Tag Archives: time-lapse dolly


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.

DIY-Motorized-Video-Track-Dolly-Cheesycam-7 DIY-Motorized-Video-Track-Dolly-Cheesycam-1

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.

DIY-Motorized-Video-Track-Dolly-Cheesycam-3 DIY-Motorized-Video-Track-Dolly-Cheesycam-4

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.

DIY-Motorized-Video-Track-Dolly-Cheesycam-10 DIY-Motorized-Video-Track-Dolly-Cheesycam-9

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.

(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

(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

(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


Vimeo member Dan Eckert has been working on a dolly project for some time to be used wit his Hyperlapse / Timelapse videos. The dolly is designed to have adjustable wheels to ride on rails or on terrain with pneumatic tires. The video above shows some examples of his work, but keep in mind that there is some scenes with image stabilization done in post. Aside from Time Lapse videos, the dolly still operates as a standard track or table dolly. Price of the unit starts at around $1500 + optional accessories. You can find more about his product (soon to be released) by visiting thecamtrac.com. [Thanks Dan]

the cambriccamtrac timelapse video dolly
camtrac dollydan eckert timelapse dolly camtrac