The stars have finally aligned - the cost of GoPro compatible 2-axis gimbals is down to $75 and I'm tired of shaky videos.
I don't have the need for a drone so I just wanted one to mount on a handle or a pole for smoother shots when walking around. Follow along for the route I took to make the union as cheaply as possible with parts and pieces I already had on hand.
Step 1: Step 1: Parts and Pieces
So I already had a pole (golf club) with a mount Sugru'd to it, and a handle with a tripod style base as well. The problem is I needed a "two finger" connector in the gimbal to connect to the various other standard GoPro pieces.
I had an extra tripod mount, so to make it work I cut the third tab off of it. I had to do this for another reason as well: the GoPro screws aren't long enough to go through three fingers.
Taking a Dremel with a cutoff wheel I sliced off the unneeded piece and filed the edges smooth. Now it will mate to any standard GoPro style connector easily.
Step 2: Step 2: Attaching to the Top Gimbal Plate
If you notice (and you care) the cutting of the third tab from the tripod mount now means the gimbal won't be technically centered on your handle, but the center rib of the gimbal plate is too narrow to drill out to 1/4" to use a screw anyways.
I decided to forgo the existing center hole and use two of the outside holes instead. I drilled two holes in the tripod mount to match the existing holes in the plate and used machine screws to connect the mount to the plate. I then trimmed the screws slightly so they didn't stick up too far, but just a bit.
I did this so the JB Weld putty would have something to stick to for extra adhesion. That is the grey material, so after roughing up the plastic tripod mount on both sides, I mixed up a piece of the putty and molded it all around both pieces.
This will act as a thread lock for the screws and extra stability for the connection, though I was impressed by how stable it was with just the 2 screws.
Step 3: Step 3: Final Assembly
All that was left to do was to attach the top plate to the 4 rubber isolators of the main gimbal.
At this point I also cut and soldered a 9 volt battery connector to the leads and used a simple battery holder on the back motor to power the gimbal. I'm going to try that for a while to see if they last and power the gimbal to my satisfaction. If not I will try a 3S LiPo battery (11.1V) to get 1-2 hours of use per battery change.
EDIT 07-20-14: The 9V battery just isn't enough to reliably power the gimbal for an extended period, so I rewired it to take the recommended 11.1V LiPo 3S battery instead and have enjoyed hours of useful service on a single battery.
If you watch the video, the difference is huge! (NOTE: The shaking in some of the footage is the gimbal hitting the limits - I've only had it 24 hours so the learning curve is still happening.)
If you are considering getting one of these but just aren't sure - DO IT! Mine really was ready to go straight out of the box, add power and in 15 seconds it orients itself and you are off to the races.
As always please feel to comment and make suggestions - thanks for checking this out!