Bending and printing a curved camera dolly track


How lucky is [Transistor Man] that he found the materials for the tracks of this curved camera dolly just lying around the shop? The three rails making up the system are quarter-inch diameter and he was able to bend them by hand with the help of a 55 gallon drum. But to hold them in place so that the camera dolly would run smoothly he had to find a way to precisely space the tracks.

The robot arm you see in the picture above is a 3D printer which ended up being the easiest solution to the problem. With a bit of trial and error he found a design that holds the tracks in place without interfering with the camera sled’s progress. From there he devised a mounting system which uses three camera tripods to hold the track. You can see a test video shot from the dolly track embedded after the jump. It’s the opposite of the bullet time rigs [Caleb's] been working on lately.

We figure the spacers would work for any track shape, but if you’re going for a complicated route you need some type of pipe bender to help out.


  1. Cool video, looks like it took a long time to set up

  2. cap'couillon says:

    Nice engineering

  3. Jonimus says:

    And here I was expecting a 5-axis 3D printer from the title. Not sure exactly what you’d gain from being able to tilt the print head, but I was kinda disappointed when that wasn’t what this hack did.

  4. Ed says:

    yowza, that’s quite a setup.

  5. vonskippy says:

    Hire a freaking maid already.

  6. echodelta says:

    Making several flat identical things, stack ‘em up clamp drill thru with drill press. Done

  7. Truant1 says:

    It took me far too long to realize what the video was about.. and I saw the thing in person! ha! – as to the maid comment. You have no idea how much of a geek heaven Transistor-Man lives in. Inspirational!

  8. Ian Bullock says:

    Nice. This could be useful for consistent/repeatable Kinect 3D scanning too

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