3

When using a light stand with lever locks, the locks start to lose grip after a while.

It is difficult to reach the recessed nut to tighten the locking mechanism again.

Is there any advice or trick-of-the-trade on how to do this?

Lever Lock Light Stand

3
  • Added this trick as reference. I am also curious if there are other nice solutions. – Kai Mattern Nov 17 '20 at 11:35
  • I'd invest in some thread-lock too. I'm surprised they slip, though. I've a Manfrotto stand here must be 35 years old with what looks a very similar mechanism & it's never slipped; I wasn't even aware they were adjustable, never had need to look. – Tetsujin Nov 17 '20 at 12:29
  • @Tetsujin some of the non branded, made cheaper than you can imagine, crap found on Amazon doesn't hold up so well to constant use. – OnBreak. Nov 17 '20 at 19:10
3

There is a simple remedy. Manfrotto sells some cheap cable clips which have one end that can be used to re-tighten these screws as it is narrow enough to fit into the recessed housing of the nut.

Manfrotto Cable Clip

You can see the tool part on the left side of the image.

I use these clips to maintain tension on the lever locks and always have one clipped to the light stand, which makes sure that you always have them with you, when you need them. They are also great as an emergency give-away for fellow photographers.

Note that they are sold in 2 sizes. Both should work ok. The smaller one is sold as Manfrotto 064 Cable Clips in bags of 4.

1

I don't know whether they're all the same size, but my aging Manfrotto tripod takes an 8mm standard hex-nut 'wrench' socket. Available from any DIY store, for a buck/pound/euro or two. You probably have one in your toolshed already.

enter image description hereenter image description here

It feels very slightly loose, but perfectly effective. It may be actually an old Imperial or US size rather than metric, but 8mm fits just fine.

From comments - It seems larger sets, on ⅜" or ½" shafts might be too heavy duty. I tested the above types, on ¼' shaft & on hex-bit shaft quite successfully.

enter image description here

3
  • I have tried the nut I had at home, however, the walls of my el'cheapo nuts were too thick to fit into the recess. – Kai Mattern Nov 17 '20 at 16:01
  • 1
    But if a better quality one might be small enough, it is a good candidate. Take my upvote. – Kai Mattern Nov 17 '20 at 16:08
  • @KaiMattern - I'd considered that before I tested, but literally the first guess I made was the correct fit. I've checked a couple of different types now from different sets, & both fit. You probably need 1/4" drive sockets, not the larger ones more suited to car mechanics, on 3/8 or 1/2" shafts. – Tetsujin Nov 17 '20 at 17:03
1

It was most likely tightened originally with a socket wrench, probably one designed for a 1/4" shaft (since these would allow for the thinnest sockets). The best tool for the job is whatever size socket you need and a nut driver (be careful that you don't over tighten!).

But, fix the actual root problem the way your would with any nut that comes loose when it shouldn't:

  • Washers
  • Blue Loctite or clear nail-polish
  • A spring

Most quick release clamps of decent make use a spring on the release tab over the bolt's threads to provide tension and to keep things from loosening up through repeated cycles.

Alternatively, you can replace the clamps with nicer quick release clamps (if you are so inclined).

1

For a longer-term solution, if this a frequent problem for you, I'd recommend replacing the nuts with nylon lock nuts (which resist loosening due to the nylon friction insert in the nut), and replace the screws with appropriate hex socket cap screws. That way, you can use standard tools (i.e., Allen keys) to tighten the screws if they ever loosen from the nylon nuts.

Note that cap head socket screws have a smaller diameter head than their equivalent hex crown bolt head. In order to maintain sufficient bearing surface to the plastic below the head, you might need an appropriately-sized washer below the socket cap screw.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.