How To: Build a Camera Dolly/Slider

Hello everyone! Since today is Monday, I had this bright idea to do a blogpost. :D. This week I’ll be showing you how to build a camera dolly/slider. I got the idea from this video.

The dolly/slider is nice because you can do a smooth rolling shot to the side to side, forward and back. In most cases when you try to do that by hand, it turns out shaky and doesn’t look good.

There will be 2 sections to build. #1 is the camera roller and #2 is the dolly track.

~Camera Roller~

Parts for roller.

4 ~ Rollerblade wheels.
4 ~ 3/4″ PVC plugs (1/4″ hole drilled through the ends).
4 ~ 1/4″ bolts, 2″ long (if your wheel bearing doesn’t have a spacer use 5/16″ instead).
4 ~ 1/4″ nuts (or 5/16″ nuts if the above bolt is also 5/16″).
4 ~ Lock Washers.
4 ~ 1/4″ Washers.
3 ~ 3/4″ PVC “T” joints.
2 ~ 3/4″ PVC pipe 2″ long.
1 ~ 2 1/2″ long bolt.
1 ~ Big washer.
1 ~ Quick connector (I used this).

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~Wheel section assembly~

 Get one each of the following: wheel, 2″ bolt, PVC plug, nut, locking washer.

Assemble it like the following pictures and tighten it down. Do the same for the last 3 remaining wheels.

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Note: You might need to grind the sides of the wheels so they can fit into the shelf railing so there is no risk of getting caught up on the sides.

~Main Frame assembly~

Get 1 “T” connector, the 2 1/2″ bolt, big washer and your choice of a connector.
Drill a hole in the bottom of the “T” and assemble like below.

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Now get the other two “T” connectors and the two 2″ PVC lengths.
Attach like in the picture below.


Then attach the wheel sections together.



Now, since that is finished, we’ll move on to the………..

~Dolly Track~

Note: Measure how wide the camera roller is and when you assemble the dolly, try to keep it that width. But since the roller is semi adjustable, you don’t have to be exact.

Parts for track.

Cutting board or some kind of thicker plastic.
4 ~ 1/4″ countersink screws 1 1/4″ long.
4 ~ 1/4″ nuts.
Magnetic tape or very thin strips of wood.
4 ~ 1″ PVC elbow joints.
2 ~ 1″ PVC pipe 3-4″ long.
Shelf rail (Enough for 2 ~ 35″ lengths). Something like this

Sorry, don’t have a picture of all the parts before assembly, oops. 😦

~Dolly Assembly~

Get two of the elbow joints and one 3-4″ pipe. Attach the elbows to the the pipe. Repeat for the other one.


Now get the shelf rail and attach the two end pieces on. I had to wrap tape around the ends of the rail so the PVC would fit tight.


Drill 4 evenly spaced holes in the middle of the rails (for the brace-plate). Countersink the holes so the screws don’t stick up.

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Cut the plastic board to the desired width and length and drill 4 holes that are in line with the holes on the rails.
Get the 4 screws and nuts, thread it through the rails and board and tighten down.
If you want, drill a hole in the middle of the bottom plate so you can attach it to a tripod.

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In order for the roller to run smoothly back and forth, you’ll need to put something down in the rails. I got 2 pieces of wood (1/8″ thick and width of the rails), fit the the wood into the rails.
I painted it black since black is awesome. But you can do any color, even pink. 😛

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I cut off the ends of the bolts so they aren’t so long.

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Here is a test video I did.

~Conclusion and thoughts~

I used two 48″ shelf rails but found they are too long and it gets unsteady when the dolly nears the end. That’s why I said to use two 35″ rails. It doesn’t HAVE to be 35″, I just feel like it would be a good middle ground.

Since the dolly can twist around, periodically you will have to set it on a flat surface and press down to flatten it.

I don’t feel the parts that are holding the quick connector are the best, so if you find a way that is better..thumbs up!

Hope you all enjoyed reading this post and as always, we’d love to hear you comments! ~ Micah Swet

And that’s the way ice is frozen.


2 responses to “How To: Build a Camera Dolly/Slider

Say something about our hair.... or the post.. that works too. :-)

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