I finally decided to build my own camera track system this weekend. Check out the pics and videos below. My project total ended up being $96.59+tax—you could definitely make substitutions and get this project under $50, I’m sure.
I didn’t record myself each step of the way to avoid forcing you to watch a painful 20 minute long video full of lame jokes, and half-ass directions. Instead, I’m providing a list of everything I used, and some pics. I kind of just figured the build as I went, with a rough idea of what I thought the end product would be.
Tools You’ll Need; Ratchet, Adjustable Wrench, Drill & Drill Bits, Hack Saw (for the steel), Miter Saw (for the wood), Possibly a Table Saw (I didn’t have to cut my platform), Tape Measurer, Square, and Pencil
Track Materials; 2 - 10’ Galvanized Strut Channels ($31.14), 6 - 1/4”x1-1/2” Hex Bolts ($1.02), 6 - 1/4” Fender Washers ($1.20), 8 - 1/4”x12mm Connecting Capnuts ($9.72, 2 - 4 packs), Misc. Wood strips (I had 3 1-1/2”x1-1/2” strips I ended cutting to 22” in length to fasten the tracks too).
Dolly/Slider Materials; 8 - 76mm 78a Inline Skate Wheels w/bearings ($22.99), 1 - 1-1/2”x36” Slotted Angle Plain Steel ($14.89), 4 - 5/16”x1-1/2” Hex Bolts ($.96), 16 - 5/16”x2” ($3.52), 1 - 25pk 5/16” Hex Nuts ($2.46), 1 - 25pk 1/4” Washers ($2.27), 3 - Top Beam Clamps ($6.42), Few Screws, Misc. Wood (3/4”x18”x18” platform, 3/4”x18”x10”, and some 3/4” scrap pieces).
Wood wasn’t included on the total price—I had scraps in the basement. Everything for the project was purchased at Home Depot, except the inline wheels which I provided a link too.
Rough Steps; I built the Dolly/Slider first, so I would know how wide to make the track. I cut the Slotted Angle Steel in half, and mounted the inline wheels to it with nuts and bolts. I attached the 2 pieces of steel w/wheels to a piece of wood to build the platform on. Once the platform was together, I mounted the 3 Top Beam Clamps to the surface to be able to lock down a tripod. You could also figure out a way to mount a fluid head directly to the platform if you wanted. Once the Dolly/Slider was completed, I threw the track together. I drilled holes through each end of the wooden strips. I fastened the track to the strips with bolts, fender washers and the 1/4”x12mm Connecting Capnuts on the bottom, which was more of an aesthetic decision. You could use regular nuts, but you’d want to add something to the bottom to avoid scratching floors. THAT’S it.
(sorry, tried to embed here, but it wouldn’t allow me)
To store this you could simply loosen the bolts on the track and fold it down. However, I’m thinking about cutting the track in half and reconnecting it with hinges on the bottom half, so it would fold into a 5 foot piece. It would be far easier to transport that way, and it would also be operational when folded in half, which could come in handy depending on what kind of space you’re shooting in.
Ways to Cut-down the Price Further
- Use whatever nuts, bolts, screws, or washers you have lying around your junk drawers.
- Buy a set of roller blades at a thrift store for the wheels
- Use something other than the Galvanized Steel Strut for the track (you’ll want something with a square edge, and something that won’t warp)
- Use your dad’s, neighbor’s, or friend’s tools.
Hope this was helpful. Enjoy.