DIY Video Crane / Jib with Custom Brackets

Cheesycam-DIY-Crane-Jib (1)Cheesycam-DIY-Crane-Jib (2)

So after the prototype DIY Jib Brackets touched down in the studio, I visited my local hardware store (Representing Orchard Hardware Supply, you know WestSide! Throwin' up the 'W'). Anyways, that's what my shopping cart looked like with plain super lightweight AL square tubing on the left, and perforated square tubing to the right. The AL is 1" and 3/4" square tubes. On the right is 1.25" + 1" perforated tube which is easier to work with - no drilling required. Perforated tubes are not in every hardware store, but they are also not difficult to track down if you call your local Metal Market. You can see some of these on Amazon (seen here). With one tube larger than the other, you can create a telescoping jib. This of course is not necessary, you can just use one solid piece for both top and bottom. My top tube is 4ft. long and the bottom is 3ft. long.

These Prototype brackets were designed with Steel. Heavy duty stuff, and once all the parts are assembled, the structural integrity is solid. With this design, we were able to eliminate the requirement for welded parts, which is time consuming and costly for manufacturing jibs. Being able to offer just the brackets also saves the end user from shipping costs due to weight and length of packaging. Once you get your hands on these brackets (if the idea ever flies), then it literally takes a few minutes of assembly with basic nuts and bolts and you'll be flying whatever size crane you can think of. A goal was to offer the complete set of brackets, nuts, bolts, nylon bearings, lock nuts, etc. for around $15 bucks. Will it happen? Don't know, but it sure is fun playing with ideas....

 62 Comments





62 thoughts on “DIY Video Crane / Jib with Custom Brackets

  1. martin

    Selling the plans is a great idea. If you set a price, pls post / email as I'm ready to DIY something similar but yours look very professional and the advantage of compacting down small enough to be carried easily. I'm very interested...

  2. Emm

    Post author

    @5David - This is one of those idea that have not yet been sent to manufacturing. There were other projects that have taken priority at this time.

  3. Dave

    Hi Em,

    This looks like a great idea that I hope happens. Not having to drill the tubes, and the telescopic tubes are two very appealing items. If you produce this, please send an email to announce it.

    cheers,
    Dave

  4. JG

    Emm, thanks for the replay I just saw it today! And thanks for the explanation about the Thrust Bearings I had no idea how to use bearings on a crane,
    I've been meaning to build my own crane but I want something smooth. I called all the Hobby Stores in my area and none offered large thrust bearings only super small ones. I'll keep looking and I didn’t know Glideshot crane used a solid aluminum boom!

  5. Emm

    Post author

    @5David - The jib does not rotate on the nylon bearings. The entire unit rotates around the bolt. Doesn't cut through.

  6. 5David

    Looking good but you might regret using nylon bearings - the harsh edges on the stamped out holes in that steel tube will probably cut through them pretty quick - any chance of using steel bearings?

  7. Nate

    I am really excited about this. PLEASE create the DIY parts kit! I would love to buy it. It would be cool to have a 4ft, 8ft, or 12ft parts kit to choose from.

    Keep up the good work.

  8. Peter Varberg

    Awesome Emm, I would buy them instantly, but since you are still unsure on the time frame and availability on this product. Do you care to offer some advice on the dimensions on the brakets it I tried to build my own, or atleast give me an idea of where to start.

  9. SkunkWorks

    @JG

    The roller bearings on the 4" (Glideshot) jib aren't roller blade type bearings and aren't used in the same axis as rollerblade bearings. They're thrust bearings like in larger RC helicopters and are for axial (side) loads like a lazy susan. Skate bearings are for radial loads
    (force that is applied perpendicular to the axis of a bearing's shaft). The Glideshot jib doesn't use any bearings for the radial load or in other words the axle the boom pivots on. It uses thrust bearings on either side of the boom to lower the friction between the boom mount (fork) and the boom as it rotates... the fork needs to be fairly tight against boom or there will be sideways slop
    as you operate it. I made my own clone of the Glideshot using thrust bearings (helicopter ones from my local hobby store) and it's awesome... smooth as silk. I originally used hollow aluminum tube but there was too much flex in any light breeze and the camera wanted to twist like a propeller. I went to a solid boom like the Glideshot and now the system is very robust and it's not that heavy... the heaviest part is the weight you add to balance it. I've got it mounted on a 501 head on a contractor's tripod.

  10. Emm

    Post author

    @Seenematic - That's the beauty of the simplicity. If you think a solid one will be better, you can use the same brackets to create a solid one. It's really up to you what you want to make of it.

  11. I'm afraid the flexibility and telescopic nature of this model will also mean it won't be as stable when panning and tilting as a solid steel one. The arms you're using tend to flex during transport and handling and my guess is they won't last very long.

    I'll wait until I see some footage 😉

  12. Tony

    Thanks for the honest reply Emm. Given the price market of jibs, I have no doubt you and your team will be able to get this done. There's always a large group of people, such as those who frequent your site, that have a desire for diy over commercial products. It's like full manual settings/focus vs "auto" everything...there's nothing like the pride in knowing you did it yourself. =) Keep us posted when manufacturing commences.

