Let me introduce the MO-FLO 1.0, another one of my entries into the world of DIY camera stabilization equipment. The MO-FLO, short for MOVIE and FLOW, is a 3d printed Merlin style steadicam.

In case you're new to the subject, Steadicam is a trademarked name for a company that produces camera stabilization equipment. When you search for DIY steadicam stuff on the internet, you'll find tons of resources. You can also search "steadycam" with a "y" and find more of the same stuff. Some people will cause a fuss about using the word steadicam, but when it really comes down to it, it's like asking for a kleenex when all you really need is a tissue.


Many DIY designs on the internet are based on the simple elements of the Merlin Steadicam. What tends to shock people about the Merlin, is its outrageous price tag. At first glance, you might guess that the unit would retail for a couple hundred bucks at the most. You're actually looking at shelling out close to $800!

Don't get me wrong..... it is a nice piece of equipment, but it's a huge investment. Let's look at the bright side though. With such a high retail price, this fancy gadget has merely inspired a nation of makers to fashion their own rigs out of simple and some not so simple materials. I'll show you some great examples shortly.

The interesting thing that I've learned from reviewing countless testimonials, and youtube vids, is that the steadicam is not a simple, easy to operate, magic, movie making machine. It demands time and patience, not only to balance it correctly, but to use it effectively for your film shots. Right now as I write this, there are many sad and lonely Merlins sitting in their fancy cases, while their frustrated owners try to sell them on ebay for fifty dollars less than retail.

My adventure begins.......

Don't forget to check out example footage captured using the MO-FLO 1.0.

Step 1: Merlin Style Steadicam: What You Might Want to Know

The Merlin steadicam is kind of mysterious, and its name is quite suitable, as many have stated that "you have to be a magician to operate it". When it comes to this style of stabilizer the most important factors are definitely balance and adjustability.

Many examples of DIY steadicams seem to have achieved balance without a great deal of adjustability. This is why I first thought it would be quite easy to build one. Boy, was I wrong. Without some sort of built in adjustability, your chances of effectively fine tuning different cameras on your rig, is greatly diminished. Don't forget....the guy in the video on youtube might have spent weeksfiguring out his balancing act. If you build the same thing, but use a different camera, you may be months behind in the quest to shoot steady shots. It's really that frustrating.

I found the following example of the Silver Flyer on youtube and started building.....

I didn't get very far because I found it difficult to find the right place to mount the handle. I was not having any luck with the small canon camcorder that I intended to use with it. I abandoned the build and soon thereafter I started designing my own parts that would be 3d printed on the UP 3D printer given to our school as part of the instructables sponsorship program.

Here are some other great links for DIY steadicams, some of which I found after my first model was completed. I still have have room for innovation based on some of the great information I have discovered on the subject.

<p>Hey great project</p><p>I would love to make it but how do i print the STL files. <br>I print in cm so the files are very small.<br>Thanks</p>
<p>Great project ! congratulations. Now, make one for iPhone and Samsung, so everybody can make movies with great quality and youtube will be lot better place.:)</p>
$50 less than retail, LOL! Yeah, eBay sellers kill me! It didn't used to be like that, you could find items for half off retail, but no more! Most of the time you can buy new cheaper than a used one on eBay!
Great question! This is an important piece of information that I neglected to include. Good thing someone is paying attention. I don't have access to the original file at the moment because it is at work, but I can tell you the the top spar is approx 6&quot; and the lower spar is approx 10&quot;. Depending on the camera and the number of weights you use, any spar length close to this measurements should work. I have a couple different lower spar lengths that I have used successfully. When I get a chance I will send you the exact measurements from my original plans.
Stl files are in inches.
Just a few questions: are the stl files in inches? What are the lengths of the upper and lower spars (the 1/2&quot; alluminum rods)? <br> <br>Great tips regarding dealing with liftage!
Brilliant work mate! <br>Hope one day I'll have acces to 3d printer ;)
I had a Stedicam J.R. and it wasn't as well designed as yours. Excellent Instructable. Hope you didn't spend your entire trip messing with the equipment:)
The trip was amazing, and I certainly took in the sights with my own eyes. Glad you like the design.
congratulations, very professional job
Thanks! I spent a lot of time on this one, and had so much fun using it.
Hi great instructuble! I checked all the STL files but I didnt seem to find the stage. Thanks!
Uploaded! Thanks!
Excellent! Sending this to a film director friend right now... :)
I hope it comes in handy.
Ever hear of a ZIP file? All 12 would fit very nicely in one.
Ever hear of a ZIP file? All 12 would fit very nicely in one.

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Bio: I'm a High School Technology teacher with self-diagnosed Creativitis, a disease that doesn't let my brain sleep. I spend my days trying to ... More »
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