Vertical Z ( 4th ) Axis Gimbal Stabilizer

by ScottyMakesStuff Jul 25, 2017
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Anyone find an alternative on where to order springs? The website he suggests has a minimum order of $40.

In the US most hardware stores carry this spring or something comparable. Here in Australia you'll find that spring at Bunnings (called No 181). If you live elsewhere there's every chance that you'll find a comparable spring at your local hardware store. Just take the main specs from the link with you when you go shopping and you should find something comparable.

great design, great explanatory video.
keep up the good work Scotty.

Thanks! More 3D printing goodness to come very soon!!

Thanks so much for taking the time to not only create this, but for posting this here. I started a design a few months ago, and this is much nicer than where I started. I’m trying to print this and have noticed a few issues I’d like to ask about if you (or anyone else that has printed this) get a chance.

  • the fluid damping rings on their respective parts have the inner rings recessed by 1mm. Is this necessary for some functional reason? If not, I’ll modify this to be flush to simplify the printing of those areas that face the build plate
  • I assume the STL files are oriented in the best printing positions? Most are obvious, but for instance, the top arm would likely print better the other way around. That, and the many orientations of holes and fillets make it tricky to determine the “best” orientation.
  • Materials: I’m trying to print this out of something with higher temp stability since this may be left in a hot summer car during shoots. Just curious if anyone has had success with anything else. I’m worried PETG’s poor bridging will be too much of a hurdle for this design (already had failures). ABS might have some warping and dimensional issues. PC is great (a new fave) but sure is costly (especially if things go wrong). I’d also imagine that post processing is quite necessary due to all the supports, holes, and fillets. So certain materials like PETG aren’t great choices in that regard.

Thanks again for any thoughts.

Thanks emkayboy! Happy to help :)
In answer to your points;-

  • It's by design so that the contact area is minimised for less friction for a more fluid movement. It's no problem for me as I slice mine in simplify 3D and the supports come away leaving no support residue. Obviously, if it's PETG then you'll need to do a bit of post processing to remove the supports.
  • I think that one is a bit of a line ball... and your decision probably will have more to do with your own setup. I added some large brims to the bottom as there's little contact area. The top is the side you see which is also why that side is on top for a better finish.
  • You're basing your material choice on the off chance that you'll end up leaving it in a car that reaches 55 degrees. I'd still stick with a good 'improved' PLA as you'll find nothing else will work quite as well all around. But if you must choose a higher temp filament then I'd print the gimbal support and handles in PETG and the arms in ABS (with lots of rafts and brims just to be sure)

And just to throw another curve ball into the mix, I'm currently working on a deluxe version of this stabiliser. Likely due out over the next couple of weeks.

Thanks Scotty. Appreciate the quick response. I assumed the fluid damping rings were setup like that to reduce friction. But thought I'd check with the brains behind the design ;) Unfortunately my attempts with PETG so far have been a little unpleasant on this model. Though I have used it for many other things in the past, whenever a lot of support or bridging is needed I now stay away from it. Which is too bad since it's quite cost effective and strong in many ways. Going to try a High Temp PLA next week though and will make this part of the testing there. Key for me since I often leave certain equipment in the van while on a shoot. Definitely curious about your new model too. I'm currently designing different handles for this one that will have two things: space for my integrated follow focus control and circuit, and mounting options for attachment to an easyrig like strain relief setup.

That sounds like a great rig you have there... once it's all finished I'd be very interested to see it all together?
This stabiliser is great but it has its limitations - dampening can't be adjusted and a lack of mounting points.

My new rig with the new stabiliser that's being tested holds a 7 inch field monitor and Zoom H5 mounted on it. I also plan to use a small portable led light on it where the monitor attaches. The dampening is also variable which is great when you use varying payloads or go from fast motion (running) to gentle. The handles are adjustable from upright to inverted and the whole thing it tool-less too.
Given your needs I'd definitely suggest holding off for the new design - it's likely to be on thingiverse middle of next week.

That sounds great Scotty! And of course, I'll happily share any mods/builds I do based off of this. A monitor mount is the other thing I forgot to mention that I was going to add. But yes, it looks like I'll wait until next week to see what you've got in the plans and then create my customizations based on that. Especially since you mentioned variable dampening. An engineering element I never thought about putting into 3D prints, but now I'm thinking of various things that could use a similar system. So thanks for the brain nudge there :)

Thanks for posting this fantastic stabilizer! I'm excited to print this for my son's gimbal but it looks like the 34mm holder is currently a mashup of all 3 sizes. I hope it's an easy fix. This is really cool.

