Pico Flex Dolly on Rails


Disclaimer:: The Pico Flex Dolly was not designed to work in this manner. Use in this manner at your own risk.

The Pico Flex Dolly has already been motorized with lasers, so what else can we expect? Here's something quite odd. This is just something I happened upon and although it's not perfect, maybe it will spark some creative ideas for you DIY'ers out there. After removing the sets of wheels, and keeping the two bearings on the axles, there's enough gap to ride on a set of rails. If you need to track a straight line on some 'unforgiving surface', a set of rails will give smooth performance. For a quieter experience, cheap plastic rods would work better. I'm not sure what rail width would be optimal use for something like this and again, this is not what the Pico Flex Dolly was designed for.

Oh and for a solution while keeping the standard skate wheels on the little table dolly, there will be a specially designed roll out mat available soon. Still in the works...



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29 thoughts on “Pico Flex Dolly on Rails

  1. This is so awesome! I have another idea. You could get some type of cheap ikea wood, and then use that since both sides will be connected.

    For instance, you could use a ladder for a bunkbed, and run this along it. Then you could drill some holes or something for the mounting. I thought that was a pretty good idea.

    It'd be alot easier than attaching both of those metal bars to a tripod, or two.

    Thanks for the idea!

  2. Steve

    @y2j

    I think a wooden board would bend too much (depending on the length). To combat the bend of the wood, you'd probably need another saw horse or other support in the middle. The shelf rails wouldn't bend as much as wood. I think they might bend less than the rods Emm was using in the video (1:06). I wish I had a pico dolly so I could test it out myself.

    @Emm

    If you have time and a few bucks for some self track, maybe you can demo using the PFD on the shelf track and post results. From what I'm assuming, it should be just as good as the spidertrax dolly.

  3. Emm

    Post author

    @pete - It's not ideal for every situation. There's actually a long list of bearing sliders that make a good amount of noise, and there's plenty of projects that don't ever require sound.

  4. y2j

    Steve -

    Found the rails at Home Depot, didn't note the brand unfortunately.

    And I think as long as you dont walk away from your camera on the rails you should be fine. Just put the pico on the rails, perform the slide, set the pico on the floor. I wouldn't go flinging it down the rails without having a hand on it that is for sure.

    But I am thinking, why not just use a wide board?

  5. Galkos

    I wonder if a hospital IV pole which has wheels would be feasible for head level tracking.

    What kind of shock-absorbing wheels can one get for a dolly over pebbly or semi rough terrain?

  6. Steve

    @y2j

    I guess it all comes down to how long you want the rails to be that determines price. Do you remember what brand the track was and what store you found it at? Glad to hear someone else tested enough to see that it has potential. I wonder if the rails are smooth enough? Based on the spidertrax video, it'll probably be perfectly fine. If not, I'm sure image stabilization can help out. Like Emm pointed out in the video, I'd hate to send my camera flying off of the rails, but with caution, this is just as good as the spidertrax track...just mini.

  7. Emm

    Post author

    @Mai - I don't think a dolly would be the solution. I'll try to show a recent mod I did to get some really low tracking shots in the city.

  8. Mai

    Emm,

    I find your dolly product intriguing. However, I have concerns about my dolly + cam getting stepped on while pushing it around at ground level in the city where I usually shoot.
    Do you plan to offer some kind of dolly which could be mated with a monopod or tripod so that we could control it at eye level standing up? Or any referrals to some similar kind of product? Kind of like a tripod on wheels that is ultra smooth?

  9. y2j

    Steve -

    I too put 2 and 2 together and thought of that. I took my pico to the store and put the wheels in the shelftracks and it seemed to be a good fit. There were some shelftracks that were too deep to work but one brand was just the right dept and width.

    I ended up not buying all the stuff because even though being very budget, still was going to run up more money that I was willing to spend.

  10. Emm

    Post author

    @Steve - The Pico has a different size wheel, and i'm not sure if it can work with those rails. Would have to be a test.

  11. Steve

    Emm,

    In the past, you had posted a video about the spidertrax dolly rolling on a pair of superstrut rails found here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79X2XN-TBgM

    When you 1st announced the pico flex dolly, I knew the wheels may be too narrow to properly fit onto superstrut rails (skate vs rollerblade wheels).

