DSLR Shoulder Rig

by flummer, published

DSLR Shoulder Rig by flummer Sep 7, 2012
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This thing is a 3D printed shoulder rig for DSLR cameras to help stabilize when shooting video.

I'm using the industry standard aluminum pipe size and spacing, so it should be possible to combine these printed parts with commercially available parts and/or rigs, though I have only tried that once with a part for a friends rig.

All the parts are designed in OpenSCAD and those source files are included below, in case you want to modify the parts to work with other pipes, differently sizes screw, etc.


To print a rig like the one on the picture, you will need to print:

  • - 1 pcs. camera_plate.stl
  • - 2 pcs. std_clamp_b.stl
  • - 2 pcs. dual_parallel_std_clamp_a.stl
  • - 1 pcs. std_clamp_handle_holder_30deg.stl
  • - 1 pcs. std_clamp_handle_guide_30deg.stl
  • - 1 pcs. std_clamp_handle_holder_-30deg.stl
  • - 1 pcs. std_clamp_handle_guide_-30deg.stl
  • - 1 pcs. shoulder_holder_160.stl go shoulder_sholder_320
  • - 2 pcs. shoulder_holder_bracket.stl

In addition to the parts on this thing, you will also need a bunch (16 pcs for the pictured rig) of these (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:11848) little thumb screws by Habbycam. It's designed for 1/4 inch, but I'm using them with M6 without any major problems.

You will also need some aluminum pipes. The main pipes have an outer diameter of 15mm and the two handle pieces have an outer diameter of 20mm. I have found that the fairly cheap ones in the local hardware store can vary in dimensions, but it's what I use in my rig. Some times you will need to trim the parts a little bit to fit the pipe, at other times you might need to adjust the drawings (via the OpenSCAD files) for fit your pipes.

The foam handles are for a kids bike and also from the local hardware store. The foam shoulder pad is just a left over piece of foam that has been covered in nylon cloth and mounted in the shoulder piece with velcro.

To put everything together you will also need some screws and nuts. I use M6 for everything except mounting of the Manfrotto sliding plate, that one is mounted with 4 pcs M4 screws and lock nuts.

Screws needed:

  • - You will need an M6 hex screw for each thumbscrew. 4 pcs. in 40mm (for the shoulder holder and handles), 10 pcs. 30mm
  • - 4 pcs. countersunk M6 screws (to mount the camera plate
  • - 20 pcs. M6 nuts
  • - 4 pcs. M4 20mm screws with M4 lock nuts (for mounting the Manfrotto 357 plate)

I am using a MANFROTTO 357 SLIDING PLATE ADAPTOR to mount the camera, but if you don't want that or want to use a different quick release plate, I have added holes in the middle of the camera plate for a 1/4 inch screw (with thumbscrew) that mates with the camera tripod mount or quick release plate.

In addition to the rig itself, I have also added a few parts to hold an audio recorder like the Zoom H4n (h4n_holder.stl and h4n_mounting_clamp.stl) and a little clip to hold the camera strap in case you use one of those (strap_clip.stl).

The lasercut_parts.pdf file holds two designs for cutouts in 2mm corc. Those are intended to be glued onto the camera plate and the H4n holder, to help ensure a good grip without scratching the mounted equipment. When mounting the Manfrotto plate, you don't need this corc piece.

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This looks incredible... Can anyone share thoughts about using heavier cameras with this rig? Looking to use Sony FS-100, 6.5 lbs with lens, battery, and accessories. Thank you!

I made a counterweight holder based on this DSLR rig-system. You can find it here, if you´re interested: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2761632

Counterweight mount - DSLR Rig - 15mm rod
by Toprob

Hi Robin,

That looks great! It's cool to see people expand on the rig and make new stuff!


How long it takes to print (100mm/s with 20% Infill)

I can't actually remember how long it takes, if you need a somewhat accurate quote, I recommend you try loading the parts that you need for your rig and load them into your slicer one at a time, and add up the estimated print times, and then maybe multiply in a factor based on your experience on the accuracy og those estimations.

