Today I will show you how to make your own camera slider. less than $35 . Make sure you watch our full video tutorial below, or keep reading for the full written tutorial.
What is a slider?
Sliders can be purchased or manufactured in a variety of sizes and configurations. The most common is linear slider designed for shooting with a small useful camera such as a DSLR or mirrorless camera. It is possible to purchase a larger slider (known as a «cart») or sliders with curved rails or motors — but these are even more expensive to purchase and difficult to operate.
The slider we’re looking at today is very simple: good enough for moving a small camera left or right, and nothing more.
You might be wondering why it’s worth messing around with a DIY slider. There are thousands of sliders from hundreds of manufacturers . The problem is that good sliders don’t come cheap (be prepared to spend minimum 100 dollars ) and cheap sliders are not good. Building your own slider is a fun way to get a good slider without breaking the bank.
What you need
This is a simple project, but it requires a few components that you may not already own.
- 1 x set of 3D printed parts
- 2 x 20mm x 20mm x 500mm V-Slot Aluminum Profile ($5/piece)
- 4 x Dual-V wheels with bearings ($4.75/piece)
- 12 x M5 drop in tee ($12.99/100)
- 1 x 1/4-20 bolt 10mm ($10.86/50)
- 4 washers M5 ($7.97/100)
- 4 x M5 Nyloc nuts ($9.14/100)
- 4 x M5 x 30mm countersunk bolts ($11.47 / $50)
- 12 x M5 x 10mm countersunk head ($8.19/100)
- Assorted rubber bands
- 1 x Ball head (optional)
- 1 x tripod (optional)
Total Cost: $32.50
Of course, this price assumes you can buy one or two components — you may have to visit your local hardware store if you don’t want to buy in bulk!
Let’s break down these parts. Since I live in Europe, I provide component specifications in metric system of measurement . If your country does not use the metric system, you can replace most of these parts with the local equivalent, but you may need to experiment to find similar sizes. 10mm bolt 1/4-20 — this is the only detail you can’t change — it’s the standard thread on the bottom of most cameras, which is not available in the metric system.
Double V-wheels are made to fit into a slot in a V-slot. You can buy them in metal or plastic, just make sure you get four wheels with a couple of bearings for each wheel. Don’t cut corners here, as high quality bearings will directly improve the quality and smoothness of the glide.
Insert T-nuts are very tight. They will screw the 3D printed frame pieces into the v-slot. Once tightened, they rotate and lock against the v-groove for a secure fit.
Nyloc nuts secure the bearings to the bottom bracket (the part that the camera will sit on). If you’ve never used Nyloc or a locknut before, you use them just like you would a normal nut. The difference is that Nyloc has a plastic insert that prevents movement, meaning you don’t have to tighten the nuts directly against the bearings (which can interfere with their ability to spin freely).
Finally, you will mount the slider on top of the tripod and the ball head will sit on the slider with your camera on top. This means that you can freely rotate and adjust the angle of the camera, increasing the flexibility of the slider.
In addition to these parts, you will need a few basic tools. Two hex keys and a wrench of suitable sizes are sufficient.
3D printed parts
While this slider can be made from wood, plastic, or metal, I strongly I recommend that you use a set of 3D printed parts. You can download files .stl from Thingiverse.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a 3D printer! 3D Hubs and Shapeways online services provide online printing services at affordable prices.
There are four key components that must be printed:
- 2 x frame support
- 1 x support frame / tripod
- 1 x carriage
- 1 x riser bearing
When printing these parts, pay attention to their correct orientation. Print all parts vertically and do not stack them flat. I found this the hard way: 3D printed parts are structurally weak along the Z axis (up and down). If you print these parts laying flat, this fault line will be right along the critical angle — the parts will break!
Assemble the carriage
Now that you have all the parts, let’s start building.