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gimbal cleaning


Dan Ayers
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After years of cleaning main bearings and then using a lube - arri high speed cam lube for the most part - I have changed my approach.

 

I replace my main bearing for my PRO much more often than I used to. After about a year, or sooner if working in a very dusty environment for a long time (Planet of the Apes dust storm) I buy a new main bearing. I install the new bearing dry. No lube at all.

 

On the advise of a very knowledgeable person I run the main bearing with no lube of any kind. Said expert told me the lube was for longevity - not best performance. I did a simple test on my rig with the bearing lubed and then dry. It will rotate more freely with a new bearing and no lubricant. No lube equals less friction (and shorter life of part).

 

I won't burden the person who gave me the above advise by naming him on the forum in case I have mis-interpreted or misunderstood what he told me. It does work well for me.

 

Regards,

 

Neal Norton

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After years of cleaning main bearings and then using a lube - arri high speed cam lube for the most part - I have changed my approach.

 

I replace my main bearing for my PRO much more often than I used to. After about a year, or sooner if working in a very dusty environment for a long time (Planet of the Apes dust storm) I buy a new main bearing. I install the new bearing dry. No lube at all.

 

On the advise of a very knowledgeable person I run the main bearing with no lube of any kind. Said expert told me the lube was for longevity - not best performance. I did a simple test on my rig with the bearing lubed and then dry. It will rotate more freely with a new bearing and no lubricant. No lube equals less friction (and shorter life of part).

 

I won't burden the person who gave me the above advise by naming him on the forum in case I have mis-interpreted or misunderstood what he told me. It does work well for me.

 

Regards,

 

Neal Norton

 

 

 

I been using a no residue contact cleaner and 1 drop of high speed arri oil (or lisigav depending on the director) for the last 10 yrs with good luck.

 

funny Neal, I've never tried running it dry (too paranoid) but was always amazed at how the thing spun with no oil. I will have to try it someday.

 

rb

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I think I remember being told that the lubricant is to help counter the heat caused by friction at high speed. Of course we never run our gimbal bearings at anywhere near what whey are rated for. Even whip pans and spin-balancing are slow relative to what these bearings can handle, and we only do it for shot periods of time.

 

The enemy of our bearings is not friction, but rather dirt and other particulate that can clog and eventually damage the bearing. Lubricant attracts and retains more dirt.

 

-Matt

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Gents--

 

Over the years, I have found that good old denatured alcohol has proven to be a great gimbal bearing solvent.

 

Just remove you bearing and place in a container of the liquid deep enough to submerge the bearing in the liquid.

 

After about 4-6 hours, your gimbal bearing will be strikingly clean and free of contamination. Check the bottom of the container--you will be surprised what you find!

 

I also recommend running the bearing dry; no lube, less goo!

 

Also, try cleaning after 6-8 weeks instead of 6-8 years!

 

Best,

 

Brant

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  • 7 months later...
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Great Topic!

 

I to, use the quick drying, non-residue, plastic safe cleaner (available at Fry's Electronics). I resorted to lubricating the main bearing, but not the smaller bearings about a year or two ago. I found that the horizon leveling resonse time was considerably faster without the lube, but was too chicken to not lube the main bearing.

 

After hearing the opinions on this forum topic, on monday I am going to try the main gimbal, clean and lube free (actually, last night about 1am, while trying to hold a static wideshot, the lube in the gimbal was very cold and stiff, any induced body movement shows.....pissed me off! can't wait to try the non-lube technique)

 

Bud Kremp

local600forum.com

Administrator

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UPDATE!!!

 

Got to work this am, and had a steadicam shot first thing. Cleaned my gimbal, did not use lube. Gimbal was stickier than ever.

 

Called Jack at PRO. Asked me if I "use the Steadicam a lot". I said "yes". "How old is the gimbal" he asked. I didn't know. "Older than a year" he asked. "Probably" I sheepishly replied. "Your gimbal bearing is shot" he informed.

 

Gladly, I chose that exact moment to send the rig in to GPI to have the new VZ Gimbal assembly and new main bearing installed. Sadly, we didn't do another steadicam shot the rest of the day.

 

AH what joy tomorrow brings!! Remember kids!! Replace yeer gimbal bearings once a year!!!

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lol..... I bought my first PRO in 1998. I used it on the beach, in the desert, on boats, in the snow, et. I had it for... (8 years?). Never replaced the bearings, in fact, I don't think I ever serviced them (unless they did it for me the couple of times my rig was at GPI?). I wonder if I was just sucking and didn't notice or if I got lucky???????

 

My newest PRO is.... 2 years old? I guess I'll look into the whole bearing thing.

 

mm :blink:

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Just had a similar conversation with the operator on my Last Job. (I was working a the Digital Loader) He told me to use two drops of regular Panavision Oil. Not the orange Hi-Speed Oil, Not the Silicone as these we both two thick. I could be wrong but he said Two drops and the bearing in your gimbal would last two years. One Drop for optimal results but plan on replacing your bearing annually. Another source: My Pro Manual circa 1996 (came with my used PRO-I) Says Clean out the pan bearing with electrical contact Cleaner, Re-lubricate with one drop of very light camera oil (ARRI or Panavision) Do not over lubricate, Spin Bearing to Distribute oil.

 

I am sure every one does it differently, Just my 2 cents.

 

Chris Flurry

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  • 1 month later...
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Does anybody know the proper cleaning/lubricating procedures for an MKV gimbal?

It's got dual, all-metal bearings (so it appears). Do the same guidelines apply? Contact cleaner (and/or alcohol bath) followed by two drops of high speed oil?

Or does the MKV require different handling? Any feedback or experience is appreciated.

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Dear Operators

I would like to clarify a few things about the PRO gimbal bearing.

 

The frequency at which the bearing needs to be replaced is dependent on a few things:

1) How often you use your rig 2) the conditions under which it is used i.e. if you use it under sandy, dusty and windy conditions it is going to collect more dirt and 3) how well you take care of your own equipment; the better you personally clean the bearing on a regular basis the longer it will last you than if you don't.

 

Typically the first thing you will notice when the bearing is starting to deteriorate is what we call "hunting" meaning that the gimbal will move from side to side on its own. Another way to tell is if you look at the bearing and notice that there is a gap larger than one of the small white teflon pieces next to the ball bearings.

 

Keep in mind this is an expensive part, $600, so the better you take care of your gear the longer the bearing will last and the less expensive it will be.

 

Please call or email us if you have any questions.

Fly safe

Ashley

GPI-PRO

gpi2@aol.com

818 982 3991

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  • 2 months later...
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I can't remember what cleaning product to use to clean the bearings on my PRO gimbal?

 

Thanks

Dan

 

 

Use "Blue Shower" contact cleaner/degreaser or similar product and Arri oil to re-lubricate.

 

 

blue shower

 

Jens

 

 

movil one lithium fat blue for airplane 290 dollars

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