MaxGlide - Glidecam simple, efficient and cheap!

by MaximSachs, published

MaxGlide - Glidecam simple, efficient and cheap! by MaximSachs May 5, 2013

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Testvideo: http://youtube.com/watch?v=DkFjwnt9Pi8
I wanted to have a glidecam, but was not fully satisfied with the already available glidecam designs. They were too complex, needed to many not-printable parts, or even not-shelf parts.
This design uses a minimum of non-printable parts like screws and nuts. You don't need to solder, or weld any part for this design. It is assembled fast and most of the work is done by your 3d printer.
The system gives me very stable results. I was blown away after reviewing the first video test. The performance I think is just beautiful. Unfortunately I can't compare it to a professional glidecam. If you have one please tell us how it compares!
You will quickly get the hang of how to use the glidecam correctly and once you do it is like moving your camera with a dolly.
You can see a cost estimation in the attached excel sheet. My overall cost was 35 euro. Try to beat that!
-- Update --
I replaced the bottle as a counterweight and added 42 washers on the weight rig instead. Overall this increased the cost to 46 euro.
Modeled in Blender. The source file is attached.

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I failed trying to find any store that could sell me a 1/4 screw, so I've designed a 1/4 screw for the MaxGlide, now it's even cheaper!!! Check it out thingiverse.com/thing:558666 Sorry for my incredible bad english :P
This thing is amazing
OK, could have searched before and just printed yours before thinking how to make my own one - mine looks like an unintentional copy ;-)
I added yours as an inspiration anyway.

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Print all the parts. The parts with an x2 need to be printed twice.
Buy following parts in the following quanity:

  • Threaded Rod M8 0.5m....................1
  • Ball Bearing 8x22x7..........................1
  • Nut M8..............................................10
  • NutStop M8...................................... 3
  • small washer M8..............................3
  • medium washer M8..........................6
  • Big washer M8..................................42
  • Aluminum Tube 6x1 (min 8cm)........ 1
  • Screw M4 30mm.............................. 2
  • Screw M4 25mm...............................2
  • Screw M8 60mm...............................2
  • Screw M3 15mm...............................4
  • Nut M4 flat (1mm high).....................5
  • Screw Wing M4 x20..........................1
  • Washer M4.......................................8
    You also need 1 1/4 inch screw of about 1.5cm length to secure your camera. But you can also change that diameter if it doesn't fit your camera type.
    The aluminium tube needs to have a outer diameter of 6mm and a wall thickness of 1mm so that the inner diameter is 4mm.
    After having all the parts start by assembling the gimbal. Cut the aluminum tube into 2 pieces of length 1.75cm and 2 pieces of length 1.9cm. Then push the tube through the holes in the printed gimbal parts according to the picture of the gimbal assembly. Secure the tubes with a M4 screw, washers and nuts. (Can also be seen in the gimbal assembly picture)
    In the next step the ball bearing with outer diameter 22 mm and inner diameter 8mm and height 7mm will be secured in the centre part of the gimbal. The two pictures show the centrepart first open, showing the rim the ball bearing will lay on and the closed (the second part of the centre part closing the bearing in).
    Once you secure the centre piece by screwing in the m3 screws (I didn't need to use a nut on the other side, because the screws had good grip in the printed part) you can move on to the main assembly.
    The side view picture shows the order of the parts and where nuts and washers need to be placed. The nut on top should be at the very end of the threaded rod. All the other parts below should be screwed up as high as possible. (see picture of my assembled glidecam)
    As a counterweight cut a 8mm diameter hole in the top of a waterbottle and use washers and nuts to secure it to the other free end of the threaded rod. This way you can very easily balance out any camera by adding or removing some water. (This allows for a quicker camera change). Alternatively use the printable counterweight support and load it with the right weight. Its advantage is that it increases the moment of inertia for rotation around its longitudinal axis. I have not printed or tested that part yet.
    Secure the cameraslide with the M4 wingscrew and a M4 nut to the counterpart (see picture).

I failed trying to find any store that could sell me a 1/4 screw, so I've designed a 1/4 screw for the MaxGlide, now it's even cheaper!!! Check it out http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:558666 Sorry for my incredible bad english :P

1/4 Screw for camera

<p>This thing is amazing</p>

<p>OK, could have searched before and just printed yours before thinking how to make my own one - mine looks like an unintentional copy ;-)<br>I added yours as an inspiration anyway.</p>

<p>If you want bearings then check out the additions i made to this design. http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:151016 by the way i love this thing it works really well for a DIY project .. i may work on a different gimbal later to mimic that of those on steadycam vests....</p>

MaxGlide with Bearings adapters

<p>Hi there<br>I have made one and it fits just under my RepRapPro and it prints really well - Very nice work. </p>

<p>Improvement suggestion. Maybe make it a bit less bulky. Maybe add bearings.</p>

<p>Again very nice work</p>

<p>have you thought of a design that has bearings on all pivot points? that would make it close to a pro level steady cam</p>

<p>Hi yes I thought about it, but then chose not to use it since first it will increase the cost due to more unprintable parts needed to be bought. Secondly it will increase the weight of the glidecam by quite a bit, and it is already a lot to hold for long periods of filming. And finally it would have made the design komplexer and bigger in volume.<br>This all didn't seem to be worth the smoothness improvement gained from the bearings. If you are going to make such a design I would love to see it maybe even based on the maxglide.</p>

<p>i think some flange bearings and a drill will work with this design, i think i have found some on ebay ($4.50AUS each) and i'll use 4 one on each axle</p>

