stellarviewer 5:25am, 1 February 2008
Here is my DIY Grid spot. The case for the grid consists of a Home Depot gutter downspout adapter. Someday I will get around to painting it black to match the strobe.........

30mm Black Straw Grid Mounted

Mounted view of a Home Depot gutter downspout adapter with 7mm diameter black straws filling the wider end. Each straw is 30mm in length. Shown mounted here on a Nikon SB-80.

30mm Black Straw Grid Spot

Output of the Home Depot gutter downspout adapter DIY grid. The face of the grid was approximately 1meter from the floor and shows a nice circular pattern of about 46mm (~18") in diameter.

30mm Black Straw Grid Front View

Front view of the Home Depot gutter downspout adapter DIY grid. Rear view of an unmodified adapter also shown.

30mm Black Straw Grid Rear View

Rear view of the Home Depot gutter downspout adapter DIY grid. Front view of an unmodified adapter also shown. The 30mm straws extend back to the inner lip shown in the unmodified front view.

To mount the grid on the SB80/800 flash head I added a custom made plexiglass reducer shaped to the head outline. The loop side of the velcro tape has been added to provide the correct amount of "drag" to hold the unit in place. The tape does NOT mate with any velcro on the head itself.

When I built this one several months ago I just winged it using the straws that I conned from a waitress at a local restaurant and cut them to the 30mm length that matched the gutter adapter and took whatever spot effect it gave me. Today I discovered this Blog that gives the formula for straw diameter and length to get a specific area of spot coverage. Longer straws = smaller area of the spot.
Grid Spot Design Calculator
chikabelley 11 years ago
That looks more professional and a lot less complicated than my first effort.

stellarviewer 11 years ago
Thanks chikabelley,

The other thing I like about it is it can kick around in my camera bag and not get too destroyed. I probably should have a grid cover that snaps on like a lens cap to protect the straws though.

The hardest part of mine to make was the interface to the strobe head.
curious tray [deleted] 11 years ago
That's brilliant!

Re: the spot diameter: you could try making one with the skinny little straws that are available from many of the high-priced coffee vending establishments. That should make a much narrower spot for the same length of straw.
able stamp [deleted] 11 years ago
stellarviewer: Do you have any sample shots from your new gadget?
lazaro 11 years ago
Great idea.

My 580EX is a bit wider than the open, but it will fit - snuggly. I think I have a work-around though. I'll post photos when done.
texas_bae 11 years ago
This looks very professional. Nice job.
lazaro Posted 11 years ago. Edited by lazaro (member) 11 years ago
So here is the same setup in black.

Home Depot gutter adapter: $3
Panera straws: free

Since the gutter adapter was smaller than the 580EX, I had to find another way around getting it attached. Then remember someone got me a Stofen Omnibounce, which I never used. The design of that is ideal, small above the flash and it slides on quite easily.

DIY Grid

I am not done with it yet, but plan to cover the remaining clear plastic with gaffer's tape.
Aquascout 11 years ago
How did you make the clear plastic or plexiglass "custom made reducer"?

Also, did you glue the straws in place?
stellarviewer Posted 11 years ago. Edited by stellarviewer (member) 11 years ago

The reducer is made out of two sheets of plexiglass sandwiched together for thickness. I used the Nikon supplied diffuser as a template to get the correct shape. Lucily I have a friend who has a laser engraver and it was a simple matter to load the shape graphic into the software and cut the hole (and the outer shape also).

Without the engraver it would have been a bit more tedious, drilling holes and then cutting with a jig saw and filing to get the correct shape.

You could probably build up some foam tape in the opening and make t work, but it wouldn't look as nice. As it turned out I decided to make the opening in the plexiglass a little bigger and add one piece of velcro tape at the top and bottom to provide some friction to hold it in place.

I glued the outer edge of straws in place to form a foundation, but the inner straws are just laid in place like rows of bricks and the the last row is force fit into place and holds the whole works together.

I used the laser engraver to cut the straws to length too. If the engraver wasn't so darned expensive I would have to get one of those handy devices. Posted 11 years ago. Edited by (member) 11 years ago
here is my attempt.. I used some thick weather stripping around the bottom to snuggly fit around my sb-600 with out stratching it up.... all looks a bit messy, but it seems to work well!

thanks for the great idea!

Image-Guy 11 years ago
Brilliant idea! I love the design. It's so simple... Home Depot here I come!
visodd 11 years ago
Very, VERY Nice!
DLaughinghouseImages 11 years ago
Hi I've seen this post and was wondering if they carry this down spout adapter at any home depot. I have gone to several hardware stores and they only have the ones with a round back. does anyone have a link to the home depot where I can find it. I have seen it on home depot uk site though but was just wondering about here in the us thanks
David Sr. - 10 years ago
Nice DIY - may I suggest an alternative?

I find the Beverage Can covers much more light and compact than this mod. Easier to stow in the gear bag too. Plus they only cost 50¢, plus straws. I have 3 in my bag in the space of one of these.

From an engineering prospective, It seem's like a lot of structure to support such a small grid. I reserve this large downspout piece of plastic for bulkier items, such as my Beauty Dish mod.

Can covers similar to this...
Walmart has them to 50¢ in the summer, I grab up the black ones!
They are too small for Vivtar 285's but perfect for 800's/580's

Adam Yahiya 10 years ago
wow i made my straw 6-inch long and it ended teribble
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