The Frugal Crane 2.0

After a long wait, here is the update to my previous crane design. This isn't a complete overhaul, but merely an improving of certain parts to make for a better functioning camera rig. The good news is that the replacement parts cost about the same as the original ones and many parts are re-used. The bad news is that some cutting and drilling of metal is required.

Steel Tie Angle / Joist

Garage Door Pulley

Vinyl-covered clothesline

RCA 7" Portable Television


Jim Mitchell said…
Thanks for the update. I will be building one of these for sure... Once I get into it I'll see if I can come up with a work around for the touchy pulley. I'll keep you posted...
RMocan said…
Hi Scott, I like how the new frugal crane looks.
At the very end you say that you want to put a smaller pulley at the base so you can have a smoother and better control of tilt angle of the camera.

I just emailed you about an idea to make that work, which will require an additional two pulleys (one the same size as the other two you're using and one smaller) and a small belt or loop to link the two.
The basic premise is that it's better that the camera and base pulleys are both the same size. Otherwise, when you tilt the pole up or down to elevate or lower the camera, the camera tilt angle will change too!
The tilt crank or lever will be attached to the smaller pulley, which will in turn drive the base pulley that is connected to the camera pulley.

Hope this helps and gets built into Frugal Crane 2.1!

(Frugal crane 3.0 should be reserved to camera tilt + pan control!) LOL
Unknown said…
This thing is also modular! Using existing parts, (with the exception of the cable anyway) all you'd need to do is add whichever length of boom you wanted. Just make sure the holes are drilled out the same and swap pulleys and camera support and off you go.
Anonymous said…
Currently, I live in Boston city. How do I buy your product Frugal Crane 2.0 for $30? Do you guys have it in ebay or somewhere?
Anonymous said…
Currently, I live in Boston city. How do I buy your product Frugal Crane 2.0 for $30? Do you guys have it in ebay or somewhere?
Anonymous said…
Well, I built it. A couple of things. First, using the original counter weight "barbell handle" doesn't require sawing it. You can simply unscrew the rubber handle, cut off a bit of the end, and unscrew it to a length you need. Since I am using a Sony HDR-FX7, it requires more counter weight, so the longer screw shaft is needed. Second, you can add a counter weight to the tilt handle. Substitute the 90 degree for a tee. Add a bit of another handle and counter weight that. It makes for easier control of the tilt and you don't have to hold it in place. You can ALSO tie-wrap one of the cables to the pole (NOT TIGHT!, but snug) to slow the motion as well. And third, use a VERY heavy duty tripod like one for a background support. Use a L-bracket (HEAVY DUTY!) and double up on it. I has less give and the reinforcement makes it much easier to "balance" the entire rig.

Also, make SURE you get your pulley holes and connecting holes drilled EXACTLY in line! Otherwise you get a "caster" twist to the camera on tilting. AND use a drill press for exact 90 degree to the pipe holes!! Drill your connecting hole first for the two sections and CONNECT IT before drilling the pulley holes.

And lastly, try Walmart for their $39 7" TV. It works GREAT as well. Being frugal is easy. Just SHOP AROUND.
Wingin' It said…
Thanks for this, it looks great and I'll give it a go.

What's the total weight of the rig? I want to make sure my tripod can handle it. Don't want to have to buy a new one.

Unknown said…
What do you do if you need to lock the arm into place? Is there any kind of brake on the crane arm?
Scott Eggleston said…
No brake as of yet. I am working on a redesign, so I'll see what I can do.
hey pal, How do connect rca monitor to canon sx 150 is is that possible,then tell me how?
Unknown said…
Love the post, thanks for what you do. My question is regarding your recommendation for tripod. Can you share your thoughts on this.
Unknown said…
Hey Scott,

Great creations you're making here. Are your cameras equipped with the old RCA 1/8" pin out? My current cameras only support mini HDMI, and I was wondering if you have any suggestions for a cheap rig to use a monitor out of those. THe signal converters for them are more expensive than a flat screen computer monitor, which might be what I end up needing to use. Any help you can muster would be awesome.

Keep up the great work!
Scott Eggleston said…
The camera featured in the video (Canon VIXIA HFS100) uses a combo headphone/AV out (1/8" jack) that you can select from a menu. This is what I am running to the monitor. My other camera (Sony NEX 5n) only has a mini-HDMI out so I have to run it to a $30 HDMI-to-composite converter box to use my cheap SD monitor.

I find it funny (i.e. annoying) that camcorders will allow you connect an external HDMI monitor while retaining picture on the camera LCD. Most DSLR manufacturers (including Sony and Canon, the maker of my camcorder) disable the camera monitor when you plug in an external one. Why? Very stupid.