Introduction: Ball Bearing Jib Arm W/ Motorized Pan & Tilt

Update September 2013:  What started as a hobby has turned into something pretty serious.  We are readying the launch of an open-source cinematic motion-control rig.  If you wanna stay up on the futue of cinematography "like" us at //

Turn a telescope arm, workout bar bell, and scrap metal into a jib arm (camera crane)!

This 'Ible to be updated with more info over the next month or two.  If you like this project then check back for updates.

Basically there are 6 components to this jib arm, listed in order of difficulty to build:
1. Fork (connects the arms to the bearing)
2. Bearing Mount (connects tripod to the bearing)
3. Camera Mount (connects the arms to the camera/Meade)
4. Arms
5. Counter Weights
6. Meade Telescope Arm Assembly (Motorized Pan/Tilt)

Peep the video for some epic test shots.  And stay tuned at the end for a sneak peek at the next project (slider+jib)

DIY Ball Bearing Jib Arm (w/ Motorized Pan/Tilt) HDSLR from Brad Justinen on Vimeo.

Step 1: Fork

This is the only step that requires welding.  (lol at my welds btw)

-Made from 3/8"x2" steel flat stock.  The fork will bolt through the pillow block.
-Bronze Bearings (Bushings) which insert into the steel fork (this is very important). These bearings are for the up/down arm movement.  These can be found at some Home Depot / Lowe's but the best place to get them might be your local Fastenal, they are nation wide and have a huge selection. 

Step 2: Bearing Mount

-1" Horizontal Bearing (Pillow Block).  I got mine at a local metal supply shop but your local Fastenal should have them in stock and they are nationwide, $11.  
-2 round aluminum 3/8" plates connected by stand-offs, the bottom plate is threaded for the tripod, the pillow block bolts to the top plate,
-1" Stan-offs,
-Various spacers, washers, bolts.Bearing Mount:

Step 3: Camera Mount

The Camera Mount includes:
-Aluminum c-channel with bronze bushings inserted. The inside gap needs to be the same width as the gap between the steel fork. My gap was 2".
-Piece of aluminum angle bolted to the c-channel. The camera or pan/tilt head will mount to this.
-Various spacers, washers, bolts.

Step 4: JIb Arms

These also have to have bronze brushings inserted wherever a bolt will pass through (so there is no steel on steel friction). The size and length of the arms is up to you. It all depends on your design. Mine are 7' long. Both are aluminum square tubing, the top is 1.5" wide and the bottom is 1".

Step 5: Counter Weights

Counter Weights:
-Basically a stock weight lifting dumbbell. The handle of the dumbbell splits apart. I drilled a 1" hole in tail of the top jib arm and feed the dumbbell handle through it.

Step 6: Meade Telescope Arm Assembly

-Meade motorized pan/tilt arm from an automated Autostar telescope.  Also known as the "Milapse" mount by time lapse photographers.  Just google search "Milapse"
-Aluminum angle bracket

I got my 2nd and 3rd Meade arms on Craigslist for around $60 with the telescope. The first one I overpaid on eBay at around $120. If you don't live in a big city you will probably have to pay more.

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