Fitting an Oben BE-117 tripod head onto my tripod

For many people, buying a product that doesn’t fit exactly means sending it back to the store or sending it back to the manufacturer for a warranty replacement. That’s fine for some people, but sometimes things just need a little hands-on fitting. I get the impression that this happens a lot with automotive and bicycle parts. And it definitely is for computer parts. So when I received a brand new Oben BE-117 ball tripod head, my gut reaction was not to send it back.

First of all, this is a beautiful piece of hardware.

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But unfortunately, their 3/8″ to 1/4″ adapter did not fit. (Problem #1)

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And the 3/8″ fitting from a Velbon Ultrastick and my Bogen tripod did not fit in the hole either.

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I tried two adapters from other accessories and they didn’t fit either, and Oben’s adapter fit fine on other accessories. A quick check with a tap-and-die kit found the adapter was fine…

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…but the hole was not to spec. Unfortunately, that meant using a tap to re-thread the hole.

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This is not for the impatient or faint-of-heart and may void the warranty so I am not advising that you do this. If you haven’t used a tap or die, do NOT just grind into it like you are trying to focus all your personal pain into destroying this one object.

Using a tap-and-die is about patience, process and sensitivity to the materials. Read up on this or find someone who know how to do this properly.

Luckily, I am not new to this and have had to re-thread other equipment including an M-Plate Pro. Anodizing the product seems to gum up the threading.

Once I re-threaded the hole, the adapter went in…

And it mounted to the tripod properly.

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Then came problem #2. Even with the panorama lock tightened all the way, the head would move a little.

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I quickly found that the screws at the bottom of the head were loose.

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But tightening with a tiny hex wrench did the trick.

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And voila! I’m good to go! More in a later post.

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