Acrobat Cable Cam

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Posted in WorkshopMetalworking

Introduction: Acrobat Cable Cam

About: Awesome Gear I've designed myself.

As I've been making instructables, I've had a good time making videos for my projects. This creation gives me a chance to flex my creative license. It's an all angles cable trolley for your camera. It gives a way to film rolling or panning shots from both a bird's eye or worm's eye view. You can use it on a zip line, pull it along, or hold in your hands. It's powered by me or gravity. No servos, gyros, or motors.

I made it to fit all my cameras which are 5" wide and smaller. This includes cameras like the GoPro and iPhone as long as you have a tripod mount.

You can find the CAD file in Step 1. You can also support a project for it on Kickstarter.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/699604098/acrobat-cable-cam-an-all-angles-camera-trolley

Step 1: Prototyping and AutoCAD

The very first prototype was made from aluminum flat bar and screen door wheels. After playing around with it a model in real life I turned to AutoCAD. A few hundred mouse clicks later. I had this design. I like to make paper models before getting it cut. Since it looked good I went to the the laser cutter.

Step 2: Forming the Parts

I added holes to help me form the parts. With two holes at each bend I was able to line them up in my vise by sticking hobby files through them. From there I used a rubber hammer to fold the part over. This kind of aluminum is not very good for 90 degree angles so I would use more of a radius next time around.

Step 3: Smoothing the Edges

Right off the laser cutter, the parts have a sharp edge. I used my trusty little tumbler to knock the edges down. If you're not familiar with a tumbler it's basically a vibrating container filled with an abrasive. In this case I tumbled the parts over night.

Step 4: Putting It All Together

After all the angles were formed in I picked up a whole bunch of hardware. It's all labeled in the first image. My original wheels weren't precision made by any means. That was a problem because it caused a lot of vibration in the filming. I upgraded to a larger better made wheel and that helped a lot.

Step 5: String It Up

I found that if you put too much tension in the line it acts like a violin string. With a little wind it vibrates and actually puts out a pitch. I had a good time with it. People who saw it in passing also thought it was fun. Thanks for reading.

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    15 Comments

    As a young senior high school student, i found this idea soo good. It's just perfect for people without lots of income, just like students.

    Is there an alternate material I could make this from

    Amazing! If you attached a gimble to it it would go even smother.

    I have only one thing to say about this - A very long wire, and a trip to Cheddar Gorge.

    when a thing is genius, people says "oh why I didn't think about it ? it so simple !" that's what I said. :D

    Ummm...new school idsea....make it a 3d printable. Lighter, no sharp edges. :)

    I think that adding a servo to the idler wheel (center) and one to either the pan or tilt... would allow you to have it travel the path at a smooth rate... and pan an object as it passed. Wouldn't take much to add that as an option.

    Nice design.

    Very nice work, i think you can easily sell this idea.

    That is so cool. Way to take it to the next level.

    this is very very cool! good use of your skills. would be sweet if u uploaded a sample video from it in action!

    1 reply

    There is a video in the intro. Here is the link just incase. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMOvBf_7TlU&list=UUuQYLUgUkv_IGLW2OFQVhSA

    Really cool ! I might try this!

    I am totally impressed!
    * Everybody should model in paper first.
    * The locating holes are genius!
    * The design itself is very well thought out.
    * Your exploded view photo is very informative.
    * The finish on the parts after a night in the tumbler looks very professional.

    Anyone with a small camera and a regular income should invest in this.