Introduction: Tripod Dolly

Want to get a nice dolly shot without spending a lot of money? With less than $20 and a Gorillapod you can have an adjustable tripod dolly. You can adjust the angle, the direction, and the radius for circular dolly shots.

It's also ridiculously easy to make. With all the supplies and tools, the build time here is less than 10 minutes.

Video below shows some shots with it. There are still a few jiggles due to the texture of the floor, but you get the idea.

Step 1: What You Need

Inspiration
This project may look familiar. That's because it's based off of the CineSkates project on Kickstarter. I liked the shots it was getting, but didn't want to drop $200 for three wheels. i also knew that I wouldn't have extensive use for this. It's fun once in a while. I'm sure that the CineSkates are much more solid and a great solution, but this Instructable costs less than 10% of those.

Supplies
  1. Gorillapod. I'm using the Hybrid here, but my camera is also light. The SLR-Zoom or Focus would be better.
  2. Three rollerblade wheels with bearings. Lots of these can be found on ebay or amazon. These cost $35 (incl. shipping) for a set of 8. There are cheaper options, but I like the color purple.
  3. Three 2 1/4" 1/4" bolts
  4. Three 1/4" lock nuts
Tools
  1. Drill
  2. Couple of wrenches

Step 2: Drill!

Easy enough. Drill three holes as straight across the bottom of each foot as possible.

Step 3: Add Nuts and Bolts

Again, really easy here. Stick the bolt through the wheel, then the foot, and cap it with the lock nut.

Step 4: Ta-da!

It's a tripod... with wheels! Now you just need to plop a camera on top and you're good to go and experiment.

You can get some cool shots with this tripod dolly, but there can be a decent amount of setup for each shot. Try and keep the wheels as vertical as possible and use the direction of them to control how the dolly will move.

Something else to consider is that for a smooth shot you'll want a smooth surface. This rules out many floors, especially for any large circular dolly shots. 

In the end, this isn't the ende of the world because viewers can only handle so many spinning shots. I like shorter dolly shots that just add a bit more life than a locked down shot. Doing too much will just feel a bit too extreme.

Comments

author
Yonatan24 made it!(author)2015-09-04

Hi,

I've added your Instructable to the "Top 5 GorillaPod Tripod Hacks!" collection!

This is the link If you are interested:

https://www.instructables.com/id/GorillaPod-Tripod-...

author
Creamaster made it!(author)2011-11-01

Is that Lumix GF1 covered in photo tape?
'Cause it looks just like mine.

author
fungus+amungus made it!(author)2011-11-01

It is! Good spotting. It's something I picked up from a friend. Makes the camera more anonymous and when shooting you avoid the whole camera conversation.

I love it, though. Great shooter.

author
Kolavskaya made it!(author)2012-11-03

I Love this! Just - aarrggrrhh! - had a Gorillapod through the door from Amazon, this one being way too small to not fall over (on wheels that is) with my camera on top... Nah, actually only use it for stills , so that's okay; but this nonetheless is an absolutely 5*-awesome hack :D! Thanks for the inspiration.

Also like the tape idea!!

author
Creamaster made it!(author)2011-11-07

My good friend Tomas turned me on to both that camera and the film tape technique. Mostly he uses it on his pro cameras.

One time we where in aNYC bar and this big guy is eye his camera - a little nerve wracking. Turns out the bouncer was an amateur photographer and was just trying to figure out what camera it was. Turned in to a good way to meet people.

author
devineDIY made it!(author)2012-01-01

I found that drilling at an angle makes the wheels stay far away from the 'arms' and wing-nuts worked perfectly to finger tighten them. My bro-in-law loved them.

Hope this helps someone! (oh yea, eBay for the knock off gorilla-pods [small and big])

author
shootfilm made it!(author)2011-12-27

LOVE this project! I'm a filmmaking hobbyist, and now I'm thinking about devising some detachable wheels that can clamp onto the feet of my tripod. If possible I'll mount the wheels on pivots of some kind, like office-chair casters, so they (and the tripod) can rotate freely during a shot.

