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Centering gimbal on Archer 1

Chris McKissick

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Hey there,

Since I didn't want to crash the Ultra 2 centering party thread, I thought I'd start my own and hope people can help me over here as well.


I have the Archer 1 which has for some reason decided it wants to go off level both in tilt and in roll after I static balance and then rotate through 90, 180 and 270 degrees.


Since there are no adjusting screws on the yoke like on the Archer 2 or U2 gimbal, the UK factory is too far away for a quick fixing and my steadicam repair guy's workshop is currently closed, I'm a bit clueless as to what I could do until my next shoot tomorrow evening.


Any ideas anyone?

Thanks a bunch!



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Before anyone posts links to other "centering threads", I've been through them.. I've checked both the U2 Gimbal Centering Guide, Archer 2 Centering guide.. read about shims in the EFP gimbal (which I cant find any of inside mine) and read through any other thread regarding gimbals ;)

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If I tilt up and down along the yoke-bearing axis (handle 90 degrees to the stage) I get a clicking sound. At first I thought it might be the stage itself. Then I thought there might be some play on the handle-axis. As it turns out it's coming from a small gap between the yoke fork and the gimbal. When the weight shifts back and forth (when tilting), at some point the gap moves from one side of the fork to the other, causing a minimal shift in fore / aft position, thus causing the rig to go off center. Or at least that's what I think is happening.


Maybe the solution is to put some thicker washers between the yoke forks and the gimbal to eliminate the play?


Looking forward to any thoughts!

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  • 2 weeks later...

So to tie this up, here's what ended up being the problem (or at least most of it)

There was minimal play in the yoke bearing axis between the gimbal and the yoke fork. The gimbal slid back and forth on this axis ever so slightly, making the rig go off balance once tilted past a certain angle and back again. This, and a general misalignment that resulted in the play took the gimbal off center.


I was sent very thin shims from Tiffen and with the Ultra gimbal centering manual and the centering procedure described there, was able to add them to the appropriate side of the yoke to fill the gap between yoke and gimbal. (Though I had to add multiple shims on both sides). It took quite a while of trying different size shims but I got it to where it is now acceptable. Not perfect but ok.

I would definitely recommend sending the rig in though if you have the option.

I consider this to be a quick fix but not the end solution.

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Great to hear that you troubleshot the issue. Keep those extra shims in your kit just in case something goes wrong on set next time. My Zephyr was misaligned one morning on set and I was able to do a quick and dirty fix to make it workable before the shoot. I then spent the right amount of time to fine tune it the next day.

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