Watch: How to Build an $18,000 360° Robot Dolly for Around $500
These guys found a motorized wheelchair in the garbage and turned it into a remote-controlled camera dolly worth $18,000.
The good people at Indy Mogul have pulled off a pretty wondrous DIY stunt. Now, whether or not you have the skills to pull it off too is an entirely different question.
They admit it's a pretty insanely complicated build, but the finished product is definitely "super awesome." Especially when considering the cost. They modeled the dolly after an $18,000 robot and ended up putting their whole thing together for around $500.
Here's what they used:
And here's how they did it:
These are the (incredibly simplified) steps to build:
Find a wheelchair. Specifically, an electric wheel chair or scooter. Apparently, they are pretty easy to find on Craigslist. But host Erik Beck was lucky enough to find one in the trash. For free.
Gut the chair. Strip out all the junk you don’t need, which basically leaves you with two sides of the frame, the motors and the wheels.
Modify the frame. This guy has some insane welding skills, so perhaps this is the part where we lose the average DIY enthusiast. Taking the remnants of the chair he previously gutted, Erik reworked the metal to make the frame narrower and more sturdy. He then zip tied everything together, threw on an upside down table leg and attached the 360° camera to the top.
Make it "super awesome!" If you weren't lost before, Erik even makes a point to tell us that this is where things get really tricky. He fabricates a few supports to allow the batteries to sit lower on the frame, gave some extra weight to the table leg camera mount, replaced the old batteries and gave it a "stealthy" black paint job.
Give it eyes. Since the operator must be out of the robot's sight lines for 360° video, the team needed to come up with a way for whoever is in control to see what the camera sees. The solution, a cheap video baby monitor attached to the robot on one end and the RC controller on the other.
Just in case you wondering if it all really works or not, take a look at the test footage below.