Coming back to panorama photography again, I found some interesting DIY pano heads: First a wooden one by arodrix, then a just as cheap metal rod based by Peter Loud, and finally "bone" head by Matteo Cominetti. All of them interesting in that they full-fill what they set out to achieve by very simple means. At this point, it is probably worth nothing what that is: PanoHelp explains why the pivot point should be changed when taking pictures for stitching.
If you don't want to build yourself, there are some reasonably priced options from DealExtrme. (The two first look exactly the same, even if they are different names slapped on top)
My end goal is something like the Gigapanbot, mentioned earlier, so maybe some simple brackets might also do, plus a battery. More about that later.