Filmmaker uses 3D printing to lighten his workload

Award-winning filmmaker Doug Urquhart has drastically his workload through the amazing capabilities of 3D printing. A talented cinematographer, Urquhart was often tasked with lugging loads on camera equipped around various landscapes and on multi-day backcountry backpacking trips, all to capture the best possible photos of the amazing sites around him. Taking inspiration from products from Dynamic Perception and eMotimo, Urquhart decided to try his hand at 3D printing to solve his problem. Before delving into his 3D printing journey, however, watch the video below for a glimpse at some of the amazing work Urquhart has done with time-lapse and motion control camera movements.

Printed with Polyamide-12 (nylon), Urquhart’s 3D printed time-lapse motion control system is ultra lightweight and durable. Previously, the filmmaker was burdened with the aluminum Dynamic Perception Stage One, which is about 50% heavier than the new alternative. The design ultimately eliminates threaded rail inserts, replacing them with a simple clamp design. It also includes torpedo levels to the end caps and cart – visible from both sides for easier set-ups in unique angled and vertical positions.

Additionally, the 20:1 worm drive (NEMA 17 stepper motor) for the dolly movement offers constant holding power, removing the need to keep the stepper motor on to the hold position in angled and vertical moves, which essentially reduces power consumption and enhances battery run-time by over 10 times.

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Urquhart’s system delivers almost no backlash, and feature the industry standard, Arca-swiss quick release clamp. This design can also be paired with the eMotimo tilt bracket. The custom designed, laser cut acrylic snap-fit eMotimo TB3 “stand-alone” controller hack offers unique configuration options and helps reduce the high center of gravity that is inherent in the standard eMotimo TB3. A custom LiFEPO4 battery system offers superior results in cold weather and high power draw situations over the more commonly used Li-Ion chemistry.

Also featuring custom 1″ Carbon Fiber tubular sections, which create the dolly track for easy transport and superior strength and weight reduction in the overall system, this design eliminates a great deal of effort in the entire filming process. Urquhart even custom designed 3D printed “connection” inserts with brass thermoplastic insert threads and glass-filled nylon bolts to securely join the segments without rotational play between sections. A shock-cord design makes initial set-up far simpler and offers the same functions as a standard tent pole.

Finally, Urquhart custom designed and 3D printed some small, supporting hardware to further cut weight (i.e. bearing rollers). He used few metal components where necessary, although all other bolts are made from glass-filled, high-strength nylon for major weight reduction. Urquhart also managed to reduce weight with a slightly shorter (5mm) drive belt than what is standard for Dynamic Perception.


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