Repairing a Broken Celestron C8 Tripod

Celestron C8 Tripod 

The 1970's to early 1980's Celestron C8 came with a very stabile, non-collapsible tripod (below photo). What makes these tripods so stabile is that the legs are composed of triangular spring steel elements. Each leg is a triangle that is assembled by bending the spring steel rods and inserting them into top and bottom brackets that hold the triangular shape. Because the spring steel must be bent to fit into the brackets, the legs are under stress and resist vibrations. This webpage documents repairing a broken Celestron C8 tripod (ca. 1979). All materials cost less than $10, and the project required a single afternoon.


Broken C8 Tripod

One of the aluminum brackets that couples the triangular tripod leg to the top section was broken (below photo). Because these older Celestron tripods are very stabile, I wanted to repair the tripod. I initially wanted to weld the bracket, but my local machinist didn't have the proper electrode to weld aluminum. The machinist suggested fabricating two steel brackets that wrap around the broken pieces and clamp everything together with large bolts.

Repair Brackets

I purchased a 14 cm x 6 cm x 1.5 mm galvanized steel plate for approx. $1.25 and cut it into two 7 cm x 6 cm x 1.5 mm plates. The resulting two plates were bent into the final "C" shaped brackets using a bench vice and a rubber hammer (below photos).


One of the final brackets and a first test fit around the broken tripod bracket is shown in the below left and right photos, respectively. The steel brackets fit tightly around the broken aluminum bracket and will be held together with large bolts.


I drilled out the broken aluminum brackets and steel plates with an 8 mm metal bit and used galvanized M8 threaded rod to screw the brackets together (below photos).


The below left photo shows a first test fit of the repaired bracket without the spring steel legs. I inserted the two spring steel legs and used a rubber hammer to pound the bracket in place; this took considerable force because the spring steel presses outward with a lot of force. After the legs were installed, I retested the fit and there were some minor problems. The spring steel exerts so much force that the original C8 bracket separated by about 1 cm. Since the top bracket was now slightly wider, it didn't fit too well onto the original mounting hardware; I compensated for this by using a steel bolt with metal washer spacers to attach the bracket (below right photo).  I will probably make another set of brackets to reduce the top separation in the repaired tripod leg, but for now this fix is acceptable to get the orginal C8 tripod back into service.


The Repaired Tripod

Below are two photos of the repaired tripod. I originally planned to paint the repair bracket black, but since the plate and all hardware are galvanized, they can be left unpainted and resist rusting.