DIY Jib/Crane with pan and tilt head...

Grand total ~US$150, although most of the stuff for the crane I just had laying around. The head was $60.

OK, so the crane is this one on a bigger tripod:

The construction is with little metal brackets that I made the main "tilt" frame with L-brackets and the rest to make the cage with a block of wood for the main bottom support.

This frame was placed inside the "pan" frame which hangs off the original camera platform on the crane.

For controls, I've attached springs to the top of the tilt so the camera points skyward naturally, then ran a cable down to the control end of the crane for the operator and attached that to the bottom of the platform so the Op can counter the springs by pulling back on the cable to tilt down.

I made a PVC/wood handle on top of the crane which rotates, then attached a cable on either end each of which run down a side of the crane and pull on the top left and top right respectively to make the pan work... so currently the left hand drives the crane and operates the pan, while the left hand operates the tilt. It pans ~120 degrees and tilts ~100 degrees. The cables are run through silicone tubing and that through eye hooks for mounting to the camera.


Video of the beast in action.
Here is phase 1 of my newest soon to be pan/tilt jib head.

Thank You Knightly :)





I’m trying to think of a way to make some kind of control end indicator (And quick-lock) of sorts that shows (at any given pitch of the jib’s boom) when the camera platform is level, but I’m not sure how just yet.

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It'll be hard as the cables pull differentially through a boom move and you have to account for that manually... unless you can find a way to fix the points of the cables to precisely the pivots on the crane. If you look at the distance from you tilt connection point and the last point the cable connects to the arm, you'll see that it changes through the vertical run of the crane... this was a pain in the ass to work around!

What manner of lever system contraptionization takes place at the operator end to control the pan and tilt cables?

I was thinking of motorizing it with modified RC Truck gear boxes to spool up and pay out pan and tilt cable (steel wire) at the head end, and placing the remote control unit and battery box at the operator end, but that is like saying I was thinking of building a time machine at this stage.

I need to mechanically understand how to walk with the lever system before I can run with it.

How did you make yours?

for the tilt, I made a loop in the cable... I recommend wearing a glove on that hand.

For the pan, I fashioned a handle perpendicular to the boom and attached a cable to each end of it, that way, when I pull on one, it pays the other out and has a faster feedback for me and a tactile way to return to center by straightening the handle. I wanted to do the same with the tilt, but ran into problems with the cables getting too tight or loose as I operated the boom, so I reconfigured and went with a single pull there. I can lock it into place with a series of screws set into the side of the boom arm at regular intervals.
Ok, so the pan is like steering a bike kind of, and the tilt is just good old fashion pull, thanks.
I like the idea of bolts like notches to hold it in place at various positions.

I need to get some clevis pins to hold the cage together solid and some weaker (Just right) springs.

I build the head on a two feet section of inch and half channel (boom) so once done I can swap the head between like that lawn mower chassis light boom or just a 6 footer as easy as two bolts fat wing nut bolts.

We'll see.

Altogether, it seems like a very complicated rig, but each individual piece broken down is stupid simple. I consistently went with the easiest and fastest solution for each problem I encountered. The biggest complaint my boom ops have is that it's left handed ;)
Part 1 - Of what I will hopefully fabricate by evenings end.
(The operator end pan "steering" lever assembly)


Part 2 - Will be a crank/pulley/spool assembly for tilt control.

Part 3 - Cage reinforcement.

IF I’m successful pics will follow for anyone DIY interested.

chiming in a bit late.. but..

wouldn't a control mechanism on the boom it self reduce the complexity? Trying to account for the movement of the boom in the pan\tilt control seems to be problematic. I would separate the auto leveling mechanism from operator pan \ tilt controls.
I can move that lever assembly down onto the boom if I have to, but it seems there might be a degree of variable in the rigging of it no matter what.. (But you are right, thanks) …that I hope to tame when the control wire is fed along a path through various eye bolts, if that is the case then it's position now is best for.. comfort, or ease of use.

We’ll see, but I agree that keeping in-line will be the best way.
(Good looking out Wheat.)

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I was just checking it out, and yeah totally I should go right on the boom with it, (Good call!)
then I guess use that center area for a monitor mount.

I see now that the tilt “crank” same thing, right in like with it on the boom.

I'm thinking of T-barring the counter weight configuration so I can move the controls all back to the end of it on the boom, but my concerns are trying to control it with that end pushed down, but then again I can hold on to it and ove it around via the pressure on the controls.

But will it work?



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That's basically the way I have mine setup. I would stand at the boom and put your hands on it... one on the side where the reel will go (Wherever did you get that ginchy handle?) and the other on top where the pan lever will go and pretend you're operating it... is it comfortable? if so, go for it.
The pan handle (teehee) is actually my main boom controller, so my left hand operates the boom and the pan while my right hand manages the tilt. I have a monitor mounted (tied) onto the main mast of the boom at the control end, so I can see the head (and don't run it into anything or anyone) and see the camera frame as well... I want to add a LANC controller to the control end as well, so a boom op can handle the boom, pan and tilt while a camera op manages the focus, zoom, iris and record from the control end as well, probably with a bit of extra coiled cable so they can take it off the boom and use it in their hand.
In order for it to minize it's distortion, the control cable needs to depart the boom at the head pivot. The annoying thing is that everything you do needs to depart as close to center at the two points on the parallelogram as possible.

I operate the boom from the weight end balanced perfectly to counter the weight of the camera. You should be more careful with your tools... perhaps some mitten clips would help ;)
I need to convert to the T bar weight so I can approch these from the end agin.
I'm gonna go get some better springs which will make the control easier to F with.

Can you diagram your head out in paint or something like I am doing?