Introduction: ISteadii 2.0 - Image Stabilizing Unit

Picture of ISteadii 2.0 - Image Stabilizing Unit

I would like to introduce to you, the iSteadii .
Its task is to act as an adequate stabilisation unit, for a Compact point and shoot or a DSLR camera.
The principal is based on a floating buoy. The mass of the camera is equalised by the
counter-weight,  which is self locating. Therefore deadening fluctuations of movement.

Camera lenses today, come with options such as image stabilisation. Not only are these lens expensive, compared to their counters, they are not always the best bang for your buck.
This little unit should only set you back a few dollars, that's if you don't have the parts already laying around your house.

There is an iSteadii 1.0, yet this is a vaste improvement on that design. It deserves its own I'ble, which it may get at a later date.

By no means will this perform as well as a normal stabilising lens, but then again it does not cost as much.

On that note I give you iSteadii 2.0

Step 1: What You Will Need

Picture of What You Will Need

Before you start you will need the following-

~ Utility Knife

~ Tennis ball

~ Sharpie

~ Pliers

~ Spanner to suit nuts

~ Tape

~ Threaded bolt  1 - 1 1/2 inches long or 25mm - 37.5mm with 1/4-20 thread type (Head type  irrelevant)

~ Nut to suit x 2

~ Washers x 2 (approx 3/4 - 1 inch)

~ Lead sinker (sphere type, atleast 8oz)

Step 2: Getting Started

Picture of Getting Started

Take your tennis ball and choose a position, where the seam of the ball does not run underneath it. This is because the seams cause some degredation, to the fluid movement of the sinker, at the bottom of the ball.

Mark with your sharpie a line slightly wider than your sinker.

WARNING- The next proceedure can be dangerous, if done in a rush or carelessly. Please take your time. If you are under 18 I strongly suggest you get Mum or Dad to assist. Removing the dags from the lead is easy with a sharp utility knife, yet some pressure is required.

I assume no responsibility for you injuring yourself, from following these instructions. This is a guide only and it is your responsibility, to not attempt this, if you are not capable.

Use your utility knife to cut open the ball along the line.

Before we insert the sinker we need to take the dags from the lead mold off, so it resembles an almost perfect sphere.

Once you have done this insert the lead sinker.

Step 3: Creating the Pinch Bolt

Picture of Creating the Pinch Bolt

Take your bolt and place the two washers on it, then the nut.

Thread the nut down far enough to expose a short length of thread.

The first washer will be inserted inside the ball, the other remains outside the wall.

When we tighten the nut it will "pinch" the tennis ball wall.

Step 4: Inserting and Tightening Up

Picture of Inserting and Tightening Up

We now need to insert the bolt and tighten it.
This can be a little tricky.

Insert the first washer leaving the other outside the wall.

We now need to tighten the bolt.

This is where the pliers, spanner and tape come in.

Take your tape and wrap it firmly around the exposed thread. Put enough on it, so the pliers will not damage it when gripped.

Grip the taped thread with some force and use the spanner to tighten the nut.
Not much pressure is required to sandwich the wall, so you should not damage the thread.

We're almost there!!

Step 5: Attach to Camera

Picture of Attach to Camera

Attach the unit to your camera tripod mount and away you go.

You will note there is now, a strong center of gravity located below the camera. It is a strange feeling to get use to at first, yet so is an image stabilising lens to begin with.

I took this out and shot 20 frames, both with and without the unit.

These are the best of each.

First is with the unit on, the second is without.
You be the judge.

Please note~ These are taken zoomed in, not widefield.


ChristopherJames (author)2016-02-29

I don't get how this works. Perhaps a video of how the attachment helps to stabilise, or can someone explain it to me in simple words? I just want to know how the tennis ball is supposed to help weigh down the camera. It still has to be attached for it to work right? I'm pretty sure I can find tennis balls sorting items in storage but I want to make sure I get how this works before I go ahead and get it done.

The lead sinker inside the ball puts 8 oz of weight, (.5 lb or 226.7 g), below the camera. When you hold the camera, the extra weight lowers the center of gravity of just the camera and considerably reduces camera shake. I hope this helps.

sockless (author)2009-10-22

Under 18?
Why is it that people always underestimate the abilities of children?
I'm only 14 but I am perfectly capable of being able to use large power tools (e.g. lathes, mills, drill presses, diggers, mitre saws etc.) without injuring myself.