Again, love this project!

author
fungus+amungus made it!(author)2011-12-30

There are a couple of Instructables written since this one that are removable. Many are popping up in the Related box that way ---->

Removable Tripod/Small Table Dolly Attachments (swivel mod added)

Removable Tripod Dolly Feet

The problem with casters is that they're not very smooth with sharper direction changes as the connection is not directly over the wheel. But good luck and let me know if you make something.

author
awakebyjava made it!(author)2011-11-01

Cool! I just ordered a Gorillapod video with a GLIF for my iPhone 4S. Maybe I'll look for a way to do this without drilling through the legs.

author
fungus+amungus made it!(author)2011-11-01

Cool. Good luck. If you're going to try this, though, you may want a beefier version of the gorillapod. With the wheels on the bottom, the gorillapod has no grip and so you are solely relying on the friction between all of the leg components to keep it in position. The gorillapod I used is rated at more than my camera needed, but could still lose position if I extended the legs too far.

Then again, the 4S is pretty light. My camera weighs about 17 ounces, 4x the 4S.

Good luck avoiding the drilling. I tried a couple different non-destructive methods and then just went to the drill press. Don't bother with hot glue.

author
awakebyjava made it!(author)2011-12-11

Here is what I came up with. Works really well! Thanks for the inspiration!

https://www.instructables.com/id/Removable-Tripod-Dolly-Feet/

author
fungus+amungus made it!(author)2011-12-13

Excellent. Great job!

author
awakebyjava made it!(author)2011-11-01

Yah, the video pod has magnetic feet, so i was thinking of rigging up a metal angle piece with the wheel shaft ending on that. Also would go with smaller wheels, maybe some roller bearings instead of the blade wheels. Would need a really smooth surface, but for my applications I think it might be fine.

author
inkfzz made it!(author)2011-11-08

As promised, here's a link to a youtube video (if it works, cause this is the 4th time i'm trying) of a few tests i did right after i made my tripodolly. It runs way smoother than i expected and it holds a Pen E-PL1 easily. it's a few simple shots like riding into focus, left to right and some circular movement:

author
fungus+amungus made it!(author)2011-11-09

Sweet, thanks for sharing. Love the knocking into the blocks, too :)

author
evan808 made it!(author)2011-11-08

Really nice! I'd like to build one now! It is amazing how one always finds roller-blades at thrift stores, goodwill, yard sales, etc.

Also: I'd like to build a simple method for rolling it along a surface (very slowly) to have some tracking time-lapse video... Maybe a string winding slowly along a lego gear motor spool or something... (does that make any sense?)

author
inkfzz made it!(author)2011-11-05

i just finished making this. and i am very pleased with the result.
it runs way smoother than i anticipated.
i went to a skate shop and just bought everything new, cause the old ones they had were to worn out and uneven.
but still, the whole thing cost me no more than €20,-.
excellent!!!

author
fungus+amungus made it!(author)2011-11-05

Nice! Can you post some footage shot with it?

author
inkfzz made it!(author)2011-11-07

how do i post the shots tho? i don't want to upload them to my youtube channel, since i use that for my jobs only. can i upload them to instructables?

author
fungus+amungus made it!(author)2011-11-07

No, sorry, Instructables doesn't host video. Maybe you can post them somewhere else, like vimeo?

author
inkfzz made it!(author)2011-11-05

will do! as it is right now, i deleted it, cause i just quickly tested the functioning of the tripodolly. but i'll make a few shots and upload them!

author
mevans12 made it!(author)2011-11-01

nice hack but for some reason I loose all respect for someone when they whip out a pair of needle nose pliers (in vid.) to tighten a nut. :-(
Not trying to be ugly just saying use the right tool for the job, if you don't have the correct wrench or socket at least use an adjustable wrench. As a professional tool user this will haunt me the rest of the day. :-)

author
aturan made it!(author)2011-11-05

I had the same feelings.
Especially if the author says : . I'm also the Content Manager here at Instructables.
I expect a more instructive (as in use the right tools) video.
Using needle nose pliers is NOT suitable for this job.
Really sad when people think that this is OK.
You can easily hurt yourself with the wrong tool for the job.
I hope this post does not get me banned as the comment is about a Content manager.. :)

author
fungus+amungus made it!(author)2011-11-05

I forgot to mention this before, but those aren't regular needlenose pliers. It was a cheap multitool with a grip for nuts inside it.

Here's one like it.


Which is why I didn't see what the fuss was about. If it was a standard needlenose, yes, you'd run the risk of slipping and nicking your finger.

author
inkfzz made it!(author)2011-11-05

hurt yourself with needle nose pliers? how tight do you think these nuts should be?

author
fungus+amungus made it!(author)2011-11-01

Trust me, if I had another wrench, I would've used it. Our workshop has been very busy lately and tools have been wandering. Still, it worked.

author
overblast made it!(author)2011-11-04

What's great about you using needle nose pliers is that you spark innovative ideas in readers.

