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Old July 9th, 2007, 08:11 AM   #1
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A few dolly building material Q's

Most tutorials I`m finding are saying to use 3/4" wood for the base of the dolly, sometimes doubled up so a camera man can be on the dolly with the camera. My question is, what kind of wood is strongest for such things. I found some pine at a reasonable price but I am not sure the weight bearing power it has. What would be the strongest wood at a decent weight for the base? (the workers at the store weren't knowledgeable about it)

Where is a good place to buy skate board wheels? I checked a local shop and they had "unknown" hardness, $27 for 4 wheels, then an extra $17 for the bearings. Are the bearings what I should spend a bit more on and not the wheels? I also read soft wheels with larger diameter are better. Is that true?

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Old August 4th, 2007, 09:00 AM   #2
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We are not that far apart in fact I just finished the 48-hour film project in Provenience.

Pine? Nice wood wrong for the project.

What you want to use is 3/4" ply-wood I used AC Exterior (ACX) you could also use apple-ply which has more layers and is stronger but also more expensive.
There is also Birch ply-wood better quality than ACX, more expensive however its performance is the same. so just get two 2'x4' pieces of ACX glue the two C sides together and you have the basic dolly.

For wheels I used $7 skateboards from Wal-Mart removed the wheels and made my own axles from 5/16" bolts.

You could get better bearings, I would have to look up the specs for the best ones but a Google search of skateboard bearings will get you the info.

Softer wheels are quieter but also harder to push.

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Old August 19th, 2007, 03:38 AM   #3
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I purchased a package of replacement (urethane) rollerblade wheels from a large sporting goods store: $40 for 8 wheels including bearings.

For the platform I used a pre-cut piece of 3/4" birch plywood. I applied a couple coats of a stain/polyurethane mix. That helps prevent the wood from flaking and splintering near the edges. But now it looks so nice, I'm afraid of getting it dirty. :-)

I also added some eye-hooks to one end of the deck. In the event I need the dolly pulled along, I'll try using elastic bungee cords. This can help to provide a smoother forward motion.
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Old August 19th, 2007, 07:20 AM   #4
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I buy my wheels and such on ebay in bulk, but those from your local shop should be fine. Don't forget to get bearing spacers. They are little metal tubes that go between the bearings. If you don't have them you can't tighten the wheels bolts/axel up tight. Any bearings at your local skateboard store should be fine. Most use class 5 or class 7. Some will come packed with more grease than others, which will be displaced with use, and will take a little time before they spin freely by hand, but will make no difference at all on the dolly!

Hardness will make a difference if you put someone on the dolly but not for just the camera and tripod. Most dolly's are built with 8 wheels, two on each corner. These are fine for camera and tripods, but will pull or push harder with a person on it. Most all dolly's that are built to hold the weight of a person are built with at least 4 wheels on each corner. This makes them move easier with the extra weight on.

Plywood is of course the material to use and 3/4 inch will hold an elephant! I use thinner material, but when I get on it I use a chair or stool that placed the weight at the corners where the wheels are.

One last note, I just paint my wood and then I put cheep carpet on the top. Keeps camera and such from getting scratched and such, no slivers either. I also put a removable eye bolt in the center of the top to hook a bungee cord or strap on to hold the camera tripod to the dolly. Remember that with a tripod on the dolly, the majority of weight will be way at the top and will want to tip over. Strapping the tripod to the dolly will make it much more stable.

Good Luck----Mike
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