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4th Axis Gimbal Stabilizer - Pro Model

by ScottyMakesStuff, published

4th Axis Gimbal Stabilizer - Pro Model by ScottyMakesStuff Sep 14, 2017

Summary

My original gimbal stabilizer does a great job but I wanted to make it take even better silky smooth shots as well as being more Pro friendly. Both myself and others wanted more features to adapt better to the variable camera rigs and shots that we have to contend with on shoots. They needed attachment points for gear such as field monitors, audio recorders and compact LED lights. They wanted tool-less adjustment for on-the-go changes as well as attachment points for load bearing harnesses such as the ‘Easyrig’ so they could film all day in comfort.

I made a great showcase video here:-
https://youtu.be/AZvPQ1J-3NM

I've also made a DIY video here:-
https://youtu.be/Hnn4hXLNH0I

UPDATE: The DIY video and full instructions is now added! Sorry it took a while... been swamped with orders for this stabilizer :D There's a slight possibility this model may only be available for a limited time... still working that out but in the meantime download away :)

UPDATE2 I've just updated the Spring Adjust parts to take a captured nut in the base that is mainly designed for the NEW! pro stabilizer stands! You could also use the nut to attach something else too. I've also updated the Gimbal Support to V3. I've still kept the previous version in case anyone prefers that. V3 has been changed so that the top mounting surface is flat so that quick release plates can be more easily mounted. It also has two more captured nuts but this time on the top side.

UPDATE3 I've just added a mount for the Zhiyun remote control handlebar mount so you can control your Zhiyun gimbal without taking your hand off the handle! Enjoy!

So then I went back to the drawing board and after many more more prototypes and some very thorough testing I’m now super happy with the results! Not only does it reduce 4th axis motion but I also find it reduces some of the 5th & 6th axis motion too. I’m sure you’ll agree it takes Gimbal cinematography to that next level!

Shots are smooth and flowing and not only can you imitate crane , dolly and pan shots with it you can also combine these techniques into fluid shots that have that filmic look. I’m definitely a very amateur camera operator with a dodgy knee and even I can get great shots with ease… imagine what you could do!

This Pro Model has some newly tweaked geometries and some design improvements so you will get even smoother results. It even rivals the quality of stabilizer systems worth tens of thousands.

The Original’s fixed fluid dampening has now been upgraded in the Pro Model to fully adjustable variable dampening. There’s dual independent dampening indicators so you can perfectly dial it in for anything from silky smooth gentle motion through to maximum dampening when you're shooting those ‘running like crazy to keep up with your talent’ kinds of shots.

Shooting situations can change quickly and you need to keep up. The tool-less design of the Pro model helps you quickly make changes so you're ready in seconds.

The Pro model can place the gimbal at 4 different shooting heights thanks to its 200 degree rosette adjustable handles and upright and inverted attachment wheels.
You can go from a high shot and with one free hand you can quickly change to an eye level shot. Then with the attachment wheels you can invert your gimbal for a ground shot for those low to the ground shots. And finally invert the handles to a medium-low shot.

The Pro model has 6 of the ¼ - 20 attachment points;

  • With the two attachment wheel bolts
  • Two front facing nuts ideal for audio or lighting
  • Two handle nuts that can be used with a ‘Easyrig’ load carrier or maybe move your audio or lighting there too.
    To further control the centre of gravity you can use a video quick release plate to counterbalance your gimbal by sliding it back and forth

Well, if you’ve come this far you know I’m super excited about this new Pro Model 4th Axis Gimbal Stabiliser and I’m really itching to see what you guys film with it!

You can check out my other designs here:-
https://www.thingiverse.com/ScottyMakesStuff/designs

You can see all my videos on my YouTube Channel, ScottyMakesStuff here:-
https://www.youtube.com/c/ScottyMakesStuff
https://twitter.com/ScottyMakesStuf
https://www.instagram.com/scottymakesstuff/

Print Settings

Printer Brand:

Prusa

Printer:

i3 MK2S


Notes:

To start, there are a lot of parts and each has specific instruction listed below. I suggest printing models in the orientation supplied. As this is a model that uses close tolerances your printer will have to be calibrated correctly or you'll have problems.