I did the prints over several days and it's actually years since I last printed this, but I think it was a few days of printing...


Thank you ! I made one with my prusa. 15mm tube is hard to find in france.

Thank you for this amazingly looking shoulder rig, I am now printing it, complete photos maybe tomorrow.

Hi Andy,

That sounds great, I'm looking forward to see your finished rig!


So, after printing, editing, printing again and buying new filament, I am back here

Comments deleted.

How long are the rods? I want to buy '' real '' rods instead of aluminum :)

Hi Denzellos,

On my rig, the two tubes below the camera is ~18 cm long and the long ones that goes to the shoulder is ~57 cm, but the last 12-15 cm in the back is just sticking out, since I don't use a counter weight on my rig. The exact position of the shoulder piece also depends on how big you (or the operator) is and on the camera+viewfinder position, so you might want a little extra to allow for adjustments (that's what I use the extra 12-15 cm for).

The right handle is ~19 cm long and the left is ~30 cm. Those two tubes are the ones that are 20 mm in diameter on my rig, to fit the bike handles.

Hope it helps... Post an image when you have it build... I'd love to see how it turns out!


Hi, I can't find 20mm tubes and I have zero experience with openSCAD, could you make handle holders for the 15 mm :)?

So I think I'll go for the aluminum tubes for now, way cheaper... Did you drill holes in the tubes to attach the screws?

Hi Denzellos,

The only tubes I have drilled holes in are the two 20 mm ones for the handles, the 15 mm tubes are all without holes.


They dont have the tubes at my loval stores :(

Thanks, I'm printing parts atm and it goes well :). Have to wait for my rods though :(

Is it possible to make this with a Prusa i3?

Hi Denzellos,

I think so... haven't used one, but if the printbed is 200 x 200 mm, you should be OK. The longest parts are the dual_parallel_std_clamp_a.stl, but if you put it diagonally, it should fit.


hello, me again.
i was wondering what the best orientation was to print the shoulder holder 320.
when i import to makerware its on its end (as pictured above), this looks like it may tip over during printing.

I have printed both versions this way and haven't had any problems. it's the only way if you want to avoid overhang. Generally, I don't think tipping over is a problem unless the bed moves in x or y direction.

I have previously printed a very thin model with about 5 x 100 mm surface touching the build plate and about 130mm high without any problems.


thanks im using a replicator 2x so no moving build plate.
also thanks so much for the model, you saved me a couple hundred bucks!

You are welcome, just one thing to remember: Don't leave the rig in a hot car during summer! Mine was on the back seat for a few weeks this summer with a jacket over it and that caused it to bend a bit, so I had to make some spareparts ;-)


does anyone know where to get the metric rod in the us? i checked my local hardware store and they didnt have anything compatible. i may have to try the spacers for now but i would like future expand ability with the standard for this stuff. any info will help.

thanks in advance!

The camera stores that sell similar pro rigs usually have spare tubes, sometimes also in carbon fiber, but they are likely a bit pricey.

You could change the files a bit so that most of the holes fit the imperial measurements and only the ones under the camera (where a follow focus or similar would be mounted) is metric tubes.


Where can I get this tube for cheap? I want to make one for my brother as a gift.

It depends on where you are. In Europe, you can probably get it in the local hardware store, I think I paid about $10 for 1m here in Denmark, but in the States, it's a bit more tricky. If you don't need compatibility with pro rail systems, you can go with something like 1/2 inch from Home Depot, but you will need to modify the models a bit, or make spacers.

I finally got a DSLR camera, so I was finally able to post my "i made one" photo. :D

How long should the rods be for the rig as pictured?

The two 15mm rods below the camera are about 20cm and the two going back to the shoulder piece roughly 60cm. If you want to put counter weight it's nice to have them a little longer, but if you don't, you can make them a bit shorter.

