Make a Camera Table Dolly for Under $20

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Introduction: Make a Camera Table Dolly for Under $20

About: I'm a tinkering filmmaker who likes to build stuff for my films.

Nothing quite duplicates a camera on wheels.  I've always wanted to build a dolly, but didn't want to hassle with track and a large platform (which doesn't fit into the back of my small car).  This table dolly works well on any smooth surface.  If you don't have a smooth surface, look around!  You might be surprised what this little contraption will roll on.

Note that this dolly is for suitable for smaller cameras and camcorders (I use a Canon HFS100) rather than larger DSLRs or prosumer models.  You may, however, be able to adapt this design for any size camera.  It's all up to you!

See the final step for a link to some test footage.

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Step 1: Parts List

- Cheap tripod
- 2 3" sections of 3/4" PVC pipe
- 7 1 1/2" sections of 3/4" PVC pipe
- 3 3/4" PVC tee joints
- 2 3/4" PVC elbow joints
- 3/4" PVC coupler
- 1/2" to 3/4" PVC bushing (adapter)
- 1 1/2" section of 1/2" PVC pipe

wheel assembly (x4)
- rollerblade wheel
- 2" length of 1/4" bolt
- 2 1/4" nuts
- 3/4" PVC plug
- 3/4" PVC coupler

Step 2: Tools Needed

- PVC ratcheting cutters
- A drill of some sort
- tape measure (a ruler will also work)
- 2 pairs of pliers
- flat head screwdriver

Step 3: Prepare Tripod Segment


Step 4: Build the Wheels


Step 5: Create Wheel Assemblies


Step 6: Make Main Hub


Step 7: Put It All Together


Step 8: The Video Version (with Test Footage)

Watch Episode 9 of The Frugal Filmmaker, "PVC Table Dolly"



If you like this project, come visit The Frugal Filmmaker for more!

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    15 Discussions

    0
    razor7177
    razor7177

    8 years ago on Step 8

    Awesome instructable....i woud like to know...could this model be made motorized...usin' a rc rig..?

    0
    FrozenIce
    FrozenIce

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    if u want to like strap it on an rc car, u would have many difficulties :P with sound, shakyness etc.. but if u want to put it on a track and just moterize the wheels, it could work!

    0
    razor7177
    razor7177

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    i ment like make the dolly motorized, do u think its possible..?
    like attachin' some servos or brushless motors..?

    0
    Adambowker98
    Adambowker98

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 8

    Yeah, you could just mount some motors on the wheels and use like a 9V battery or something.

    0
    mg0930mg
    mg0930mg

    9 years ago on Introduction

    I went to the hardware store to get clamp lights and remembered this. Got all of the parts, except for the tripod head, and picked up a pair of rollerblades for 4 dollars at goodwill. P.s. look at the kids they're cheaper. One problem, I got caps instead of plugs, so I didn't use 4 couplers. :P works the same though.

    0
    mg0930mg
    mg0930mg

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I went back to the hardware store, and am fixing my mistake of using caps, by putting the plugs on.

    0
    sonne4321
    sonne4321

    9 years ago on Introduction

    Can this be made taller so that its at person-height level?

    0
    retrofilms
    retrofilms

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    The best way to make it taller, is to put the dolly on a higher platform. If you add length between the dolly and the camera mount, you will introduce all kinds of wobble to your shot.

    0
    Finis33
    Finis33

    9 years ago on Introduction

    You need (4) 3/4couplers! You have the coupler in the non-wheel section so I only bought one.

    0
    retrofilms
    retrofilms

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    You're absolutely right! I apologize for the mistake and have amended the "wheel assembly" section of the parts list.

    Great idea, and the shoots look pretty smooth too. I'm gunna build one for my DSLR, see how well it works.

    0
    frollard
    frollard

    9 years ago on Introduction

    Great instructable...not sure I need one, but I would build one just for the fun of it!

    0
    theRIAA
    theRIAA

    9 years ago on Introduction

    sweet! and you can turn the tripod into a flash/laptop holder.