Having got a really nice Acratech ball head I realised I needed some Arca Swiss style quick release plates. I initially bought a couple from pro media gear, they are very nicely made, and I have a 3 inch one permanently on the base of my camera, and a 6 inch fixed to the foot of my Sigma 500mm f/4.5. That just leaves my 70-200 f/2.8 and Sigma 150mm f/2.8 macro without a quick release plate permanently attached. I could just take the one off my camera and switch that one back and forth, but it doesn’t fit the smaller foot particularly well, and it’s a pain having to remember to take an Allen key.
Whilst rummaging in the scrap metal bin in the workshop I came across an offcut of thick aluminium checkerplate. This was the ideal thickness for a quick release plate, and being aluminium it is easy to work by hand.
It didn’t take long to cut a piece out, and file it with 45 degree edges, and pleasing corners using a flat hand file. The file clogged quite quickly but using a draw file technique, and regular cleaning with a wire brush stopped any major issues.
Using the lens foot as a template I marked where to drill the holes, and used a centre punch to make sure I didn’t wander with the drill bit. Using a bigger drill bit I countersunk the holes. I cut a slot in the heads of the bolts to enable tightening with a screwdriver, and filed the underside to match the countersink.
With a coat of black paint it was ready to mount on the lens foot. I don’t know how durable the paint will be, of course anodising would be tougher, well, maybe I should look it up and see if I can!
Always measure twice, cut once. This rule also follows for drilling holes. Make sure you double check which side to do the countersink on. I messed it up the first time and had to remake the plate. Oops! Fortunately I’ve been able to use it on another project which I’ll blog about shortly :-)