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Macro Table

 
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Deanimator



Joined: 23 Oct 2012
Posts: 556
Location: Rocky River, Ohio, U.S.A.

PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 4:14 pm    Post subject: Macro Table Reply with quote

Here's the macro table assembled, but the top not permanently mounted.

I'm not 100% certain the top needs to be bolted down, but I probably will anyway. I've got blocks cut to allow it to be bolted down, but on reflection, I'm not sure I want to add even the minimal height. I might instead use t-nuts to mount the top directly to the self supports.

I've bought casters for it, but the mounting plugs don't fit and I destroyed one trying to sand it down to size. I'll probably end up cutting off wooden dowels, which I already know are a reasonably close fit to the insides of the legs. I'll drill lengthwise holes in them for the stems and attach them to the casters with washers and nuts. Any looseness can be taken up with electrical tape.

In the bottom picture you can see the self supports for the bottom shelf. I already had a 2'x4' sheet of thinner plywood that I'm going to use as a bottom shelf for accessories.

This thing is good and heavy, and so should be very stable, especially compared to the piece of particle board on top of two flimsy Walmart filing cabinets seen in the background to the left.



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Lou Jost



Joined: 04 Sep 2015
Posts: 2521
Location: Ecuador

PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That frame looks very wobbly to me....
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Deanimator



Joined: 23 Oct 2012
Posts: 556
Location: Rocky River, Ohio, U.S.A.

PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lou Jost wrote:
That frame looks very wobbly to me....


You'd have to touch it. It's not in any way. People make workbenches and scaffolding out of this stuff.

That's structural steel pipe. The fixtures by themselves are heavy, never mind the pipe. Throw in two 2'x4' sheets of plywood (one 3/4" thick) and you've got a very stable structure.

I guarantee you it's much steadier than what I had, and will be mobile in the bargain.
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 19090
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree it looks wobbly. The reason is that I don't see anything resembling a diagonal brace, which surely would be present in scaffolding.

But you're the man with hands on the equipment. If it feels stiff enough for your purposes, then no problems.

--Rik
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Deanimator



Joined: 23 Oct 2012
Posts: 556
Location: Rocky River, Ohio, U.S.A.

PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rjlittlefield wrote:
I agree it looks wobbly. The reason is that I don't see anything resembling a diagonal brace, which surely would be present in scaffolding.

But you're the man with hands on the equipment. If it feels stiff enough for your purposes, then no problems.

--Rik

It's a box. Many of the online designs aren't nearly as stiff. A diagonal is possible, but not likely necessary with the loads involved. Even the heavy workbenches don't usually have them.
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Deanimator



Joined: 23 Oct 2012
Posts: 556
Location: Rocky River, Ohio, U.S.A.

PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The table required some modifications:

  1. The plastic inserts for the casters didn't fit inside the pipe. This was partially because the method that Lowe's uses to cut pipe leaves a ring inside the pipe. I ended up cutting 3" off of the ends of an extra set of 36" legs I had. That eliminates the ring.
  2. Even with the ring removed, the plastic inserts are too big for the pipe. Somebody on a shooting forum suggested alternating nuts and washers an that seems to work perfectly. The wheels are also slightly adjustable for height and level by screwing the stems in and out.
  3. With the wheels, the table would have been 33"+ tall, less than optimal with my vertical rig. I ended up cutting the legs down to 27", leaving the table slightly over 30" tall when it's finished.

This looks like it's going to work out very well, certainly much better than what I'm using now.

I'll post more pictures when it's done.

I'll be glad to be done with the carpentry and metal working and be able to get back to macro photography.
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Deanimator



Joined: 23 Oct 2012
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Location: Rocky River, Ohio, U.S.A.

PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The table's mostly done.

I ended up using washers and nuts on the caster stems to center them in the legs.

One rub was trying to countersink the t-nuts that I used to bolt the top to the frame. It's much too big for the drill press, so I had to drill the holes with a cordless drill. The 1" Forstner bit just skipped around the existing hole. I just read a suggestion for making a jig that should work to allow me to make [very] shallow countersinks.