JohnW51 (author)sockless2015-10-28

I agree, sockless. When I was 14 I was driving a farm truck filled with wheat from the field to the grain storage silo. When loaded, the truck weighted over 21 tons! I also operated a huge tractor pulling all kinds of farm implements in the field. All of this was common for boys (and some girls) age 13 and up back in the dark ages when I was a kid (mid to late 1060's).

JohnW51 (author)JohnW512015-10-28

I meant 1960's of course.

bertzie (author)sockless2010-04-13

Mainly because children tend to overestimate their abilities.

sockless (author)bertzie2010-04-13

I guess so. It's also due to the legal system in the US of A. In New Zealand, we don't have to worry about people being sued, so in my 'ibles, I don't need to put a disclaimer, since you can't sue me :)

Nobody's insulting your intelligence. It's just another way of saying that if you screw it up, it's your bad. When we were that age, we had trouble assessing exactly what our abilities are, even though it didn't seem like it at the time. The same is still true, but certainly not to the same degree.

Lftndbt (author)sockless2009-10-22

This particular case is not about, underestimating abilities more liability. 

I write a few I'bles, many with some dangerous aspects. As an Author you have to understand, that if a minor follows your instructions, hurts themselves but DID NOT REALISE they might hurt themselves (as silly as that sounds), you the author are indeed liable.

There are several documented cases where not only minors but adults have had charges laid for mis-guiding instructionals.

I am just being pre-cautious. I do not expect an 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13 or even 12 year old would hurt/have problems with any of these steps.

helpme66 (author)2011-05-31

Here's the best way to hold the thread.

Take a spare nut and cut through one of the corners (between two of the flats where the spanner goes) with a hacksaw. The nut should now look like a circle with a gap in it.

Screw the nut onto the thread and squeeze the nut against the bolt with a pair of visegrips.

This will grip well but won't damage the thread.

SasquatchKid (author)2010-06-07

Ill try it tonight because I'm 11 and i get paid by my school to take photos i get 50 bucks a week but saving up for a new laptop for editing an it's like 2000 dollars (i have 1000)

junits15 (author)SasquatchKid2010-07-09

wow thats a great pay for an 11 year old! I'm 15 and get paid $15 per hour to landscape common land, the max I've ever got in one week is $45! What kind of laptop are you looking at?

SasquatchKid (author)junits152010-07-10

Im looking at one of those fancy scmancy gaming computers (forgot lol)

junits15 (author)SasquatchKid2010-07-10

Alienware? those are awesome! I've had my eye on the m15X but i have no $ :) lol

johnwwyatt (author)2009-12-11

Thank you for this great idea.  Instead of the lead sinker, I used zinc plated BBs (0.177 caliber [4.5mm) steel airgun shot).  I filled the tennis ball about half full.  They roll around inside very well.  This saves the step of shaping the lead sinker.  You will need a funnel to pour them in but the hole can be slightly smaller.

Lftndbt (author)johnwwyatt2009-12-24

Did you notice any improvement? Glad to hear you gave it a go. 

johnwwyatt (author)Lftndbt2009-12-24

I did see an improvement on low light shots, the BBs roll around in the tennis ball very easily and redistribute the weight nicely.  I made a couple as Christmas presents this year.

Soupraok (author)johnwwyatt2010-01-01

So filling it with bbs works the same as putting a ball bearing, or a lead sinker, because i cant find a round lead sinker or ball bearing for the life of me.

johnwwyatt (author)Soupraok2010-01-01

Yes, the BBs are great and no extra work.

wynddan (author)johnwwyatt2010-03-23

 i'm thinking of possibly doing this with the BBs but I have to ask, do you hear them rolling around as you move the camera? I ask b/c I use my dslr for video, and it might be pretty distracting to hear those sounds.

johnwwyatt (author)wynddan2010-03-24

 No, if you move the camera slowly you do not hear the BBs rolling around, the tennis ball baffles most of the sound unless you shake it, I would think it should also work well when you are recording video, I did fill the ball to a little less than half full

Soupraok (author)johnwwyatt2010-01-01

I know what Im doing tonight!!! Thanky!!

systemlayers (author)2010-02-21

Thanks for this instructable.
I made mine and i have to say... It works!
It's not mind blowing or anything but seems to help a stop or two.
And in general i like the feel of the weight under my camera.
Helps with video as well.
I covered my tennis ball with electrical tape so it didn't look so ghastly though :p

Mike73 (author)2009-10-16

Awesome idea. I really like this.

