Here at Interactive Communications, we like to experiment. We’ve built DIY camera rigs and try the nightly builds of Magic Lantern firmware on our Canon cameras. Heck, I even built my own timelapse camera slider, going so far as to write my own program to set the move speeds. We do it because we want to tell the best story and have different tools to use to do that.
So in , when we saw the short video that Vincent LaForet did with the Movi, our jaws dropped. Fast-forward just under a year and now the do-it-yourself crowd has built a community around these gyro-stabilized camera gimbals, blossoming out of the RC hobby.
A couple of us in the office are in to the RC hobby. Flying helicopters and quadcopters kind of got us thinking; we could build one of those! And so we decided, when the right project came to our attention, we jumped on the opportunity to build one.
Before I get too much further, I want to make this clear: This is NOT a how-to. Realistically, if you are toying with the idea of making your own camera gimbal, then you have to be able to tinker or pay up for the out-of-the-box solutions. However, Id like to give some tips that would have helped us from the start.
Our parts list (all from HobbyKing):
- Turnigy PRO Steady-Hand Gimbal 3 Axis KIT
- Quanum AlexMos Brushless Gimbal Controller 3-Axis Kit Basecam
- Turnigy HD Brushless Gimbal Motor (BLDC)
- Lithium Polymer Charge Pack 18x22cm Sack
- TL Thread Locker & Sealant High Strength
- Hobbyking S Cell Checker with Low Voltage Alarm
- Cable Ties x mm White (pcs)
- mm x 13mm M3 Nylon Threaded Spacer (10pc)
- EC3 plugs (10pairs/set) (USA warehouse)
- Turnigy Balancer/Charger 2S~4S
- Wire Mesh Guard Black 3,6, and 8mm (1mtr)
- HobbyKing Power Supply ~v 5A
- Turnigy mAh 3S 20C Lipo Pack
Totaled out to be around $ shipped vs the Movi equivalent at just under $5,
Additional parts were bought from Quadframe.us who we were able to provide IMU and AlexMos board cases. We also took several trip to our local hardware shop, where we got our nylon screws, nuts and spacers for mounting the board. Heres a short video that includes some shots with the gimbal:
Some notes and tips (specific to this build)
- The Hobby King frame is not easily adjustable and thereby very frustrating to balance. Be prepared to tighten and untighten the screws about a thousand times.
- The hardware provided with the frame was not quite adequate, it was missing motor mounting screws and it was not in the motor box. Some screws broke threads or just didn’t work. Have some additional screws on hand!
- Another suggestion to Hobbyking: Please include a stand for the gimbal, it would save people so much time and frustration. What we did was use two light stands to hold up the gimbal, which worked great but if there was an option to buy a simple stand, we would have definitely done that.
- Get yourself a halfway decent set of hex drivers, they will save your fingers and sanity.
- Providing a case for the IMU and the AlexMos board would be really helpful in protecting the electronics, especially if people are going to fly this on a camera ship and if it is intended on being used on a production shoot.
- A longer IMU cable would have been tremendous; we tore ours off so many times, eventually creating a longer one.
- Header pins for the IMU would have been nice so we wouldn’t have to keep resoldering the wires.
- BE SURE to check all axes for friction-less motion, it is super important and gave us too many headaches.
- BALANCE is essential to the success of this, we followed the basics from the Movi online manual on Vimeo and found it very helpful.
So the big question is, was it worth it?
Yes and no. We saved a ton of money by doing it ourselves and we sure as hell paid for it in the time we spent tinkering and adjusting the thing. In the end, I can build one of these things with a bit more confidence and the experience we gained is new territory in the world of cinematography. So to answer the question, it was mostly worth it minus the times we wanted to throw the gimbal through the window.
TAGS: alexmosblgcgimbalhobbykingmotorized brushless gimbalmoviturnigy
Introduction: DIY Brushless Gimbal
Being a content creator and specifically a youtube content creator, I have to focus on getting smooth footage out of my camera gear. But thing get tricky when you have to shoot handheld. Thats where camera gimbals comes into play but not everyone is willing to pay for them.