I use the triangular infill as it's good and strong. With my Original Prusa MK2S running at normal speeds and Simplify3D slicing I find all parts need little to no post printing work and fit perfectly... don't rush it! I print mine in an improved PLA. This is good to 55C (130F) degrees so don't leave it in a car on a very hot day... but the same should be said of any camera equipment so I think improved PLA will be best for 95% of you. You can try other filaments such as PETG, ABS or PC but you'd want to have a special set up and be a pro at getting those to work flawlessly.

4thAxis_GimbalSupport_V3 or older 4thAxis_GimbalSupport_45mm_V2

Settings: 0.20mm layers, 3 perimeters, 25% fill, Supports, has two captured nuts

It's important to print the rosettes at a fine layer height as these will mesh together and as such needs to be as accurate as possible. I printed mine at 0.10mm. Better still, if your slicer can print variable layer heights then you can print fine layers where it's needed and then speed up your prints significantly.

The gimbal support and the two handles have captured bolts that will need to be inserted during the print. You can make sure you're there to pause the print and drop the nuts in or you could get a little funky with some gcode to stop the print for you. I typically use the free notepad++ to add some simple code to the gcode file just right before the covering layer is printed. Your printer will wait at this point until you hit resume. This is some example code (Note: please add X & Y coordinates to suit your print so that the print head gets out of the way for you) ;
; layer (whatever layer your print comes to), Z = 9.6 (depending on your print layer height the handle will need to be about this height when it stops)
; Add Nuts
M117 Add the nuts Scotty ; displays the message on your printer
G1 X(add your X coord here) Y(add your Y coord here) F8000 ; move out of way - you will need to work yours out relative to your print
M72 @pause ; pauses and plays the pause tune
M0
; inner perimeter

4thAxis_SpringAdjust_R_V5 & 4thAxis_SpringAdjust_L_V5

Settings: 0.08mm - 0.25mm layers (see below), 4 perimeters, 25% fill, Supports

It's important to print the rosettes at a fine layer height as these will mesh together and as such needs to be as accurate as possible. I printed mine at 0.10mm. Better still, if your slicer can print variable layer heights then you can print fine layers where it's needed and then speed up your prints significantly. In that case I'd suggest printing all but the rosette at 0.20mm to 0.30mm and printing just the rosette at 0.08mm.

4thAxis_Handle_V2.stl

Settings: 0.15 - 0.3mm layers (see below), 3 to 4 perimeters, 25% fill, Supports, has a captured nut in each handle base

See above Gimbal Support advice for dealing with the captured nuts)
There's two of these to print. I print mine at 0.30mm and when I get to 15mm below the rosette I change from 3 perimeters to 4 and I also change the layer height to 0.15mm

SpringKnob, GimbalScrewKnob, DampeningKnob & HandleKnob

Settings: 0.15 to 0.20 mm layers , 3 perimeters, 25% fill, No Supports

TopArm_L_V3, TopArm_R_V3, BottomArm_L_V3, BottomArm_R_V3

Settings: 0.15 to 0.20 mm layers , 3 perimeters, 25% fill, Supports

DamperDynamicSide & DamperStaticSide

Settings: 0.15 to 0.20 mm layers , 3 perimeters, 25% fill, Supports

Post-Printing

List of non-printing parts

Note: All fiitings are for 1/4 - 20 threaded

  • 2 x steel washers
  • 14 x thin brass washers
  • 10 x Nylock nuts
  • 8 x hex nuts
  • 2 x extension springss
  • 2 x small compression springs (optional)
  • 2 x 1 1/2 inch bolts - handles
  • 2 x 3/4 inch bolts - gimbal attachment wheels
  • 4 x 3 inch bolts
  • 6 x 2 1/2 inch bolts
  • 2 x wingnuts
  • Lithium grease or similar
  • syringe for injecting grease (3 -10 ml size)
  • two part epoxy glue (Araldite)