Something went wrong there! It's been printed a number of times so maybe thingiverse Frankensteined it somehow. I've redone those stl's just to be sure. All good to go :)

Thanks so much! I have the flat holder printing right now. I'll have a spare. :)

Looks brilliant, printing as I type.
I'm putting a Mavic Pro on mine, so have drawn up a modified head. Will report back when assembled.
Thanks for the share.

Thanks Teejs, Mine has got a lot of use and I'm keen to see your Mavic go. Just make sure you check the details regarding springs and advice about lighter rigs.
BTW, this last week I ended up swapping the nuts for nylock nuts... That way they hold without having to tighten giving an even smoother ride. I also added some thin brass washers and it's even better.

Thanks for the heads up on the washers.
The Mavic and monitor weigh in at 970g. I'm going to use the recommended springs and see how it goes. I'll add some ballast if needed, as i feel (without testing) that the lighter springs just might give a less consistent result.
I was thinking nylock nuts. Did you just use a single washer on each joint or pairs on each?
One last one... What actual Grease did you use, and where did you get it?

I'd still lean towards the lighter spring as that's right in the middle of it's performance zone. Though you're right that ballast will improve things. It adds inertia which is what keeps the gimbal from bouncing about. You'd probably need to add at least 300g of ballast to use the heavier spring though. I noticed you're in Oz so both of those Century springs are available at Bunnings - C-181 is the heavier one and the other is C-143.
I use 6 single thin brass washers between the moving plastic parts as there's a small amount of friction where the plastic touches plastic. This of course will be reduced by using nylock nuts that aren't cranked down too far. I made sure there was still a fraction of a millimetre of play.
The grease is just bog standard lithium grease. You could use a more expensive grease with viscosity that isn't affected by changes in ambient temps but that's probably overkill. In the notes I mention on lighter rigs to trial filling just one of the two fluid dampening modules in each handle with grease at first as that may give enough dampening.

Thanks Scotty, lots of info, and I agree on the inertia point. I expect I will add lead ballast and have made provision for it in my head unit. Bought some springs this morning and look forward to testing.

It looked like lithium grease. I have some here :-). I also have some very thin nylon washers that I will test, they may work but the coefficient of friction might be a bit high. At the least they will act as a spacer and keep the printed surfaces separated.
It's a very nice design, just finished printing one of the handles.

All done Scotty,
Works nicely and fun to build. Great work on the design and videos.
A couple of points on mine.
I wound up using the lighter springs on the stabiliser. It was a choice between lugging a heavier unit, or trying the lighter option. The lighter springs work great.
I greased all of the dampers and have no issues at all with a ~ 1kg payload.

My adaptor is published here:-

Thanks again for sharing

Mavic Pro Tripod Mount
by Teejs

Thanks for sharing your Make Teejs!
I'm happy to share, plus I get a kick out of seeing my designs being used :)
I think that was a good call on the springs. With the brass washers and nylock nuts the stabiliser should be nice and responsive.
Let us know if you post any footage on youtube?

Yeah, I love mine... for any mobile shooting it adds a special touch more class on top of the already good gimbals. I'll be using it again this weekend to shoot another thing for next week :)

Very nicely made can't wait to print it up

Thanks Zwee :)
Hey, when you print it up I'd love to see an 'I made one' pic? Cheers :)

Awesome looking videos. Thanks for sharing.

Can I use this project with gimbal Feiyu Tech G4 Plus for iPhone?
Thanks for share!

Hi Marcelo, you might be interested to know that next week I'm coming up with a single handed version that will use the same support arms and fluid dampening but have a purpose built handle and gimbal holder for very light gimbals like yours.

It will be fantastic!
I´m following...

Thanks Marcelo,
I'm sure you can use it with the Feiyu Tech G4 Plus. I've included 3 different sized gimbal holders. Your gimbal should fit either the 28mm holder or the 34mm holder... just check the diameter of the handle to be sure. You will need to use a different spring though since you have a light rig. Find a spring that's still 5/8 diameter by 3 1/4 in length but with a thinner wire diameter of 0.035 to 0.055 in (0.8mm to 1.4mm). Thanks for the question, I'll add this to the thing shortly as others may have the same question!

Hi Marcelo, I've since done some further testing with a second set of springs and have added an update regarding a suggested spring size to trial for your setup. Your rig is very light but I'm sure there's a perfect spring out there for you.

Thank you for your hard work on these files! Its much appreciated.

Cheers Laserrr, this was a fun project... just happy that others will make some nice footage with them too :)

Thanks Scotty, good device and presentation.

Thanks Rob, I got a lot of satisfaction out of this build!