With technology advancing rapidly and associated costs becoming cheaper, it is easier than ever get access to it. This allows amateur filmmakers to have access to equipment that used to cost thousands of dollars and is now readily affordable to almost anyone. One piece of equipment is the gimbal stabilizer. This is a kit that has two motors and will keep the camera level while the operator moves. This makes for a better looking video and gets rid of the shakiness.
Now, most gimbals for sale online start at around $200. Most of these don’t include the camera. Today we are going to show you how you can use SOLIDWORKS and 3D printing to make you own gimbal stabilizer.
This project is easy to do and does require some store bought parts. This includes a Gimbal, this retails at around $40. The gimbal we got is an add on to the first DJI drones and does require a Gopro. This gets strapped to the bottom axis. but these cheap gimbals are made for quadcopters and those who look into building their own.
With this being an add-on to a quadcopter, there is no power supply as you would plug this into the motherboard of the drone so, we had to get an external power source. This was easy done by purchasing a battery. The last item was a switch. Once again as this is made to connect to a drone and we are just connecting a battery strait into the motherboard there is no way to turn it off without disconnecting the battery.
So with all these parts we have a working gimbal but a mess of cables on the top. This is where SOLIDWORKS and 3D printing come into play. We will use SOLIDWORKS to create a neat handle to hold onto the gimbal easily as well as enclose all the wiring. This makes it look more appealing and easier to manage.
The design process was simple. We needed a handle that’s comfortable to hold and shell on the inside to hold and protect the cables and battery. The main constraint was the battery would have be removed in order to recharge. This lead to the design being screwed together.
We used a technique which allows us to have metal bolt inserts in the model but we didn’t want hoels on the side or you to be able to see the mess. We what we decided to do was to enclose the bolt in the plastic. This is a trick that can be done with almost any printer. The basis of this is to let it print up to a certain height and pause the print. This will stop the print and move the head away. This gives us the chance to drop the bolts on the insert holes and resume the print. The machine will carry on doing what it does best and will enclose the bolt in the plastic.
Now it is important to not that the cavity must be deep enough that when the bolt is in the head won’t collide with the bolt and the it’s loose enough so that there is no force needed. If you force it it could move the bed and when the machine resumes it won’t line up.
With all 3 parts printed, the assembly process was simple. We soldered the switch to the motherboard cables and attached the main body to the gimbal. We then inserted the battery into the handle and screwed it all together. Next, we fired this bad boy up and it was ready to go.
The footage captured for this came out great and it works well, with a total cost of around $50 this gimbal is perfect for those who wish to play around with film making or even those interested in starting a career in the industry, but don’t have a huge budget. As said at the start of this blog, technology is getting cheaper and more accessible. This allows more people to reach for their dreams and makes that high end equipment accessible to more people.
Now it is difficult to show you how well it works when the only way to showcase the gimbal properly is with a video so please check out the video about this gimbal at the top of the page.
The idea of this project, taking a bunch of store bought parts and using SOLIDWORKS and 3D printing to assemble them into something with a higher value than the start. This can be applied into almost anything and we look forward to seeing some of your ideas you may have and how you have been inspired to make something great.