Lftndbt (author)Mike732009-10-16

Thanks!! :) 

Mike73 (author)Lftndbt2009-10-17

You're welcome.
I've been planning to make a bean bag for a couple of weeks now. With all the different lenses and a battery grip (awesome, it has a built in battery, so the original one can be used as a spare), a standard bean bag won't do. So I'm thinking about some sort of adjustable bean bag with a couple of segments and velcro. I'll post it as soon as I get to actually realise my plan.

Lftndbt (author)Mike732009-10-18

Sounds tops!! Can't wait to see it! :) 

01new (author)Lftndbt2010-01-03

Hi there!
Does this works for any type of camera?   i have a small camera so i wanted to ask first..    Thanks

mianne (author)01new2010-01-16

This should work with any camera with a standard tripod mount, from a $20 point and shoot or a $2500 dSLR. (Though the latter will probably already have image stabilization built into the body.)

ohgood (author)2009-12-12

 very cool. going to try this today. :) thank you !

Lftndbt (author)ohgood2009-12-24

Did you have any luck? 

bhunter736 (author)2009-11-01

Great idea!  Thanks for sharing.

Lftndbt (author)bhunter7362009-12-24

No problems anytime. :) 

lemminggenocide (author)2009-10-31

why not use a gimble?

Lftndbt (author)lemminggenocide2009-12-24

yeah sure, a gimble would work..?.. How random. :) 

dbbd (author)2009-10-25

 I don't get it. So making your camera heavier makes it more steady?
My camera is heavy enough, how making it even heavier improves stability?

stefan (author)2009-10-16

A dumb question for sure: I take it the lead weight rolls around inside the tennis ball, and that's what you mean by 'self locating'? How is that better than having it in a fixed position? Does having the weight more 'down' help?

craftsman (author)stefan2009-10-22

when you bring the center of gravity of an object down it is more stable, but you're right a fixed position would almost undoubtedly be better

Lftndbt (author)craftsman2009-10-22

Why would you assume fixed to be better?
Remember you need to tilt the camera up,down,left,right and all diagonals...  A fixed position will always want to drag the camera back to level, putting strain on your wrists, actually making you shake more... 

craftsman (author)Lftndbt2009-10-23

oh you mean like on a table or something like that?
I was referring to the use of a tripod as fixed position

Lftndbt (author)craftsman2009-10-23

LoL, did you read the I'ble? : )
He is referring the the counter weight rolling inside the tennis ball...

A tripod trumps everything always for a "fixed position".
If i'm doing landscapes, HDR or astrophotography, my camera is fixed to a tripod. 

skidoo (author)Lftndbt2009-10-24

Don't you mean a good tripod with a 9-pound weight hanging from its center axis trumps everything? ;-) 

craftsman (author)Lftndbt2009-10-23

yea nope i didn't I just surmised from the pictures.. :)

Lftndbt (author)craftsman2009-10-23


endolith (author)stefan2009-10-22

That's a good question.  Are the weights supposed to roll around inside the tennis ball, or are they supposed to be fixed?

theVDude (author)stefan2009-10-17

With the right bolt, some string, a handy knot and a washer, you can make a very good stabilizer for taking level pictures, but it's not forgiving if you want to tilt the camera.

This is a little bit better if you need more range of movement, or are zoomed in.

Lftndbt (author)stefan2009-10-16

You ask a good question. I pondered a fix position and actually tried. A located weight at that distance, from the camera will always want to be at the bottom. The weight shifts in the ball, allowing you to tilt the camera getting different angles.

The bigger the weight / further down you put it, the more it would dampen movement. But then you have the comprimise, of a less and less operative camera.

seoliver (author)2009-10-23

How about a handfull of ball bearings?

Lftndbt (author)seoliver2009-10-23

If they rolled together then yes, if they did not roll smoothly then perhaps not. 

The Lightning Stalker (author)2009-10-22

The proper way is to use 2 spanners, or better yet, socket wrenches.

About This Instructable




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