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Old October 16th, 2003, 05:51 PM   #1
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Source for gimbals'

Anyone know of a source for purchasing a decent gimbal?
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Old October 16th, 2003, 10:10 PM   #2
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A google search on the word 'Gimbal' brings up a lot of places to look.

How big, how accurate, load capacity, price range.

Probably a surplus house is the right place to look.
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Old October 17th, 2003, 02:57 AM   #3
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If you are looking for a gimbal setup that can be used for a Steadicam-type stabilizer, you won't likely find them in a generic industrial parts or surplus store, since they are specifically assembled for camera stabilizers. You can find bearings in races and assemble your own with some machining. Charles King's homebuilt stabilizer web site is a good place to learn about such things.
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Old January 24th, 2004, 02:08 PM   #4
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I always seem to be late when replying. Oct 2003?!!! Wake up Charles King :)

Thanks for the PR Charles P. It's good to see people like yourself, being a Steadicam operator, taking us seriously :)
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Old February 10th, 2004, 12:38 PM   #5
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i've seen people selling steadicam gimbals on ebay.
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Old February 10th, 2004, 05:31 PM   #6
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I'm a frequent visitor to Charles site, thanks. I'm just not into machine work.
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Old February 11th, 2004, 12:07 AM   #7
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That's a shame Harry. Like Charles P. said you're going to have a hard time finding one. They're not cheap but I guess you're willing to pay for it big time. Any way, check the Steadicam Forum. They usually have a sale and purchase forum.
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Old February 11th, 2004, 12:32 AM   #8
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Harry:

What size gimbal are you looking for? More specifically, what diameter center post and armpost would you like to accomodate? Is it a replacement for an existing gimbal/what rig will it be working on? What is your price range?

As you can guess, they come in all varieties and stripes. To be honest, I haven't heard of the lower-end gimbals being sold outside of the complete package. The older "professional" gimbals (Models 1,2,3, EFP etc) that would be possible to find used would likely be around $2500 and are 1.5" center post and 5/8" arm post compatible. Above that, you can spend up to $6K on a beautiful new one.
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Old February 11th, 2004, 01:00 AM   #9
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$6K! Trying to gimbal an elephant? Maybe I am in the wrong business.
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Old February 11th, 2004, 02:37 AM   #10
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Feast your eyes, bubby...and in the case of the VZ gimbal, sorry, did I say $6K? Try closer to $7K!

(and while you are looking at the price list, check out the cost of the monitor, and the PRO arm--enjoy!)
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Old February 11th, 2004, 07:57 AM   #11
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I was wondering if spherical bearings (aka ball joint bearings) could be used to make a cheap and 'workable' gimbal, like those used in SteadyCam Jr. You can see those on pg.1052 of McMaster-Carr catalog at http://www.mcmaster.com/
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Old February 11th, 2004, 11:14 AM   #12
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Certainly the GlideCam V-8 I looked at had a gimbal made with standard shielded bearings. Not particularly good bearings either (compared to those used in precision applications).

A gimbal looks to have about $50 in material content at a maximum. The labor isn't that onerous either.

Low-volume and parts-cost aren't reasons for a $7,000 price tag.

It has to be a marketing decision. Not unreasonable when one considers the engineering time and the relatively small market.

But they certainly do leave themselves open for a copycat to come in at about half to three-quarters of their price.
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Old February 11th, 2004, 11:41 AM   #13
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There's a bit more than that to it, Mike, in terms of achieving a truly high-performance gimbal. The axes must all intersect and the tolerances are exacting in order to assure that the rig performs properly. Prior to the PRO gimbal, this was not the case. There have been a variety of late model high end gimbals that offer similar performance but none have come in much under $5K. As you indicated, marketing has much to do with it as well as the other reasons. And this level gimbal is designed for an extremely demanding sector of the market. At a certain level in one's operating, minor issues with the gimbal (dirt, mis-alignment, flat spots) are immediately noticeable. Naturally the lower-end rigs do not offer this performance, and the vast majority of their users have no idea what's missing, which is logical.

As far as I know, the bearings used in high end gimbals are all ball bearings. In the case of the PRO, the pan bearing race is custom assembled, and the two roll and tilt bearing races are off-the-shelf races. All can be accessed for cleaning and lubrication by field-stripping the gimbal (which is recommended once a month, and most of us get around to more like twice a year!)
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Old February 11th, 2004, 04:35 PM   #14
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I understand that, Charles. To a machinist, what you describe just isn't black art. It's ordinary accuracy and care. Something that is accomplished every day.

Interesting that the manufacturers have not introduced a lubrication aide for the gimbal bearings.
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Old February 11th, 2004, 10:20 PM   #15
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The PRO gimbal calls for one drop, no more of very light machine oil (they recommend ARRI camera oil) in the pan bearing, and the same or more in the others. Stiction is a major concern with the pan bearing.
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