  13. Al

    @Emm - what I like about yours is it's telescopic which would mean I'll be able to fit in it in the car. I'm holding out for your results so keep us posted!

  14. Emm

    Post author

    @AR - I own several jibs and cranes from other companies, and i've made several on my own to develop these brackets. It's plenty smooth by design. Control is in proper balance of the counterweights and no binding at the joints. If you take a closer look at the brackets, the framework is designed with very very specific tolerances at the corners, and has just enough clearance to pivot at the nylon bearings. Now trying to telescope a 12ft jib into a 4ft form factor would be quite a task and will definitely add more weight.

    Anytime you have flex in using very long bars, you can correct this by using additional brackets (like these) along the extension. This will maintain proper spacing for longer lengths if your material is flexing. One thing to mention for those who don't know, when sellers off a 12ft. crane, this does not mean it's 12ft from the pivot point. Some require at least 3ft behind the pivot point, so you're really swinging your camera about 9ft from the front and 3ft in the back. A 4 foot crane might have 3ft in the front and 1ft in the rear.

  15. Emm

    Post author

    @Al - That's a decent jib, not a bad price. Sometimes DIY projects aren't for every means, and it's about getting the job done. These brackets are more for people like me who can't find what they are looking for and want to build their own.

  16. AR

    looks good, but from what ive seen, the mount should be very sturdy & smooth, even if it is more expensive. as that is what will control how smooth the shots are (as well as the operator of course) the telescoping arms are a great idea indeed. tho if collapsing a 12 foot into a 4 foot section, it will be very heavy, not to mention maybe some flex at the end ?

  17. mudmman

    Very interested. So far been very happy with P&C products. If you do end up selling it, I'd buy it instantly.

  18. Emm

    Post author

    @Scottrellwi - Two bars + these DIY jib brackets should allow you to make a very professional 4ft. jib for around $45 dollars?? Current 4ft. jibs are about $130 (seen here).

    I love the portability of 4ft jibs, but at that length, most of them don't collapse any smaller. I'll be building a 4-5ft Micro-jib with these DIY Brackets that should allow me to collapse everything down to about 29".

  19. ive been thinking on buying a short portable jib for months, but also to have the option of making it larger and wow... this is GENIUS! just say when! im in! take my money!

  20. Scottrellwi

    Can you say how much you paid for the tubing? I have been thinking of making one with 8020. You inspired me to look at it again.

  21. Emm

    Post author

    @Tom - The brackets were measured specifically to get increased movement (height and drop). It has very good travel, much more than the other jibs i've used. Here's a drawing showing that we were considerate about spacing, and even included clearance for an RC2 adapter. We've been at this for a little while now..
    jib-schematic

  22. Tom

    Do you think the arms are too close together Emm? I mean.. All the other jibs I have seen are kind spaced apart.. do you think that will be sufficient clearance for nice long jib moves?

    Also... I was thinking of ordering the Glideshot 4' jib.. but if you made this.. I would definitely be down.

  23. Emm

    Post author

    @Tony - Cost is a huge factor. Getting the numbers down on the complete kit and making it affordable. We're still finding best way to have all this put together. It's great to get feedback though. I'll build out a little crane and do some test flights.

  24. Tony

    Decide to do it?!! All this and no final decision on manufacturing it yet? UGH! lol How about a rough timeframe for availability.

  25. Emm

    Post author

    @Steven - The bracket is already designed with a 1/4 pass through on the front stage. Ready to attach a QR adapter or Camera directly. It's practically a finished product ready to ship, but right now what you see is painted not anodized. If we decide to do it, the final product with be plated (not painted). Gotta keep stuff lookin' pro!

  26. Emm

    Post author

    @Olphus - If you design for telescoping to about 7ft. I would suggest using strong bars. This same bracket can be used for the aluminum tubing which is very light, but you have to drill your own holes.

  27. JG

    hey Emm I think is a good idea I saw something similar with aluminum tubing and it worked, how about some rollerblade bearings to make it fly smoother? I haven't seen how people use the bearings but based on that 4' crane that you reviewed it works quite well

  28. Steven

    Can we look forward to a demo soon?
    It looks promising so far.
    Have you thought of how to attach a camera to the end?

  29. Emm

    Post author

    @Steven - Not related. That's a different project. I had parts on this table from project to take images or various DSLR equipment.

  30. Steven

    Care to comment why some gini rig parts were on the workbench underneath the tubing? I know you mentioned something about your recent SJ gini rig in another article. Something about "it'll make more sense later". Are these two projects related?

  31. Patrick

    Umm this should definitely be a thing. I will be counting down the days in wait of this awesome invention.

  32. The pivot swivel is also a vital part of a jib setup. A small ball head can't support that weight (plus camera setup and counterweight), so there's a chance of boom, counterweight and camera rig crashing to the ground.

    I put my jib on a Bogen 3030a tripod which has a 3047 head which I use as the swivel. Any suggestions for sturdy swivels?

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