Camera sliders are excellent creative tools that can really improve your filmmaking. Are you a YouTube channel? or making a short film sliders are a great way to add some variety to your shots.

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?

Simply put, a slider is a tool for adding movement to your shots. Sliders can be as simple as placing a camera on a table or incredibly large devices capable of supporting a camera.

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.

other sliders

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.

diy camera slider materials

  • 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.

diy camera slider materials

V-groove aluminum extrusion is the «rails» of the slider. This is what the wheels will sit on and will ensure the slider moves smoothly and steadily. The outer diameter must be 20mm square and each length must be 500 mm long . If you want to make the slider longer or shorter, increase them accordingly. If you want to learn more about V-slot, then be sure to check out our guide to aluminum extrusion.

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.

diy camera slider materials

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).

diy camera slider materials

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.

3d printed parts

If you’re new to 3D printing, be sure to check out our 3D printing guide. And if you want to know how I designed these parts, you can read our OpenSCAD guide.

There are four key components that must be printed:

3d printed parts

  1. 2 x frame support
  2. 1 x support frame / tripod
  3. 1 x carriage
  4. 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.

The carriage is the part that moves. The camera will sit on this and the bearings and wheels should be bolted to it.

Determine the top and bottom of the main carriage plate. The top has holes with a countersunk head for bolts.

Insert four countersunk head bolt M5 x 30 mm, so that the heads are flush with the top surface. Turn the carriage over (be careful not to let the bolts fall out) so that the bottom is facing up.

camera slider carriage slider

Add bearing pedestal — there is only one way it will fit.

camera slider carriage slider

Then add washer M5 for each bolt:

camera slider carriage slider

Now add complete wheel for each bolt. Each wheel is supplied assembled and must consist of a wheel with two bearings inside:

camera slider carriage slider

Add nuts M5 Nyloc and tighten them. Don’t overtighten ! Nylocs will not work freely. Tighten them just enough so that the wheels don’t wobble, but not so much that the wheels don’t spin.

camera slider carriage slider

Run your finger over each wheel and make sure it spins freely and smoothly. If not, just unscrew the nut until it does (but not enough to introduce a wobble). You will need to use a wrench and a hex wrench to tighten the Nylocs.

camera slider carriage slider

Finally, paste 1/4-20 10mm bolt through the hole in the bottom middle. It should protrude through the top surface. It can be tight, so use a hex wrench if you need to.

camera slider carriage slider

Go ahead and attach the ball head if you are using one.

camera slider carriage slider

Assemble the frame

This is a simple frame assembly process. The v-slot rail must be bolted to the inside of the frame members. If you are making a longer slider, you may need to print more frame supports to strengthen the slider. In fact, three frame supports are enough for a 500mm slider.

slider frame

Roughly align the frame feet and v-slot, making sure that the frame foot with the tripod mounting hole is in the middle of the slider.

Paste bolts With countersunk head M5 x 10 mm from the outside of the frame supports. Install the M5 nut on the inside of the frame, but do not overtighten it.

slider frame

Slide the V-groove over the tee nuts and tighten everything. The triple nuts will automatically rotate 90 degrees and lock into place at the inside edge of the V-slot.

slider frame

At this point, all frame members should be secured in the V-slot.

slider frame

Completion off

Now that the slider is assembled, it’s time to complete it. Add a bottom bracket to the frame from one end — it will only fit one orientation.

camera slider carriage installation

Slowly move it back and forth so that it moves smoothly. If it doesn’t, remove it and double check that:

Once the carriage slides smoothly, add a few rubber bands to each end. They serve two purposes: they prevent the carriage (and your camera) from falling off the end of the slider, and they stop motion smoothly at each end.

DIY camera slider mounted with ball head

If you had plastic here to serve as a terminus, the carriage would suddenly stop and it will show in your videos. Elastic bands allow you to gently slow down the carriage.

diy camera finished slider

If you want to use a tripod to mount the slider, use a nut, bolt, and washer to attach it to the tripod’s quick release plate. Any nuts and bolts will do, as long as they leave enough clearance for the carriage to pass through and for the quick release plate to return to the tripod.

tripod mount for camera slider

Some Final Slider Tips

Now that you have your own slider, go out and practice! All sliders have some degree of «wobble» or motion in motion. With a little practice, you’ll learn where the sweet spot is and how best to move the carriage for the smoothest results.

diy camera finished slider

If your camera has IBIS (body image stabilization) or OIS (optical image stabilization), enable this function. This feature can really help smooth out any slider shots. Similarly, shooting at a higher frame rate (slow motion) can also help smooth out footage.

If you don’t already have a camera, you should consider purchasing a tripod phone mount that allows you to mount your phone on this slider. Plus, there’s nothing stopping you from using your GoPro on this slider, it’s just a matter of buying the right mount.

But if you really need a camera and you’re not sure what type of camera you should buy, take a look at our guide to choosing a camera type. You’ll be shooting like a pro in no time!

Have you made your own camera slider? Are there any tricks we’re missing? Let us know in the comments below!

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