Make Your Own DIY Steadicam for $20 and a Bit of Elbow Grease


The steadicam has become a staple in the cinematography industry. The problem more often than not, though, is that not a lot of people can afford one.

And so, since production models range in price from a several hundred to a several thousand, a number of tool-savvy people have set out to create their own DIY options. One such example is this extremely solid and good-looking creation by Instructables user and photographer survival434

Included in the creation of the steadicam are a number of fairly standard tools and resources — 16 in all — that you’ll be able to find at your local hardware store. Among those are a few extra pieces that were added in for luxury, but if you’re just looking for something basic, you can adjust the process accordingly.


It’s worth noting that this project isn’t going to be the most simple of DIY endeavors, but by the time it’s all said and done, you will end up with a hand-made steadicam that that only cost you $20 and some DIY know-how.

The first step is to head on over to the Instructable by clicking on the link below. The second step is to go clear off the work bench in your garage. Everything after that should already be up on your screen if you properly followed step one.

Solid $20 Steadicam [Instructables]

  • OtterMatt

    What the hell language does this guy speak, and why is he trying to write instructions in English? It’s completely illiterate.

    Mostly, though: $20? Yeah damn right. Especially when his budget apparently doesn’t account for “A flat piece of metal that have” (?!), seeing as how that’s, like, the WHOLE freaking thing. Hell, most of those 3/8″ drive universal joints cost more than $20 by themselves. Unless you’ve got a CnC router in your garage, good luck finding steel strap and getting the notch cut out—much less the rest of it—for less than $50.


    English might not be his first language, so I guess he wrote the instructions in English so that more people are able to understand them.

  • Chuck Johnson

    It is called DIY for a reason.

  • Natalie Skittles Williams

    Um…. but I can buy a steadycam for about £15…soo…

  • Shawn Cimonetti

    Honest question, where?

  • Anonymous

    In the article at the bottom it says $200 not $20….

  • Anonymous

    1st, No need for the hostility. If you don’t want to go through the trouble of a DIY solution then don’t. 2nd, if you actually cared about this and read the whole page you would have found out that he’s Polish and he even admits that his English is subpar. Just calm down and quit being so rude.

  • Douglas Clarke

    One question OtterMatt. Are your Polish language skills equivalent or better than his English skills?

  • Werchange

    The ottermatts of the world could learn a thing or two from the Survival434s of photography if they weren’t such know-it-alls. Hey grammar tough guy-did ya spot the slight?

    Keep up the good work Survival434. Looking forward to seeing more of your ideas.

  • davenportbeatriz

    my Aunty
    Molly recently got an awesome 6 month old Audi A4 by work part-time using a
    laptop. why not try this out



  • Anonymous

    I think his point was that the instructions are near impossible to follow, not so much curious as to where he comes from. He wasn’t being rude just simply pointing out what others like myself were thinking. A) how can I follow this guide. B) budget of $20 for someone who already has the parts… What about someone starting from scratch?

  • woofa

    Name it

  • Anonymous

    ^^This. Very misleading.

  • woofa

    What is misleading about it? It in fact does say that near the end.

  • woofa

    “Hell, most of those 3/8″ drive universal joints cost more than $20 by themselves.” How many examples would you like me to give to prove you completely wrong. You don’t need a Snap-On or MAC unit. Oh I bet you just put 3/8 universal in Google and looked at the “shop” results it gave. A Craftsman one is less than $10, Amazon has some from $1.69 and I’m sure Harbor Freight does as well. For this item that will not ever see much torque applied to it a cheap one will do fine. The steel strap, yes that may take a little more resourcefulness but if you know tools, fasteners and raw materials at all and where to get them it can be sourced, cheap. Slot it yourself too. All you need is a drill, file and a little patience and talent to work the tools. Raw material like that can often be found in scrap and won’t cost anything at all. Still, less than $20 is pushing it, if you need to buy tools then it won’t even be close. Even with crappy HF tools. I noticed he had it powder coated, well that alone will likely exceed $20 unless you have a friend that does powder coating and is willing to insert it in a batch of stuff for free or a very small fee.

    The cool thing is that it gave me the idea to do my own, not needing his instructions and do it my own way. When I do I’ll post my own DIY on it. There is a LOT of room for improvement here and with help on sourcing materials.

  • woofa

    The reality is that it’s a pretty poor DIY guide for those that really need help with fabricating something. A lot of details not there. Gave me the idea to do my own though it will be quite different.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe the fact that the title of this article says “how to make a DIY steady cam for $20″. Read through this on Petapixel and then the guide on instructables to get to the end and see its actually $200.

  • woofa

    Maybe learn some comprehension?

  • Anonymous

    What do you mean by that? Someone pointed out that Petapixel got the info wrong in the title, someone else agreed that it was misleading. You asked why it was misleading and I tried to explain. ($200 is vastly different to $20.)

  • woofa

    Reread it, that’s what I mean. Or simply read my edit above to understand he’s speaking about a value, not cost.

  • pr0digy

    Irrelevant. Unless, he writes a similar guide in Polish.

  • marcusgascon

    until I saw the
    check saying $9981 , I have faith …that…my friend was like trully
    bringing home money part time from there labtop. . there mums best friend has
    done this 4 only 18 months and as of now cleard the mortgage on their mini
    mansion and bought Car . original site http://www.works77.ℂℴm

  • Anonymous

    Aha! I see exactly what you mean now. Sorry, my bad – it was a very confusing read.

  • OtterMatt

    If I tried to write one in Polish, it would be every bit as useless for the common person to try to follow. If you can’t write in a language, finding someone to translate it for you isn’t an unreasonable thing. It’s the internet, it’s not hard to find someone.

  • louisleblanc

    Not too sure how you can be pissed at a guy for properly designing something and sharing it online especially when he’s clearly making an effort to write in a language he doesn’t master.

    He said he used a grinder to cut the slots, of course not everyone has an angle grinder but it’s not a very specialized tool. You can probably scavenge a piece of steel. Otherwise flat stock shouldn’t much more than 5-10$. The universal joints are 5$ at home depot probably less elsewhere.

    Rip on petapixel for publishing someone’s DIY project that might be too ambitious for you and not well documented enough, but ripping on survival434 is extremely low.

  • kennuf

    AW NUTS to all those who are critical of the poster of this article…..I challenge you to be perfectly articulate and grammatically correct when you write an article in a second language. Also, if you itemize your costs in purchasing components of your project, you’ll probably tell us about what you paid…but are you going to take the time to research what the same things might cost in other country’s? Hmmm, they may very well be priced differently.

  • woofa

    It was.

  • woofa

    We’re still waiting Natalie

  • Natalie Skittles Williams

    I dont get notifications on these. I depend on just happening to see a number next to my name. relax

  • Natalie Skittles Williams


  • Natalie Skittles Williams

    it petapixel doesnt approve any of the links I sent, the answer is Amazon and Ebay.