Home Built Steadicam

I lurked on HBS (homebuiltstabilizers.com) for years before getting up the gumption to try my own build. Now nearly 6 months later, I’m still planning things out. I’ve reverse engineered the Steadicam G50 arm, and am going to try that as my first shot. Why not eh?! If it works, I’ll be stoked. What’s more likely, is that I’ll learn a lot about machining, and use those skills to make some simpler items.


Here is one of my CAD drawings of the G50 arm mechanism. If I understand it correctly, (from reading the patent) I think that the red parts work as a cam to reduce the spring force as the arm booms to it’s maximum height- which makes certain the arm doesn’t lock up, or bump at the top. At the same time, it also lessens the force of the spring at the bottom of the motion- I’m not sure why this is, and might try to make a prototype to figure it out.

DIY Kinoflo

My first DIY lights- I bought some electronic ballast flourescent fixtures at Home Despot, then added some daylight balanced, high CRI T12 bulbs. Finally for the 2-bulb fixtures, I added some EMT pipe clamps to attach to lightstands, and for the 4-bulb, I bolted 2 fixtures together and added a 6″ baby plate on the back to attach to a mafer clamp on top of a light stand.

They work well, but they are kinda heavy, and hard to transport without risking breaking the bulbs.

HMI Softbox

I learned about DIY HMI lights from Richard at Coolights.biz. For my first attempt, I bought a bulb, base, and balast from an aquarium lighting store (hellolights.com). Then I got a cheap hot-light softbox from B&H. After some quick metalwork on a small reflector I got at the Rebuilding Center, I was able to mate the 2 pieces together. I added a stud and an old umbrella clamp, and voilla- a 250W HMI light that puts out ~900W in Tungsten equivalent lumens. It’s 96CRI and 6000K, so it generally matches sunlight.

Total cost: $350