The RustiCWave Camera Gimbal - RC Groups
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Sep 25, 2012, 05:21 PM
AMA 46133

The RustiCWave Camera Gimbal

Ok so what is a functional camera gimbal?

1) It needs to be fairly light.
2) It has to be very rigid.
3) It should be well designed.
4) The servos are everything.
5) Forget about direct drive.
6) Belt drive is good.
7) External potentiometer is even better.
8) It does not have to cost a lot of money.
9) Something you can build from off the shelf parts.
10) How about a design that let you change size anytime you want?

The lightest and strongest way to make a camera gimbal is probably a unibody design molded with strategically placed carbon fiber weave cloth. That can be pretty darn challenging because you are pretty stuck with a very limited number of cameras that the gimbal will fit.

However in order to fit all the other criteria is pretty hard.

That's where this journey starts. Let me take you for a ride.

So once upon a time, not very long ago. I was in my work shop. I had a piece of carbon weave accent plate and a whole bunch of short pieces of carbon weave tubes. Those tubes are the left overs from when I made various multi rotors building from Rusty's AGL Hobbies UAP1.

I sure can make something together with these parts. So I grabbed all the spare boom blocks/tube clamps I can find in my stash and started scratching (yes, that is how I design. I measure and scratch lines on a piece of carbon or G10 plates) lines and drilling holes and cutting carbon plates. Before you know it I have a frame.

Please NOTE: A kit version of the gimbal with square tubes is now available at:

Also please note that I, SeimicCWave is the OP in this thread but I am NOT the seller of the kits. Rusty is selling the kits at AGL Hobbies. I am NOT affiliated with AGL Hobbies except that Rusty is a good friend and he is helping us make some parts for us tinkerers to use.

There are two kits available. One is simply a basic kit consisting of G10 plates and Delrin blocks. You supply everything else. The second kit comes with the G10 plates, Delrin blocks, aluminum hardware, 10mm square aluminum tubes, external pot, belts, pulleys, shafts, stand offs, spacers and bearings. These are NOT assembled kits. You have to put the kit together yourself. You also have to provide the servos. This is NOT a RTF kit. This kit is purely for the people that is ready to get their hands dirty so they can custom build something for their own use.

Lurkers and posters, haters and lovers. Please note the title of this thread. This thread is about what you can do if you use your ingenuity and creativity. No, not mine but yours. I am not here to try and "sell" you anything so I don't have to coddle you like a baby. I am not a vendor so I don't have to think that customer is always right. I am here to share what I have done with some off the shelf parts and made a very usable gimbal albeit a bit heavy. Matt Chase has it right now and it seems to be working fine besides some servo issues.

OTOH Rusty from AGL Hobbies has been kind enough to support us tinkerers and people that like to do it themselves and created a couple of kits for us. I am NOT affiliated with AGL Hobbies except that I consider Rusty a good friend. I have never met the man. He lives in Florida and I live in Hawaii. We both live is Paradise is the only common thread between us.

So I am NOT the vendor on this thread. I am NOT selling the gimbal. As a matter of fact I buy the kits from Rusty at AGL Hobbies just like you all do.
Last edited by SeismicCWave; Apr 11, 2013 at 01:28 AM.
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Sep 25, 2012, 05:25 PM
AMA 46133
For the tilting camera plate I used my lathe and made two bushings from some scrap aluminum rod I have lying around.

Then I look at the frame and realized that those carbon plate corners I cut look very similar to something that Rusty sells at AGL Hobbies. Those will be his tube leg plates.

So I sent in an order to AGL Hobbies. You will need 5 sets of those.
Sep 25, 2012, 05:30 PM
AMA 46133
I used boom blocks/tube clamps from AGL Hobbies and when I ran out I used the ones I bought from Quadframe.

In this picture you see how I tried to fit the bearings in the boom block.

Since I want to use 1/4" shafts and the tubes I am using are 16mm or 5/8" I figured out an easy way to mount the bearings on the drive side. I just ordered some 1/4" X 5/8" flanged bearings. I will mount the bearings on both sides of the boom blocks.
Sep 25, 2012, 05:34 PM
AMA 46133
This is the part where you as a DIY may have a hard time if you are not experienced in kludging things together.

