Introduction: Improved Steadicam for Under 40 Dollars! Also Boom Mic Attachment!

About: i am just like any other guy. i like to build stuff and make stuff (yes, that does include cooking and not neccesarily mechanical car work)
Did you ever want a steadicam that perhaps actually looked and acted like the steadicam the pros use? Well, my easy steadicam design involves no cutting of metals and the hardest things are perhaps cutting pvc and cutting wood (which in fact we all love). I tried to build one with strings, but there was no apparent souce that was easy enough to understand with springs etc.

-no fabrication of metal needed
-no welding
-under 50 dollars (or so....i stopped counting)

With this design, its design is more similar to a steadicam in that it is not a "pogostick" that is vulnerable to moving due to a change in speed.

my design inspirations:
(this had the simplicity of design that i liked)
(he had the simplicity to use pvc as the rib cage. though its hard filming when your laughing....)

Step 1: Make the PVC Vest With Polystyrene Insulation

Well, i actually built a design that this guy on another website (, but the only difference is that i put some polystyrene foam insulation (the insulation is usually for your heater but i got a 6 ft lenght for 2 dollars. its just for looks and confort) but i feel he is not that desciptive with his explanation. Anyways i too have the same principal (okay, i forgot to measure how big they were, but i just did a "do as it fits" approach because i had to build from a picture.)

(i too also advise you to consult from his picture because they are very useful)

Here are some convenient parts descriptions:

Rib cage (all pvc parts are in 3/4 inch)
1 3/4 inch pvc pipe
7 1.75 inch "ingots" (parts you need to put in between parts)
11 45 degree pieces
2 90 degree pieces
3 "T" pieces
1 "cross" piece (has fittings for 4 tubes)
2 "bended pieces" (can be obtained in your electrical department. should be
grayish looking)
1 1 inch polystyrene plumbing insulation (optional, but just for looks and
1 cover cap (it should screw in without an ingot)
1 premixed pvc cement

estimate: ~20 dollars
(if that seems too much, it is useful if you want to attach it to your boom mic, which usually requires lifting your arms for a long time. but if you simply attach it to the rib cage, no pain, no game! But more on that later....)

As the guy that i got it from, here are my following tips:

1. Pre-fit all your parts before gluing
2. make sure you are gluin the right part to the part is was originally connected to (or else the scale of it gets all ugly and tends not to fit well)

The finished product should be the picture above. Notice that i added the insulation and didn't buy or add the "bogen swivel" because i felt 30 dollars was too much anyways. anyhow, i solved that problem later on as we build the swivel attachment.

Step 2: Make the Swivel Mechanism

Here is the "swivel" part that attributes all my genius. it has the the concepts of "inertia" and "low center of gravity." now only that, but the design is pretty simple because its like a steadicam, except you don't have to involve yourself with cutting metal and involving yourself in the arduous process of using springs as the mechanism. anyways here is a parts list of my endeavors

"swivel part"

12 1/4" x 3/4 bolt
12 1/4" lock washer
18 1/4 nut
2 inch casters w/break (rotates 2 ways. should be rotable and have a nut on it)
2 iinch caster (the only part that rotates is the wheel. should have nut on it)
2 pieces of wood (preferably about 1.5 inch wide by 2 feet long and 1/4 inch thick)
1 bag of 10
4 1/4 x 2 inch bolts
1 3.5 inch bolt
4 flat washers
1 3/8 x 1 hexbolt
1 3/8 nut
1 3/8 washer
2 1/4 x 2 bolt
2 water risers
2 "water caps"

Well, that may not be the complete descriptsion, but its my best try. if you want more details, simply e-mail me. i might post more about this.

Step 3: Making a Boom Mic

sincei am not that great with descriptions, i will instead show my artistic abilities and show you my description of how to make a boom mic and attach it to the rib cage.

why do this you ask?
-well boom mic operators need really strong arms.
fact: not everybody has strong arms with lots of endurance
-also, it is near effortless. enjoy!

Step 4: Putting It All Together.

well if you did it correctly, than it should probably look something like the pictures below.

-It laying in the grass
-when its actually assembled