Brushless Gimbal 3D Printed And Bolted To Quadcopter


A handful of 3D printed parts, some brushless motors, and a bit of control hardware add a flair of cinematography to this quadcopter.

[Sean] sent in a tip about his work after seeing yesterday’s feature of a brushless gimbal being used to improve image stability with a shoulder mounted camera. That rig was designed to be used with a quadcopter, and this hacks shows why. It’s obvious from the demo footage that the gimbal — which is mounted directly to the frame of the TBS Discovery quadcopter — does a great job of keeping the image steady. The panning and tilting in directions contrary to the physics of flight make for a much more interesting video experience. Watch the inset video which is a live feed from the aircraft to the pilot. As the quadcopter makes very sharp banking turns you wouldn’t even be able to tell the pitch or roll have changed in the HQ version.

You can see a pair of images detailing the 3D printed parts and the assembled gimbal below.

37 thoughts on “Brushless Gimbal 3D Printed And Bolted To Quadcopter

      1. every video on youtube which contains music that is not free will be blocked for german viewers by youtube because gema does not allow to play music without the artist getting royalties. youtube does not pay gema royalties so gema does not allow youtube to let german viewers (detected by german IP address) to view those videos.

        “The Gesellschaft für musikalische Aufführungs- und mechanische Vervielfältigungsrechte (English: Society for musical performing and mechanical reproduction rights; GEMA) is a state-authorized collecting society and performance rights organization based in Germany, with administrative offices in Berlin and Munich. GEMA represents the usage rights stemming from authors’ rights (e.g., mechanical licensing, broadcast licensing, synchronization licensing) for the musical works of those composers, lyricists, and publishers who are members in the organization.”

          1. That, or decrease the sound quality a bit, say, downsample to 16kHz. I don’t really understand the thinking process of GEMA. Youtube videos of bands promote those bands and will result in extra sales.

            If I’m looking for a specific band on youtube and can’t find the song, I’ll download it by other means and will directly have a quality that will not make it useful for me to pay for the official recording.

            If I’m watching a random video of a quadcopter and some nice music is in the background, I wonder what band it is and will look up more of their music. If I really like it, I’ll try to get a high quality version it by the simplest means possible.

            Due to the way GEMA works together with youtube now, the simplest means possible is the illegal way.

        1. An important factor is, the so called “GEMA Assumption”, since the GEMA represents the majority of german artists, any piece of music is assumed to be administrated by the GEMA by default.

          The burden of proof is on the hoster / publisher, to proof that the music is free / administrated by a different agency.

          While this assumption might have been fine 15 years ago, in a time of the internet, Creative Commons, and people uploading themselves to youtube just for fun, the GEMA Assumption is just ridiculous.

  1. The footage felt a little weird and ‘unsatisfying’, losing the pitch as the quad cornered made it feel less exciting, which i guess works for certain kinds of filming but his style of flying seemed re,ally exciting!

    1. I agree, was thinking the same thing. It would be neat to see the gimble take out jerkiness while leaving in a certain amount of bank and pitch. That should be easily accomplished in software I would assume.

      Or even another option for filming, locking on to a specific point. but that would rather require video tracking or GPS positioning to determine where you are and what point you need to be looking.

    1. yeah! a link to a youtube video is frustrating!

      Also this remind me of the failed attempt of the guy making a info dashboard for his scooter, when he failed to came up with a tilt indicator… whatever those things do, he could have used there.

  2. How can you control the brushless motors with such precision?
    There are no sensors on the motor and I’m pretty sure they’re moving way too slow to measure EMF like they do for ordinary brushless motors.
    Open loop? Using the IMU to close a loop?

    1. There is usually an IMU attached to the camera. The brushess motors are wound for much slower and higher torque than typical RC brushless motors. Everything is perfectly in balance so it doesn’t take much for brushless motors to keep the camera steady. Over small movements its operating more like a galvo.

      1. I’m more interested in the motor control itself, not just as a part of a gimbal.
        Let’s say I want to use the motor as a servo and rotate it to a specific angle (And hold position), how can I do it without knowing the exact position of the rotor?

        1. You can’t do it without some position feedback such as a potentiometer or some form of optical counter (low precision). These gimbals use a small accelerometer/gyroscope mounted on the camera (you can see it in the video, in the bottom right video feed as the small circuit board).

          1. Thanks, thought they might use the IMU for that.
            Any idea how they overcome the sensors noise/drift ?
            I have an MPU6050 and it’s far from accurate (Guessing it’s even worse on an accelerating platform).

  3. I think its time for some open source Alexmos Brushless Gimbal Electronics equivalent to be developed, I really like the idea of using brushless motors as servos.

  4. Not too happy about mounting that heavy a weight with only one side supported by bearings…

    Anyway, i kinda want to see a teeny tiny one of these, made with those 3 gram brushless outrunners (or smaller).
    Might be good for a pinhole camera or a webcam ripped from a laptop.
    Or even a laser pointer.

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