    Then you posted the Joby slider found here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0n2xPcct_EA&feature=player_embedded

    Would it be possible to buy a pico flex dolly and then buy two shelftrack units to copy how the spidertrax dolly performed on the superstrut?

    Don't get me wrong, I love the bearing idea, but to save money, I think the shelftrack idea is the way to go. You'll just have to be careful about the balance of your setup so your cam doesn't fall off like you had mentioned in this post.

  12. Emm

    Post author

    @Jayhas - Here's some inside information about Paypal and eBay. If you are a new account they put a very small limit to how much you can sell. Another limitation is that you can't ship International, until you've earned your dues. All these things are being worked on and i'm estimating maybe around Tuesday next week? (fingers crossed).

  13. Jayhas

    This is basically the principal behind the slider with skateboard trucks that I built and was shown here sometime back - DIY Motion Control Dolly.

    Emm - I am still waiting for the Pico Dolly to ship international! So no way to use it for my slider:-)

  14. scottrellwi

    Emm,

    Please do tell, are you implying a pico slider.... That would be pretty cool. It would be cool to see a great selection of products hatched from the diy world.

    Nice job indeed! Thanks for all your work.

  15. SkunkWorks

    This is pretty much exactly what I made last winter for a temporary slider while I was waiting impatiently for my Igus parts to show up to build my Igus/ZaZa slider (minus the bottom retaining setup). I used 8 bearings out of a set of in-line skates I grabbed from a second hand store for 5 bucks and grabbed some aluminum rods from Home Depot (I think they were 1/2" diameter or maybe 5/8). The skate bearings already had spacers and axles which let it be set up exactly the way you see here in Emm's video. I just used a block of wood for the carriage.... didn't want to dump too much time and cash into it since I only needed it for about a week. When my Igus parts showed up I shelved the project and returned the rods to HD for a refund 😉

    It worked great for something to use at the time... really smooth... but it was loud, and like I've mentioned here before, I'm one of the guys Emm is referring to that didn't like having no friction. Emm's addition of the bottom parts seems to solve that though. (that wouldn't have worked on mine though since I had the rails mounted on a long wooden plank for stability).

  16. Emm

    Post author

    @apostolos - Possible, but there aren't any clamps designed to be used this way. That would run some additional costs, unless someone were able to make their own.

  17. Scottrellwi

    How about using 2 pico dollies connected together wth springs and/or a loose 1/4-20 bolt. This could do horizontal and vertical dolly shuts while maintaining equal tension.

    Also, the bearings could be the those bearings with the concave groove in them. I forget the name now.

  18. What I'm saying is this. Say you wanted to do one of those right now, which basically are working pretty much just the Juicedlink kit. The Juicedlink kit without rails ia about $230 or so. You get two Pico dollies @65+shipping each. You remove the wheels from onde, remove the axles and the wheels from the second one, screw on the the bottom of the first and you have pretty much the same setup for about $150, yes?

  19. Emm

    Post author

    @Thomas Reynolds - Sorry, I mean that each individual rod may have an OD (outside diameter) that it too large. Individual thinner rods may work better, but i'd have to test it out.

  20. Emm, I like your little Pico and all of its add ons. In this video when yous say the rails are too wide to you mean each individual tube has too large of a diameter? or is the distance between the rails too large?

  21. Emm

    Post author

    @apostolos - It's not very practical to get another set of axles and have to remove the wheels each time. Then yes, there's the issue of clamping the rails in place. In that situation it would be better to just build an entire slider kit from the ground up (oops..I think I said too much about what could be coming...)

  22. This is essentially a poor man's Pegasus, the Cinevate rail platform for rails, or a poor man's Juicedlink slider. Following your post, I bought a couple of Juicedlink kits and I made a 4-footer and an 8-footer slider out of those. And that's what they're doing essentially, making the rails fit "inside the trolley" so that the trolley does not tip over with your camera on top. Not a bad idea though. The only practical way to do this with the Pico would be to get a second one and disassemble it? Because I'm guessing if you have a hard time fulfilling order, you won't be selling the axles as spare parts anytime soon. Oh, yeah, and you need something to stop the dolly from falling off on each end.

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