Acrobat Cable Cam





Introduction: Acrobat Cable Cam

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.

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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    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 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.