Short manual slider

Winter Solitude from Martin Koch on Vimeo.

How long should your slider be? I bet in 99% of all cases you'll just need a short one. Consider this. A rather common 10 mm/s move uses up 100 mm rail per film second. You'll be able to show a pretty long 40 seconds move with a 500 mm rail and 100 mm carriage. In practise the majority of your dolly moves will be under 10 seconds long so a 500 mm rail will be more than sufficient.

The following is a version of the "ZaZa" Slider described in this great dvxuser thread.

My new short manual slider consists of:

  • One 500 mm long Igus DryLin W WS-16-60 rail.
  • One 150 mm long WW-16-60-15 HKA carriage with manual clamp.
  • One cheap Velbon PH-368 fluid head.
  • One Manfrotto 357 universal sliding plate for quickly mounting the slider to a tripod.
  • Two blocks of wood for low slider moves.
  • Four M10 or 3/8" bolts with washers for the end stops.
  • One 3/8" or 1/4" bolt for mounting the fluid head.

A 100 mm long carriage would be more than enough but I had to choose the 150 mm long carriage because the manual clamp doesn't fit on the short carriage. Nevertheless I still can do more than 30 seconds of slow 10 mm/s moves. Plenty enough for me.

The total cost for the complete manual slider is 220 EUR incl. VAT (120 EUR for the Igus parts + 40 EUR for the fluid head + 50 EUR for the universal sliding plate + 10 EUR for small parts). Please note that Igus seems to have different prices for different countries so your total costs can vary from mine. The whole assembly is heavy, rock solid and will work with much larger camcorders than the HF100.

The 8 mm diameter holes in the 16 mm diameter rails are perfect for a 3/8" thread and nearly perfect for a 10 mm thread. I bought the 3/8" UNC tap and 3/8" UNC bolts from RS-Components. Single 3/8" UNC bolts are available from Rosentaler-Schrauben.at.

Smooth manual slider moves are not hard to do after some practise. Nevertheless I couldn't help to try an enviroment friendly, absolutely silent, gravity driven automatic slider version. I bought the rope roll with ball bearings (pulley) some time ago from eBay. I suggest you do a Google product search for possible suppliers.

As it turns out this is also useable to add movement to shorter timelapse shoots. 0.3 mm/s are no problem.

Optional with larger equipment a block and tackle system could save weight.

Without deflection of the rope you can go as low as table height with this system


Anonymous said...

Hi ya, very useful post. I wonder if you could help with the Icus parts as I have ordered the same parts you recommend and it comes up to over £170. How do I get the parts for £120? I have had a good look and the web and even contacted igus direct.

Martin Koch said...

You don't need the manual clamp. Just go to the configurator at http://www.igus.co.uk/wpck/default.aspx?PageNr=2004&scroll=0&step=1

A 1 m long rail with 100 mm carriage costs 102 EUR or 96 GPB without VAT and shipping. If you want the shorter version enter 500 mm for rail length.

alvise said...

Hi Martin. Since you have both (10-80 and 16-60), what do you like more(I don't mind for the better hole position on 16-60 rail. I plan to use it with Canon 7D, mostly non kitted out)?

Martin Koch said...

The 10-80 and even the 10-40 will carry your 7D plus light fluid head without any problems. Not that the sliding noise is a problem but in my experience the 10-80 is also a little bit more quiet.

Nevertheless I LOVE the 16-60. It's overkill for the HF100 and the 7D but I simply love the extra weight and sturdiness and I know it will work with much heavier cameras. I would also prefer a heavy metal fluid head over the (rather good working) Velbon plastic head.

obafunkie jr said...

The taped hole in your ingus rails for your quick release plate Is the size 3/8" or 1/4" .I want to attach my libec H38 fluid head directly to my ingus rails but my quick release plate only has a 1/4" thread screw.Would this be safe enough to attach directly to my 1M ingus rail

Martin Koch said...

I don't think that a 1/4" thread will be too weak. If it turns out to be too weak you can cut a 3/8" thread and use a 1/4" to 3/8" adapter.

Lorka said...

Great article, thanks Martin.

I'm trying to build a shoulder mount that can double as a slide on a tripod. Would you say the a 610mm 16-60 rail and carriage with clamp would be too heavy to use as shoulder mount rails?

Anonymous said...

I love readding, and thanks for your artical.........................................

Martin Koch said...

@Lorka: Sorry for the late reply. I'm not sure but I would say the 16-60 is too heavy.

Nicolas said...


guter Bericht!
Werde mir auch einen igus-Slider kaufen, auch den PH-368.
Einige Fragen dazu noch:

Muss man den Slider einfach mit Standardbohrungen bestellen und dann, falls man nur eine Schnellwechselplatte mit 1/4"-Gewinde hat, ein Reduziergewinde kaufen, dann durch den Slider und dann eine 3/8"-Mutter drauf?

Und zum Schlitten:
Hat der PH-368 eine Schraube bereits im Videokopf oder ist dort nur ein Gewinde?
Man bohrt dann einfach ein 3/8"-Gewinde in den Schlitten und schraubt den Videokopf ein? Also ohne Mutter?

Würd mich über Antwort freuen.


Martin Koch said...

Hallo Nicolas, das Loch für die Schnellwechselplatte musst du selbst bohren. Der Velbon Kopf hat an der Unterseite ein Einschraubgewinde mit 1/4" oder 3/8" (ich weiss es nicht mehr genau).