I have some really fancy tools. The fanciest is probably my Lulzbot taz4, a monster of a 3D printer. When I talk with people about making cool things, many of them tend to jump right into “I wish I had a cool 3D printer so I could make stuff like that.” Well, you don’t need one.
I’ve been wanting to make a tripod from war of the worlds for a long time. I thought it would be cool to have one to use at my workbench as a spotlight. This idea has bounced around in my head for quite some time and I tend to fall back onto the thought that I can design a replica from the movie and print it out. However, I thought it might be fun to challenge myself. I decided I was going to make this tripod without those fancy tools.
All I used was a Dremel tool and a hot glue gun. I probably could have taken the time to scrounge the perfect parts at garage sales or thrift stores, but I wanted to get this done in a couple hours one morning. To do that, I ran to the closest super cheap store (Dollar General I think). I spent a total of about $12 on cruddy plastic toys, some wire, and an LED flashlight.
I kept an eye out for certain shapes that were vaguely similar to the tripod designs I liked (there are so many amazing designs out there!). Once I got the stuff home, I began chopping bits off with the dremel tool. A healthy dose of hot glue kept things together as I worked. Here you can see how the pieces went into the final shape. That squirt gun was a treasure trove of nice shapes to break things up. Even the screw posts from the inside of the gun helped just to break up some surfaces. You can see that I ditched the floppy blue plastic legs in favor of some metal conduit from the hardware store. That metal and the spray paint that works on plastic doubled the price of this project. It was worth it though, those legs look fantastic.
The only thing remaining for me to do is to run some old wire coat hangers up through the legs so that they are a little more rigid. This will help me be able to aim it a little better. I realize it doesn’t quite look as incredible as the ones in the movie. I’m still tempted to 3d print a very impressive design and include a microcontroller for some nice lighting effects, but for now, this will do!