So In this instructable we are going to design and built a Brushless gimbal out of commonly available hardware.
In my previous smartphone gimbal I ended up using a lot of weight to make smooth footage but still there were noticeable glitches during the camera motion. Now to solve both these problems I have decided to produce a good amount of momentum by spinning a considerable amount of weight at a high speed which will hopefully produce a considerable amount of inertia to stabilise the camera platform.
Now to execute this idea I have decided to use a use a brushless motor and to keep this project simple and cheap I am going to get that motor from an old high speed PC fan do get our job done.
Now lets get building
Step 1: Tools and Material
The material required for this project are:
The tools required for this project are:
Step 2: Extracting the Brushless Motor
First we need to get our hands on the brushless motor.The fan is power by an out runner brushless motor that lies inside the fan casing with the speed controller on the rear side of the fan. So I took the fan, hammer and a chisel and knocked down all the unwanted plastic parts from the PC fan.
As I ripped down all the unwanted material I used a file to sand down all the uneven surfaces. Now the red and black wire coming out of the motor are the input for the motor. once you connect these wire to a 12v power supply the motor must start spinning.
Step 3: A Big Thank to the Sponsors
Well being a full time youtube DIY Content creator its great to get supported for what you love to do. So I would love to thank PCBWAY for helping us do what we love doing.
PCBWAY is providing professional services for customised Printed Circuit Board manufacturing at great prices. I have been using their PCBs for a bunch of my DIY projects and the quality is premium.
So guys make sure to have a look at their website for some great quality PCBs.
Step 4: Mounting the Motor
Now to mount the motor we glued it to the 1in to 3/4in PVC socket.
Now the idea is to produce more momentum to resist the sudden changes in position so we added a heavy nut on top of the motor can such that the unit spins along with the motor casing and since the nut have a good amount of weight to it and now its supposed to be spinning at a very high speed so hopefully we will achieve a considerable amount of momentum.
Next we attached a 3/4 in PVC pipe measuring 11 inch long on the other end of the PVC socket. This piece of PVC pipe is later going to serve as a battery holder too.
Step 5: Making the Battery Pack
Now to power the motor we need a battery pack. For that we are going to use three cells that I have salvaged from an old laptop battery.
The three cells are first balanced charged to ensure that they are in proper working condition and holding the same potential. Next I have soldered all the cells in series which gives an output of nearly 12v. Now I have decided to operate the motor on two speed using a SPDT switch so I have also added a wire at the second cell to have an output of v too.Now before inserting the battery pack inside the pipe I have insulated the battery pack using a heat shrink covering.
The ground wire is directly connected to the motor ground and the charging socket. The positive terminal of the charging socket is then connected to the battery positive terminal. Whereas the 12v and v output of the battery goes to the motor positive terminal through a SPDT switch which enables us to operate the motor at two different speeds.
The battery pack is then inserted inside the pipe and the switch is then added to the top of the pipe.
Step 6: The Stabilizing Mechanism
The stabilising mechanism of the gimbal or the head is made our of 2in and 3in PVC pipes. First I have cut down a pair of 1 in wide stripes out of both pipes and glued them together to increase the wall thickness.
Later I have drilled holes in the middles of both stripes on opposite sides using a step drilling bit. Next I have inserted ball bearing inside these holes.
A 1/2in PVC pipes measuring 8 inch long added in the centre of the 2 inch PVC strip with the help of 5mm screws.
The outer 3in PVC ring is cut down from the front as that part of the structure is not needed. Using two more screws that strip is attached to the 3in strip. Now these two parts together can provide a 2 dimensional freedom to the 1/2in pipe hanging in the centre.
Step 7: Making the Handle and Adding the Smartphone Holder
To hold the gimbal I have made a handle using a 45 degree 3/4in PVC socket along with a 3/4in pipe cut down to 6in length. The handle is then glued to the centre of the outer 3in strip.
