DIY Camera Gear: Spring Clamp Hack

Friday, January 11, 2019

DIY Camera Gear: Spring Clamp Hack


Need some inexpensive camera gear? In this episode of House of Hacks, we're going to take a look at an inexpensive but super useful DIY camera gear hack: the spring clamp. Also known as A-clamps, spring clamps are cheap but essential camera gear for beginners that should be part of every camera bag.

Spring clamps at Amazon. (Affiliate link)

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For a written transcript, go to DIY Camera Gear: Spring Clamp Hack

Music under Creative Commons License By Attribution 3.0 by Kevin MacLeod at
Intro/Exit: "Hot Swing"


Besides a camera, today at the House of Hacks we’re going to look at one of the most essential, and cheapest, tools for a photographer’s camera bag: the spring clamp!

Hi! If we’re just meeting, I’m Harley and this is the House of Hacks where we talk about things workshop related. Things like metal working, wood working, electronics, photography and making things in general.

The spring clamp, also known as an A-clamp, is super useful on photo shoots. Today we’re going to talk about a modification that makes it even more useful for photography purposes and then we're going to talk about a number of ways it can be used.

Spring clamps come in a variety of sizes from huge, giant things to these medium sized ones, these happen to be 2 inch, to these smaller guys. I think these are 1 inch. Personally I find the medium sized ones the most useful, followed by the smaller ones. I've haven't ever found a need for the really big ones.

They cost a couple bucks apiece and can be found at most large home improvement stores. I’ve also left a link below to where you can get them on Amazon. This will save you a trip , I get a small commission and it won't cost you anything extra.

To make them even more useful for photography applications, I like to add a 1/4-20 bolt with a nut on it to allow you to mount things like cameras and other photography accessories lights.

To add this hack, for each clamp, get a 1/4-20 1 inch long bolt. I like to use a star lock washer. They seem to work a bit better than say the split ring lock washers. A nyloc 1/4-20 nut. A 1/4-20 flange nut. This is a nut that has a flange on with a wider section on one side. And a large washer where the hole in the middle is large enough for the nut part of the flange nut to go through but not large enough for the flange to go through.

And also some two-part epoxy.

Mix up a bit of epoxy and use it to glue the flange nut to the inside of the washer. The flange itself should be exposed and keep the nut from going through the washer.

While that’s setting, check your clamps to see if they have a hole between the hinge and the tip of the clamp. If they don't, you'll need to drill one. Some brands have a hole here. Some brands don't. These don't, so I'll have to drill a hole. And I'm going to drill that hole just below where the plastic part of the tip ends.

Then, with the star lock washer next to the bolt head, place the bolt through the hole from the inside so the threads are poking out. Use the nyloc nut to hold it securely in place.

Once the epoxy is set, thread that assembly onto the bolt with the flange part of the assembly pointing out.

This gives you a place to mount standard 1/4-20 threaded items onto. The flange nut works as a jam nut to tighten the item down and the washer gives you a little handle to be able to loosen and tighten it.

So, how can you use this?

You can hold backdrops or reflectors to stands…
tighten loose clothing on models…
manage cables and cords…
hold gels on lights…
keep gobos in place...
mount cameras or lights in awkward places…
hang sound absorbing material to deaden room echos…
or whatever you can think of.

If you have clamps like these, leave a comment below and tell me how you've used them.

I’ll see you in this video over here that YouTube thinks you'll find interesting.

And remember when making things: perfection's not required. Fun is!

[John 4:14]