Why not use a different tool than what's normally used even if you do have the right one at hand? Will you get arrested for that?

That is one way innovation is started.

author
mevans12 made it!(author)2011-11-01

Oh, I AM sorry, sometimes I forget the privilege of being a crotchety old man, lots of tools and if I share, I know exactly who has them... anyway, the tripod dolly is a great hack that I may well build.

author
overblast made it!(author)2011-11-04

Did it work? Yes.
End of story. :)

author
stringstretcher made it!(author)2011-11-04

Can I borrow your rule book? Mine has disappeared somehow... (long live McGyver)

author
tfreeman5 made it!(author)2011-11-01

As a professional hacker with absolutely no tools I actually have MORE respect for someone who can use what's at hand to get the job done. I've actually used two sticks and a zip tie as pliers before because I didn't have a real one.

author
mevans12 made it!(author)2011-11-01

As I posted I half knew someone would take offence, oh well, I was ASS-U-MEing that he had the right tool close at hand but didn't use it...
As to your plight, its cool that you can use two sticks and a cable tie as a wrench but you shouldn't have to except in a survival situation. You can get a drawer full of tools for just a few $$ by going to yard sales, pawn shops, flee markets, etc.
the time and $ spent will be made up quickly.

author
glitteringsky made it!(author)2011-11-04

THIS IS BRILLIANT. Doing it. Immediately. Thank you. :D

author
overblast made it!(author)2011-11-04

I wonder if you could adapt a RC car chasis to this somehow (4 wheels = more stable on flat floor) so you could put a video camera on it and remotely guide it somewhere.

Opens up ALL kinds of possibilities.

Maybe even a police bomb squad could use this.

author
sircaptaintigerotter made it!(author)2011-11-03

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oSJj8xXSLo&feature=channel_video_title this is very similar to cheesey cams idea that he came up with a little while ago and its pretty cool check it out

author
askjerry made it!(author)2011-11-03

Very nicely done... and as fate would have it... I already have about 24 scooter wheels and a similar tripod... so I'm very excited to build this project!

Thanks!
Jerry

author
WestCoastKenny made it!(author)2011-11-03

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, there are a few Daiso stores which offer a knock-off of that flexible leg tripod for a couple of bucks. It's not exactly the same, but close enough. Daiso is a Japanese discount variety store. The merchandise is very high quality.

author
alienorbit made it!(author)2011-11-03

Check out the FotoPro Transformer flexible tripod for a solution that has pre-tapped 1/4-20 holes in the feet, ready for wheels! (It also comes with rubber spiked, and suction feet!)

http://amzn.to/s1YARY

author
mquinn5 made it!(author)2011-11-03

Very cool!

Here's similar idea that seems a bit more simple: Wrap a gorilla tripod around a skateboard.

author
FrozenIce made it!(author)2011-11-03

OH MY GOD....... I LOVE THIS :D

author
inkfzz made it!(author)2011-11-03

wouldn't it be handier to use wing nuts? you wont need pliers at all.

author
gradof6b made it!(author)2011-10-31

LOVE IT! MAKING IT! one suggestion though, if you put another nut between the wheel and the tripod I think it would make it sturdier just a thought. Still awesome as is.

author
fungus+amungus made it!(author)2011-11-01

That's worth trying out. I tried using washers, but that actually made it a bit worse as they were then contacting the outside of the bearings and causing it to slow down.

author
tylercard made it!(author)2011-11-01

I think that idea is brilliant. As as far as it goes for the Needle Nose pliers guy, It's not like you're building a space shuttle, I think that nut will be just fine, and it won't be tragic if it happens to loosen up someday, either way.

author
egee1 made it!(author)2011-10-31

Dude - you rock. This is absolutely fantastic.

author
fungus+amungus made it!(author)2011-10-31

Thanks!

author
mikeasaurus made it!(author)2011-10-31

I like this idea. Is there some video footage you can show?

author
fungus+amungus made it!(author)2011-10-31

It's sloooooowwwly uploading to youtube right now. Published it to lock in the URL

author
mikeasaurus made it!(author)2011-10-31

shoulda guessed; sweet video!

author
fungus+amungus made it!(author)2011-10-31

Thanks! Motion tracking FTW

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Bio: I like to make things for the internets. I also sell a pretty cool calendar at supamoto.co. You'll like it.
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