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Thread: Help building a rail system.

  1. #1
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    Default Help building a rail system.

    I've been looking at the prices of rail systems and couldn't really believe the prices charged (ProAim seem to be the cheapest but you've got to get it from India). I've hunted around and spec'ed what is needed to make such a system and reckon I could do the fundamentals of the thing myself.

    I've watched some YouTube vids and on the whole they offer some practical guidance but the finished products looks a bit unreliable and not very aesthetically pleasing.

    So having sourced some parts and owning most of the tools, I need assistance from somebody who either already has or has access to a rail system to send me measurements and then maybe try out the final product to see how well/badly it integrates with 'the industry standard'.

    So far I know the thing that holds the rails together is 60mm from the centre of the holes and the pipes are 15mm but that's about all and I don't even know the right terminology for the bits!

    I know rigidity is something to take in to consideration as is weight but I'm not taking the latter in to too much consideration on the prototype.

    I'm not going to suddenly spring up a manufacturing business. I'm doing this because I can't afford to buy one but if I successfully make one obviously I'd be happy to share the experience and help any one wanting to do the same. Even if you can point me towards a decent site with dimensions and terminology would be helpful.

    On a slightly off topic I'll be sharing the experience and even more mundane and pointless news (example 'the car has passed it's MOT') via twitter. Optheatrefilms (optheatrefilms) on Twitter

    Cheers, Fraser

  2. #2
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    You're right on the specs. Needless to say, most commercial aluminium tube comes in 16mm but, for most intents and purposes it will fit.

    The most difficult part is the connection to the camera. I suggest going on ebay and buying a camera plate there. It doesn't matter which plate you get because you'll need to adapt it for your camcorder anyway. Put "Chrosziel plate" in as a search term and keep looking. They're very rare.

    Other search terms which might bring results are "Mattebox" "Arri" and "Formatt"

  3. #3
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    Cheers for the search suggestions Rob. I've noticed that almost everything is 16mm except for copper pipeing, which although it's not the look I'm going for it something to fall back on. I've found chrome and acrylic rails but both are probably a bit on the heavy side.

    Drill bits are a bit more expensive in 15mm too but it's minimal in comparison. As for a camera mount I'm going to concentrate on that when I've got a rigid enough platform. It doable an all it's just a matter of going for a quick release. It'll depend on how fussy I am when I get that far.

  4. #4
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    If you go on eBay and look at THESE - they might be some help. I'm using them with linear bearings to build a Glidetrack copy. Perhaps too heavy for your application? Certainly rigid enough....

  5. #5
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    I needed to get longer rails for my matte box and nearly fell off the chair cursing and spitting when I found out how much Chrosziel wanted. So I went to B&Q where I found 16mm aluminium tubing. It just about fits ( a bit tight but you don't have to force anything ) and it's very light and comes in 1m or 2m lengths.
    The matte box fits on it very easily, it's just a bit of a tight fit at the camera end but if you're making your own camera plate then you can use a 16mm drill... Simples.

    I also used it to make a shoulder support and it's very solid and easy to work with. In that case I pop-rivetted a plate onto one end (the shoulder pad) then fixing a Manfrotto 357 base and plate onto it, leaving the other end for my Matte box.

  6. #6
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    Think I'll get the rail system don't before attempting a glide track but I'd be interested to know how your turns out Andy.

    Sounds really practical Rob. Any chance you could post some pictures?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by optheatre View Post
    ...but I'd be interested to know how your turns out Andy...
    The rails and linear bearings arrived today - and I'm pretty desperate to have it functional for a wedding on Saturday - fingers crossed!

    When I started looking into the Glidetrack product I soon realised that's pretty much al it is - linear bearings and rails. They have a sexy new thing called the 'Hybrid' out soon too which has a lot more fancy plastic bits on - but it's a little out of my reach at the moment. Will post pics and video if it works - if not there'll be a very long eerie silence........

  8. #8
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    Can somebody let me know what size the bolts are the tighten (what I'll call for now) the clamps to the rails to stop them from sliding? I'm guessing they're probably 5mm or 6mm... ish.

    Cheers

  9. #9
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    Okay, all my bits and pieces are arriving and it's nearly time to start drilling holes. What I've not taken in to account are any standard measurements there might be when considering a matte box or follow focus. Are all these things a standard height, are they adjustable rather than the camera's height? I've three cameras I'd like to be able to use so having something universal/height adjustable would be helpful but it also throws a small spanner in the design works.

    I've found some useful links if anyone is as baffled by the system as I am. They offer an insight but not answers...



    Total Spend so far...

    2 Copper chrome rails (15mmx 500mm) 10.40
    Giottos MH631 Plate 24.25
    Acrylic clamps 3.98

    I could have saved 2/3rds of the price had I just made a plate that attaches directly to the base of the camera but hopefully this will make it more adaptable to my other cameras and less likely to be dropped while attaching!

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