Victoria, Vancouver, Salt Spring Island

I had been looking to purchase a slider and dolly/track system for quite some time to use in video productions in Victoria and decided to go the DIY route.  I didn’t want spend a lot and I like making things. This is what I came up with…

It obviously only covers a short distance, but it will serve me well for the time being.  Upgrading the length is as simple as purchasing some longer doweling and possibly bracing it somewhere in the middle.

The only real drawback with this system is you can’t get too low to the ground as it’s reliant on a tripod.

Here’s a video I recently produced where I used this exact same dolly and track for several shots.

Video production Victoria BC

The Dolly

You can purchase a complete dolly for a couple hundred bucks from B&H Photo, but I found a cheaper solution.  You can purchase the Glide Gear Dolly Track Swivel Wheel Assembly for $39 x 3 and the Magnus Tripod Dolly for $41 (which I already had).  That’s $158 for the complete dolly system.

The Track

I needed something that was easy to break down and that could fit in my car.  All that’s needed is:

  • 1 – 6′  2 x 4
  • 2 – 7′ x 1″ Doweling (can be other diameters)
  • 4 – 1/4″ x 2″ eye bolts and nuts
  • 2 – 1/4″ x 1″ eye bolts and nuts
  • Glue that will bond metal and wood

First I laid out the doweling on the ground to see how far apart they needed to be.  I needed to know this so I knew how long the 2×4’s had to be and where to drill the holes.

The 2 x 4’s needed to be 31.5″ long.  I cut them with a saw.  What else?

I then drilled a 1″ hole through either side of each 2 x 4.  It’s obviously important that you make sure the spacing between the dowels is going to be correct so the dolly fits.

I then drilled a 1/4″ hole toward the 1″ hole.  This is where the bolt will fit.  These bolts will be tightened and will hold each dowel in place.

After drilling each hole, I placed each nut above the 1/4″ hole and traced around it with a pencil.

I then chiseled out a place for each nut to fit.

I then put some glue in each recessed nut hole and tapped the nut in place.

And yes, I have long fingernails.  I play guitar with my fingers.

It took a few hours for the glue to dry.

Next, I did something similar for the tripod mounts.

First, I measured how long the mount was.  I did this because I only wanted to drill as far as the tripod would insert into the track.

I then put a piece of tape on the drill bit at the exact depth I wanted to stop drilling.

I then drilled the hole right in the center of each 2 x 4.

Then, I drilled a hole perpendicular to the previous hole, not through the whole 2 x 4, although that really wouldn’t make a difference.  It just wouldn’t look as good.

I then notched a place for the 1/4″ nut with a chisel, put some glue in the notch and put the nut in.

You can see here how the tightening system works.

Finally, for an added touch of fanciness, I added some feet to each 2 x 4.

You now have a super portable, sturdy, DIY dolly and track system!

Any questions, let me know in the comments.

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