<p>Nice! Looking forward to the design!</p>

<p>Hey fellow AE ;) I printed the maxglide and I have to say: props for the design work. I do have a lot of (constructive) criticism, but in general it's a very printable, functional and still fairly nice looking design. I think that with a few minor design changes, this can be a ridiculously cheap but still very competent steadicam clone. </p>

<p>At this moment in time I haven't used it yet, the parts have just printed and I just assembled it. So these comments are still preliminary:</p>

<p>- First of all, why blender? As an aerospace student in Delft, you can use CATIA which is a much more powerful design tool that lets you do nice parametric drafting and add more advanced surface features. </p>

<p>- The tolerancing on the slide parts is not sufficient. I needed some light filing until I had a good fit</p>

<p>- In general: I'd like to see things like manfrotto/velbon/arri/zacuto compatible plate mounts so I can pop on my camera without having to look for the very hard to come by 1/4"-20tpi screws.</p>

<p>- There is not enough room within the gimbal pieces to fit normal M4 nuts in there with room to spare.</p>

<p>- On the actual gimbal pivots, there doesn't need to be that much room in between the plastic parts at all. They can just touch each other. The only reason to have room in between the gimbal parts is to allow for the fasteners to pass through. Consequently, they could be ovoid instead of circles.</p>

<p>- The hand grip, as AndreasNe and others have said already, is not very comfortable. Personally, I'd forego a printed grip altogether and make provisions for something like a bike handlebar grip? The printed grip is also a real plastic sink, not sure if it was worth it to print that.</p>

<p>- The grips that go around the M8 rods are fairly hard to print without really good adhesion on the print bed. I had no problems printing on glass+hairspray, but I'm sure others will have a hard time with this part. Not sure how to fix.</p>

<p>I have also designed some additions to the design which I will publish on thingiverse as soon as I have time to do so. I've made the leftover M8 threaded rod into 3 weights that hang off the bottom of the rig (à la Skyler Minicam). These weights can be easily unscrewed and stored in a clip that fits onto the threaded rod, so the entire assembly fits into a regular photo/video bag.</p>

<p>This is all the commentary I have for now, this weekend I will actually use the maxglide (and my mods to it) and report back on other possible improvements and general comments. I hope this design will be improved over time, it can prove to be an awesome amateur video maker's tool!</p>

<p>By the way, my cost breakdown: </p>

<p>-I have a whole ton of M3, M4 and M8 stuff lying around that I bought in bulk, used about €4 worth.</p>

<p>- €5,80 for stainless steel threaded rod</p>

<p>- €2,90 for brass 6/1mm pipe</p>

<p>- €3,20 worth of PLA (printed most parts at 50% infill)</p>

<p>Total: €15,90</p>

<p>The bearing used in this build can also be found as the common 608 skateboard bearing</p>

<p>Would be great to have images of the bottom portion of the rig (is that where the counterweight part goes) and how to put that part together with the weights etc.</p>

<p>Why is the camera so high above the pivot center? Wouldn't making it as low as possible maximise the leverage, and allow you to reduce the weight on the bottom?</p>

<p>In principle that is correct. But by decreasing the distance to the pivot center, which would lead to a lighter counter-weight, also the moment of inertia of the counterweight would be reduced. So when moving the glidecam around the higher inertia of the camera due to its greater mass will lead to unwanted rotation and tilting of the camera. The best design would be to have a counterweight of the same weight as the camera. This is too heavy to be usable, therefore the distances to the pivot center were changed. I think this is a nice balance to account for all those effects.</p>

<p>Great work!!</p>

<p>How would this work with a gopro, being light would it still work ok?</p>

<p>Yes, because such systems work with weights (dumbbell). The weight is very sluggish and so the camera is less likely to wobble. With a lightweight camera you probably need less weight on the other end but it should work.</p>

<p>any recommended settings for printing on Replicator 2?</p>

<p>With a Replicator, high accuracy parts are best printed at the default layer thickness for High settings, 75-80mm/s print, 80-100mm/s jog in my experience. For highest strength do 100% infill. These are general-use, good settings for high-accuracy, long life parts, so YMMV.</p>

<p>I'm not sure that 100% fill the highest strength. 15 % gives a good internal structure that should result in a very high strength part. </p>

<p>Doing solid in-fill will result in a higher strength, better durability and higher rigidity.</p>

<p>Notably, 100% isn't 6.7 times stronger than 15%, it's a diminishing returns kind of thing, but 100% IS going to yield a longer lasting, more durable part.</p>

<p>A solid rod is not as strong has tube because it has the additional inner wall for strength. Same thing with a honey comb internal structure.</p>

<p>The strength of a part is dictated by the material, it's cross-sectional area and the distance to the center of the cross-sectional area relative to the centroid of the part.</p>

<p>Knowing this; the way to make a given part stronger is to:<br>1) Make it from a different material<br>2) Move it's area away from the center (i.e. make the tube a wider diameter)<br>3) Increase the cross-section of the part (make the wall of the tube thicker), the limit of this is when the wall thickness is so great your tube becomes a rod.</p>

<p>A few things for future reference:<br>1) A rod is lower strength-to-weight ratio than a tube, but it IS higher strength.<br>2) A honeycomb structure is also higher stregth-to-weight ratio than a solid body, but it is NOT as strong as if it were totally solid.</p>

<p>Source: Solid Mechanics, Aerospace Structural Statics, Advanced Composite Materials and Material Science classes when I got my Aerospace Engineering degree.</p>

<p>It is true that a hollow tube has a higher supported load to tube weight ratio. But a solid tube of a same diameter as a hollow tube will take more load.</p>

<p>This is so awesome!</p>


<p>Very cool!</p>