3D Printed Camera Arm Saves $143

arm04

Professional camera equipment is notoriously expensive, so when [Raster's] LCD camera arm for his RED ONE Digital Cinema Camera broke, he was dismayed to find out a new one would run him back $150! He decide to take matters into his own hands and make this one instead.

The original arm lasted a good 4 years before finally braking — but unfortunately, it’s not very fixable. Luckily, [Raster] has a 3D printer! The beauty with most camera gear is it’s all 1/4-20 nuts and bolts, making DIY accessories very easy to cobble together. He fired up OpenSCAD and started designing various connector blocks for the 1/4-20 hardware to connect to. His first prototype worked but there was lots of room for improvement for the second iteration.  He’s continued refining it into a more durable arm seen here. For $7 of material — it’s a pretty slick system!

Between making 3D printed digital camera battery adapters,  3D printed camera mounts for aerial photography, affordable steady-cams, or even a fully 3D printed camera… getting a 3D printer if you’re a photography enthusiast seems to make a lot of sense!

 

Comments

  1. whitequark says:

    I wonder how much the time of a guy who owns a RED camera is worth. The post seems to emphasize on cost, but it’s not obvious at all that this was in effect cheaper.

    • fartface says:

      you can buy used redone’s for cheap. Hell my family day to day camcorder cost $1500 and I’m far from rich.
      $6000-$10,000 for a used redone that is probably used to shoot $150-$300 TV commercials for Cable TV. is not out of the ordinary. Hell back in the day when I shot on Beta SP my sony camera cost $14,500 and the lens was another $4500. But back then you could get $600-$800 out of a car dealer for his TV commercial.

      Today, everyone is a whore and shooting TV commercials for almost nothing. And with those camera prices I still drove a rusty van and used paint roller sticks for microphone holders.

      Time is free, Dont believe the fools of the internet that think their time is highly valuable.

      • JRDM says:

        Does that $6,000-$10,000 include all the pieces need to make it work? And even the figure you quote is still considerable money for the dirt you say the work pays.

        It doesn’t take wealth to own a very nice camera (or anything, for that matter), sometimes, it just takes a lack of sense.

      • Zee says:

        That’s dirt pay for a commercial. I can’t believe they going rate is that low.

      • Eirinn says:

        Time is free, Dont believe the fools of the internet that think their time is highly valuable.

        Your free time has value. If it doesn’t I pity your poor soul.

      • rasz_pl says:

        >Time is free, Dont believe the fools of the internet that think their time is highly valuable.

        and this is why you drove this rusty van, YOUR time is free

      • Whatnot says:

        So for a mere 10 grand – plus 5 for a 3D printer plus $100 for filament I can save $140? Seems like a steal really, and if that fake thing breaks because it’s not as sturdy, well for another 10 grand I can easily buy a new redone, I mean I’m not rich but even I can afford to spend 20K a week.

    • Maave says:

      If he wasn’t already working then his time is worth squat

    • Waterjet says:

      For $7 of material — and a $1000 3D Printer — and 20 hours of design time — and several iterations and testing later — it’s a pretty slick system!

      • I built a RepRap that was under $900 when I got it two years ago… And I don’t think I spent anywhere near 20 hours designing it. (Though I probably spent 20+ hours getting good at OpenSCAD over the last few years.)

      • Scuffles says:

        If you are paying $1k or more for a hobby lvl FDM printer you are paying too much. According to his blog it only took him ~90minutes between design and cleaning/assembling the parts. He didn’t include the time he diligently spent not paying attention to the printer while it did its thing.

      • fonz says:

        I don’t get it, is it a joke?

        come on, ten minutes with a piece of of wood a drill and a hacksaw could have made something less flimsy and looking nicer

  2. Cricri says:

    “The original arm lasted a good 4 years before finally braking”

    $150? On the plus side, this will now come to a stop.

  3. sam says:

    really!

  4. FredTheRanger says:

    “braking” –> “breaking”

  5. I do this for a living says:

    The engineer was alarmed to find is brakeman was on break and in fact not on the brake!

  6. Will Lyon says:

    Has no problem spending ~$15k on a camera (and probably more on accessories to go with it ) but throws a fit at a $150 arm.

    • jpa says:

      $15k for a box full of hi-tech electronics does not mean that a few pieces of plastic and metal are worth $150. And it probably was more fun this way also.

      • JRDM says:

        It helps to understand that it’s a niche market. $150 for an accessory arm isn’t too bad of a price, really, and it’s not like there is a lack of competition. A Noga arm goes for $130-$140, and they’re one of the bigger brand names. Manfrotto goes for similar. And there are a few other major brands offering them too.

    • I didn’t throw a fit, but I was a bit peeved that a piece of equipment broke, so I thought it would be fun and interesting to attempt to make my own. And it was.

  7. It would have been nice if he’d been a bit clearer exactly what had broken – it’s very hard to tell from the photo of the parts he’s shown. If I had to guess, I’d say that one of the arms had pulled out of the “endpieces”. In which case a thicker C-clip might’ve fixed it.

    Also note that there are adjustable arms widely available on EBay for holding test indicators and for general workshop use. Some of the mini versions are only £20 or so – they’re relatively crap, but can be spruced up with a bit of TLC.

    Here’s the innards of my own one when I was fixing it:

    http://imajeenyus.com/workshop/20121122_magnetic_arm/index.shtml

  8. Just to clarify, the RED ONE belongs to my employer, not me, and we’ve been shooting large-scale corporate videos and TV commercials with it for five years. I made a few attempts at fixing the broken arm after my local camera rental guy described it as “unfixable” and said he ended up tossing about six of them over the years. He recommended a good replacement, but I actually like designing and 3D printing things, so I took a stab at it, and so far it’s worked well. If the powers that be (the bosses) don’t care for my cheapie replacement, they can order a professional third party replacement for $160.

  9. Jan Lukeš says:

    Chinese make these for 20 bucks shipped. So I actually hope you have learned something useful while making this, because otherwise it was surely wasted time.

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