I decided to make this after always having the tripod in the way. I like using the tripod to take my pictures for my instructables. I also wanted to be able to roll the tripod like a dolly to take smooth rolling shots. I wanted to make this using scrap and misc parts that I had around the shop.
Step 1: Materials Used
This is a list of the Materials and Tools that I used to build this camera dolly.
- 3/4 in Plywood chunk - This was the biggest chunk of 3/4in plywood that I could find in the scrap bin.
- 3 Wheels -- I got these with some wire shelving that I purchased Like this one on Amazon
- Nylon Webbing
- Nylon Webbing Triglides Slides
- Nylon Webbing Plastic Buckles
- Eye Bolt - I used one from this set
- 5 min Epoxy
- Minwax Walnut Stain
- Minwax Water-based Poly
- 60in Lightweight Tripod
Step 2: Measure, Mark, and Cut
For this step I put the tripod on the chunk of plywood and made marks with a straight edge. I was not using any rhyme or reason really when making my marks. I wanted to make a kind of Y shape. The entire shape did not turn out to be as symmetrical as I would have liked, but I am going to stick with it. I am using scrap wood that was just barely big enough, so that is my excuse. I cut the dolly out of the chunk using my circular saw and the jig saw.
Step 3: Glue and Trim
I wanted the "tips" of the Y shape to be thicker so that I could drill the holes in the "tips". So I had the shape that I wanted, so I cut the leftover pieces into a little bit bigger pieces than the tips. That last sentence was rough,, lol. OK so the idea is, cut the pieces bigger than the original, glue to original, wait, and cut off extra. There, that is the idea. Just look at the pictures, they explain it better than my 1000 words.
I also tried to fill all of the voids in the plywood with a mix of wood glue and sawdust. I dont think that it works as well as epoxy. I think in the future I will use epoxy to fill plywood voids.
Step 4: Sand and Drill
I sanded this a LOT. I used different grit of sandpaper starting at 80 grit and working up to 220 grit.
Once I was happy with the smoothness of the dolly I moved on to the holes where the tripod will sit into. i put the tripod on the dolly and marked the holes. then I used a 1 3/8in Forstner bit to make a hole about 3/4in deep. Then I drilled another 3/4in hole 3/4in deep for the wheel nuts. I used a 3/8 drill bit to drill all of the way through the center of the 3/4in hole. That way the bolt for the wheels could pass through.
Step 5: Attach Wheels and Epoxy Holes
I attached the wheels and made sure that all of the nuts for the wheels were countersunk enough so that I could epoxy over the nuts and make it flush with the wood. I tightened the wheels as tight as I could without breaking through the wood.
I Mixed up some 5 min epoxy and poured it into the voids left above the wheel nuts. After waiting a couple hours it was set enough so that I felt comfortable sanding the epoxy level with the wood.. I am altogether happy with the way that the epoxy turned out, but I noticed that there were a lot of air bubbles in the epoxy so that when I sanded it down it was not perfect. I am not sure how to avoid this. I will have to try different method in the future to achieve the best result.
Step 6: Sand Stain, and Poly
Once I was happy that everything was sanded to my liking I set out to stain it. I had some walnut stain left over from another project so I used that. One quick coat of stain and it looks great. After a couple hours I came back and coated the entire dolly with water based polyurethane, just to seal everything and make it shine.
Step 7: Finishing Touches
In order to attach the dolly to the tripod I made a nylon strap for it. I have bulk nylon webbing so I cut a chunk and burned the edges to keep it from fraying. I added the plastic hardware so I could tighten and unsnap it. I took a bolt and some string and hooked it onto the hook that is on the bottom of the tripod. That way I wold know where to put the hook-bolt. I marked the spot and pre-drilled a 1/8in hole so that the hook bolt would be easier to screw in. Once I had the hook-bolt screwed in I put the nylon strap into place and tightened it.
The video above shows a sample rolling shot using the tripod dolly.
I am very happy with this build, It does exactly what I was wanting. I hope you enjoyed reading through this. Have a great day.