DIY Baby Merlin (Steadicam Smoothee) Shaved Base

Nick Bicanic from http://www.purposelabs.com does a better job than I did with his DIY Steadicam Smoothee (a.k.a Baby Merlin) by shaving down the entire platform to get a perfect fit for his quick release adapter [Thanks Nick]. That little bit of effort definitely makes it look much more solid mounting platform than adding a quick release on top of the stock mini quick release plate.

baby_merlin_shaved

Notes:

I drilled two holes by eye to match the threaded holes on an MH621 Giotto I had lying around. Both are 1/4"/20 - note that the front hole on the giotto as stock is not threaded. So for those of you who don't have tap/die kits - you'll have to use another method. (you could mount with the 3/8" and a 1/4" but I didn't want to take off that much material.

Actually i was originally gonna shave it totally flat but then I realised that the way it's built that might not work (e.g. it could no longer be screwed together. You can see on the picture how far I decided to go.

This is clearly a one-way street 😉 - because if you screw it up you gotta buy another one..ha

That said - I got it right by eye first time - the only extra thing is a washer - see the second picture:

http://www.purposelabs.com/baby_merlin_washers.jpg

(one washer sanded down to fit) the reason for the washer is to tighten the bottom bracket of the quick release - otherwise the thin plastic would flex.

End result is awesome. Btw I didn't use washers at the bottom to spread the load because the bolts sit right on top of the plastic crossbeams themselves.

Here's a picture of how it sits together - very tight and solid.
http://www.purposelabs.com/baby_merlin_lookin_pro.jpg

btw not a lot of clearance down there - so I used hex button bolts.

Tools/hardware needed beyond the usual tools for the original mod are pretty much just those two bolts. (dremel + drill does the rest). Only tricky part is threading the baseplate if it isn't already done

baby_merlin_lookin_pro

If you guys aren't familiar with this project, it's basically taking the cheap Steadicam Smoothee (originally for GoPro or iPhone) and modifying it to fly other cameras like a Canon DSLR. The Smoothee provides you with fine tuning knobs to help get you balanced much like the $800 dollar Steadicam Merlin. You can find the details on that DIY Steadicam project here: http://cheesycam.com/diy-steadicam-smoothee-mod-cheesycam-baby-merlin/

gopro-steadicam-smoothee
find-price-button Steadicam Smoothee Stabilizer





2 thoughts on “DIY Baby Merlin (Steadicam Smoothee) Shaved Base

  1. Verm

    Just one quick question on the Giotto MH621: is it by any chance compatible with the Manfrotto 501PL plate? I love the fact that it has the built-in bubble levels, but I'm all equiped with Manfrotto heads and plates...

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