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 2013 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-2013, 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

(From Hobbyking)

  1. 30x 25mm Boom Clamps
  2. 3x 500mm Carbon Tubes
  3. 2x 2.5mm 300x100 Carbon Fiber Sheets (Not needed if 3D printing)
  4. 2x 5208 Brushless motors
  5. 1x Brushless Gimbal Controller
  6. 1x 2200mAh 3s Lipo battery

Other

  1. 1x Tarot Full pitch arms
  2. 1x 5mm bearing shaft
  3. 5x 5x9x3mm flange bearings
  4. 3.2mm drill bit
  5. 40x M2.5 Press nuts
  6. Heatshrink Combo pack
  7. GOOD RESPIRATOR MASK! (CARBON FIBER DUST IS DANGEROUS)

Optional

  1. CNC or 3D printer or Dremel
    1. 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 2.5mm 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 2.5mm 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 3.2mm 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 5.5in, 4in, 6.5in, 8.5in, 9.5in, 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 5.5in booms and the U-shaped plates.

Step 10: 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 11: 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 6.5 in.

Step 12: ASSEMBLY of BoomConnectors

This assembly is with the boom connectors that utilizes the 4in boom, 9.5in, and 5in.

Step 13: 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 14: 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 15: ASSEMBLY of CameraPlate

This part goes on the center pitch boom (8.5in) and holds the camera. Hopefully I can replace this with a quick release mount later.

Step 16: ASSEMBLY of RollMount

This is the final piece and hold the roll motor. It connects to the roll boom (9.5in) and is the most complicated part of the gimbal. Hopefully I can replace this with a roll mount that is not limited to a 120deg roll movement.

Step 17: 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.

Step 18: Finished!

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.

Comments

author
thehydoctor (author)2016-10-20

Uploaded STEP format (friendly for all CAD software) as well as STL although it is not fully optimizied for 3D filament (aka same thickness as the other formats).

author
MichaelT400 (author)2017-03-02

great job! how rigid is the frame? can you send the controller reference angles?

author
NikolaG4 (author)2017-02-07

Did someone try to make 3d printed one instead of carbon fiber?

author
JordanL83 (author)2017-01-24

Could you help me source some of the non-hobbyking materials? Specifically the 5mm bearing shaft, the flange bearings, and the M2.5 Press nuts? I think I have them all, but I don't want to accidentally buy the wrong things.

author
JordanL83 (author)JordanL832017-01-24

I'm actually super confused by the whole bearing shaft part. Could you explain that part in a bit greater detail? Sorry, I have an art degree so this is all a bit over my head 8-D

author
Leners (author)2015-12-15

Very cool! Any idea on the overall cost?

author
astokic (author)Leners2015-12-15

Also interested in cost of the project.

author
thehydoctor (author)astokic2015-12-15

I built the frame a while ago, but I believe I spent around $250. One of the most expensive parts are the 30x 25mm boom clamps, but they can be found for much cheaper ($1 each).

author
JordanL83 (author)thehydoctor2017-01-24

Got a link to any other sources where it's cheaper?

author
ChrisD160 (author)thehydoctor2015-12-16

Can you please make a video on how to build! I saw your page on your youtube video of the breakdown but a video would be awsome!

author
thehydoctor (author)ChrisD1602015-12-17

I'm actually planning to build a improved one with a 3rd axis. This one should roll fully and hide all the electronics in the boom. I'll see if I can make a how-to video for that one!

author
EricT86 (author)thehydoctor2016-04-03

Did you ever get around to making the 3-axis gimbal? and would you happen to know how to make a DIY of a 3-axis handheld gimbal? i'm pairing them with either a A7 or a go pro. my email is @ ericthai1994@gmail.com

author

I 100% support this idea also. This is an amazing project!

author
DIWesser (author)thehydoctor2015-12-20

Ooh. I'm just going to express my support for that idea.

author
mattsilverman (author)2016-10-03

anyone have an experience building this? would love to know a little about the balancing for it, if anyone has a 3d printer optimized one, ect. please message me or email me silvermanmt@gmail.com

author
AlexR239 (author)2016-09-26

did anybody received an inventor format of the parts?

author
adrianalexander (author)2016-08-20

Ps- I don't own a PC (only Mac) so I can't even download Solidworks to reexport as .stl or I'd just do that.

author
adrianalexander (author)2016-08-20

Excuse the typo below. Side question as many have asked. Any way to get these files in .stl or .obj? Don't have a CNC but do have access to a 3D printer. Thanks in advance!

author
adrianalexander (author)2016-08-20

This project is simply amazing! GREAT job and GREst idea!

author
Ronv19 (author)2016-08-12

Do you also have a file for Google Sketchup? I want to make my design there

author
baringia (author)2016-08-06

I want to cut the carbon from a company .It is possible to obtain the list of the number of pieces to be cut.

author
feralucce (author)2016-08-02

Hey... I want to get the parts printed locally... can I get that in STL format?

author
drcontempo (author)2016-07-17

awesome tutorial! have you made the 3-axis stabilizer yet? =D

author
photog302 (author)2016-06-22

I have access to a 3D printer. Can I get 3D printer optimized version of this pattern

author
25636 (author)2016-05-29

are you aware that some of the parts to be CNC machined are not square?

author
anttipiet (author)2015-12-24

is it possible to add one more motor to stabilize the horizontal turning movement and does it work with the same controller? Of course you'd need a different programming for the turn movement so it would only soften it

author
bratan (author)anttipiet2016-02-19

You'll need 3 axes controller. That one can only handle 2 motors...

author
anttipiet (author)2016-02-09

Had hard time finding the boom clamps and stumbled into a Greek webshop with good prices :D

http://www.multicopter.gr/en/homepage-en/search?ke...

author
ffink (author)2016-01-07

I waited SO LONG for a diy handheld gimbal instructable, i will totally look into this project!! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR POSTING THIS!!!

author
RobertM66 (author)2015-12-31

why no audio in the video. Or is just my computer. I check, and have audio on youtube video's.

author
eGadgetGuy (author)2015-12-29

I want to make something like this, but I don't have the dough. I do have some 15mm rig parts to get started though.

Thanks for posting this.

author
anttipiet (author)2015-12-24

is it possible to add one more motor to stabilize the horizontal turning movement and does it work with the same controller? Of course you'd need a different programming for the turn movement so it would only soften it

author
jromero7 (author)2015-12-20

money ??¿¿?

author
RobertNelson72 (author)2015-12-19

Nice. I wish I had time to build one of these. All the other ones I have seen are way to much money.

author
scook9 (author)2015-12-17

Excellent design and instructable! What's the maximum weight for camera and lenses. Most of the lower cost gimbal camera mounts have a pretty low weight threshold, but a typical DSLR (like a 5D) is going to be more than three pounds with a good quality lens mounted.

author
thehydoctor (author)scook92015-12-17

It should be able to stabilize cameras like the 5D and a small prime lense. The motors are rated for ~2kg, but the current dslr only weighs 1.7 lb.

author
NanoRobotGeek (author)2015-12-17

Damn that is hot.

author
tmv22 (author)2015-12-16

how much are you selling it for?

im not smart enough to build one. :(

author
johanmoberg (author)2015-12-16

Nice attention to detail and perfect documentation, great job!

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