I made my own steadi-cam. I don’t currently have a use for such a thing, just had the idea and decided to make it.
I’d seen a few DIY steadi-cams and they either neglected the ability for the handles to rotate or had some complicated method to replicate that. My solution was to use Shark Bite(push-fits) plumbing fittings. If you’ve never used them, the copper simply pushes into the fitting and seals against an o-ring. There are tiny little claws or barbs that keep the pipe in place. The pipe is then able to freely rotate within the fitting.
All together this cost me about $40. This isn’t meant to be the cheapest alternative just a different one. Price will go up if you don’t have some of the necessary tools.
*I forget to photograph some pieces so some images are not my own.
3/4 Copper cap x2
3/4 Copper Male Adapter*
3/4 Copper Female Adapter
3/4 NPT to 1/2 NPT Face Bushing. You can use a regular bushing but they don’t look as nice.
1/2 NPT Countersink Plug
A 5' length of 3/4 hard copper*
3/4 NPT Iron Tee. *
3/4 Male Adapter Shark Bites x2
For the camera mount setup you will need: 1/4-20 x 1.5" full thread bolt, two 1/4" washers, 1/4-20 stop nut(nylon insert), nut and wing nut, 1/4x1" fender washer and a similar sized rubber washer.
1/2-13 x 4" bolt, 1/2" washer, 1"washer will be used to attach weight
Step 1: Camera Mount
Drill a 1/4" hole through the center of one of the copper caps.
Insert the bolt with a washer from the inside of the cap. Then take the other washer and stop nut and tighten. The fender washer, rubber washer and wing nut will be used to tighten camera in place. When not in use I just flip over the wing nut setup to keep the washers from flying off.
Then cut about a 6" length of copper.
And solder the assembled cap to one side and the 3/4 male adapter to the other. I forgot to take a picture for this step. :( It can be threaded directly into one side of the tee.
Step 2: Base
Thread the plug into the bushing and into the copper female adapter.
At this point you’re probably wondering what the hell is going on with this. It will hopefully be clear shortly.
The next step is drill out the center of that plug with a 27/64" drill bit. A vise and drill press aren’t necessary but certainly make things easier and slightly safer. My first drill bit totally didn’t shatter into 20 pieces.
Now we get a 1/2-13 bolt thread tap and thread that hole.
It’s now ready for that 1/2-13 bolt which will hold your weights.
They make fittings that go from pipe to bolt thread, but they tend to be pricey and not in stores.
Cut a 19" length of copper. (I just eyeballed the lengths if you’re wondering why the random sizes) Solder the assembled base to one side.
Step 3: Handle
I cut a 9.5" length of copper then soldered the other cap to one side.
Step 4: Tee
Thread the two shark bite fittings into the tee. That top fitting we soldered to the camera mount piece already.
The complete base and handle can simply be pushed into the two fittings.
You can be done at this point, but bare copper kinda leaves some stink on your hands, so I suggest painting it. Instead of going Ninja Darkness, I opted for some color. I used some red self-fusing tape for grips. No more stink hands!
For mounting any weights first use the 1" washer.
Then tighten down that 1/2" bolt and washer. 4" bolt is plenty long to accommodate more weight.
All together now.
Time to test it out.
Actually kinda works! And I met my yearly jogging quota!
I need to remove the horizontal piece and sand it down because I accidentally installed the handle without soldering the cap on first. Removing a pipe from those push fits kinda mangles them in the process leaving lots of burrs and grooves. As such it isn’t rotating as freely as it could.
Anyway, I made a thing and I’m happy with it.