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-   -   New stabilizer arm? (http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/stabilizers-steadicam-etc/21315-new-stabilizer-arm.html)

Lars Gustav February 13th, 2004 09:51 AM

New stabilizer arm?
Hi all. New here and I must say I love this site. Very informative. You guys really rock. I was doing a search for steadicam like rigs and did a picture search that brought this picture to view.

I was fascinated by it and made me think what type of arm it is. It looks somewhat homemade but it looks too good to be homemade. It reminds of the the Paddock arm but it uses compression type springs, so I'm told. This seems to use extension ones.

Anybody knows what type of arm it is? I'm curious. I have not seen it before. Maybe Charles Papert knows as he is a steadicam operator.

Here is the link to it: www.steadycam.0catch.com/armteaser2.jpg

Richard Lewis February 13th, 2004 12:09 PM

Looks homemade to me.

Components look too exposed to me. But hey, what do I know?

(plus it isn't black)

Lars Gustav February 13th, 2004 12:22 PM

...but I have also seen arms that are exposed as well. I think the older steadicam arm were also exposed. mmmmm!

Richard Lewis February 13th, 2004 01:08 PM


Well I reckon it's homemade :)

I'm sure we shall soon find out.

Lars Gustav February 13th, 2004 01:38 PM

There are no pulleys or wires of any kind that i can see. I know the glidecam uses no wires and pulleys in their arm but not in that configuration. Just wondering over the idea. Looks cool, I think. It'll be cool to find out who made it.
I'm looking into the glidecam v8. Seeing the post on this forum, it seems people are satisfied with it.

Casey Visco February 13th, 2004 03:43 PM

The Glidecam Gold arm does in fact use a pulley system. The V-8 though, you are correct Lars, does not.

The arm in question does look to me to be completely home made, and also looks as though it would be extremely slinky with the springs attached so close to the pivot points.

Interesting idea, but I would gamble not a very good one in practical terms.

Charles Papert February 13th, 2004 04:52 PM

What you guys said. Someone obviously spent a lot of time working on this, but the design is a bit off in certain ways as Casey mentioned. Considering that it has the small mounting posts and thus is intended to be used with lighter rigs, it seems a bit overbuilt for that weight range (probably quite heavy)

Lars Gustav February 13th, 2004 05:31 PM

"though it would be extremely slinky with the springs attached so close to the pivot points. "

Thanks for the responce guys. Casey, could you explain what you mean by remark you made above? thanks.

Charles King February 13th, 2004 09:10 PM

Well, Well, Well! Lars, Charles P. and especially you Casey, thanks for the comments, although some are negative as they sounded. Yes, the arm is mine. The arm is homebuilt and is part of a dual action arm. The arm was in it's test state when that pic was taken.
The design concept is GPI pro-like but with extension aprings as you stated Lars. The arm works beautifully so far.
the best part, different springs can be exchanged with ease. Try and exchange springs in an arm full of pullies and wires.
If you go to the HBS and read you'll get a better understanding of my concept.

Charles P. I don't really think it's over built but will tell straight off that its the stability that counts and it achieves that. The parts are aluminium but still a little heavy as I would like it to be. I don't have the dollars for high grade composite material which would have been way better but you gotta use what you can afford in the world of home building. Unfortuately the arm weighs around 7kg in total. About 1.7kg more than the master arm.
I'm trying to get it down a bit.

You are also right in saying that the arm looks to handle only light rigs. Well, if you think 20kg is light than I salute you.

Casey, I see that you work with Glidecam. BTW, say hi to Thomas Howie, if you know him. I just got some pics from him to use in my book. Check out the cover:


Now you said: "Interesting idea, but I would gamble not a very good one in practical terms."

I guess you wouldn't know because you havn't tested the concept out. Which I understand. doubts will continue to be the norm amoung homebuilders and I don't blame you. One things for sure. If you don't know then you just don't know ;)

You know it's funny when Mr.Brown was going around to get his idea bought some of the big name camera companies truned him away. Now, look at him now. Aah well.

