Step 1: Materials List
-1 - 36" L, 1" W, 1/8" T aluminum flat stock
-gimbal handle ( I used a 1" aluminum outboard motor shaft but later found a much lighter jump rope handle with bearings already attached )
-2" L piece of 1" x 1" square aluminum tube
-1/4" drive universal/swivel socket adapter
-bearing to fit inside the gimbal handle or just find the afore mentioned jump rope handle.
-1/4" drive socket that fits tightly in gimbal bearing
-1 - 1/4"-20 x 5/16" T-nut
-1 - 1/4"-20 x 1/2" ss* carriage bolt
-3 - 1/4"-20 x 1" ss* bolts ( I used button heads but use what you have / prefer )
-3 - 1/4"-20 ss* or plastic wing nuts
-1 - 1/4"-20 ss* bolt for mounting screw ( I used a phillips pan head but suggest a thumb screw )
-2 - #10-24 x 2" ss* bolts with 2 lock washers, 2 flat nuts & 2 wing nuts each
-assortment of #10 & 1/4" ss* fender washers ( weights )
-throw away level with at least 1 good bubble vial that's between 7/8" & 1" long
* - ss = stainless steel
-measuring / marking tools
-drill driver ( I recommend using a drill press for the level vial mounting holes )
-drill bits: 5/32, 3/16, 1/4, 5/16, 3/8 & 1/2"
-6" diameter wheel
Step 2: Frame Construction
The next step is to cut the slots on the main frame and the gimbal mount.
For the gimbal mount you'll want to extend the hole on the rounded end to 2" long. To do this, measure in 2 3/8" from the rounded end and drill another 1/4" hole centered on the bar. Scribe a line across the center of the two holes and drill out as much material as possible with a 3/16" bit in the same fashion pictured for the main frame slot. Next, file out the remaining aluminum while testing with the carriage bolt until the bolt slides smoothly back and forth on its square shoulder. Finish it off by squaring off the two ends of the slot.
For the main frame slot, measure out 2 5/8" from the square end of the 25" bar and drill 1/4" hole centered. Then measure out 5 5/16" centered from the same end and drill a 3/16" hole. Use the same method used for cutting the gimbal slot except instead of using a 3/16" bit for the bulk removal, use a 5/32" drill bit. The end result for this slot should be a 3/16" slot, 3" long, ending with a 1/4" hole to insert the mounting screw on the back end.
To bend the main frame, place the bar flat on the 6" wheel and start the bend about an inch from the slot. Pull the bottom of the frame around the wheel past 45 degrees to allow for spring back.
Finally, after bending the frame, place the frame in a square as pictured in the final pic and mark the crest of the bend. Center your mark and drill a 1/4" hole for the front weight bolt.
Step 3: Building the Gimbal Mount Level Block
Dry fit your vial and check it for level by placing it flat on a checked and leveled surface. If your drill press is trued, the vial should read level. If all checks fine, just add a bit of super glue to both ends of the vial from the outside of the tube and you're done with this step.
You don't have to install the level on this part and just eyeball it when adjusting the rig, but I had the throw away level and the drill press handy so I went with it.
Step 4: The Homemade Camera Mounting Screw
The first thing i did was chuck the screw onto my drill. I started by filing about an 1/8" of the screw down to a 3/16" diameter against the head. To do this evenly, I slowly spun the drill while filing the screw. This is the only other way I know of turning metal outside of a proper lathe, which I don't have.
To cut it down to size, I cut half the threads of the screw off so that I could re-chuck the screw on my drill deep enough to get my desired length of four threads. I chucked the shortened screw so that the fifth thread of the screw was just on the jaws of the chuck. Again, I spun the drill slowly while this time using a hacksaw to cut along the fifth thread using the jaws as a guide.
Disclaimer: This method is not intended to be instructional. It is an improvised method that could prove dangerous. I am merely showing how I did it. I take no responsibility for your actions.
Step 5: The Gimbal
The first thing I did here was to make the swivel/Universal piece. For this I drilled out the female end of the adapter to 5/16". Next, I flattened out the barbs on a 1/4-20 x 5/16" t-nut and pushed, hammered and beat it into the hole. ( If you find an easier alternative please post it in the comments.) Finally, grind or file the edges of the t-nut flush with the adapter and that's it, really!
For the handle, I suggest finding the previously mentioned speed rope at a discount retailer or a thrift shop if you're lucky. The handle on mine is from a motor guide outboard motor shaft ( 1" -thick wall pipe ), the end cap, also 1", is from a discarded lap bar on an amusement ride and I believe the bearing is a 6202, not sure. I had to hone out one end of the pipe to fit the bearing and pressed it in with a bit of bearing retaining compound. To connect the handle to the adapter simply find a 1/4" drive socket that fits snugly into the inner race of the bearing and carefully glue it in. In my case, it was a 7mm socket that I had to grind down slightly to fit the bearing.
Once done, you end up with an easily removable handle that can be adapted to fit other mounts where the rig might come in handy.
Step 6: Assembly
Next install the 6" bar to the bottom of the main frame with the 1" bolt and wing nut with two more 1/4-20 bolts and flat nuts or wing nuts for the counter weights on the crest of the bend and the bottom hole on the 6" bar. Don't worry too much about reducing the weight of the bar at this point. It is easily removed and just as easily replaceable if damaged.
Finally you install the gimbal. insert the carriage bolt down into the gimbal bracket slot, add a 1/4" lock washer to the opposite side of the bracket and screw on the t-nut side of the swivel/universal adapter hand tight.
The camera mounting screw just goes into the 1/4" hole of the main frame slot and is slid forward. Read my notes on the pics for a revision on the slot.
Step 7: Finished
Winning the Shop Bot would mean I would have more time for documenting my instructables.