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I bought a Giottos MTL8351B carbon fibre tripod just over 2 years ago and have been very pleased with it since. Last week I noticed that one of the leg clamps was getting increasingly stiff and so loosened it off slightly but then found that the leg was very stiff to try and pull in and out. I suspect that bit of swarf or dirt from the leg clamp has worked its way into the leg and having contacted Giottos' UK distributor, Daymen, they have come to the same conclusion and have suggested I return it to them for a strip down and clean, which will take 1 -2 weeks and cost £25 - £30. I'm prepared to do this but I'd rather not be without my tripod for a couple of weeks (or entrust it to the tender mercies of the Royal Mail!) so before I sent it back I wondered if any of the vast horde of knowledgeable ePHOTOziners (I work on the basis that flattery gets you most places!) has any other suggestions as to how I could free the leg?
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£25 to £30 quid plus Royal Mail, Is a whole lot of " WD-40 " ......
Seriously though, Maybe not WD-40, Just how complex can it be, We are not talking " Rocket Science " as they say.....Whooosh....
If your a dab hand with a screwdriver or whatever, Strip the thing down ( make notes as you go, Or draw or photo a diagram ) Then clean the components with a strong soapy mix, Leave to dry.
Then when good and dry re-assemble, " Resist " the urge to lubricate things ( The WD40 thing was a joke ) Lubrication might lead to leg clamps not holding, It might also get all over your paws and then onto your camera kit......Not a great idea.
We try to remember to wash down our Alloy tripods ( Manfrotts ) with clean water, Especially when they have been dipped in the sea, Then left to air dry, So far they seem to stand up to this procedure........( Don't you just love that word " Procedure " its ever so popular in the NHS ) .
Definitely do not use lube on carbon fibre unless it has been specifically designed for that purpose. The wrong stuff can cause the material to expand and stick. At least that is the case with carbon bike parts.
You dont say how much you use your tripod but I regularly strip, clean and re-assemble my Manfrotto tripod because sand, dirt or salt has caused the clamps to stick. Its really quite easy and I cant believe the Giottos is that different.
Take a deep breath and use a slow methodical approach. It will save you a fortune.
I might try it myself, but my DIY capabilities aren't great and are what got me in to this mess in the first place!
Suggest you try graphite dust. Rub a few pencil leads onto some white paper and then sprinkle it on the places that are sticking. If you need to get into difficult places pop some in a straw and blow the graphite thru that. WD/Oil is fine but its dries out, gest messy, and picks up grit and you dont want oil on your hands when handling lenses etc.
This is also useful for door locks that are sticking- use the straw to blow the dust into the lock apperture - dont use oil on door locks n latches.
If you must use a lubricant of some sort make sure it's silicone based as opposed to something like WD-40, which as it's petroleum based can have a solvent effect on the carbon.....
You don't want to use any lubricant on a carbon fibre leg. I suggest you head over to a bicycle forum or do a search on carbon fibre set posts. Cyclists sometimes use what they call carbon grease. Apparently this is not a lubricant, but a friction compound. The reason is that a lubricant will require you to tighten up the clamp more to stop it slipping. This can result in crushing the carbon fibre/epoxy structure.
Thanks folks for all your help and suggestions. I don't think lubrication is the answer as there appears to be something well and truly jammed between the outer and inner leg, as its starting to score the carbon fibre, which will need to be shifted. I've tried stripping it down but I've failed to remove the metal head from the uppermost part of the legs which I suspect I need to in order to remove the legs to clean them and I'm worried if I try to hard I'll break it (I'm a wuss!). It looks as if I'll be without "my precious" for a couple of weeks!
Are you refering to the leg lock at the bottom of the outer leg section - or the bit where it joins to the central bit at the top?
The problem appears to be something stuck between the outer and inner legs underneath the leg lock. I was trying to remove the metal boss at the top of the outer leg, which then has a pivoted fit into the main tripod hub for the legs, from the carbon fibre leg so that I could try and remove the legs through the larger end of the outer leg (if that makes sense?).
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