Making a DIY Camera Dolly

There are basically two methods to making your own DIY camera dolly. You can either make one with wheels that can move anywhere, or you can build one that can only be used on track. Both kinds of dollies have their positive and negative aspects. Here is how you can build them.

What You'll Need

  • a 4' by 4' piece of plywood
  • an eyelet
  • dry wall screws
  • a 10' long 2" by 4" piece of wood
  • a tripod

If you're building a dolly with wheels, then you will need to design a wheel system. One idea is to get a Rubber made cart. These carts have fairly large wheels with two that are fixed and two that rotate for steering. The wheels can be easily removed and added to your dolly. However, getting the wheels this way can be expensive. Remember that this is just a suggestion, if you have a more affordable way of getting them, then go for it.

If you're building a dolly that will go on track than instead of large wheels, you're going to get a PVC pipe (at least four pieces of 8' pipe but you will need more if you want a track longer than 8'), a bracket holder for attaching the pipe to the plywood, 16 skateboard wheels, nuts, bolts and washers. 

Step 1: Assembling the Platform

The first step in creating the platform is to cut your 2" by 4" into three pieces. Two pieces will be 4' long and the third will be 2'. Assemble them into a 'U' shape with the 2' piece resting on top of the 4' ones. Drill them together. This is the push and pull handle. You're going to attach it to the end of one of the sides on the plywood. Make sure to use two screws for each piece so it doesn't fall apart. Center it and then drill the pieces together. This will now be the back of the platform.

To finish constructing the platform, you are going to attach the eyelet to the center facing up. The eyelet will function as a safety. Cameras on tripods will be placed on the platform so a piece of rope running from the bottom on the tripod's head to the eyelet pulled tightly will prevent the camera from falling over.

Step 2: Adding Wheels

If you're going to add wheels to the dolly, then drill them to each corner of the bottom of the platform. You're dolly is now complete.

Creating a Dolly for Track Use

If the dolly is going to be used on track, then you still have some work to do. First, cut four pieces of PVC pipe into 4' lengths. Take two of those pieces and drill two holes that are 90 degrees apart from each other at each end of the pipe. The holes should be close, but not on top of each other. About 1/4" to 1/2" is plenty of room. 

Attach a bolt into each of the skateboard wheels. Then, add a washer. Slip the bolts into the holes on the pipe, then add another washer and tighten everything together with a nut. The wheels should be facing each other at a 90 degree angle.

Attach the pipe with wheels to the bottom of the platform. You now have a dolly, but still need track. Use the other two pieces of 4' pipe to function as tie ons to keep the track stable. Measure the track so that the dolly will fit on it perfectly. Then, add the tie ons.