Intro: Make a Camera Dolly for Your Tripod
If you are interested in getting more fluid sweeping shots when shooting video or simply looking for an easy way to move your tripod around while taking shots, this instructable is for you. It can be done very inexpensively with just a few tools and a cheap piece of wood.
Step 1: Just a Few Tools Needed
All you need to get started is
- Scews ( 1" and 3" )
- Drill and Forstner Bits
- Casters or Wheels ( softer rubber is better and at least one that locks )
- Tape Measure
- Angle Finder ( a common triangle is 60 degrees at each angle, but every manufacturers tripod's leg assembly is unique )
- Table Saw with Miter Gauge or Miter Box with Miter Saw
- 1 or 2 Cheap Untreated 2x4's ( depending on how wide your tripod's stance is )
Paint is Optional
Step 2: Measure and Layout
Open and fully extend your tripod and measure the distance between the 3 legs.
Cut your 2x4 into 3 sections that are 4 inches longer than the distance between each leg.
Align the boards into a triangular formation while touching on each corner like the above photo.
Check your angle from within a corner and take note of it. Most likely it is around 60 degrees.
Step 3: Cut Your Angles
Set your miter gauge to half the angle you measured before.
Traditional triangles are going to have 3 angles that are 60 degrees, so you would set your gauge to 30 degrees.
If your angle finder finds something different than 60, then just take that number and divide it by 2.
Make your cuts. Try to make your cuts at the very end of each board taking off equal amounts on each.
Step 4: Drilling and Assembly
Pre-Drill 2 holes at the end of each board as seen in the photo.
Assemble using 3 inch screws in these holes.
Then you want to use a forstner bit that is just slightly larger than each foot of your tripod.
Set your tripod on top of your assembled triangle and mark location of the feet, trying to keep them evenly spaced from the corners.
Next, using your forstner bit, drill your holes about a half inch deep at the marked locations.
Optionally, you can paint your project at this point.
Step 5: Attach Your Casters
Lastly, attach your casters at the corners using 1 inch screws.
Using 1 locking caster allows for you to rotate your tripod in 360 degrees off of a single pivot point creating full panoramic shots.
Step 6: Ready to Roll
Now you are mobile. If you are using this dolly to shoot video, it's not a bad idea to put a few sandbags on the wood between the tripods legs. This extra weight allows it to roll more smoothly on rougher surfaces decreasing motion blur.
This entire project should only cost you between $12 - $15.
Alternately, this could also be used as a furniture dolly or ...... Just imagine.