Tripod care

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by davholla, Dec 13, 2019.

  1. davholla

    davholla No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have a Manfrotto MK294A3-D3RC2 294 Aluminium Tripod Kit with 3 Way QR. It has got very stiff, what is the best way to deal with this? Any ideas?


    Thank you in advance.


     
  2. RVT1K

    RVT1K No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    What part is giving the trouble...the legs or the ball?
    I would start out by inspecting and cleaning but be careful of what you use. Some solvents can take the anodizing off aluminum and potentially attack plastic. Regular dish soap should not be a problem but something like Castrol's old Superclean requires caution.

    I would also be hesitant to use any lubrication since it will probably only attract dirt. Dry graphite may help.
     
  3. davholla

    davholla No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It is both legs and ball.
     
  4. petrochemist

    petrochemist TPF junkie!

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    Strong acids & bases might affect anodizing but normal solvents shouldn't. The only chemicals on my compatibility charts that are not recommended for Aluminium are inorganic ones.

    However over 90% of the solvents in our lab will affect one plastic or another.
    There are a few plastics that are effectively immune to solvent attack, (PTFE, PFA, PEEK...) but use of these in camera parts manufacture will probably be limited to PTFE being used for self lubricating parts.
    On the whole construction is more likely to involve plastics/elastomers like Nylon, polycarbonate, polystyrene, rubber, & silicone the last 2 of which are severely affected by nearly all hydrocarbons (gasoline etc), while ketones & alcohols will generally go for the others.
     
  5. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It's likely stiff due to dust in the moving parts. Extend everything fully and hose the **** out of it with fresh water. Let it dry for a couple of days, and then lubricate the moving parts with very small doses of a silicone lubricant.
     
  6. RVT1K

    RVT1K No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I specifically mentioned the Castrol product because I damaged the anodizing on a set of rims by allowing it to sit too long.
     
  7. Soocom1

    Soocom1 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I had a Tiltall that is older than me.
    it was exceedingly stiff in many ways, to the point of using channel lock pliers to loosen up the twist locks.
    As mentioned, tearing down and reassembly after a thorough cleaning is in order.
    If you run into a spot where the assembly isn't so clear, take photos of the part your disassembling and the location of screws, washers, etc. Then follow it backward.

    In most instances is simply dirt. As stated using harsh solvents is not advisable, but disinfectant wipes I discovered are the easiest in may cases. Lubricating with silicon or graphite might be in order, but watch the graphite because I have read some service bulletins on its use. Be sure to clean ALL surfaces.
     
  8. petrochemist

    petrochemist TPF junkie!

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    That suggests your rims where painted not anodized.
     
  9. Destin

    Destin Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    It can easily get to the point that a tripod isn’t salvageable if you let it go too long. I’ve ruined several that way.

    Now I’m careful to take my tripod apart 3-4 times per year to clean and grease it.
     
  10. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I do not think you could go wrong with really hot water,some liquid dish soap,and a toothbrush and some cleaning rags. After a half an hour you should have it back to normal.

    As was mentioned above disinfecting wipes might be a good choice as well. I have only cleaned my tripods a few times, but then I keep them away from saltwater and Dusty environments, and to be honest I do not use my aluminum tripods much anymore. Since 2012 my main tripod has been an inexpensive carbon fiber that I bought from Adorama for about $100 on closeout.
     
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  11. JBPhotog

    JBPhotog No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I recently took apart my 39 year old Manfrotto ART:055 to add padding to two of the legs. I wiped down all the sliding leg bits with Varsol paint thinner as some gummed up areas needed attention. The legs now easily slide in and out once the cam lever is loosened. The original head is long gone, opted for a Foba Super Ball over 30 years ago but the legs with the optional spike feet work perfectly. It is the lighter one of my sticks, my daily driver is a Manfrotto ART:161, it doesn’t go hiking. LOL
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2019
  12. Original katomi

    Original katomi TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I e mailed manfrotto uk and asked their advice and permissions to re post their reply.... as yet nothing back from them which I find strange as they are normally so prompt. I will put delay down to time of year.
    If I get reply will post it for everyone
     
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