Charisma: a K'nex All-In-One Camera Rig




About: Hello! I'm Nerfrocketeer, also known as Nefrock', Nerf, or NK. I am an avid fan of Nerf wars, engineering, and animal activism (but no I don't go overboard). Thank you for A MILLION views (woah!) and making ...

Charisma is a state of the art camera rig made from K'nex that can be used to take first person videos in almost any environment. Created from a simple, yet sturdy design, Charisma only takes a few minutes to build, but can last a lifetime. There are many features, such as rear and front-facing camera compatibility, and the tripod attachment system.

The tripod attachment system (step 9) allows the Charisma camera rig to be used as more than just a rig. It can also be used as a tripod, via two slim front legs, which can be broken down and stored on the grip of the rig using the tripod storage system (step 10).

Charisma is compatible with small personal devices,* such as cell phones (for example, iPhone 4, 4s, 5, and 5s, HTC Evo, HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S-series, and many other rectangular devices). It can also take small megapixel cameras, such as those made by Sony, Canon, and Nikon, or other handheld devices, such as iPod Touch, or any other approximately 5 inch by 2.5 inch device.*

Charisma is very versatile, it allows complete control in the palm of your hand. It is the only thing you will need to make, for example, a survival show parody, like the one at the end of this step, and step 12. The video was made for entertainment and comedy purposes, as well as to show off both the first person rig and tripod capabilities of Charisma.

If you like what you see, and wish to have a camera rig of your own, continue reading! This guide will show you all of the necessary steps to build and use your own K'nex Charisma camera rig!

*No affiliation with any listed companies. Cradle does not guarantee device protection.

Step 1: Pieces

To build the K'nex Charisma Camera Rig, you will need:

White Connectors.

-1 Blue Connector.

-2 Yellow Connectors.

-8 Green Connectors.

-9 Red Connectors.

-4 Orange Connectors.

-2 Orange Diagonal "Y" Connectors.

-8 "Y" Connectors.

-2 Black Caps.

-11 Grey Rods.

-7 Red Rods.

-2 Yellow Rods.

-2 Blue Rods.

-19 White Rods.

-19 Green Rods.

-2 Blue Separators.

-114 Grey Separators.

-A Mobile Phone or other device with front and back cameras. Examples include iPhone, iPod Touch, HTC Evo, HTC One, Samsung Galaxy, and any other approximately 5 inch by 2.5 inch device. The device used in this guide is an iPhone 5s.

Step 2: Handle: Part One; Grip

Creating a sturdy and comfortable grip will make the camera rig as useful as possible.

Start by adding one white connector to a grey rod, as in pictures 1 and 2. Next, add a grey separator onto the rod, as in pictures 3 and 4. Continue the pattern, as in pictures 5 through 10, until you have a total of 12 white connectors on the grey rod, with 11 grey separators in between, as in picture 11.

Step 3: Handle: Part Two; Extension

Now it is time to extend the handle, which will make finding the perfect camera angle much easier.

Simply add another grey rod to the piece from the previous step, as in pictures 1 and 2. Make sure it is in the next opening on the last connector, as shown in picture 3. Next, add11 white connectors and 10 grey separators in the same pattern as in pictures 4, 5, and 6.

Step 4: Handle: Part Three; Rigidity Bars

Adding more grey rods and grey separators along the grip will make it much sturdier.

To add rigidity to the first section of the grip (from step 2), first slide eleven grey separators onto a grey rod, as shown in pictures 1 and 2. Next, add it to the first section of the grip as in picture three. It helps to push down on the grey separators to minimize finger strain and possible injury (picture 4). Continue adding rigidity bars until there are four equally spaced around the grip, as in pictures 5, 6, 7, and 8. Repeat the process for the second section of the grip (from step 3) as shown in pictures 9, 10, 11, and 12. This time there are only 10 grey separators on each rigidity bar (picture 10).

Step 5: Cradle Attachment Point

The cradle attachment point is where the part of the rig holding the device is connected to the grip.

Start by adding three grey rods to the end of the grip, (the end of the piece from step 3) as in pictures 1, 2, and 3. Next, add a red rod to complete the "square" formation, as in pictures 4, 5, and 6. Then, add a white connector, as in pictures 7, 8, and 9.

Add five grey connectors to each of the extended four rods, as in pictures 10 and 11. Then, add another white connector, as in pictures 12, 13, and 14. Add three grey separators and two blue separators to the red rod, as in pictures 15 and 16. Then add another white connector (pictures 17, 18, and 19). Add six grey separators to the bottom grey rod, as in pictures 20 and 21. Add one more white connector, as in pictures 22, 23, and 24, and the cradle attachment point is now complete!

Step 6: Cradle: Part One; Backing

The cradle is the piece that holds in the device while filming/taking pictures.