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Wow this looks amazing

Thanks Alfredogo! There's even a new pro version of the 4th Axis compact gimbal stabilizer coming out very soon too... so watch this space ;-)

Hi Scott,
Is there another source to get the springs? The one you linked has a minimum requirement purchase of $40. Thanks.

Hi Scarecrow,
It depends on where you live. In Australia I get that spring (No#181) at Bunnings. You'll also find that spring (#651) in most hardware stores in North America. Outside of that you'll need to take the specs from the spring and match it up with a local supplier of springs. It's a very common spring so you'll definitely find something close nearby. If you do find a substitute locally then please post the link here so others can benefit?

Hi Scot,
I finished mine with normal PLA but it seems kind of weak, now im looking for good strong PLA as PETG didn't work out. Can you recommend some good/strong filaments?

Hi Pravbk,
Yes, normal old pla prints great and is ok to look at but as soon as you give them a little twist they go "Crack!"

The truth is that 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, 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 like phone cases and these are quite a bit better than the Esun though up to triple the price... though bare in mind that small prints like phone cases in the pricey filaments would still only cost a couple of bucks.

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.

Hope that helps.

Thanks for the info. And I have to tell you that, This Design of yours is simply superb, The effort and hard work you put on this design is incredible. Now i have to get some good PLA and print. Thanks again.

Cheers Pravbk! When it's all printed and assembled you'll find it's all worth it as you'll be able to make some silky smooth videos!

Starting my print today, cant wait to test it out with my Sony a6000! I still have some sifting to do before I order all my non 3D printed parts. But once she is all put together I will upload a Made. Thanks for this awesome design cant wait to put it to the test!

Thanks Mitch! I love the design too :)
Can't wait to see your make!

Hey Scotty I believe I have ordered all the correct bolts, but I am unsure of which springs to get as my camera is only 500g.
If you could point me in the right direction that would be fantastic! Took my first printed parts off and its slowly shaping together!

Hi Mitch, that's a good weight for a camera. The real question is what's the weight of your camera & gimbal combined?

Finally finished mine...well almost. After a few mods I'll be posting a Make. Great work and thanks again! Just a few thoughts so far: 1) It seems the centre of gravity is very high with the gimbal attached in this fashion. Have you had any thoughts about the advantages/disadvantages of that? I'm currently designing a center section that will clamp to the gimbal a little further up the hand grip/battery compartment to see if that helps things. 2) This one is obvious but maybe something to be aware for anyone using this type of device: the suspension still offloads some of the forces into your arms in the sense that the distance between the handles can affect the force pushing back against the system. So make sure to keep things loose and don't pull apart/squeeze together. You're arms are sort of part of the dampening system as well and can defeat the absorption if you're not careful.

Hi Marc, and thanks! Can't wait to see your modded make!
With the gimbal properly balanced and mounted to the stabilizer in the eye-line position I don't have any issues with the centre of gravity. The handles in the upright position further centres the centre of gravity too. Even with the handles pointing down (high position) I don't experience any serious lack of control from forward or backward rotation but YMMV. The under-slung gimbal in the low and ground level positions are the easiest to shoot but only useful if that suits the shot.
Yes, soft hands are a must! I'm going to be making some short instructional videos when I get a chance... I've been selling these to people without printers and haven't had time to do anything else these last few weeks... Though it's a good problem to have :-)

Which gimbal did you attach to your 3d printed one in the pictures? Nevermind, just saw your post saying zhiyun v1. Is there a cheaper one you recommend?

Also, there's the Feiyu gimbals that have a good reputation and are inexpensive.