BTW Casey. Do you mind explaining what you mean't by "extremely slinky " and what does it have to do with the springs being too close to the pivot points? Sorry Lars for tripping over your question but I am also curious. Maybe Charles P. can explain this too.

Casey Visco February 13th, 2004 10:02 PM

Charles K,

Ofcourse I wouldn't know, these are only my impressions from a single raw photograph. I'm basing these observations on my own mechanical knowledge of our own rigs, and how they behave under certain conditions.

Perhaps "slinky" wasn't the best term. But then what do you expect? I am after all, an Italian from Massachusetts! I believe what I mean is that with the springs that close to the pivot points, the arm section would lack the tension and resistance to support a heavy sled and thus be very bouncy ("slinky")...and even if it did, it may not be easily tunable for varying sled weights.

I basically said to myself, "If I were to take a heap of V-8 or V-16 parts and configure the springs just like that, I don't believe it would be as solid". Thus, my "gamble" was that your configuration of springs wouldnt be as practical in real world usage as the more standard spring configurations currently in use. But, ofcourse, I could be dead wrong, and it certainly would not be the first time...I'm not the engineer of the company, I'm part of the creative department!

Only rigourous test runs will prove it! I am curious to see how it behaves though.

Glad to hear you're putting together a book on the subject of home grown stabilizers though. I wish you the best of luck. And I will tell Tom you said hello on Monday!

Charles Papert February 13th, 2004 11:27 PM

Well, as I think I meant to say but didn't come out directly and say, it looks like a nice solid job, certainly for an individual (vs a manufacturer) Charles, so you should be proud. I've always been a bit fuzzy on the inner workings of the different design arms, even though I've owned a few (!), but I'm not sure that this design will delivery much linearity...? You'll have to let us know if this is the case. How much force is required to hold in the low position or lift to the high position?

Charles King February 13th, 2004 11:49 PM

Thanks for being candid guys. I'll be sure to let you guys know the out come.
Actually Casey the book is about my stabilizer and how I put it together.
I could get into a technical discussion about the springs configuration but you can see HBS forum as this is has been discussed there, if you're interested.
Any how guys you are allowed to have your doubts it only pushes me further. ;)

Lars Gustav February 14th, 2004 02:52 AM

Thank you Charles for explaining. I think it is an original idea. I'm interested to know how you came by it and how it works. Do you have a machine shop? ÷ooks really different. You mentioned that your arm design made it easy to change springs. I guess that is a advantage over arms with pulleys

Charles King February 14th, 2004 06:48 AM

"Do you have a machine shop? ÷ooks really different. You mentioned that your arm design made it easy to change springs. I guess that is a advantage over arms with pulleys."

I live in a small town where there is a machine shop. In fact, I live in town where there is a steel industry that is world leading in special stainless steel. Kinda proud. Any way, this sho caters to them and other small business around. As you can tell they are always busy with orders from their biggest customer- The steel factory.
They are nice people who help me out sometimes and in return, they get a case of beer or free lunch out etc. Yep, bardering is back in effect :)

The springs in the arm are easy to change simply because of it's design simplicity. The GPI pro springs are just as easy. The choice of changing lighter springs with heavier ones or a combination of the two makes it a real flexible arm.

I can even turn this arm into a spring and pulley arm design using one,two or three springs. It can also be tensioned in it's vertical axis or linear axis, whichever way. I know you ask what's the point. Simple. Just to know that I can is enough. A three phase arm in one. Now, that feels good knowing that I'm the only one with this three in one concept.

Again, homebuilding is not for everyone and people will have their quirks about it. As long you do your homework and put aside some dedicated time than you will always have a negative thing to say. Frankly, I don't mind. I always tell people, who ask me about building a rig, to go and buy one if you have the money. You have to be interested to do any homebuilding of this type of thing.
If you don't experiment than you will never know if it works. That's how the Steadicam came about in the first.

To Casey:

You mentioned this comment: "...and even if it did, it may not be easily tunable for varying sled weights."

Do you mean adjusting the tension of the spring to support other camera weights?

Casey Visco February 14th, 2004 08:51 AM

Charles K,

Yes i meant tuning on the fly basically...without having to physically change the springs.

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