Take three white connectors, and connect them using green rods, as in pictures 1 and 2. Also connect two white connectors and a blue connector as shown using green rods (pictures 3 and 4). Make sure the blue connector is facing the same direction as in the pictures to allow the device's forward camera to function properly! Connect the two pieces together using white rods, as in pictures 6 and 7. Finally, add red connectors as shown using green rods.

Step 7: Cradle: Part Two; Ribcage

The ribcage is what keeps your device from shaking, sliding, and falling out while the rig is in use.

Add twelve rods to the cradle backing as shown in pictures 1 and 2. Next, add four red connectors to the white rods shown in pictures 3 and 4. Connect each cross-pair of red connectors with blue rods as shown in pictures 5, 6, and 7. Add a white rod with a black cap to the red connector on the backing as shown in pictures 8, 9, 10, and 11. Then, add a grey connector and another black cap to the white rod as in pictures 12, 13, and 14. The cradle is now complete!

Step 8: Attaching the Cradle to the Handle

There are many important components that help attach the cradle to the grip securely.

Start by connecting the middle bottom white connector on the cradle to the end of the red rod on the grip using a green connector and green rod (pictures 1, 2, and 3). Next, connect three green connectors using green rods as in pictures 4 and 5. Repeat to make two pieces as in picture 6. Connect them to the back of the cradle and grip as in pictures 7, 8, and 9.

Connect two diagonal "Y" connectors to a green connector and white rod as in pictures 10 and 11. Add this piece to the back of the cradle, as in pictures 12 and 13.

Step 9: Tripod Attachment System

The tripod attachment system allows the camera to be used as a tripod and first person rig.

Connect a yellow rod to a yellow connector, as in pictures 1 and 2. Repeat to make two pieces. Add it to the back of the cradle as shown in pictures 4 and 5. Next, connect the two yellow pieces across the cradle connection using two red connectors as in pictures6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11. Next, add two red rods to the yellow connectors as shown in pictures 12 and 13. Then, add two white rods across from each other on the third white connector back as shown in pictures 14, 15, 16, and 17. Then add a white connector to each white rod, and secure using a "Y" connector, as in pictures18, 19, 20, and 21. Make sure the "Y" connectors are facing towards the cradle, so they won't get in the way of any other parts!

Step 10: Tripod Storage System

The tripod storage system allows all components of the Charisma Rig to be stored in a compact and portable way.

Add six "Y" connectors to the grip as shown in pictures 1, 2, and 3. The "Y" connectors should be in a "square" pattern around the grip, as illustrated in picture 2.

To build the tripod "legs," simply connect an orange connector to a red rod as in pictures 4 and 5. Repeat to get four pieces. Add them to their storage positions on the rig by clicking them into the "Y" connectors as in pictures 7, 8, and 9.

Step 11: Using the Tripod Accessory

The tripod gives even more versatility to Charisma!

To use the tripod accessory, simply pop the red rods with orange connectors out of their storage spots (from the previous step), and conncect them in pairs together, as shown. Attach each "leg" to the yellow connectors below the cradle, as shown. You are now tripod ready!

Step 12: Uses for Charisma

There are many different fun and useful purposes for the Charisma Camera Rig.

You can take a video of yourself, such as the action adventure from step one, or you can simply take pictures of yourself and your friends. You can video or photo blog, and even document your first person experiences on a vacation!

The tripod function allows even more versatility! You can take creative action videos, and beautiful photos of the scenery wherever you go! Every necessary function is available to you in the compact and sleek form of Charisma!

Some more ideas for you include:

  • Make a scary movie.
  • Make a music video.
  • Make a survival show, like I did.
  • Make a feature film of your own.
  • Test out some of the features of video editing software.
  • Document wildlife.
  • Document a vacation.
  • Take pictures of yourself.
  • Take pictures of friends.
  • Look like a media personnel in public.
  • Start conversations.
  • Interview people.
  • Video or photo blog.
  • Much, much more!

    Make sure you share whatever you make with me in the comments or "I Made It!" section of the comments! I would love to see what you can make!

Step 13: Done!

Congratulations! Your Charisma camera rig is now complete and ready to make your next feature film! There are a lot of fun new projects and adventures in store for you, so get out there and start putting Charisma's awesome capabilities to use in an epic movie or picture show!

Remember, I want to see what you make with this rig, so feel free to share any projects you have done with Charisma in the "I Made it!" section of the comments!

Thank you for looking at the K'nex Charisma rig! Happy filming!



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    63 Discussions


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Well I don't think so. What makes this a winner is the way Nerf presents it. A good instructable is one with clear instructions, explained and detailed description. Nerfrock' meets all of that criteria. It seems that the editors and community members like this, I mean look at the comments. Presentation plays a significant part in judging.