I'm using the FeiyuTech a2000 and really like it. Their app for iOS is a little flakey at times but the gimbal works very well.

The Zhiyun Crane v2 is a bit cheaper that the v1 was... and it's one of the cheapest too. If you have a lighter camera the the Crane M is cheaper still. I wouldn't go any cheaper than that as there's a lot of junk out there.

Hi Scotty,

I printed the first Z stabilizer and was very impressed. Never got it dialed in with correct springs because right after I assembled it, you dropped this bomb! I plan to begin printing it today. Thanks so much for offering this. It's a truly amazing project.

I do have a question. In looking at both V2 & V3 of the gimbal support, I'm seeing two very thin discs that would be oriented flat against the print bed when printing. Are they something broken in the model or are they supposed to be there? I don't notice them in the videos. They look to be thin enough to easily trim away post print but I just wanted to understand their purpose. Meanwhile I'm going to get busy printing the other stuff.

Hey Leevibe!
Those lobes or 'mickey mouse' ears are to aid in bed adhesion as those areas were a little prone to losing bed adhesion without them. They're so thin that you can easily pull them off after your print.
You'll definitely love this design... I sure do :D
But the other design is still good to... just this one is better!!

Excellent. Thanks for the quick reply too!

Hey Scotty, I was curious what you were using with the stabilizer. I have most of it printed, and realized that I actually need the gimbal. Just curious what you're using so I could buy one too!

Hey, I use the Zhiyun Crane v1. It's good but now there are better gimbals out there like its replacement (Zhiyun Crane v2) that work even better. This is good for most dslr/mirrorless cameras. As for other brands, look at some youtube gimbal reviews and hopefully you'll get a good understanding for what each offers. I've heard that Nebula gimbals should be steered clear of due to failures and non existent support.

This was very helpful, thanks! Also, I appreciate the quick reply!

4thAxis_SpringAdjust_R_V5 & 4thAxis_SpringAdjust_L_V5
Settings: 0.8mm - 0.25mm layers (see below), 4 perimeters, 25% fill, Supports

Is that a typo? Figured its supposed to read 0.08mm - 0.25mm.

Yep, it should read 0.08mm - 0.25mm
Updated, thanks!

What a brilliant design! I was searching for something to reduce Z axis movement and I quickly came across your original design. And I'm so glad I did! Then I saw your Pro Model and was blown away! You've put a lot of thought and testing into this! I sent you a message. Thank you for creating this and sharing it!

Thanks Anthony, I'm extremely happy with my design. It works great! I responded to your message already!

You should be extremely happy with it. Very well done! I would love to shoot some footage with it.

Hi Scotty ! Good job ! I think that 16 bearings "608" can improve this project.

The brass washers do a surprisingly good job but thanks for the tip :)

Just thought I'd let you know the Spring Adjust parts seem to have self intersecting surfaces. Also curious as to what changed from V2 to V3 since I printed the V2 before realizing the other side wasn't in the STL package. Slowly making my way through the print while testing materials along the way. Thanks again for this design!

Thanks for the info emkaybot! Looks like something broke when I updated the file. I'm just in the process tonight of an update to that part and the gimbal support so will remove the broken part and replace it a bit later. I'm also adding a removable stand for it which is why I'm changing the spring supports.

Thanks. Same problem here with file "4thAxis_SpringAdjust_L_V3.stl"

I've added new versions of the Spring Adjust parts. These now have a flatter base and a space for a captured nut. That nut is designed to be used with the NEW! stabilizer stand which has just been added together with a knob to keep up the tool-less adjustments.
I've also made a new version of the Gimbal Support that can more easily take video quick release plates on the top and bottom. In addition to that there's another two captured nuts on the top side for more rigging options :)

Great job Scotty! You are man!

:) Thanks, and hey, if you post any footage online that you shot with the pro stabilizer could you send me the link?
BTW, the stand is designed so that you can use it while shooting as it's unlikely to get in the way! I'm just updating the thing info now!

