February 8, 2014

Learn How to Make a $3 DIY Pistol Grip out of a Jump Rope

DIY Pistol GripOf course we'd all love to get our hands on a gimbal stabilizer to steady our shaky images, but most of us don't have thousands of dollars to spend on things that aren't -- rent or food. If you're in desperate need for a stabilizing solution, but finding yourself with either a near-empty bank account or zero easy access to a local professional photography retailer, you're going to have to l get a little creative. Luckily, Chad Bredahl of Krotoflik shares a tutorial that shows you how to build your own DIY pistol grip out of jump rope handles, something that is not only accessible, but won't cost you more than a few bucks.

Okay, maybe a plastic jump rope handle pistol grip won't be your forever stabilizer, but if you're in a bind -- you dropped your fancy handheld rig into the Potomac and you literally only have three bucks worth of change in the ashtray in your car -- this tutorial may save your project. (Also, it feels amazing to pay so little to achieve a steady image.)

So, all you're going to need to make this thing is a jump rope, a 1/4 inch washer, a lock washer, 1/4-20 lock nut, and a 1/4-20 bolt. To make it really sturdy (or as sturdy as it's going to get) you'll need a Phillips head screwdriver and a pair of pliers to fasten everything nice and tight. At the end of all of this, since, as we all know, jump ropes tend to have two handles, you could potentially make two grips (you know -- just in case you drop your first one in the Potomac, too).

Check out Bredahl's nifty tutorial below:

Does this sound like a good stabilization solution for filmmakers in a bind? Do you have any quick/cheap/easy DIY pistol grip ideas, or perhaps any helpful modifications to this design? Let us know in the comments below!

[via Chad Bredahl & Filmmaker IQ]

Your Comment

14 Comments

useless and dangerous. to hold the camera the base of the handle needs a large area of contact.
You risk damaging the tripod mpunt of your camera or breaking at the handle., and dropping your camera.
The handle that comes with the Zoom h4n is so much better and you can find similar on ebay under $10.

February 8, 2014 at 9:37AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Tulio

I came here to say this, I use an H4n pistol grip and couldn't be happier. It's very sturdy, and not too big to be bulky. I've added a hand strap to my dslr, and the bottom side strap fastener happens to have an additional threading on the bottom, so I screw the grip into that instead of directly into the camera body. With this configuration, I have one hand on the side of the camera via the strap, and one hand on the bottom pistol grip, allowing me very stable control of the camera as well as very smooth panning and tilting. Also, as I acquired this pistol grip for free, it was a win-win.

February 8, 2014 at 1:05PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Ben Gates

I agree with Tulio's comment. You would, at minimum, want a large washer to have contact with the bottom of the camera. Surface area is key. One wrong bump to that 1/4 20 thread could snap that sucker and with it goes a very expensive piece of kit!

-Jem

February 8, 2014 at 9:54AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Thanks for the tip Jem. I went ahead and added that in the video description and placed an annotation in the video about adding the washer. ;)

February 8, 2014 at 10:41AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Chad

Dreadful, dreadful idea...

Hope this doesn't come across as overly rude, but only a bona fide idiot would mount their camera on the end of a skipping rope handle. A professional one isn't prohibitively expensive - about £20 upwards in the UK - so there's absolutely no need for this. Besides, a pistol grip - on its own, without another point of contact - puts your arm in an unnatural and uncomfortable position, and tends to make shots less steady than just plain old hand-held.

I'm all for a bit of DIY - I've got a homemade dolly, cablecam, pinhole lenses, etc... But this is just stupid.

February 8, 2014 at 11:14AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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+1

February 8, 2014 at 12:20PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Tom

Small camera pistol grips are advertised for as low as $12.95 on eBay. The DSLR's can run $25-$35 (some obviously more). It's not worth the labor.
.
Now, what about those cable cams?

February 9, 2014 at 4:08AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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DLD

This tool doesnt work, I tried with something similar that I found in my h4n`s box and It didnt work! Fail....

February 8, 2014 at 12:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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peter

No, no, no....NFS you're better than this!

February 9, 2014 at 1:50PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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earnestreply

Yeah agree, this cheap "filler" content is trash.
Just like this crap DIY handle.

February 10, 2014 at 12:03AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Tom

A bit more expensive but far sturdier and made for just this sort of support, I use one of these:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/536324-REG/Manfrotto_055XCCSB_055X...

February 11, 2014 at 8:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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William Koehler

For $14 you can get the best grip here
Fotosafari products.com
They are also on ebay

February 13, 2014 at 6:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Web

Sorry that is one word. fotosafari products.com

February 13, 2014 at 6:48PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Web

This seems very dangerous, and very much does not seem to do anything to add any stability.

February 15, 2014 at 4:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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indyola