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Moog Quickset model identification? Heavy duty film camera tripod

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#1 Volvonium

Volvonium

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Posted 27 July 2020 - 09:50 PM

I recently acquired a very heavy duty Quickset tripod which has wonderful machining and has a very rigid adjustable column, geared pan (azimuth) and tilt (altitude) adjustments that are very smooth, with tension adjustments for each.    It has nice, large flat feet using ball and socket, as well as provisions for securing the feel to a rolling dolly.   I obtained it from someone that worked in the film industry and it is apparently a vintage tripod intended for heavy film cameras. Other than Quickset on the tripod, there are no model numbers or manufacturing dates indicated.   It looks like a Quickset Hercules, but is fully geared and has no markings.

 

It has a nice large removable dovetail plate saddle and looks like a losmandy saddle will be relatively easy to adapt for it so that it can be converted for telescope use.

 

Does anyone recognize what model / era tripod this is, so that I can hopefully locate the capacity?  It looks like it will handle in excess of 50 lbs without breaking a sweat.

 

 

 

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#2 Volvonium

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Posted 28 July 2020 - 03:00 PM

It looks like the tripod is a Moog Quickset Hercules, with elevator column part #4-53021-8, load capacity 150lbs.    The geared head is #4-52217-3, which has a range of +/- 45 degrees and a load capacity of 50lbs.  I used the website "avsupply" to identify the parts.

 

The gearing, machining, and stability of the column is really nice and once I add a 45 degree wedge to the 6x9" top plate and the 3/8-16 bolt, I should be able to use this for astro purposes with a 0-90 degree range.   A big thanks to a fellow CN user that turned me onto looking at cinematography tripods and mounts for astro use and pointing me to the correct parts and specs identification.

 

Since this is older, there are a couple issues that I'll need to see if I can finnesse--  it is a little more difficult to turn the crank near the edges of its tilt range.  It should be ok for astro, as I'm rarely looking at things within a few degrees of zenith or within a few degrees above the horizon.   There is some play on the horizontal axis and I probably need to adjust the worm gear engagement for the pan crank.



#3 Volvonium

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Posted 17 August 2020 - 04:23 PM

Here's a little bit of an update, with a Wile E Coyote solution to turn this into a very competent astro mount:

 

 

One of the first issues with using this cinema tripod and head is that the head is designed for -45 degrees to +45.    I needed a range of 0 to 90, so I took a used TeleVue Upswing head I had purchased from a CN user, and then I mounted it to the large 6x9" top plate of the Hercules head.   I then added an off center ADM saddle to the Upswing cradle and tilted it back 45 degrees, resting it on the back ledge to provide me with the usable range.    I could secure and lock the cradle with the Upswing's brass fasteners, which is working rather well, provisionally, but there is a better solution to locking the cradle at 45 degrees relative to the Hercules top plate.

 

I will soon add a 1/4"  heim joint to make a solid 45 degree connection between the ADM saddle and the Hercules top plate, running the bolt through the pre-existing registration channel on the bottom.   This should provide for a very solid mounting and will cost less than having a fabricator machine a 45 degree wedge.   On the other hand, the nice thing about using this Upswing cradle to lock the setup at 45 degrees is that if I loosen the brass fasteners, I can evaluate the scope's balance relative to the cradle, but it is not necessarily balanced to the axis of the head's tilt.

 

 

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This modified tripod and head is proving itself to be very fun to use for astronomy, where the large geared pan and tilt cranks allow me to track very smoothly and with high precision at magnifications of 300X and up.    I was able to easily keep a target centered in the field of view by using the geared cranks like oversized dial knobs--  tracking was so good that my narrow 50 degree eyepieces at over 300x magnification still felt like I had an enormous field of view on tap, where I wasn't worried about my target drifting away at all, since i could  easily keep the image steady and centered.

 

The only faults with this setup right now are the relative weight and the heavy duty spring loaded mechanism for controlling tilt.   The head is rated for 50lbs, so my fully loaded 25lb scope can be handled just fine... but if my balance isn't correct and I do fast adjustments to tilt, the OTA will spring back and forth unless I add a light touch to dampen the induced vibration.    If I make slow adjustments to tilt, as I would for tracking, there are no vibrations.    The center column, fully elevated, doesn't add too much vibration.

 

I definitely recommend this tripod and head to other CN'ers interested in alternative mounts with slow motion controls and alt-az configurations ... if it can be found at a reasonable price.   It's probably the closest I have to a pier mount, without needing to commit to a pier in a fixed location.


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