WOW!! Today is my Birthday, and Dang!!! I found the perfect present Thank you!!!!! I'm printing the middle arm now! I own a Cannon Rebel T2i. Is that camera alright for this? Also- Best thing I've found so far. Nice job!!!

Happy Birthday EhhMan! And thanks too!
Yes, it'll work with your camera... it will take a payload up till 3kg.

Super impressed by this design, very clean aesthetically and a very well thought out design. This should definitely be featured on Thingiverse. You're doing 3D printing right.

I found this because I want to fix the z axis issue in my Osmo. I also wanted a two handed option because I thought it would give me more control and a stronger/more stable connection to the unit.

I'd love to give this a try. From what I can tell, an osmo setup would be lighter than the setup you have on this currently. Should I use a lighter spring (maybe one rated for the weight of my setup)? Or would this accommodate an Osmo Mobile/IPhone 7 setup (400 grams).

Thanks ahead of time and again,

Great work.

Wow! Thanks Logun. I'm extremely proud of this design :)
I think we're only just scratching the surface of 3D printing design potential.

I'm guessing you have already seen my single handed Z axis stabilizer that has a Osmo mount here:- https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2460933

If you definitely want the two handed stabilizer then I'd be more inclined to go for my standard two handed stabilizer as I'm guessing you're unlikely to need the pro features if you just plan to use the Osmo. You can find that here:- https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2450913

As for springs, this is what works on the Osmo with the single handed stabilizer http://www.centuryspring.com/extension-spring-642.html
If you use two springs then that would be too strong.
To use the Osmo double handed I'd suggest looking at a spring that is around 0.04" (1mm) dia and about 0.4-0.6" (11-14mm) in OD
I've got a 11" long spring that's 0.44" OD and 0.04" dia and I just cut it to size and bend the ends to make a loop.
Let us know how you go with it as there might be others looking for the same answers?

Compact Gimbal Vertical Z ( 4th ) Axis Stabilizer
Vertical Z ( 4th ) Axis Gimbal Stabilizer

Hey Scotty, great work!!

I'm also interested in using your pro design on a lighter stabilizer like the Smooth Q. I feel that the double sided pro model would be a lot easier to hold during long shoots. I know the Q is a lot lighter than the Osmo and thus would require even lighter springs. Is it possible to use two springs but utilizing springs that are much lighter in tension? If not, are you saying that I should build the unit and only use one spring? Sorry, just a bit confused.

Actually, the smooth q is 150g heavier than the osmo phone. I'm fairly sure my suggestion above would still hold true for the smooth q. And yes, using two springs.
But let us know how you go with (maybe a make ;-) it as I'm sure others may be interested in how it works for you?
Still, my preference for such a light rig would be the single handed stabilizer but YMMV.

Thanks for the quick update.

Hi Scotty,

great stuff really. I would like to know more about the fluid dampers... I always wanted to understand more about how it operates and how to make myself, but never found nothing...

However, I really like the way this tool dampens very nicely the up/down movement, but for me the gimbal stabylizers just sucks, I can only see pure steadicam moves (even the super expensive MoVI just sucks for me).

I was considering building an iso-elastic arm and your design proved that it could be feasibe.

Wow! That sounds awesome... would love to see it when built :)
There's a fair bit of stuff on fluid dampening info out there. I pulled apart a couple of mine to see what made them tick! Plus there's some youtube videos too. My design is different from those in a number of ways... by comparison there's is like brute force... hence I needed to come up with a new design and after a stack of prototypes I can honestly say I'm proud of the job it does :). It will still go from slow shots to running by adjusting the variable dampeners. I'd call it a soft touch, certainly more organic looking than other systems worth big bucks!
Good luck with your design!

WOW. Your videos are great - filled with information and beautiful photography. Like many others have stated – thanks for sharing.

