By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
You gotta love a camera gear company that cares so much about their future clients that they help them build their own DIY gear, even though they sell solutions that will do the same thing. That’s what Rhino Camera Gear is doing with their new YouTube video series called “Rhino Hacks,” and their first project is a $75 camera slider that looks like you bought it.
We get questions all the time from amateur film makers asking how to get slider-like shots on the cheap. Often, they’re saving for a Rhino Slider, but they want something
cheap to get them by. Depending on the situation, we’ve suggested everything from skateboards to $10 DIY options online, but as a product designer I wanted to offer a more
elegant solution. This is our attempt to offer an easy to build, affordable, and relatively smooth camera slider. – Kyle, Rhino Camera Gear
This $75 camera project came as a result of a challenge to build a slider within three hours and $75, based on the hypothetical that some of your camera gear didn’t arrive in time for the projected video shoot. So Kyle of Rhino took to the white board and sketched out a rough designed wrapped around angle iron found at a local hardware store, and some skateboard wheels from a local sports shop.
Kyle also wanted to make the build relatively tool-free. So, taking along his trusty tape measure, he went to the local hardware store and started measuring out some angle iron, and fitting together other aluminum parts and nuts and screws. Here is the basic parts list:
- 10 ft. Electric Metallic Tube Conduit
- Simpson Strong Tie BC40Z Z-MAX Post Base
- Slotted Steel Angle, 1-1/2 by 48-Inch, Galvanized
- 8 – 50mm Skate wheels, plus 16 bearings
- Lock nuts, washers, cap bolts
- Hack saw
- 1/4-inch and 9/64-inch Allen wrenches
- socket wrench with 11/32-inch and 1/2-inch sockets
First you measure and cut with the hacksaw. Make sure you follow the old carpenter adage of measuring twice and cutting once, otherwise you may end up with a second trip to the hardware store! The conduit can just be cut into 5 foot halves.
Meanwhile, the angle iron gets measured and cut into four pieces with marks placed at 6 1/8 inches, 12 inches, 22 5/8 inches, and 33 inches. The extra part is to account for cutting of the pieces. The two shorter pieces will be the sides of the carriage. The two longer pieces will be your end plates that the conduit bolt to.
If you don’t have a hacksaw, you could ask the store to cut it down for you. And being you’re working with metal, the cut pieces will be a bit sharp. So it would be helpful in preventing cuts if you took a file or sander and smoothed them off.
Then you’re ready to assemble. At this point, if you’re planning to paint the slider to make it look better, you will want to loosely put together your parts just to confirm everything fits and your cuts are right. The Strong Tie Post Base will need to be pulled out to a 45-degree angle in order to accommodate the wheel positions after you attach it to the angle iron. Once you have the post base and angle iron assembled, it’s time to place the bearings into your skateboard wheels (I’m using roller blade wheels I have, they come with bearings already installed), and bolt them down with your allen bolts.
Then you use conduit straps to bolt down the conduit onto the angle iron ends to create your slider track. As a reminder, you want to make sure you washers everywhere you use bolts and nuts. This provides for an even and secure connection.
Place your camera carriage on the rails to test slide it and confirm that you’ve placed the conduit straps at the right distance. Once you have, you can disassemble your parts and ready them to paint (you’ll want to remove the wheels at this point, too). Although you can use any color, Kyle chose matte black Rust-Oleum because you can use it without primer, though I’m old school and will prime everything just in case. For the end caps he went a step further and dipped them in black Plastidip. That’s a great idea because it will prevent surfaces from scratching.
Now you’re ready to slide, and the benefit of the angle iron is, you can attach both sides with a tripod and a single 1/4 20 wing nut!
Check out the Rhino Hacks video below, and you’ll also get a link to sign up for the entire step-by-step instructions in PDF form from the Rhino website. While you’re at it, you can see another cool video of sending one of their Rhino Sliders to the edge of space to test how rugged it is when it plummets to earth. Man, I hope they make more of these. This video is excellent and the PDF you can get has very comprehensive step by step instructions. Guess I’m off to the hardware store!