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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

"Extending" current TEP handles

As in earlier blog posts the current TEP handles are not tapped deep enough for the length of the earlier bolts used in the Tiltall made by the original Marchioni brothers, nor the iterations by Leitz and some Unifot/StarD. Unifot is where the change occured. Here's a solution: Gary- I finally had time to run by Lowes and get some steel sleeves - 1/4" x 3/8" x 1/2" - they work PERFECTLY, just as you indicated. Thank you so much for your fine parts and help. Now I have two fully-functioning classic Tiltalls! With my carbon fiber Gitzo I'm well equipped. These steel sleeves I got are dimensionally identical to the handle - same outside diameter, slide perfectly over the threads, perfect function. It's a "Hillman # 880414" - Steve

Saturday, March 1, 2014

GUNK! Who knew?

Dear Tiltallers-  we may have discovered a new evil - gunk backs up into the hole in the threaded TEP handles effectively shortening the length of the hole - follow this logic - 'cause its literally twisted - that shortened (shortening) hole makes the bolt coming out of the receiving sleeve (on the head - TEP1,2) or the receiving hole (on the column TEP4s and no longer existing TEP3) too long to tighten. We are speaking here of your existing handles (not a new replacement handle, see below).

A further symtom is that your handle is filled with the evil gunk is that the handle just seems to keep turning but the head or column never tightens.  (Do check that the bolt head is not spinning - yet another issue.)

In an earlier post (several actually) I suggested adding short tubes or "bands" as the way to "shorten" up what had become the too long bolts coming out from the sleeves.  You could also have cut off the now too long bolts with a Dremel - BUT NO!  WD40 to the rescue.

If all this sounds familar, clean out that handle hole.  Fill the hole with WD40, maybe overnight, find a long dental tool, long nail or something to "stir" the bottom of the hole in the handle and clean out that goop that over the years has move to the back of the bus and become compacted.  Repeat as needed and be gentle in your testing as that newly loosen "stuff" can again get pushed to the back/top of the threaded hole as you make your tests.

This was discovered thanks to one of our Tiltallers of the Leitz Chapter sending me her puzzling tripod and me pondering over a turning but not tightingen handle - finally realizing - big dah! - that the gunk can also shorten up the depth of the hole - who knew?  Now she kindly asks if she owes me something for this discovery - I dont know that anyone can owe anyone anything that should have been an obvious piece of logic, but. . . to the great three-peds-to-stablility cause - my website does feature a "buy me Joe" link.

That said, the new, currently made TEP handles do not have threads/hole cut deep enough for use with Marchioni, Leitz and the StarD - you will need to pull out the Dremel to cut off the too long bolts or add the extension tubes to effect a shorter bolt.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

What happened to TEP3 and other esoterica.

I will be posting some answers to frequent questions here for a couple of weeks and then will move those comments to my new FAQ page here - see to the right under "Order Parts" etc.
Bill-  Pass this to your new Ebay buddy.  I dont know if either of you got a chance to wander my blog posts.  If so, you see that there have been between seven to nine "official" changes of ownership of the Tiltall name and design iterations since the Marchioni brothers retired and sold to Leitz.

Re: yes we have no TEP3 - The thinner disk "column" handle, TEP3, stopped being produced in the mid 80s in favor of two TEP4s.  Many Tiltall afficianado eschew the TEP4s in favor of two TEP1 for the column position - they are interchangeable.  You can still find it on Ebay - I see TEP3 handle only about once a year.

[I always suggest, rather than buy anything my site, you purchase by Ebay, two identical Tiltalls - make the one perfect unit and part out the remainder of the crippled one - you will more than recover your original cost - cuz of folks out there in the situation just like you.]

And in the last production in September, the current manfacturer in Taiwan, KingHome, also changed to only two handles - the longer TEP2 head handle and the other three handles, formerly TEP1, TEP3 and TEP4, are just TEP1 - that is, to repeat - no more fat disk "TEP4" nor thinner disk "TEP3".

Long and short of it (fat and thin, really) is now the bullet shaped TEP1.  A long time favorite "illegal" handle for the column positions since the Marchioni brothers first introduced Tiltall in 1946

That said, your next question will be how to use a Tiltall with a ballhead - why am I mentioning this? - because if this has even crossed your mind, doing so frees up the two top handles (you'll have a spare) for use down at the column/leg apex where your have a TEP3 missing - and my headless column is $45 (+$10/post) vs your TEP1 handles at $15 - take a look below.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Ballhead 201 - Separating the head from the column

I will be posting some answers to frequent questions here for a couple of weeks and then will move those comments to my new FAQ page - link at the column to the right under "Order Parts" etc.
Dear Oliver - I have an original "Leitz" Tiltall tripod purchased in the 70's or early 80's. It has sat with little use but now I am doing more shoots from tripods and would like to swap out the pan/tilt head for a RRS ball head (3/8 inch mounting screw). I already have lots of RRS camera brackets and lens plates.I tried to take the pan/tilt head off but quickly got stymied. Can you advise how I might remove the existing head and add a new ball head to this tripod? Thank you, Jim Connors

Jim - I know of those who like the ballhead idea so much they were happy to attach it to the camera platform above the three (four) points of control on the Tiltall's tilting head.

Then there are a small group of probably French anarchists (five, so far, including myself) that whacked off the tilting head with a chop saw to separate head from its column.  At this point, there is bump in the learning curve - I lost my head and my column in my first attempt.   (Leitz btw did have a model with a removable head - there is a post here somewhere.)

How to lose your head: Put away that guillotine - remove the one obvious screw and, the occult info - heat the head base with a torch until you break the hold of the epoxy glue between the column and the head assembly.

Now you have a column free of the head, but  nothing to attach your ballhead to. So next find that machinist with a lathe and make a platform/insert piece to place at the top of your headless column - then drill and tap a thread up the center and insert a 3/8"-16 allen bolt to which you will attach your ballhead. If you make the platform/insert removable, you can re-attache the original Tiltall head at a later date.

However, I think Oliver has in mind a solution that does not quite match your request.You asked how to remove the head from the column (answered above). I offer a $45 column without a head (add $10 for priority post.) You set your original column/Tiltall head aside - no destruction or blow torch necessary Information about this column follows.  If not, the link is here. -Gary