Folding Camera Slider




About: I'm a designer and creative. My background is designing acoustical products, production tools & electronics. I use digital design and fabrication to create ergonomic functional designs. Want to buy one o...

Inspired by Edelkrone this is my design of a fordable slider.

Total sliding distance is about 60cm.

Tolerances are extremely tight to prevent unwanted movements. I used standard ball bearings and belts to achieve smooth sliding. assembly is not easy, as the Pulley's are very tight mounted on the axes. and belts are strained. Everything is holden together with 4x 4mm bolts

Designing this appeared quite more challenging then expected. I designed and printed 4 versions before smooth operation. every time to much tolerances resulted in unstable wobbly movement.

All spaces for ball bearings need to be 100% exact to achieve tight fixation. Shrinkage of the material made this difficult. I thicken the wall thickness up to 3mm to make the whole construction strong and used a drill to make the spaces exact.

The mounting plate fits an standard Arca Swiss ballhead.

Step 1: Standard Parts

Step 2: Print

I used a Ultimaker 2+ and CPE material.

Wall thickness 3mm filling 50% to make the whole construction rigid and bending is nearly impossible.

Step 3: Assembly

Assemble as in the .PDF drawing.

I used an 1/4 screw in the "ax to ballhead.stl" it is simply screwed into the plastic and is mounted very solid

Step 4: Adjust/Remix

I included Iges and Step files

for Fusion 360 foloww this link



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    7 Discussions


    5 months ago

    What a great project! I have already printed all parts, and only later i realize these 8x15x4mm bearings are rare stuff instead of standart 8x16x4mm bearings. I have around 3 specialized bearing shops and none of them have any... The link provided above looks the only place where to buy them. Ok, for first print i will bore these holes little bit large for 16mm bearing.


    11 months ago

    What a great build!

    I'm very interested how you came up with this deign, how it works and how you worked out the arm lengths, pulley dia/teeth ratios etc.

    Would be great if you could post here or contact me direct. Thanks!


    1 year ago

    what a amazing things :) lol xd


    1 year ago

    Nice build! What just struck me is how easily versatile it would be if it used a 'pulley stack' -like drill presses have- in each arm. That way, you could have shots that focus on one close point to 360 degree panoramic shots, just by adjusting a belt or two.


    1 year ago

    Impressive, and I am super-glad that I'll have a 3D printer of my own soon so that I'll be able to make one for myself :D

    Even better, I'm glad I made the upgrade to Arca-Swiss compatible tripod heads over the years and that this slider will fit them natively.

    You can't imagine how giddy I am about trying this out.

    There are some comments for improvement though:

    1) You might want to find international links for the items you have used and supply them here so others have an easier time reproducing this quite interesting camera acessory. I'm from Germany, we have Conrad, so I should be able to get the parts easily, but others (especially over the big pond) might not.

    2) Wile Arca-Swiss is an amazing system, many use the Manfrotto system or regular 1/4'' or 3/8'' tripod heads. It would be great if there was the possibility to add e.g. 1/4'' or 3/8'' hex nuts into the base (Ax Clamp.stl) securely so the whole assembly could be mounted on more standard photography gear to increase the usability.

    The same would go for the camera ballhead mounting point, presumably using a 1/4'' or 3/8'' knob screw or the like.

    3) This is a big extra, but the ability to motorize this slider by adding a regular electric motor or a stepper motor would be interesting to get an automated, smooth and still quite compact slider. Presumably only the parts around the mounting plate would need modifications / alternate versions would need to be made.

    4) Don't sell yourself short and say you're merely providing STL, IGES and STEP files (the latter are actually already more than most would be willing to share) - Your adjust / remix link allows the download of F3D Fusion 360 Archives, Inventor 2016 files, IGES, SAT, SMT, STEP, DWG, DXF, STL, FBX, SketchUp and OBJ files. Really, this is beyond generous. I'll be sure to send you any modifications I'll make so you'll be able to profit from them as well. If I can I'll upload them here in the comments as well.

    5) I sure hope you're entering this in some kind of contest as you'll get my vote(s) at the drop of a hat.

    Really, thank you for this project.

    2 replies

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks for your comments. Success with your build

    Regarding your remarks:

    1: True, but where to look? i always use conrad and farnell

    2: Actually i used an 1/4 screw on the ball head mounting point. i added an picture of it to step 3. alternatively one could use an tread cutter to cut the 1/4 tread directly on the ax. (I do not have these tools therefor i used this solution). Regarding the "Ax Clamp" this indeed could be provided with an female version of 1/4th of 5/8 treads.

    Engineering is never a one man show. Therefor i challenge everybody interested to adopt improve and share there improvements. As i mentioned before. it is no simpel project, tolerances must be at absolute 0 te make it work. many improvements can be thought of. Hopefully more people get on board to improve the design and add options.


    Reply 1 year ago

    1) McMaster-Carr might be a good choice (the also have STL files of almost all of their products available, and the Fusion 360 parts library can access them directly AFAIK): could be a popular alternative, but admittedly harder to search.
    Others would be Grainger Industrial ( ), MSC Industrial ( ) and Fastenal ( ). And of course there's Alibaba, where you can get everything as well.
    Before you ask, I have no personal experience with any of these either.

    2) Thread cutting into plastic isn't the most durable option which is why I mentioned adding nuts, bolts, knob screws ot the like. I'll have a look into modifying your files accordingly once I get my printer and more importantly, some free time.

    Another point of improvement for the instructable I just thought of, you might want to describe how the slider works and why it works the way it does. Basically how it turns rotational motion into a linear motion. If you can get the belts into Fusion 360 and set everything up correctly with joints you could do an animation / movement simulation. Though that might be overkill as you already have a video showing it in action.