If you have the heavy duty tripod with the simple leg support bracket (spreader), it
doesn't take long before you start wishing for someplace to put your eyepieces.
There are accessory trays on the market that completely replace the support bracket, but
they are expensive. For just a few dollars and a few hours of your time, you can
easily make an accessory tray.
I made this tray from 1/4 inch plywood. Rather than
replacing the support bracket, it simply mounts beneath the existing bracket. Using a
jigsaw or a band saw, cut a 16 inch (40 cm) circle from the plywood. Next drill a
hole in the center for the threaded rod. Then use 1 1/4 inch and 2 inch hole saws to
make eyepiece holes as desired. The tray pictured here has sixteen 1 1/4 inch
eyepiece holes and leaves the third section untouched to provide a flat surface for other
objects. It is then a good idea to sand all the edges and surfaces.
Optionally you may want to paint the tray (helps to protect the wood and your
eyepieces) and you may also want to cut three 2 inch wide slots in the tray to allow the
legs to fold without removal (the tray in the photo does not have these slots - but the
figure to the left depicts them).