To hold a camera or a smartphone holder I have glued a bolt along with a washer at the top of the 1/2in PVC pipe that hangs in the centre of the gimbal. Later I have also added a smartphone holder at the top to test this thing out.
Step 8: Painting the Gimbal
Now to make this thing look cool we painted all the parts using a matt black and a red spray paint. The paint job is done after disassembling all the parts and thats the advantage of making the whole gimbal using PVC fittings.
Once the parts dried I reassembled the Gimbal and hollaaa it look like a damn cool gadget!!!!
Step 9: Final Thoughts
The gimbal turned out to be a really nice product.
For shooting with the smartphone the whole thing worked like a charm. The gimbal really helped me to take some smooth shots out of my smartphone camera but its unable to hold a DSLR due to its weight. The whole gimbal feels a lot lighter than the previous version.
The down side is that since the nut is not glued at the centre of the motor so it produces some viberation at high speed which can be solved by getting a commercially available metal flywheels.
For more interesting projects do visit my youtube channel:
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Introduction: DSLR Brushless Gimbal
With the booming market for brushless gimbals, I attempted to create my own.
I had an idea for a camera stabilizer back in as a Sophomore High-school project. I followed the RC community for a while and during this time the only camera stabilizers were still servo controlled. Suddenly, around mid, Alexmos came out with one of the first hobby-level brushless controllers. This controller allowed brushless motors to substitute servos and brought a new level of smooth balancing that even geared servos could not bring (servos have a set # of positions that creates a limited pan/sweep). I made sure to pre-order this new controller and held on to it until more custom winded motors became easier to find.
List of Materials
- 30x 25mm Boom Clamps
- 3x mm Carbon Tubes
- 2x mm x Carbon Fiber Sheets (Not needed if 3D printing)
- 2x Brushless motors
- 1x Brushless Gimbal Controller
- 1x mAh 3s Lipo battery
- 1x Tarot Full pitch arms
- 1x 5mm bearing shaft
- 5x 5x9x3mm flange bearings
- mm drill bit
- 40x M Press nuts
- Heatshrink Combo pack
GOOD RESPIRATOR MASK! (CARBON FIBER DUST IS DANGEROUS)
- CNC or 3D printer or Dremel
- These tools can be substituted with a good file, saw, patience!
Step 1: Design (or Printing Phase)
After this new technology became more developed I decided to begin the design phase. I began cading the initial designs using Solidworks, which I had to learn as I designed, and came up with these base plates. I did not know how to use assembly back then, so unfortunately I don’t have a final render of the gimbal.
These parts are optimized for mm cuts of carbon fiber plates.
Step 2: FABRICATION
After I finished the CAD plates, I then converted that into gCode using SheetCam. From there I put it into the CNC and cut out the pieces from a mm carbon fiber plate (make sure to wear the appropriate mask filter when cutting carbon fiber!). I had to make 3 passes through the plate due to a weak spindle. These multiple passes ended up creating frayed edges which I sanded off using the rough metal edges of the CNC and a high grit sandpaper.
Step 3: Fabrication (NON-CNC Alternative)
The parts do not have to be cut using a CNC. They can also be cut out using a dremel or even a good jeweler's saw. Simply print out the sldworks file, glue to the CF plate, and carefully cut it using a dremel or saw. I cut these boom clamp joints in about a minute with no sanding or cleaning up.
Caution: the CF's high abrasiveness will dull most tools VERY quickly.
Step 4: Cleaning Up the Plates/cuts
For all the plates I made sure to redrill the hole with the mm bit. This created an accurate sized hole and cleaned up any frayed edges. For the sides I used a cheap sanding drum to get rid of the frayed edges.
Step 5: Adding the Pressnuts
From then, I added the press-nuts to the plates to get rid of any loose nuts. When adding the press-nuts to the larger plates, I drilled a larger hole about 1/3 deep first to prevent the carbon fiber from cracking. I didn’t have any lever presses so I used a vise to force the press-nuts into the plate.