Aw shucks :) Thanks. Glad you like them! I'm putting the finishing touches on the DIY video right now :)

A very great work! It was fun to print the parts. But also a challenge!
I have a few more questions. For example... which 1/4 inch nuts are used in the parts?

Hexagon / appr. 5,5 mm thick / 11 mm wide?

If you can say that, I could print the rest of the pieces.
Thank you in advance!

Thanks Ingol!
Sorry, I've been unexpectedly swamped with filling orders for it. I almost finished the DIY video last night... will surely finish it tonight and post it with the full list of extra parts needed. It's actually all 1/4 - 20 fittings as that's the international standard for photographic equipment... such as the gimbal you'll be attaching to :)

OK. Thanks for the quick answer.

It's better to wait for the video and the list of parts.
Then I can't do anything wrong:)

It's awesome that you are providing it here!! THANK YOU!

Yes, editing the video right now.
I'm happy to share it. I might be a bit biased but I personally think it works better than all but the most expensive stabilizers. Since I posted the showcase video on Thursday I've had some sales to some pros so I hope to eventually get some footage of what a pro can do with it :)
Anyway, I digress, back to editing ;-)

I can hardly wait to see all your fantastic ideas become reality! :)

Hi Ingol, the DIY video, detailed printing instructions and list of non printing parts is now added to the 'thing'

Me too!
There'll be a fair bit coming out over the next month so stay tuned :)
Anyway, I digress, back to editing ;-)

Wow nice work! Wished I had a camera worth to try this gimbal with :D

Looks great Scotty. I'll definitely be building this (with a mod or two). Curious to see how the variable dampening works before starting when you get a chance. Thanks for all the hard work and great design work!

Thanks Marc. The new variable fluid dampening works great! There's nothing I'd change about it. It's gentle when you need it and strong enough for fast motion or running. I'm super happy with this design :)

The suspense... ha ;) That sounds great though. Looking forward to seeing the mechanics of it. Can't quite imagine how that part will work since it doesn't seem to be using printed elements like the last gimbal. Or at least none that are included with this STL package. I'm sure it'll be better than my initial thoughts of how I'd do it.

Oh Dear!
You get the prize for catching my deliberate mistake :)
The problem with having too many parts for a make... the two parts - static side and dynamic side are now added to the thing.
Thanks for that!

Ha. Great. I love prizes ;) I had a feeling they were missing (or coming). Looks great though. And look pretty much exactly how I thought they'd look. Clever.

Hi Emkaybot, the DIY video, detailed printing instructions and list of non printing parts is now added to the 'thing'

This is one of the most impressive things I've seen on here

Wow, that's a helluva great complement :)
Thanks, I'm extremely proud of this one!

When Printing the handle,need to pause the process and embedding nut ?

I too, am a little confused about when to pause the printer to add the nuts to both of the handles and the gimbal support. I'm totally a 3D printing newbie. Are these pauses built in to the .stl files or is this something that I need to add? I'm also not sure based on the rendering pics where the bolts go and and if some of them are vertical instead of horizontal. Maybe you upload a video showing us how you add the bolts? Thanks again for sharing your amazing work with the world :)

and GimbalSupport

Hi Elliot, the DIY video, detailed printing instructions and list of non printing parts is now added to the 'thing'

Hi Elliot, yes, sorry, I'm in the process of writing a detailed instructional and DIY video. But will be a couple of days due to work. But in the meantime I'll just add those points in case anyone starts printing it.

Hi Chris, the DIY video, detailed printing instructions and list of non printing parts is now added to the 'thing'

Hi Chris,
I'll be posting a DIY video in a day or two and at the same time I'll post a complete list of all the bits and pieces, printing suggestions etc. There's nothing you can't find at a normal hardware store and the parts would be under $10-$15.

Let me be the first to say "GREAT JOB" !!!!!!!!!

Thanks Medic! I'm really proud of this one :)

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