The table is heavy and stable. A professional lab table would be better, but I don't have thousands of dollars, and it's INFINITELY better than what I was using.

Pictures to follow.

Now I can go back to photography. I'm thinking seriously about the bargain Nikon 10x at Edmund Optical.
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ChrisR
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Joined: 14 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The 1" Forstner bit just skipped around the existing hole.
Can you plug the hole with wood, or maybe car body filler? Then you get to drill a nice new pilot hole to hold things concentric while you drill the part away that you really wanted. Or drill a 1" hole through a piece of ply which you can clamp to the rest as a guide.
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Deanimator



Joined: 23 Oct 2012
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Location: Rocky River, Ohio, U.S.A.

PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ChrisR wrote:
Quote:
The 1" Forstner bit just skipped around the existing hole.
Can you plug the hole with wood, or maybe car body filler? Then you get to drill a nice new pilot hole to hold things concentric while you drill the part away that you really wanted. Or drill a 1" hole through a piece of ply which you can clamp to the rest as a guide.

Apparently this is a common thing when trying to use Forstner bits with a hand drill. The solution I found was to drill a hole completely through a block of material using the Forstner bit. You then clamp it in place to use as a jig to keep the bit in one place. I just did a bit of experimenting with it. It should work. I just need to mark the bit with tape so that I can see when the hole is deep enough. It's only needs to be as deep as the thickness of a U.S. $0.10 piece.
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Deanimator



Joined: 23 Oct 2012
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Location: Rocky River, Ohio, U.S.A.

PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The table's done. I just need to move all of the gear from the old one and break it down so I can move the new table to the opposite side of the room.

The other 2'x4' sheet of plywood fits perfectly on the bottom supports, giving me easily accessible short term storage. Alternatively, it could hold my 24" HDMI monitor.

I'm going to put off countersinking the t-nuts, since it barely affects the use of the table.

I think the table is going to work out really well.

Now to get back to real macro photography.
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Deanimator



Joined: 23 Oct 2012
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Location: Rocky River, Ohio, U.S.A.

PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2018 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm in the process of putting everything back together.

I've go my studio lamps mounted to the table frame. At some point, I'd like to improve or replace the flower pot reflectors. They're pretty unstable and want to slip around. It was really hard cutting the bottoms out and left uneven holes. There's also not much bearing surface to hold them in place on the bulbs.

I bought a wheeled microwave cart to hold the 24" HDMI monitor and accessories.

I just have to finish rewiring everything (I may mount the surge suppressor(s), as well as the Wemacro control box, underneath the table top.

In addition I had a distraction in the last week, during which my web server went belly up. I JUST got that to boot and show up on the network. I'm going to have to split my time between getting the macro rig back up, rebuilding the server from scratch, and general cleanup.

It was worth all of the effort just to be able to roll everything out of the way when not in use.

I'll have pictures after cleanup.
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ray_parkhurst



Joined: 20 Nov 2010
Posts: 1436
Location: Santa Clara, CA, USA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2018 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deanimator wrote:
I just have to finish rewiring everything (I may mount the surge suppressor(s), as well as the Wemacro control box, underneath the table top.


Great to have "both sides" of the table to work with. I'd love to get some things off my desk surface by putting them underneath, but my desk won't allow such things as the drawers are in the way.

Looking forward to pics of and with your new system
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Deanimator



Joined: 23 Oct 2012
Posts: 556
Location: Rocky River, Ohio, U.S.A.

PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2018 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Everything is mounted and tied up.

I should be able to start using the table tomorrow or Saturday.

Pictures by this weekend.
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Deanimator



Joined: 23 Oct 2012
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Location: Rocky River, Ohio, U.S.A.

PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just shot my first stack on the new table. It's nothing special, just a small computer case screw shot with the 4x Amscope. Images are processing now.

Pictures later this weekend.
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