This design has been superseded (twice) by my new Pro 2 Model 4th Axis Stabilizer which produces at least 50% smoother footage.
There's also a similarly smooth Compact Pro version made for phone and action cam gimbals here:-
Here's a design for all you amateur and professional videographers out there!
The handheld gimbal stabilizer has been one of the most significant game changers for independent filmmakers allowing professional results whilst removing the need for tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment.
But they still lack one vital ingredient, they don’t stabilize for up and down motion and rely on the filmmakers skill to minimise this motion with their arm.
This up and down vertical motion or Z ( or 4th ) axis motion isn’t always possible to reduce by hand especially with fast action or walking backwards.
That’s when I decided to build a Z axis stabilizer for handheld gimbals and after a number of design iterations I’m really happy with my Z Axis Gimbal Stabilizer with Fluid Dampening. It takes Gimbal cinematography to that next level!
Check out the showcase video here:- https://youtu.be/xOCkKlXSjO8
Check out the Assembly video here:- https://youtu.be/6a4sg2BikhE
################## UPDATE: ###################
1) There was an typo in one of the springs. Fortunately it's the spring less people would be using but I've updated the correct one in the post printing section. Sorry!
2) There's also an additional support added that's for larger or non symmetrical gimbal handles. It's called ZAS_holderFlat.stl
3) I've also given some more advice in the post printing section about setting up the fluid dampening that isn't covered in the DIY video.
Note:This Z axis stabilizer will handle light to heavy rigs. The only thing you need to change is the springs - Links to springs are in the 'Post Printing' section.
The full list of parts is found in the Post Printing section below.
You can check out my other designs here:-
You can see all my videos on my YouTube Channel, ScottyMakesStuff here:-
Most pieces were printed in PLA with 3 perimeters and with supports. Since the holder takes the most stress I'd suggest 4 perimeters and 25% fill.
There's 3 different central gimbal holders in the file. These 3 are sized for gimbals with the sized handle diameter as follows;- under 28mm (1 in), under 34mm(1 1/3 in) [fits my Zhiyun Crane], under 40mm (1.58 in). (If your gimbal can't fit any of these then you can use the ZAS_holderFlat.stl)
I've only included one side of the arms and handles so you'll need to mirror a copy of each of these for the full set.
The Fluid Dampening insert will need a total of 4 printed and the knobs need 2.
I now mainly use Simplyfy3D to slice for three main reasons;-
- the supports come away beautifully and
- for items that rely on tight tolerances it prints the most accurate that I've used and
- You can specify different print settings in a print so for sections with detail you can reduce layer height and for uniform sections you can increase it and get great looking prints done fast!
I suggest printing this in an improved PLA (see below) or other filament that's strong and tough.
Beware: Not all PLA's are made equal.
Most of my prototypes and a good proportion of final prints are with an 'improved' PLA from Esun called PLA Plus (sometimes called pro) and it's tough and definitely not brittle and it's really cheap too. Some other moderately priced improved PLA's I've used are Filamentum, Prusa Brand & Colorfabb Economy PLA.
I haven't tried Hatchbox Pro PLA, Matterhackers, Taulman InPLA and Filaform Pro PLA but I hear some good things about them.
I also use a few better quality name brand PLA's for special one off jobs and these are quite a bit better than the Esun though up to triple the price.
For the best looking prints with a fair bit better toughness than the Esun I use either Polymaker PolyMax PLA or ColorFabb PLA PHA. If excellent toughness and strength is a priority then the Polymaker PC Max polycarbonate is the one I'll always reach for and the finish is still good too.
List of non-printing parts
- 10 x 1/4 in by 60mm (2.36 in) fully threaded mushroom head bolts
- 1 x 1/4 in by 25mm (1 in) fully threaded mushroom or round head bolts for upright gimbal screw
- 1 x 1/4 in by 35mm (1.38 in) fully threaded mushroom or round head bolts for inverted gimbal screw
- 10 x 1/4 in nuts - I suggest you use nylock nuts or loctite for 8 of the 10 nuts as these can work loose.
- 2 x 1/4 in wingnuts
- 2 x extension springs -
- Tube of thick grease - (see DIY video)
- two part epoxy glue (Araldite)
################## Note: #####################
The following applies more so with lighter payloads but it's good advice for everyone setting up their fluid dampening:-
I'd suggest trialling using only 2 of the fluid dampening modules filled with grease at first and leaving the other two modules in dry (i.e. in both handles have one greased and the other dry). There's a certain amount of resistance with the fluid dampening to stop the bounce and under a lighter payloads you might find it too much dampening meaning that light movements won't get stabilized enough. If the bounce reduction is to your liking with half the dampening then stick with that.