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Firestix
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Ok.  I'm a new, very small shop (just my son and I) who, for now, does small to medium boundary surveys as a side hustle.  (usually .25 - 10 acres)  
I use a trimble R8-2 with VRS and a Trimble 5603.   I'm looking for a couple of tripods and was thinking about the Leica GST101.  I'm trying to stay debt free and would move up in tripod when the business grows.   I can get these for $95 a piece.  Reasonable purchase or no?  If not, what is a quality yet economical tripod purchase?

 

Thanks in advance.

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Scott Ellis
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A good tripod taken care of and not left out in the rain will last for years and years 10 to 20,  if its a light weight instrument you can get away with a light duty tripod, if its a heavy total station or robotic I would get a heavy duty tripod. I like a tripod with two locking clamps, to keep it more stable, you can find those for around 200 dollars.

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chris mills
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@scott-ellis

They should last much longer! My first ones, 1980, are still going strong and probably have another 20 years life left in them. The top friction pads to the leg bearings get renewed occasionally (10-15 years) and once every ten years or so they get stripped down, re-primed as necessary and then finished fully with Yacht Paint. Keep the wood sealed and they should never fail (unless you run them over - even then you end up with a pile of spare parts for the others!).

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chris mills
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I should have said - mine are GST20's, except for 4 GST70 centre pods.

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Scott Ellis
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@chris-mills

Yacht Paint, you must have some shinny and nice looking tripods, do you paint them the same color, or change it up over the years? We have some 25 year old Dutch tripods that still work great, however they only get used a few times every year.

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chris mills
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@scott-ellis

Yes, really nice and shiny; the cow s*** just falls off them! We've kept more or less to the original Wild/Leica colours - yellow for the leg woodwork and then a 50/50 mix of yellow and red for the metalwork - not a bad match for the orange.

The yacht paint gives a really hard surface, which is not only damage resistant, but stays clean. The legs slide smoothly, but the clamps still grip well - we've never had any slippage on the legs, even on all day set-ups.

You do need to take care on the repaint and use all Yacht quality material - primer for any bare areas, then undercoat, then a topcoat followed by a second one the next day. Keep it thin. The theory was "if it stands up to the ocean and banging into jetties then it should stand surveyors" - it does!

We also use the red yacht paint for the woodwork on the invar staves - again about every 10 years or so.

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Scott Ellis
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@chris-mills

I painted the underside of a wood bed for 1970 C10 a few years ago, I used a really good exterior paint, now you have me wishing I used Yacht paint. I did use Old Masters Tung Oil Spar Varnish on the top, after I used some black wood dye to get the grain to show.

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chris mills
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@scott-ellis

Nice shiny tripods - part of a seven tripod survey for monitoring movement on a pumping station - all stations set-up in one go, so the whole network can be least squares adjusted knowing there is NO centring error between instrument positions.

18 targets bolt into various sockets set in the brickwork and the concrete beams. When the unit was built that "horizontal" bar from the gatepost to the brick wall was horizontal.

2301 002 (Large)

2301 005 (Large)

2301 008 (Large)

 

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Scott Ellis
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@chris-mills

Your tripods do look very factory, that is a good job matching the paint. You should try to paint one just solid orange.

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R.J. Schneider
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@chris-mills

The yacht paint, what type of paint would that be in case someone couldn't find yacht paint. From the sound of it you're using a really hard acrylic paint ?  Two really smooth, thin, even coats ??

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chris mills
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The paint we use is made by AkzoNobel under their brand name International - Toplac. It's a form of enamel paint and they do specific primers and undercoats for it. (Note that the coating process has to be more or less continuous as each coat needs to go on within a day or so, otherwise you have to wait until full curing has occurred). We brush paint, with each element (3 lower legs and the upper section complete) suspended from a couple of timbers set at shoulder height, for ease of painting.

It goes on quite smoothly without much difficulty. As paint goes it isn't cheap, but given the length of time it lasts....

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A Harris
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lukenz
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Not an answer on longevity, but check out the white paper on tripods on the Leica website.  The GST101 performs just as well as the top shelf ones in factory testing.

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R.J. Schneider
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Field crew only ever got what was bought for them. From that, these (kept in good condition) always provided good results. According to the internet, they now have an all-wood dual-clamp version.

 

Pile Of Tripods

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R.J. Schneider
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