You will need two roll cage. One inner and one outer. The inner one is to hold onto the rear horizontal tube of the camera yoke. The outer one has to go on the outside of the inner roll cage without hitting any of those nuts and bolts.

If enough people are interested I am sure some one can convince Rusty or any other competent machinist to sell a couple of these plates as a kit.

You will need some spacers. I use metal spacers because I want the rigidity. You may try nylon spacers for lighter weight but make sure you don't have any flex.
Sep 25, 2012, 05:37 PM
AMA 46133
This is my original thoughts on the tilt servo mount. Unfortunately the servo hits everything and I don't have much adjustment for the belt tension. So I have to change the setup a little to raise the servo up. I still have some minor issue with the spacing of the tilt servo. So I ordered some flat head bolts to counter sink into the G10 plates. That way I can get rid of the head and hopefully free up some room for the bottom of the servo case to slide back and forth.
Sep 25, 2012, 05:39 PM
AMA 46133
Ok here is the second try on the tilt servo mount. It gave me more adjustment but still not universal. I am going to raise the servo by 1/4" to clear more space.
Sep 25, 2012, 05:40 PM
AMA 46133
To get more space so I can lower the vertical tube I moved the roll servo to the back tube of the camera yoke. It is working very well. The only difference is that I have to now drive the outer roll cage instead of the inner roll cage with the servo.
Sep 25, 2012, 05:41 PM
Rocket Programmer
jasmine2501's Avatar
I can't make this...
Sep 25, 2012, 05:45 PM
AMA 46133
Here is what the gimbal looks like. There are two Delrin pieces that need a bit of machining. One is the block that ties the roll pulley/shaft/outer roll cage together so the servo can drive it. I just used a scrap 1/4" plate of Delrin and drill some holes.

The other piece is if you want to use external pot. I use a piece of 5/8" Delrin rod. Drilled a 3/8" hole for the external pot to fit in and hold it with a set screw. I put a 1/4" X 3/8" flanged bearing on the other side to support the 1/4" shaft from the pot.
Sep 25, 2012, 05:46 PM
AMA 46133
Here is a picture of the Delrin plate that ties the outer roll block to the shaft and pulley. The plate is bolted to the outer roll cage.
Last edited by SeismicCWave; Sep 25, 2012 at 05:58 PM.
Sep 25, 2012, 05:59 PM
AMA 46133
Rusty's tube leg plates and extra boom clamps showed up in the mail. This is what the gimbal looks like with mostly parts from AGL Hobbies.
Sep 25, 2012, 06:00 PM
Registered User

Poor Man's Cinestar Two-Axis Gimbal

VERY well done!

Kudos to you, Seismic!

I now make a public plea to Rusty:

Dear Rusty -

Please, oh please, cut the parts and package the bits (sans servo, or with -- either way) in a kit so that one could make this gimbal on the cheap!

That is, ordering external pots and bearings and metal spacers and bushings is pretty involved. If they were "kitted up", there would be opportunity for profit while at the same time easing the cost to the end consumer (assuming bulk buy discount, and factoring shipping from eight places versus one.)

The same "bring your own tubes" mentality can continue, which can also help keep costs down.

This idea is a winner in my book. I might just do it regardless of if a kit is offered for sale. But I'd rather buy a kit!
Sep 25, 2012, 06:01 PM
AMA 46133
You can see I use some nylon washers to shim the aluminum spacers for proper clearance.
Sep 25, 2012, 06:02 PM
AMA 46133
Here is the external potentiometer. The bushing will have to be made by some one with a lathe.
Sep 25, 2012, 06:03 PM
AMA 46133
Here is what the gimbal looks like finished without servos. I am now waiting for servos from Servo City. The two boom blocks on the top tube is for two cross pieces. Those cross pieces will have vibration isolators on them. I will post pictures of them when I got it mounted.

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