Step 6: Cutting the Booms/tubes
After the plates, I cut the booms to size using the dremel’s abrasive disk. I ended up with 8 separate pieces (2x in, 4in, in, in, in, 18in).
Step 7: Modifiyng the Brushless Motors
For the pitch part of the gimbal, I needed to create a pin to hold the second side of the pitch arm. What I ended up doing is replacing the shaft of the gimbal motor with a new modified version. I used a shaft that was the same diameter as the brushless motor’s shaft and added a wider tube on its end for the pitch support arm.
Step 8: Modifiyng the Brushless Motors
For the pitch motor I needed to replace the motor shaft with a longer one. So I loosened the bolt on the side of the motor and then used a hammer to push the old motor shaft out. From then I took out the eClip and disassembled the motor. I did the same process as making the pin from the previous gallery and recreated another shaft that was longer that the original. From there I reassembled the motor and I was finished with the general fabrication.
Step 9: ASSEMBLY of Handlebar
I started the assembly with the 2 handles. The handles use in booms and the U-shaped plates.
Step ASSEMBLY of Monitor Holder
The next piece I started assembling was the monitor holder. It has a standard hole for most monitor mounts and should easily be strong enough to fit most <7″ monitors.
Step ASSEMBLY of Centermount
Continuing from there I assembled the center piece plate. It connects the actual gimbal with the handle portion. The boom it connects to is the 18in and the in.
Step ASSEMBLY of BoomConnectors
This assembly is with the boom connectors that utilizes the 4in boom, in, and 5in.
Step ASSEMBLY of Pitch Arm
This is the 2nd half of the pitch arm. It uses the pin/shaft made earlier and connects to the 5in boom.
Step ASSEMBLY of Pitch Arm 2
This is the other half of the pitch arm. It uses one of the brushless motors with the extended shaft and connects to the 4in boom.
Step ASSEMBLY of CameraPlate
This part goes on the center pitch boom (in) and holds the camera. Hopefully I can replace this with a quick release mount later.
Step ASSEMBLY of RollMount
This is the final piece and hold the roll motor. It connects to the roll boom (in) and is the most complicated part of the gimbal. Hopefully I can replace this with a roll mount that is not limited to a deg roll movement.
Step ASSEMBLY of GimbalController
This is Alexmos 2-Axis controller board. I attached it to a small plate of aluminum which I glued a velcro strap too. The smaller circuit on the right goes on the camera and contains the gyros. The thickest wires soldered on the board are the power inputs (connects to the lipo) and the very thin twisted red and black wire is attached to a simple momentary button allowing it to turn on and off.
Congrats now you now how to make a dslr 2-axis camera gimbal that would usually costs thousands to buy! I would love to see your own creations or interpretations, maybe even a 3D printed one. One day I'll update this with a 3-axis mod.
This was an older picture with a standard monitor vs an HD one.
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DIY Brushless Camera Gimbal Handheld Mini Quadcopter
Brushless motor camera gimbal is so common these days, and they are more affordable than ever. However it can still cost you $+ if you want to get a good one. If you are like me, who don’t have enough budget but really want a camera gimbal, and you enjoy DIY projects, you might find this post interesting. Find out what they do, and comparison to the servo based camera gimbals.
Here I am going to build a light weight brushless gimbal. The design goal is not restricted to only quadcopter mounting, it should also be compatible for handheld, and other common camera mounts. I should also try to make it compatible to many types of cameras as well, like the gopro, mobius, or even just a mobile phone.
A demo video showing the performance.
And a video filmed with this brushless camera gimbal, and the GoPro Hero3 Silver.
It’s important to make sure the lens of the camera is aligned with the roll and pitch motor shafts. I first measured the dimensions of the motors and GoPro camera.
I drew the design on paper, and did some calculations on the dimension of the frame. I could have taken the weight of everything in to account as well, to make sure the whole gimbal when finished, is balanced before turning on (at rest). But it would make the whole project so much more complicated, so I decided to take it easy, just leave enough gap on the camera mount plate, so I can slide the camera left and right, to find the balance point.
