Being a content creator and specifically a youtube content creator, I have to focus on getting smooth footage out of my camera gear. But thing get tricky when you have to shoot handheld. Thats where camera gimbals comes into play but not everyone is willing to pay for them.
So In this instructable we are going to design and built a Brushless gimbal out of commonly available hardware.
In my previous smartphone gimbal I ended up using a lot of weight to make smooth footage but still there were noticeable glitches during the camera motion. Now to solve both these problems I have decided to produce a good amount of momentum by spinning a considerable amount of weight at a high speed which will hopefully produce a considerable amount of inertia to stabilise the camera platform.
Now to execute this idea I have decided to use a use a brushless motor and to keep this project simple and cheap I am going to get that motor from an old high speed PC fan do get our job done.
Now lets get building.....
Step 1: Tools and Material
The material required for this project are:
- 12v high speed PC fan
- PVC pipes and fittings
- 18650 Lithium ion cells (I got mine from old laptop batteries)
- Ball bearings
- A metal nut
- Rubber grip for handle
- 5mm nut bolts
The tools required for this project are:
- A hand saw
- Drill machine and bits
- Screw drivers
- Soldering iron
Step 2: Extracting the Brushless Motor
First we need to get our hands on the brushless motor.The fan is power by an out runner brushless motor that lies inside the fan casing with the speed controller on the rear side of the fan. So I took the fan, hammer and a chisel and knocked down all the unwanted plastic parts from the PC fan.
As I ripped down all the unwanted material I used a file to sand down all the uneven surfaces. Now the red and black wire coming out of the motor are the input for the motor. once you connect these wire to a 12v power supply the motor must start spinning.
Step 3: A Big Thank to the Sponsors
Well being a full time youtube DIY Content creator its great to get supported for what you love to do. So I would love to thank PCBWAY for helping us do what we love doing.
PCBWAY is providing professional services for customised Printed Circuit Board manufacturing at great prices. I have been using their PCBs for a bunch of my DIY projects and the quality is premium.
So guys make sure to have a look at their website for some great quality PCBs.
Step 4: Mounting the Motor
Now to mount the motor we glued it to the 1in to 3/4in PVC socket.
Now the idea is to produce more momentum to resist the sudden changes in position so we added a heavy nut on top of the motor can such that the unit spins along with the motor casing and since the nut have a good amount of weight to it and now its supposed to be spinning at a very high speed so hopefully we will achieve a considerable amount of momentum.
Next we attached a 3/4 in PVC pipe measuring 11 inch long on the other end of the PVC socket. This piece of PVC pipe is later going to serve as a battery holder too.
Step 5: Making the Battery Pack
Now to power the motor we need a battery pack. For that we are going to use three 18650 cells that I have salvaged from an old laptop battery.
The three cells are first balanced charged to ensure that they are in proper working condition and holding the same potential. Next I have soldered all the cells in series which gives an output of nearly 12v. Now I have decided to operate the motor on two speed using a SPDT switch so I have also added a wire at the second cell to have an output of 7.2v too.Now before inserting the battery pack inside the pipe I have insulated the battery pack using a heat shrink covering.
The ground wire is directly connected to the motor ground and the charging socket. The positive terminal of the charging socket is then connected to the battery positive terminal. Whereas the 12v and 7.2v output of the battery goes to the motor positive terminal through a SPDT switch which enables us to operate the motor at two different speeds.
The battery pack is then inserted inside the pipe and the switch is then added to the top of the pipe.
Step 6: The Stabilizing Mechanism
The stabilising mechanism of the gimbal or the head is made our of 2in and 3in PVC pipes. First I have cut down a pair of 1 in wide stripes out of both pipes and glued them together to increase the wall thickness.
Later I have drilled holes in the middles of both stripes on opposite sides using a step drilling bit. Next I have inserted ball bearing inside these holes.
A 1/2in PVC pipes measuring 8 inch long added in the centre of the 2 inch PVC strip with the help of 5mm screws.
The outer 3in PVC ring is cut down from the front as that part of the structure is not needed. Using two more screws that strip is attached to the 3in strip. Now these two parts together can provide a 2 dimensional freedom to the 1/2in pipe hanging in the centre.
Step 7: Making the Handle and Adding the Smartphone Holder
To hold the gimbal I have made a handle using a 45 degree 3/4in PVC socket along with a 3/4in pipe cut down to 6in length. The handle is then glued to the centre of the outer 3in strip.
To hold a camera or a smartphone holder I have glued a bolt along with a washer at the top of the 1/2in PVC pipe that hangs in the centre of the gimbal. Later I have also added a smartphone holder at the top to test this thing out.
Step 8: Painting the Gimbal
Now to make this thing look cool we painted all the parts using a matt black and a red spray paint. The paint job is done after disassembling all the parts and thats the advantage of making the whole gimbal using PVC fittings.
Once the parts dried I reassembled the Gimbal and hollaaa ....... it look like a damn cool gadget!!!!
Step 9: Final Thoughts
The gimbal turned out to be a really nice product.
For shooting with the smartphone the whole thing worked like a charm. The gimbal really helped me to take some smooth shots out of my smartphone camera but its unable to hold a DSLR due to its weight. The whole gimbal feels a lot lighter than the previous version.
The down side is that since the nut is not glued at the centre of the motor so it produces some viberation at high speed which can be solved by getting a commercially available metal flywheels.
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