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DIY Flash Bracket

Last time I posted, it was regarding my designs for a DIY version of a flash bracket I’d found online.  Well, a few hours between Lowes and Home Depot, about $30 out of pocket, and here it is:

DIY Flash Bracket - side view

It’s simple, it’s cheap, and it does the job very well.  And best of all, it requires just three major parts; a horizontal adjustment track, vertical adjustment track, and a cold shoe.

I went into this project with a good idea of what I needed to complete it, although I wasn’t sure exactly where I’d find the actual components.  (I think I’d have had better luck in a good local hardware store than in Lowes/Home Depot, but in the end I did find what I needed.)

The horizontal adjustment track (silver) is the metal from a Sliding Bevel Gauge; I unscrewed the adjustment fastener and it fell right out of the plastic handle.  The side with the tape was angled to a point, which I figured was unsafe, so I used the Dremel tool with a cutting wheel to cut the point right off.  The tape is there to protect against the sharp edges of the metal.

The vertical adjustment track (gold) is a universal slide track, meant to go on a hinged box top.  There was a pivoting mount on the bottom when I bought it, which I non-too-gently removed with a hammer and screwdriver.  Bent it on the edge of a table, and there you go – a right angle piece perfect for mounting the cold shoe to.

As I mentioned before, the cold shoe was the only piece of purpose-built photo equipment I purchased for this.  It’s connected to the vertical track with a thumb screw and some washers.  Which is the same way that the rest is held together; thumb screws, wingnuts, and some washers.  Easy to adjust, easy to disassemble, and cheap.

DIY Flash Bracket - Top view

The point of this bracket vs. directly mounting the flash the umbrella adapter?  It’s simple – the optical wireless sensor remains unobstructed.  For instance, when using my ProKit softbox, the wireless sensor on the Speedlite is blocked, so getting the pre-flash signal to it is a challenge.  But with this bracket, the softbox goes on, and the sensor is lying back there free and clear, able to be rotated 360 around the cold shoe in order to best “see” the master flash.

At this point I could go out and build another of these without any trouble – it would take an hour, from the time I set foot in the store until the time the bracket was completed.  And with each bracket costing less than half the price of the manufactured version, I’m happy.  $30 and a little design time gives me a huge improvement in my wireless E-TTL control.

The bracket easily handles the weight of the Speedlite, although I wouldn’t trust it with a whole lot more.  If you’re going to start putting heavy modifiers on the Speedlite, I’d make sure they could be mounted separately, using the umbrella clamp.

Questions?  Need more detail about part of the process?  Drop me a note in the comments!

Brent Pennington

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