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Flyer hardware identification

Calum Tsang

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Hi folks

I recently bought a used Flyer and am modifying it for use with my C100, eg plumbing it for HDMI video and a new battery system.

As I'm just experimenting with it, my goal is the lowest cost approach to making it work right now.

One question I was hoping to learn more about was what exactly I have.

I believe what I have is a very early Flyer original model:

  • The arm is what appears to be an original Flyer "grey arm".  It has a label which says it was manufactured by Tiffen and has the "modern" Steadicam logo.
  • The sled on the other hand has a label which says Cinema Products (but with a Tiffen QA sticker) and has reddish adjustment knobs and a red gimbal grip.  It has dual NP1 battery holders which appear to be original as the "paddle" has holes machined exactly for it.  The lower sled is missing the Flyer branding on the monitor arm.  The power cabling on the other hand is completely hacked around to power a third party LCD SD monitor, but the upper stage has a two pin Lemo 0B on it.   The post is narrow, with a 15.8mm OD and the dovetail plate is about seven inches long.

From what I've read here, the sled appears to be for a Steadicam Mini, which is functionally identical to the early Flyer sleds, except for colour.  Is it possible that early Flyers shipped with surplus Mini sleds?  As far as I can tell, there's no difference in appearance or operation from the manual.


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  • 2 weeks later...

The Mini was similar to the early Flyer but only had the gimbal fork attached to the sled with the tilt part in the end of the arm. the arm was a very simple thing that looked like an angle-poise lamp with one moving section. The grey arm was an early Flyer arm. yes it could have been a crossover around the time of the change from CP to Tiffen, the other anomolies all sound like previous owners mods.


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Thanks! After some more digging, it does look exactly like a Mini sled.  The good news is the whole system as far as I can tell is mechanically functional.

The extent of the modifications is vast and requires significant unworking :)

  • I disassembled and washed the vest.  Turns out it's like washing a backpack or stuffed animal toy.
  • Several of the wing screws (socket block, docking stand) were broken, so I found the replacement on McMaster Carr and got them.
  • I cleaned up the arm.  There seems to be nothing missing from the arm.
  • The monitor is dim and mostly useless, so I have purchased a new 7" HDMI monitor.
  • I am working on rewiring the center post, which on this generation of Flyer/Mini sled, is very narrow
    • Piping HDSDI is a nonstarter for me, so I'm trying to get a Micro HDMI connector through the post.  I will leave the BNC in case I ever need to use it.
    • I will probably reuse the Lemo 0B connector on the sled, in case I ever need to fly another camera, such as a C300.
  • I have designed and printed a fairing for a new battery to sit on the bottom, which will fit a (don't laugh) Ryobi drill battery and include a LM2596 DC stepdown converter to run both the monitor and C100.  As I don't quite want to invest in a V lock/D tap battery system yet, this is by far the lowest cost/risk approach.
  • I have to figure out focus assist/servo zoom
  • I have to figure out how to clean the case it came in.  It's a giant square velcro bag and was left in a garage so it seems dirtied by rodents etc.

This is a big science project for me, so it's been really interesting.


Edited by Calum Tsang
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Hi folks

Does anyone know how to remove this pin?

There's a small hollow pin that fixes a cylindrical "flange" to the shaft of the post.  The flange piece has four holes tapped for screws to hold the top stage, the pin seems to fix the flange so the shaft won't drop away below. 

It seems pressure fit in there, but before I jam something through it, I thought I'd ask, just in case it was threaded or keyed some way.


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  • 4 months later...

Well an update in case anyone is interested--I finally got my Flyer running!

  • The pin is actually a curved piece of metal which forms a cylinder.  It expands in the hole to pressure fit.  To get it out, I ended up taking the end of a dollar store "jewellers" screwdriver, sawing off an inch of it, then carefully tapping it out with a hammer after spraying some WD40.
  • After removing the pin, I managed to get a MicroHDMI connector through the narrow post, by shaving the connector plastic using a utility knife. 
  • I also ran some DC 24AWG through there for power, though I have not set up the camera on the LEMO.
  • I soldered and trimmed the LM2596 DC to DC step down, and put it into a custom 3D printed fairing.

So, after all these months, I have the world's only Ryobi drill battery powered Steadicam.  Now to actually learn how to use it.

I ran my first test today and realized the previous owner had set it up for goofy.  But after that, I did manage to get the C100 to balance on its own!


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Thanks Bob! 

Here's some initial photos of the battery system.  The battery was always going to be the most difficult component, as I didn't want to invest in batteries yet.  I picked the Ryobi system because they have internal voltage protection, unlike DeWalt etc and also because I already had a 2Ah and 4Ah set from a lawn trimmer.  (I know all serious operators choose hardware based on their lawn care equipment.)

This is the rear battery holder which holds the Ryobi battery:


I found a design on Thingiverse for the Ryobi mount (dark grey) and built a shape around it that captures the Flyer battery paddle (white and light grey).  I had to print it several sections due to the limited build volume of my printer.  I chose this shape to reduce snagging on cables and the like while moving.  Once I get some experience with it, I will likely reprint it as one piece.

I also designed a few cable clips to help route video and power around the rig.  These have a 1/4" hole to thread under tripod mount and similar bolts:


One of the next things I will order is some knockoff LEMOs from AliExpress.

I spent two hours operating the rig this weekend, trying to dial in the arm tension, block and block threads.  I got the sled balanced fairly well, but I could tell watching my footage my posture dying and the arm in/out/side to side changing.

One thing I've realized is that my camera is at the very light end of the Flyer payload range, despite leaving just about every option attached (shotgun mount, top handle, handgrip), 15mm rails/shoulder pad.  Over time that margin will help as I may need to add a lav receiver and a wireless video transmitter.  I now also realized why the case included a random AB NiCad battery and a exercise weight--likely used to weigh down the rig for the previous owner who I think flew a 5D3 on it.


Edited by Calum Tsang
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Thanks!  This is the whole sled as it stands now.  I have to figure out how to replace the gimbal collar with a new socket head cap screw, the previous owner mangled the current one such that it doesn't tighten easily.  I have to order from an industrial supplier locally, the big box hardware stores don't carry small diameters.

One thing I've love to figure out is how to put more camera functions onto the gimbal yoke, like record start/stop and One Shot focus.  And some sort of zoom demand with a follow focus motor.



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