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This time, all dolly pictures


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#1 Ira Ratner

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Posted 05 October 2008 - 10:57 AM

I can't figure out why I can't do uploads, so let's try it this way, with links to Flickr.

First, we have eight 3" L brackets with what I recall were 3/8" bolts. These were Stanley brand brackets available at Home Depot, and the pre-drilled holes position were perfect for roller blade wheels. (Since I'm not 100% sure they were 3/8" bolts, check if you decide to do this, that the bolt fits in the hole. They DID require a slight zets with the hammer.)

http://farm4.static....264d831.jpg?v=0

Next, we put adult-size roller blade wheels on there. And old roller blades can be found at any yard sale for next to nothing:

http://farm4.static....66b3817.jpg?v=0

Other sides of bolts get nylocks, which I didn't show because I respect my audience's intelligence here.

Repeat 4 times:

http://farm4.static....527c80c.jpg?v=0

Next, cut 4 blocks of wood approximately 3" square--could be more or less, doesn't really matter, as long as they're all the same size. You're supposed to use 2 by 4 which actually measures 1 1 1/2 by 3 1/2--but I couldn't rationalize buying a stick of 2 by 4 since I already had a piece 1 by 4 lying around, so I laminated two pieces together for each.

I painted and drilled a hole in the center:

http://farm4.static....60c09f1.jpg?v=0

(Yes, these came out looking like crap, but they still work. I know that YOU'LL do a much better job!)

Next, we attach the wheel assemblies to each block screwing into the remaining holes in the bracket. To accommodate the bolt heads, just use a 3/8" drill bit and gauge a hole to accommodate the bolt heads. I ain't winning no woodworking awards for this one, but it seems to work:.

http://farm4.static....af15b54.jpg?v=0

Now, a 3/8" carriage bolt (make sure it's long enough) goes through the wheel assembly into a 2" PVC cap end, then lock washer and regular nut:


http://farm4.static....c5e591b.jpg?v=0

These assemblies get connected to this 2" PVC contraption, made up of straight pipe and T connectors:

http://farm4.static....6486a1f.jpg?v=0

Use small wood or sheet metal screws anywhere where PVC parts connect. No glue needed since the fit is so tight anyway:


http://farm4.static....8a4e959.jpg?v=0

Depending on how tight you connected the wheel assemblies to the end caps, you may notice some play if you apply force. To me, this is NOT a negative, because you WANT it to rotate and follow the rules of gravity anyway, especially when using on uneven terrain.

That's the end of the photos, but next step is mounting the tripod. I have two options:

The instructions for this say to just drill holes into the PVC and stick your legs in there. The center of dolly then gets an eye screw, and you attach a cable/rope/whatever from the bottom of the tripod head to secure.

I don't like this idea, so when my tripod arrives this week (oy, big bucks for me to be spending on a tripod), I'm going to check the leg spread, the design of the feet, and look for a latch mounting solution mounted to surface of the PVC.

My other idea is to cover the entire dolly with a triangular piece of plywood, and work on a tripod mounting solution from there. This idea seems more practical for some working situations, but I'm just not sure. Yes, it will give me more ballast and a place to set things, but it may push me too far away from the viewfinder to be practical.

Anyway, that's it. And although I'm not a religious man, I'm on my knees praying that the photo attachments actually worked.
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#2 Alex LaBore

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 10:36 PM

So filming on something other than pavement is out of the question with this one?
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#3 Ira Ratner

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Posted 17 October 2008 - 04:39 AM

So filming on something other than pavement is out of the question with this one?


You lost me:

This has to go on a track which I'm making out of PVC, and I'm HOPING it works okay on grass.
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#4 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 17 October 2008 - 09:10 PM

wherever you put the pvc track, it will be fine, just make sure you have a way to fill in the gaps underneath the sagging points. This is obviously not a "ride-on" dolly, which we all thought you were making....hahah.

I might have used wider wheels, but yours might do the trick. BTW there are internal pvc connectors to join to pipes together with only 2 screws. you can rotate the pipe so the wheels on your dolly never hit these wheels, and depending on how well you make it, the connection point shouldn't be noticeable. It has to be level also by the way.
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#5 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 18 October 2008 - 02:30 AM

BTW there are internal pvc connectors to join to pipes together with only 2 screws


I've seen people use wooden dowels that fit nice and snug inside the pipes and join them together. Seems to work quite well.
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#6 Ira Ratner

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Posted 18 October 2008 - 06:44 AM

I'll probably never even use it, but if I do, it will be because I wrote something into a project just for it.

I'm going to assemble complete sections of track, say 3' long. Opposite rails on each section are connected to each other by 3 small sticks of furring wood, just screwed into the PVC. The sections then just snap into each other like a model railroad set using wooden dowels. I'm not exactly sure if I can find the exact size dowel for a snug fit for 1" PVC, but if I can't, I figured I could use the next smaller size dowel and wrap with inner tube rubber for a tight yet flexible fit. The challenge will be curved track.

The wood will help prevent sag and is good for crappy terrain, and they'll have some large holes drilled into them so I can stake them down into earth if need be.
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#7 Josh Bass

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 12:26 AM

Hey, I wanted to ask, do you know the hardness rating on those rollerblade wheels you used? I built a dolly based on someone else's design that apparently had a fatal flaw, causing it to be useless on PVC pipe (or any circular surface that fit between the wheels) if you wanted sound in your movie. I always figured if I tried again I'd get skateboard wheels, but now that you say yours works well, I'm wondering if I could use the wheels I already have. I fear they might be too soft, so if you know the hardness of your wheels, I could compare the two. Thanks.
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#8 Ira Ratner

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 07:06 PM

I have no idea about the hardness of the wheels and can't help about the noise. I haven't even mounted the tripod yet to TRULY test it out on full track.

In addition, I'm just a hobbyist...shooting 16mm and no synced sound for now.

I'll be happy if it all just ROLLS okay when I actually shoot for real.
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