MaxGlide - Glidecam simple, efficient and cheap!

by MaximSachs May 5, 2013
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Hey @MaximSachs, I just recently built your MaxGlide and everything went smoothly, except for assembly of the gimbal. Every aspect of my prints had accurate dimensions, with the exception of the differences below:

  • When attaching the gimbal middle piece with the inner bearing mount, I had to shorten the 17.5mm tubing to 16mm and the M4 screws needed to be 20mm, not 25mm. At 25mm, they were too long and interfered w/movement, regardless of the orientation of the middle piece in relation to the bearing mount.
  • 25mm screws for attaching the middle gimbal piece to the outer piece were long enough. The BOM says 30mm.

Great work by the way! Gonna test it out this weekend. :-)

Hi, that is great to hear! Glad it all worked out. I hope you will enjoy the maxglide.


How thick does the aluminum bar have to be?

Just a quick question: How do I use this exactly ?

I have made one but when just holding the big handle and walking, then the camera will not stay just upfront. The camera is also turning around on his own axis which is of course not what we want. This is (I think) because of the bearing. It can easily turning left and right and even rounds.
I don't see this in the youtube video here.
So what I'am doing wrong?

The secret lies in balancing. When you hold the grip and with the camera mounted, turn it so the camera points forward with the long threaded rod horizontal. Then when you let go of the threaded rod, still holding it at the handle, the camera should swing 90 degrees, so to vertica, in about 2 to 3 seconds, if it swings faster, there is too much weight on the counterweight compared to the camera, if it swings slower or tips over to the camera side its not enough weight. While filming with it always hold the big grip tightly, and just very lightly hold the grip on the threaded rod aswell, so to control where the camera is pointing. Hope this helps, I can also recommend to watch instruction videos of professional ones, they often have tips and tricks.

Thanks. I found some video's which makes it clear.
On these video's I see the counterweight part at the bottom, pointing from front to back. I don't see it on your pictures.
Does it point indeed from front to back or from left to right?

The orientation of the counterweight does not effect the function. Placing the weights further will increase its moment of inertia, but which direction doesnt matter.

what do you recommend as the fill density?

What is the average print time of this?

Does anyone know where to get that pipe? Pipe of that size is extremely hard to find, especially in the U.S. An online store will do fine, but the ones that I've been able to find ship it in 200ft increments and it is therefore really pricey.

Are you talking about the aluminum tube or the threaded rod?

Going to assume the tube.

It appears the aluminum tube is for fake sleeve bearings. Which means you could probably use any metal for testing at very least, and actually i'd think most metals would work better than aluminum for it (i.e. browse the brass/copper pipe section of a hardware store). The size you need needs to fit between the hole wall and the size of the screw you're using. You could always switch to smaller screws too.

(Disclaimer, i've only had a friend recommend me this site for things before, and cannot assist you in selection of specific item numbers) This site has a selection of aluminum tube in imperial sizes, http://www.mcmaster.com/#standard-aluminum-hollow-tubing/=yjaxw3 might be one option, http://www.mcmaster.com/#spacers/=yjaz82 another from the same place.

Alternatively, this weekend I started on an idea for this that would require much less hardware to be purchased (basically just the threaded rod and screws and a larger number of skate bearings). I'm hoping to post that this week or next, feel free to bother me about it though.

Yup, I eventually just went with some copper refrigerator tube, which I cut with a dremel. I bought like 20 feet so I have plenty to replace it with should that need arise.

Thanks and nice work
Have now print it out and build it to my camera.

I just maybe have to build a longer mounting for my camera, was not so easy to make it right

Does anyone have recommendations on sourcing parts for this?


I just went to my local hardware store. They had all the parts necessary. I think most hardware/hobby stores will have them. (Although it is probably cheaper to order online, if you calculate the price per nut, however online you are forced to usually buy big boxes, which might not be a bad thing to have in house, in case you plan on doing other projects in the future)

Unfortunately selections of metric components are generally pretty limited in most US hardware stores. My local store has a better selection that most for nuts, bolts, washers, etc. but nothing for M8 rods. I just ordered a rod on eBay from a company in the UK and am waiting to hear back from another vendor on eBay about shipping the aluminum tube to the US.

Of course I do know I can just do the conversions and find the equivalents, but my local hardware store doesn't have a great selection of threaded rod in general, and definitely nothing I wouldn't have to cut myself.

Should this be printed at all in ABS? I recently got a heated bed, which helps with PLA, especially the counterweight, but would ABS yield better results on any of the parts?

I personally prefer PLA, and printed all parts in PLA. I dont think any of the parts will gain any significant structural improvement by using abs. The parts are very over designed anyways.

Comments deleted.

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

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.

If you want bearings then check out the additions i made to this design. http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:151016http://www.thingiverse.com/thi... 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....

MaxGlide with Bearings adapters

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

Improvement suggestion. Maybe make it a bit less bulky. Maybe add bearings.

Again very nice work

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

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.
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.

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

Nice! Looking forward to the design!

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.

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:

  • 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.

  • The tolerancing on the slide parts is not sufficient. I needed some light filing until I had a good fit

  • 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.

  • There is not enough room within the gimbal pieces to fit normal M4 nuts in there with room to spare.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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.

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!

By the way, my cost breakdown:

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

  • €5,80 for stainless steel threaded rod

  • €2,90 for brass 6/1mm pipe

  • €3,20 worth of PLA (printed most parts at 50% infill)

Total: €15,90

The bearing used in this build can also be found as the common 608 skateboard bearing

You saved my life! Little did I know that I could walk down the street to my local skate shop to get a part that has been eluding me for a long time...now for that pipe.

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.

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?

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.

How would this work with a gopro, being light would it still work ok?

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.

any recommended settings for printing on Replicator 2?

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Knowing this; the way to make a given part stronger is to:
1) Make it from a different material
2) Move it's area away from the center (i.e. make the tube a wider diameter)
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.

A few things for future reference:
1) A rod is lower strength-to-weight ratio than a tube, but it IS higher strength.
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.

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

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.