DIY shoulder rig – interesting Follow Focus system

Check out this new DIY spin on an old DIY trick from Nate Gallagher. Inspired from the crazy popular Wooden Shoulder rig in which the handle is rotated as a follow focus system, Nate Gallagher takes a simple gear box and some type of U-Joint and transforms it into his own clever Follow Focus whip. The main advantage this design has over the wooden rig is that the FF can be rotated 360 degrees. The whole shoulder rig is a bit raw in aesthetics right now, but mapped out well for functionality, and for me is the most clever 'DIY follow focus' since the Wooden Shoulder rig from Jonathan Clifford Bergqvist. Apparently these parts may have come from a previous salvaged item, and I'm hoping to get a bit more information on the parts used. Just by looking at it though, there's no reason you can't use the famous Traxxas Universal Joint (From RC Cars) made famous by WSCLATER for this type of Follow Focus whip.

8 thoughts on “DIY shoulder rig – interesting Follow Focus system

  1. Earl Stirling

    This is a proof of concept prototype that Nate and I cobbled together in a few hours one evening. Obviously the framework is really rough, but we wanted to get an idea of the frame layout and sizing.

    The gearbox was one I scrounged, it's not the one from Vex Robotics. However it does have roller bearings on the shafts, so it's very smooth.

    And like noted, the turn ratios are not optimized. We wanted to see not only what ratios we'd want, but the amount of friction needed between the final drive wheel and the lens ring, plus how much pressure between the friction surfaces.

    We DID however use Vex Robotics framework pieces for the frame. It's super fast, flexible, and pretty reasonably prices. Much cheaper than 80/20. Think Erector Set/Mechano re-engineered. Plus I had it 😉

    That said, it actually works, as is!

  2. Julius Cardines

    I just looked into my RC Parts box and found a few differential gears, if I could just mount them just like in that gearbox configuration it would be an instant win!

  3. Emm

    Post author

    Very true, a larger diameter on the knob will require less spinning to move. I'm sure he's going to work it in neatly somehow.

  4. That's very clever, indeed!
    But there's one problem: The knob/piece to turn around is far too small. As you know, there's a reason why follow-focus systems always consist of at least one big wheel. But maybe he'll add it later on 😉

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