I don’t have a 3D printer, neither a CNC machine nor any other professional tools. I will be only using any household tools you are likely to get, scissors, screw drivers, cutter, and pliers. Material wise I will be using styrene sheet, and plywood sheet. Some metal angle brackets, screws and nuts.
I decided to use plywood, because it’s light weight, rigid and not easy to bend. Also it’s easy to drill holes on them with only a screw driver and knife.
I needed four pieces of wood, two for the camera mount (forming a “L” shape), two for the connection between roll motor and pitch motor (again, forming a “L” shape). I probably also need an extra one for holding the brushless camera gimbal (which attached to the back of the pitch motor). I will be putting vibration foam on the camera mount plate, to sit the gopro camera on.
The screws, nuts and angle brackets are made of steel, which are quite heavy (probably make up 60% of the total weight!). I could have used nylon screws/nuts etc instead. If you have access to a 3D printer, you can also print the whole frame with plastic. It would be so much lighter, although rigidity could be a problem.
Putting all the parts together is simple, once you have everything designed, and made into the exact shapes as you wanted.
As you can see, the pitch motor is not exactly aligned with the camera lens. That’s because the weight distribution is not what I thought it would be. I had to move the camera to the right by 1 cm to get it balance, which I am really disappointed about.
Talking about “gimbal balance”, make sure you balance it before turning it on for PID tuning. That means when power off, the camera should face forward, horizontally and upright.
For motors, I am using Kv Brushless Gimbal Motor. You can buy them from here.
One of the the biggest cost variables in a brushless gimbal, is probably the controller. There are clone controllers that are being sold at $15, while some others could be as high as $70 or more. I am not very familiar with all the gimbal controller, so I just picked a random one without any particular reasons – Quanum 2 axis micro gimnbal controller.
It’s very small, and light weight. It accepts 2S to 4S input, which perfect to use on a quadcopter, or handheld mount.
However I encounted an issue, which was saying Unrecognized Device in device manager. I needed to install driver for the controller. In Device Manager the controller appeared to be “cp usb to uart bridge controller”. I followed the instructions on this site to install the driver, and it worked.
I am still not very familiar with camera gimbal configuration. It’s all about PID tuning, which is not a new concept for me. But the meaning of each terms has different effect on a camera gimbal, than on a quadcopter. So there will be a lot more to take in, and I need to spend more time to play around.
With the stock PID, it seems working, but the result seems a bit unsatisfactory. I am working hard on the PID settings, so hopefully I can share some results soon. Probably with side by side comparison for cameras, with and without a brushless camera gimbal, and how well it improves the video quality.
Brushless gimbal diy
Tarot TD 2 Axis Brushless Gimbal for Gopro Hero 4/3+/3 TL2D01 DIY Drone FPV Gimbal Features: - Gimbal Suitable for camera: GOPRO HERO4 SESSION - Input power : 3S-6S Li (11VV) - Working current: 30mA (@25V) / 50mA (@12V) - Stall current: mA (@25V) / mA (@12V) - Attitude control accuracy: + degrees Maximum controllable speed: - Direction of rotation (PAN): + degrees /s - Pitch direction (TILT): +- degree /s - Rolling direction (ROLL): +- degrees /s Controllable rotation range: - Direction of rotation (PAN): + degree - Pitch direction (TILT) to +80 degree C - Rolling direction (ROLL): -+ 50 degree - Support S-Bus/PPM/DSM receiver - Working environment temperature: C ~+50 C - Maximum size (with camera): 80mm*90mm*mm Software requirement: Windows XP, Windows VISTA, Windows 7, Windows 8 (32 or 64 bit) NOTE: Not include camera. Isi Paket: - 1 x Tarot 3 Axis Gimbal - 1 x Gimbal control module (MM) - 1 x Connecting line - 1 x 5V output,receiver and video cable - 1 x USB module (27*21*7mm) - 1 x Foam sponge - 1 x Flight controller connection cable
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