By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more
Forum sponsored by:
Forum sponsored by Forum House Ad Zone

Standard Surveying Thread?

All Topics | Latest Posts

Search for:  in Thread Title in  
Spurry15/09/2021 14:11:48
221 forum posts
72 photos

Having read through the interesting thread on the Leica specifications, would anyone have a definitive answer to what exactly is a Standard Surveying Thread.

It is used to attach a laser level to a tripod. The most info I can find is that it is 5/8" and 11TPI. The company I purchased the laser from are of the opinion that it is BSW, but cannot say for sure.

As a coincidence 5/8" x 11 TPI is also a standard UNC thread, but obviously a 60 deg compared to the BSW 55 deg.

In the general run of things, it probably does not not make a great deal of difference, and either would probably be suitable, but only one is correct. I am somewhat perplexed with the difficulty in finding the correct spec.


John Haine15/09/2021 14:36:05
4716 forum posts
273 photos

I'm not sure this is definitive but it looks like the threads originated in the USA so perhaps more likely to be UNC? If you have an example male thread then a quick test with a thread gauge should tell you.

DC31k15/09/2021 14:38:23
727 forum posts
2 photos

Surveying: ISO 12658-2 or DIN 18720.

Photography ISO1222 or DIN 4503-1.

Shadow15/09/2021 14:43:14
21 forum posts
1 photos

There are about three different normally used tripod thread sizes. 5/8"x11male, a 3 1/2" male thread and a smaller somewhat proprietary about 5/8" fine female thread. For your laser level of fairly recent manufacture I believe is 5/8"x11.

Just for info, older instrument manufacturers used their own thread size so you bought their tripods.if curious a browse at a U.S. manufacturer Chicago Steel Tape should show some current sizes.

DC31k15/09/2021 14:54:33
727 forum posts
2 photos

55 degrees, so old Uncle Joe is bang up to date with GPS on his head.

SillyOldDuffer15/09/2021 16:30:26
8892 forum posts
1998 photos
Posted by Shadow on 15/09/2021 14:43:14:

There are about three different normally used tripod thread sizes. 5/8"x11male, a 3 1/2" male thread and a smaller somewhat proprietary about 5/8" fine female thread.


I expensively found by importing an adaptor that the USA 3½" thread isn't the same as the UK 3½" tripod thread...


I'm sure part of the problem is that standard threads are intended for fasteners rather than the screw on fittings found on lens, bottle tops, and proprietary attachments. Reasonable to expect nuts and bolts to match a standard, less likely a camera lens or beer bottle will be metric, Whitworth, or anything else quite 'normal'.

Bet I'm not the only one on the forum who occasionally makes non-standard threads to suit the job in hand. Mine are mostly metric 1.0 pitch on non-standard diameters.


JasonB15/09/2021 17:14:39
23050 forum posts
2769 photos
1 articles

5/8" Whit from when I did surveying at college but expect now it's UNC just a s1/4 & 3/8 Whit camera tripod mounts are now also UNC. With both being quite slack you can use either.

Spurry15/09/2021 17:42:09
221 forum posts
72 photos

Thanks everyone for all the info. Most useful. yes So the definitive answer is a 55 degree thread or BSW.

I had bought some 5/8" UNC studding, and corresponding tap, on the gamble it was a UNC thread, as BSW is a bit thin on the ground in modern stuff.

The studding does fit the laser base without a problem, so as Jason commented, either will do.

(I have a couple of tripods, lasers, and adapters but all my measurements were so different, so as not to be much use, hence the search to find out 'exactly' what they should be)


John Reese17/09/2021 01:47:19
1038 forum posts

I have owned several European surveying instruments. All but one had a 5/8-11 female thread in the base. The other was a proprietary bayonet connection.

Clive Hartland17/09/2021 07:57:40
2838 forum posts
40 photos

After 60 plus years in the Instrument trade the standard tripod screw was 5/8 x 11 bsw. On some high tech instruments like gyros it was 11/16 UNC which is 11tpi. They are nominly interchangeable as the threads are quite loose. The aviation system is 11/16 x 11 UNC, where gyros are used to align weapon systems, But, Submarine systems use 5/8 x 11 for mounting the alignment systems. As the Theodolites were used in non vertical positions they had tighter/stiffer vertical axis.

Kern us their own mounting system as some of the British older type Theodolites. Using a large diameter thread and a screw plate on the tripod.

Circlip17/09/2021 10:08:11
1531 forum posts

Another forum (MM) has it standardised on 5/8 x 11 BSW or UNC

Regards Ian.

Oily Rag17/09/2021 15:20:25
540 forum posts
184 photos

Posted by SOD:-

I'm sure part of the problem is that standard threads are intended for fasteners rather than the screw on fittings found on lens, bottle tops, and proprietary attachments.

According to my thread 'bible' (P.A.Sidders - Guide to World Screw Threads - ISBN 0-89381-1092-9) there is a welter of standards for threads covering 'fittings' other than straight forward fasteners. For example, the 'German Bottle Closure Thread series', the 'British Bottle Closure Thread - Glass and Plastic containers', the Cordeaux thread for telegraph insulators, Water Well casing threads, Fire Hose Coupling threads, Edison Screw thread for Lamps, and a real odd one the 'British Water Tap shank rope thread'. These all being of non Whitworth form. Miscellaneous Whit forms are listed as - Condenser tube glands, Oil Drum plugs, Endoscope Lamp housings, Microscope Objectives and nose pieces, Oil Switchgear (?), Optical Instruments (Fine motion and Adjustment), Optical Instruments (metal tubes, cells and fittings), Camera Lens fitting flanges (R.P.S Standards) and finally Electrical Conduit Thread!

I remember that many moons ago when working at Alfred Herberts there was a tooling job for either India or Malaysia (but could have been China) where they wanted to manufacture water taps, the shank of the tap was the aforementioned 'British Water Tap shank rope thread' - we found the standard to this was a very early BS number (something like BS14 or so) dating from the earliest days of the BSI.


All Topics | Latest Posts

Please login to post a reply.

Magazine Locator

Want the latest issue of Model Engineer or Model Engineers' Workshop? Use our magazine locator links to find your nearest stockist!

Find Model Engineer & Model Engineers' Workshop

Sign up to our Newsletter

Sign up to our newsletter and get a free digital issue.

You can unsubscribe at anytime. View our privacy policy at

Latest Forum Posts
Support Our Partners
Eccentric Engineering
Eccentric July 5 2018
Rapid RC
Subscription Offer

Latest "Wanted" Ads
Get In Touch!

Do you want to contact the Model Engineer and Model Engineers' Workshop team?

You can contact us by phone, mail or email about the magazines including becoming a contributor, submitting reader's letters or making queries about articles. You can also get in touch about this website, advertising or other general issues.

Click THIS LINK for full contact details.

For subscription issues please see THIS LINK.

Digital Back Issues

Social Media online

'Like' us on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter
 Twitter Logo

Pin us on Pinterest