Simple DIY Motorized Video Track Dolly Project

Here's a really great Simple DIY Motorized Video Track Dolly Project I think everyone will get a kick out of. Of course you're not limited to the design i'll be sharing in the video below. Once you see how simple it is to work with the Actobotics parts from ServoCity.com, i'm sure this will spawn a new breed of DIY Motorized projects, so make sure to share what you've come up with by commenting on this blog article.

Every little part used in the project is extremely high quality and precision made, so in the end everything lines up perfectly. It so simple, i'm confident my 12 year old son can easily put one of these things together. Everything used to assemble this high quality motorized track dolly project can be found over at ServoCity.com down to the roller skate wheels, bearings, and tiny hex screws.

Did you notice how quiet this system is? There is only a bit of noise, but you can see how my LAV mic didn't even pick up any noise as it tracked side to side.

DIY-Motorized-Video-Track-Dolly-Cheesycam-5 DIY-Motorized-Video-Track-Dolly-Cheesycam-6

The wheel assemblies position the skate wheels at an angle to use basic pipes as your track. You can choose to use inexpensive PVC pipes, Conduit, possibly Angle Iron, or whatever else you might find convenient for your project.

DIY-Motorized-Video-Track-Dolly-Cheesycam-2 DIY-Motorized-Video-Track-Dolly-Cheesycam-8

Only one drive wheel is needed to make the system move, and you can choose various RPM speed motors depending if you want to track quickly or slowly. With a Speed Controller you will still have some variations in speed as well as having a simple forward/reverse switch.

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Here is a few reference videos from ServoCity.com showing you how to build the Drive Wheel, the Idler Wheel, and also options for assembling a frame to the wheel assemblies.

Building the Wheel Assemblies

Building the Dolly Idler Wheel Assemblies

Frame Building - Aluminum Channel or Tubing

The Frame I have here is using 12" Aluminum Channel and it was able to support over 100lbs of weight with ease. I seriously placed a chair on this frame and took a ride along a conduit track (this is not recommended, but I wanted to try it). Perfect for even the heaviest cameras out on the market including RED, and for rigged up SONY FS700 Shooters.

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I think I want to shrink this down using 6" Aluminum Channels to reduce it down to half it's size. All I need to do is add a flat platform over the frame (i'm thinking thick plastic cutting board material from Ikea) so that I can mount a standard video Fluid Head in the center, and this is will be one seriously light-weight (yet heavy duty) smooth motorized video track dolly.

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Unfortunately they don't sell a complete kit so you'll have to be familiar with every little part required to build one of these DIY Motorized Video Track Dollies. You will also need to add a few wire leads to the motor you choose, and pick up a 12V battery pack. Not really a big deal.

DIY-Motorized-Video-Track-Dolly-Cheesycam-13 DIY-Motorized-Video-Track-Dolly-Cheesycam-14

So to make things easier for you here's a parts list for the different components of the DIY Motorized Video Track Dolly in my video. Keep in mind you can easily come up with a variety of different shapes and sizes by assembling the parts differently. The one I share is also using 12" Aluminum Channel, but you can go smaller or larger depending on your project.

DOLLY DRIVE ASSEMBLY (click here)
(parts below make 1drive wheel mechanisms)
(1) 535044 ¼” Flanged Ball Bearing
(1) 585536 Dolly Wheel Drive Plate B (Pair)
(2) 545324 90° Quad Hub Mount D
(1) 545424 90° Quad Hub Mount B
(2) 595616 2.975" Low Friction Wheels (Grey)
(2) B8M-22M 8mm ID x 22mm OD Ball Bearing
(1) 632106 .250"L x 6-32 Socket Head Cap Screw (pk of 25)
(1) 632116 .5625"L x 6-32 Socket Head Cap Screw (pk of 25)
(1) 633118 Center Hole Adaptors (4 Pack)
(1) 585488 8mm Flanged Standoff A
(1) 555132 Aluminum Motor Mount D
(1) 625106 .250" to 6mm Bore Shaft Coupler
(1) 634074 2.50"L x .250"D Stainless Steel D-Shafting
(1) 595634 1/4" Bore Drive Wheel Adaptor B
(1) 638222 20rpm, 12VDC Precision Gearmotor

DOLLY IDLER WHEEL ASSEMBLIES (click here)
(parts below make 3 Idler wheel mechanisms)
(3) 585534 Dolly Wheel Idler Plate A (Pair)
(6) 545324 90° Quad Hub Mount D
(3) 545424 90° Quad Hub Mount B
(6) 595616 2.975" Low Friction Wheels (Grey)
(12)B8M-22M 8mm ID x 22mm OD Ball Bearing
(2) 632106 .250"L x 6-32 Socket Head Cap Screw (pk of 25)
(1) 632116 .5625"L x 6-32 Socket HeadCap Screw (pk of 25)
(3) 633118 Center Hole Adaptors (4 Pack)
(6) 585488 8mm Flanged Standoff A

