Make a Camera Table Dolly for Under $20

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.

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

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

    3 replies

    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!

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

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

    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.

    1 reply

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

    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.

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

    1 reply

    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.

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

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