How to Design Your Own Dolly – The pros and cons of building your own dolly versus renting

by Peter D Marshall

In the two photos below, you’ll see my homemade dolly that cost me least than $100 (US) and has been one of the most valued pieces of equipment I use today! All you need is 3 steel plates welded together to create the wheel base (4) some pile wood (3) nuts and bots (8 each) and a shovel handle to push and pull the dolly. You can use PVC piles as tracks and if the surface is really lumpy, I use steel piles, shims and a Stanley torpedo level.

Pros:
– Easy to build
– Easy to operate
– Very smooth
– Cost less than 100$
– PVC pipes (track) are readily available in any hardware store, so I can expand the tracks to any distance.

Cons:
– One set of wheels on each corner is not enough to avoid little bumps at the joint point. You should add one more set.
– Hard to pan for more than 120 degrees. The plate doesn?t allow the operator to turn with the camera.

Overall, a homemade dolly will save you tons of money and can be replaced easily if broken, unlike a rental.

D. Miles
Director/Cinematographer
M Squad Entertainment

HomemadeDolly1

HomemadeDolly2

Copyright (c) 2000-2009  Peter D. Marshall / All Rights Reserved

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