saddle bag". Honestly, not one grain of sand escaped during the whole process. Some care had to be taken, of course.

    Edit:
    What I am probably not explaining properly is the fact that the small bags are really 2 bags in one... the bag that holds the sand and the bag that becomes the outer shell and handle. The larger ones are 2 bigger sand bags placed into a single 14 X 22 bag that is stitched up in the middle so each bag sits in it's own pocket and remains on it's side. Each bag has a small "handle" for ease of grabbing and a offering a way to be secured to the lightstand if needed. Each "outer shell" is also sewn closed, containing the unit into one completed sand bag. I suppose it could easily all be done with one "bag", but this way everything is much stronger and last longer.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2009
  9. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    Well this sounds like a cool project. And I have a friend with a sewing machine. Might have to ask her for some help. Very cool idea Jerry. :D
     
  10. blash

    blash TPF Noob!

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    I just throw my Camelbak Classic on my tripod. Sure it probably doesn't help *as* much as these do, but water has a pretty decent weight to it I'd think.
     
  11. SpeedTrap

    SpeedTrap TPF Noob!

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    I did something simmilar just a few weeks ago.
    But we used a food sealer to make the sand bags and then slid them into nylon bags with gromits to hang them.
     
  12. soylentgreen

    soylentgreen TPF Noob!

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    Go Mom! Thanks Jerry, that will be a project for me and my mom to tackle next.
     

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