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Mount Your Mods with Speed Straps

Having spent much of my 20 years as a newspaper shooter with sticky-velcro-covered flashes, I have recently become a big fan of velcro speed straps for mounting all of my light mods to small flashes.

Hit the jump for why you want 'em, where to get 'em, and how to make 'em -- plus a whole mess of archive DIY links.

At one point in the 1980's, I think my go-to SB-24 had so much velcro stuck to it that it looked like a burnt Chia Pet. The problem with the stick-on velcro is if when it wears out, it doesn't hold worth a crap. And it is a pain in the butt to unpeel and swap. To that, add the fact that you have a limited amount of surface area unless you want your flash to look like mine did.

With all of today's lighting mod options, you really want to have some kind of velcro mounting system on your flash. And the speed strap route is the way to go -- you can easily remove them and/or swap out for a new one if the velcro goes. Plus you get a whole lot more mounting real estate, compared to the typical amount of stuck-on velcro.

Truth be told, these little guys are not expensive. They are less than $10, so many of you may well choose to go store-bought in this instance. You can get them from LumiQuest ($6.95 - smaller size) or from HonlPhoto ($9.95 - bigger, w/more surface area and grip).

They are the basis for most light mods mounting systems, including those from LumiQuest and HonlPhoto. Quest Couch from LumiQuest notes that, for larger light mods, you can use two straps (strobe - strap - light mod - second strap on top) for a super strong hold.

If you just use one or two strobes, it probably makes sense to tap the Visa card. But if you are broke have a whole case of strobes and would be buying straps by the half dozen, you might want to consider making them. They are cheap and easy, especially of you wait until the next time your bike inner tube goes flat.

To make them, you'll be using the inner tube as a base. It's cheap, holds well and is nice and wide.

You can make a strap in less than five minutes, using the inner tube and some sticky velcro (available at craft and hardware stores.)

1. Cut your tube into sections long enough to fully wrap around the head of your flash with a full overlap on the wide dimension. Go a little long, then you can cut it for an exact fit when you are done.

2. Cut a length-wise strip from the tube, making a flat piece of rubber about an inch-and-a-half wide. There will probably be injection mold lines along the tube to make for easy, straight cuts. Mountain (and trail) tubes work better than the smaller road bike tubes. If you use the portion of the tube that would come in contact with the ground (if it were a tire) you'll avoid the curve of the rubber that would otherwise make it harder to fit.

3. Very important: Wash the rubber thoroughly with soap and water, and dry it well. It will have grime on it, and a powder residue on the inside -- both of which will cause problems if it is not clean and dry.

4. Totally cover the inside of the rubber section with two long strips of the "loops" part of the velcro. Trim along the edges to fit if necessary.

5. Cover the other side of the tube (formerly the outside) with "hooks" velcro at one end, to a length equal to the width of your flash head.

6. Wrap the strap around your flash, overlapping on the long end, and trim to length if necessary.

That's all there is to it.

Here's a view of the reverse side, which should make everything self explanatory. It's very important to make sure the tube section is totally clean and dry, or your sticky velco won't hold.

Normally, when I run a DIY post I get a few condescending comments from the deep-walleted DIY haters, which serve to offset the comments I get from the starving artists when I mention, say, Profotos. So, as long as they are gonna be pissed off anyway, here are lots more DIY posts dusted off from the archives:

Selected DIY Posts

:: DIY Cardboard Snoots and Gobos ::
:: DIY Tupperware Diffuser ::
:: DIY Household Sync Cord Extension ::
:: $10 Macro Studio Box ::
:: Two-Cent Micro Studio ::
:: HD RIng Flash Adapter ::
:: $8 Flat-Fold Ring Light ::
:: Coffee Can Point-and-Shoot Ring Flash ::
:: Engineer Lamp Light Stand ::
:: Ball Bungee Softbox/Speedlight Mount ::
:: PVC Speedlight Aqua Housing ::
:: OMG DIY Off-Camera TTL Cord ::
:: DIY Beauty Dish ::
:: DIY Cardboard Grid Spots ::
:: DIY Macro Strip Lights ::


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