The 20mm tube for the right handle is also about 20cm and the tube for the left one is close to 30cm. The two handles are the most critical when it comes to personalization, as they somewhat depends on body size and arm length.

My rig has been lend out at the moment, so the above dimensions is from memory, but I don't think they are far off. When I made the rig, I just cut different lengths and started assembling.

Hope it helps, but feel free to ask again!


Platform attachment for manfrotto 501
by Rukey

Cool, have you tried to print it? Does it work well with a 1-3 kg camera load without breaking?

I typed in the model. It is suitable for light cameras, my Canon 5DMII with lens EF 24-70 heavy. A little tremor. I think for the 550D and analogues.

16 thumbscrews? Ok, but I hate waiting for warmup and cooldown. here, print a bunch at once, then do it again.. 16+2 extra thumbscrews. http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:30165http://www.thingiverse.com/thi...

9UP - 1/4-20 thumbscrew by Habbycam

To begin with, I printed them one at a time, but didn't wait for cool down in-between prints, just started the next print right after the other was removed from the plate.

Lately, I have been trying out the plate feature in slic3r, where multiple are printed, but one at a time. It does take more space, since you need to have separation that give room for the print head, but for these thumbscrews it works pretty well.

sounds nice! I have the tiny tiny tiny thing-o-matic, so... :'( I'll probably never know what it's like to work with slic3r on this machine. But! I did just order a laser cutter, so maybe I can join the world of a build envelope larger than 100mm^3 by cutting myself a prinrtbot LC.

Looks unbalanced without a counter-weight.

As often I recommend a tapper on the parts to make insertion of the rods easier.

(Complexity has no cost with 3d printers.)

What allowance did you use on the holes?

I have experimented with counterweight on the back and about 4kg works pretty good with a Nikon D800 with 24-70 optics, but it highly depends on what you are shooting.

At work we use it to shoot model airplanes, helicopters, etc. that fly around at various heights, and adding another 4kg. in the back makes it very heavy when pointing the camera up in the air.

But I'll probably make a piece to hold some counter weight, just haven't done it yet.

Tapering could b
e an idea. None of the pieces use it now, and I don't think that has added any major problems, but tolerances is tricky, not least because of the relatively cheap aluminum tubes I'm using... the outer diameter simply isn't the same from tube to tube.

On most drawings I have used something like 0.1
mm allowance, but that might only work with the tubes I have.

So many greaet parts. Thank you!

A couple-few of these parts are too big for my thing-o-matic, so I'm working on split versions. As soon as I have something that works well, I'll post a derivative here.

I bought my aluminum tubes yesterday... dammit, US imperial measurement system! why u no evolve into metric!? So, I have 3/4" and 1/2" OD tubes. So I'm going to have to adjust the drawings and reprint... no big deal. Should be fine... or I could print some adapters. I'll make it work.

Yes, the only imperial parts I use are 1/4 inch and 5/8 inch screws and nuts for those, since that is what's used on all camera gear, everything else use metric parts. On the other side, getting imperial screws here in Denmark is a bit tricky... I have actually purchased my little collection of imperial parts and tools in the States.

hey, my initial round of printing tests have gone well. Photos tomorrow.

That sounds cool... I'm looking forward to see it. I'm printing another set for a colleague at the moment, we are going to an event next week to shoot a lot of video.

ok, still working on it, but this is a preliminary alternative to "dual parallel std. clamp a", so that it fits on the punitively small thing-o-matic envelope. I sliced the model in tinkercad, and added the supports necessary to be able to print the two halves stacked on top of each other. The top half comes out a... bit... fuzzy/crunchy, but it slices off good enough with a razor blade. the two mating box joint sides fit together really (!) nicely, I just need to see if i have 1/4" bolts short enough... or go get some. More soon.

realizing now that if I'd had my head screwed on straight, I should have put the 3 tine half of the model on the bottom, and the 2 tine half above it so it would print with less support structures. Maybe I will do that before I post them up here.