Gimbals and Circuit Boards

One of the important challenges of filming from a cable dolly, or any moving camera platform, is getting a steady and smooth shot, even if that platform has bumps or wiggles. For example, wind can cause cable vibrations or movement that impacts the stability of the shot from the cable dolly.

Gimbal Stabilization

We plan to address this challenge by attaching a gimbal stabilization system to the cable dolly to steady and aim the camera. Camera gimbals have been an area of rapid innovation over the past couple of years. Exciting new products and multiple Kickstarter campaigns have pushed the performance-to-cost ratio.

In researching many of the gimbals on the market and prototyping our own designs, Matt and I learned that the majority of gimbals are using the same circuit board "brain" to run the real-time calculations necessary to stabilize the camera. This board is the BaseCam Electronics SimpleBGC (Brushless Gimbal Controller), designed by Aleksey Moskalenko.

Unfortunately, the BaseCam SimpleBGC has been hard to obtain in the USA due to high demand and the challenges of shipping boards from China. In our experience, quality is sometimes questionable, and boards are broken in transit. These issues have caused many gimbal products to become back-ordered.

Introducing the BeeWorks B32 Gimbal Controller

To remedy this situation, BeeWorks has become an official partner of BaseCam Electronics, and we are manufacturing the latest version of the BaseCam SimpleBGC, a 32-bit board that incorporates an ARM Cortex™-M4 processor and all three axes on the same board. Our version uses premium quality components, is easy to order, meets the most rigorous environmental standards, and is manufactured right here in Seattle, WA at a facility that builds precision boards for the aerospace and defense industries.

We've begun production of the boards and will have them available in the coming weeks. Individuals and hobbyists can buy the boards through our website or Amazon. If you are a gimbal designer, please contact us at info@beeworksgear.com for information on bulk discounts. 

We are excited about making high-quality boards available in the USA. Not only will we be using the boards in our own products, but we hope to make a valuable contribution to the camera gimbal industry as well.

Kevlar Super Cable

kevlarsupercable.jpg

You may know Kevlar as the material used to make bullet proof vests.

Kevlar can also be made into thin cables and is one of the exciting technology innovations that we are using with our cable dolly. This line is super strong (400lb for the 1.5mm line pictured, 900lb for 3mm line). It is also affordable and very lightweight.

Most of the existing camera dolly products require metal cable or climbing rope. By designing our system around Kevlar line, it allows us to achieve our goals of portability and easy setup. The super thin Kevlar line is also great in situations where you do not want to draw attention to the camera (weddings, sports, etc...). It is barely visible from a distance.

Cable Dolly Prototype 2.0

We shifted our prototype from balsa wood to 3D printer in November. We are printing nearly everything with our Ultimaker including wheels, gears, and hinges.

We have evolved the design many times over the past few months as you can see by the different colors of plastic. The silver parts are the oldest, white was next, currently we are printing with an orange plastic.

The main purpose of this prototype structure is to test drive systems and the navigation electronics. We need to figure out what components we need and how they work before designing the final assembly.

Cable Dolly Prototype

Cable Dolly Prototype

Designing a Cable Dolly

Cable Dolly Prototype

Cable Dolly Prototype

We are designing a remote-controlled camera platform that travels along a cable. It can be used indoors or outdoors to get informative and beautiful camera angles. This photo shows where we are at today. A working prototype in the office!

Matt is leading the mechanical design and engineering. Adam is leading the software and electronics systems, though our process is highly collaborative. We hope you will enjoy following along and we look forward to your feedback and suggestions. Thanks!