ALUMINUM FRAME COMPONENTS (click here)
(1) 632110 .375"L x 6-32 Socket Head Cap Screw (pk of 25)
(4) 585454 12.00" Aluminum Channel
(8) 545360 Quad Hub Mount C

OTHER (click here)
(1) DMSC6-16-10 Digital Manual Speed Controller (6-16VDC)

For projects like this, I highly recommend picking up these CCTV 12V Rechargeable Battery Packs. They are very cheap (some around just $10 bucks), small, lightweight and should be enough to power your Motorized Track Dolly.
CCTV-5V-9V-12V-DC-Battery-Rechargeable-USB-300x287CCTV 12V Battery Pack
find-price-button 12V CCTV Rechargeable Battery Pack

Whether you are working on this DIY Project or others, these 5.5mm OD + 2.5mm ID Terminal Connectors are pretty standard across many DSLR Video accessories. This will plug directly into many LED Video lights, and will plug directly into your CCTV battery. It's a very simple way to add a terminal plug to the end of wires without soldering. The Male and Female combo connect to each other so you can make a quick disconnect type setup between two wires.

2.5 5.5 Terminal Plug Adapter DIY Cheesycam
find-price-button 2.5mm 5.5mm Male and Female Terminal Connectors



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31 thoughts on “Simple DIY Motorized Video Track Dolly Project

  1. Brandt Bolding

    Your missing FOUR key parts in your lists - and that is the mount connectors (4) that allows for joining two of the channels to the two channel pieces with the wheels. You need to double check all of this - I think there was another omission. I would suggest correcting this asap. (note-not fun after I got it all ready to build)

  2. Emm

    Post author

    @Gerald - This type of setup is using a drive wheel so it won't perform well for that. You'll need a different type of setup, possibly look at the Dynamic Perception products.

  3. Gerald

    Thinking of making a timelapse dolly with this design.

    Couple of questions:
    How precise is the motion? Can it move about 2cm, stop, and repeat consistently?
    Will it be able to handle inclines with it being completely stationery (when it's stopped to take a photo)?

  4. Well dang... I ordered everything.. and while assembling it.. I found that you left out the 1/4" ID (1/2" OD) Flanged Ball Bearing #FB250-500 from the list.. :(

    I was really hoping that I could use the dolly for something today. Now I have to order another part and wait for that to come in.

  5. Its worth noting that rather than the speed controler they sell, since this is a direct DC motor system you can use the Dynamic perceptions controlers; the MX2 for timelapse programs or the AT2 joystick. Or if you're a bit more saavy, it wouldn't be hard to rig up an arduino.

  6. Emm

    Post author

    @Michael Beck - It's easier to just pick up their speed controller, but you could find other speed controllers if you're really trying to save.

  7. Emm

    Post author

    @Ian - First mount a flat board to the top of the frame. Then drill a hole down the middle of the board and add a fluid head. I plan to do this with a smaller 6" frame.

  8. Emm

    Post author

    @Sandman - For DIY projects it's hard to be accurate about wheel placement. These parts are precision manufactured so they always line up perfectly.

    Aside from that, there is probably enough parts on the kit I have here to change it into a 3 wheel dolly also.

  9. Emm

    Post author

    @Taapo - Yes, I literally was on top of this thing and it tracked me across the floor very smoothly. I'll probably do a video on this later to show it works.

  10. Taapo

    Nice find! Couple of questions though:

    * Can the motorized wheel pull enough weight?
    * Is the pulling power constant? No stutters?

  11. Sandman

    Look lik a nice project. I have a concern though - it could be apotential problem that only one drive wheel is used - it could skid if the wheels are not perfectly lined up and it is slightly lifted (as it has bee obsreved with some mini skater dollies which have 1 motorized wheel). Maybe a 3 wheel setup could mitigate this? just my 2 cents...

  12. Zoiks! I have 2 little ones, and I can't believe you have that much time for Cheesycam. Maybe the little Cheesies help you out lots? LOL!

    Keep it up Emm, we love the content!

  13. Emm

    Post author

    @Archie - I actually have four kids.. (3) boys (1) girl, Oldest boy is 14 and youngest girl is 2.5 years old... Believe me, it takes a lot of effort to still find time to add content to this blog.

  14. Emm

    Post author

    @Serge - Haha, it only looks complicated. With all the parts it should only take minutes to assemble each corner.

  15. Murad

    Finally a nice DIY project. Its been a long time. Gotta try it when I have time. Please keep up with this kinda stuff!

  16. Emm

    Post author

    @Steven - Yes it is very very solid. I was a bit afraid when I stood on it because it's so lightweight, but it held up fine. I don't suggest this, but it will hold 100 lbs easy.

  17. Steven

    Actually, that price is a non-motorized setup. I don't think it's much more for the motor. Maybe like an extra $35 or so.

  18. Emm

    Post author

    @Steven - We're not talking rotating casters, just a straight dolly track. For someone diving in, this is how their kit is assembled directly from the website so there's absolutely no thinking involved. Obviously you can build it any way you choose, and tou just have to be a little more creative to mount up the wider skateboard wheels of your choice.

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