    What do you mean by the term 'overrated'? Ball machines are nothing new in this community. Yes they are hard to build and it takes good patience to build one and Mepain's quad I must admit is good, though generic.

    What you said above is not acceptable. If that's how you see it, then please just keep it to yourself.

    I hope that you don't take any of the above as an offence richtofen. You too are also an awesome builder :-) Why didn't you enter in the contest?


    Sure, the presentation is good and all. But in the end, it is about the creation itself. And this is where my comment comes in: it is just a stick that holds a camera.
    Which brings me to my next point:
    Ball machines themselves may not be new, but inventing new paths, lifts, layouts... those are all new and unique in every machine that gets posted. Ball machines require hard work and dedication, to design those elements, put them all together, get them working. They often take months of working on, whereas this would take maybe an hour or two. Of course, time spent on something isn't everything, but ball machines are just more impressive, and worthy of winning overall.

    About the quad, it's the first one of this caliber I've seen here. I don't get how you could find it generic, when there's all those pistol Red Book and his brother have posted (no offence to you guys). They ALL have the same trigger and handle mag layout. Now, that is generic.

    What I meant with overrated, was that almost all of Nerf's posts get praised into heaven, even though they're nothing too special. Sure, it may be clever and all that. But lets take the bulletin board for example. A simple panel that gets hanged on a wall. I don't get what all the praise was for.

    And why is what I said unacceptable? Because I didn't put it in the nicest way possible? And why should I keep criticism (I admit, I maybe was a bit too harsh there, and didn't really give any criticism) to myself? Comments are there for a reason: to tell what you think. I did just that.
    Being nice all the time, even when commenting on something mediocre, isn't going to bring the author anywhere. Sure, receiving nice comments and praise is nice, but it can start to work on your ego, and make you satisfied with something that just isn't good. 'Because hey, I'm going to get praised, anyway, right?'

    I don't take any offence to what you've said, and thank you for the reply. I'll probably come over as harsh here, and I'm sorry if I hurt anyone's feelings. But this has been bugging me for a while now.
    I just hope that the people, whereas they're an author or commentator, man up a bit, and dare to give and take criticism.
    I hope you see my points.

    By the way, I didn't enter the contest, because, if I'd enter it, I want to present something new. Not something that's been done dozens of times before. That's why I said that my stuff is overrated too, it's nothing new.

    Wow, that must be the longest post I've made here ever, hahaha.

    Thanks for reading, and have a good day.


    Reply 2 years ago

    Orangeboard refers to the comment area on the bottom of your personal page.

    When it comes to ball machines, I partly agree. I mean, sure, they can be, and usually are, incredible... ONCE you get into them. From an outsider viewpoint, like me, they all look nearly identical. That is part of the reason why I think K'NEX guns should have had their own contest, and not have had to compete with the ball machines.

    You see, the other people who do stuff on instructables are almost all going to vote only for the ball machines, because they fail to see the beauty of K'NEX guns. So, we (the K'NEX gun builders) lost the last two contests because we had to compete with guys like Sandro.

    Don't get me wrong, he did a great job, but of course he is gonna do better in the competition than I am, his fan base is bigger, and more biased.

    Saying that nearly identical K'NEX items (ball machines) that just push a ball around are better than this ACTUALLY USEFUL camera rig is kinda... well... I don't know... silly.

    Oh, well, I sent you a PM. I have a potential < remmaps < situation alert, and I wanted to hear what you thought, and also just see how you've been doing...

    I have the lead in the followers contest by a few! Muhahaha!


    3 years ago

    Excellent innovation! The concept is solid, and the product is quality. Well done sir.

    1 reply

    Haha I'm glad you enjoyed my Bear Grylls/ Les Stroud impersonation!

    Oh yeah and I now have more pieces from the contest, including (hallelujah) a black rod, so now I may start gun building again! If I only had a hinge, I could build a Tr8... :( I also have some gears now, so I can build bigger ball machines, too!

    Lack of pieces is the main reason why I only build everyday stuff, and not what other people build. I have around 2100 pieces total, mostly small ones like green rods and blue spacers... They don't sell K'nex around here...

    Yeah, bro the video was great. You and I should get into making videos like the guys from Blimey Cow ( and Say Goodnight Kevin ( do. Clean humor, funny story lines, and great key points that communicate our Christian views.

    As to K'NEX, I have 5,000 +, but I never seem to have enough. LOL, First world problems.

    Thanks again, and yeah videos of that nature are cooler in my opinion. I want to start incorporating stuff like that into my Nerf war vids, sort of like GunvsGun, but clean, and logical, with a theme and moral. Possibly veteran honor vids or something.