Observatory Schedule

The base of the tripod slides along a track and enables you to shoot a moving subject with ease. While the camera sliders used in motion pictures may cost a fortune to construct, you can design a do-it-yourself slider with a few inexpensive materials. Place your 1-by-4 piece of lumber onto a flat worktable. Measure 3-feet down the lumber to determine the center-most point. Draw a pencil line across the middle of the wood. Wear a pair of work goggles to protect your eyes throughout the construction process. Cut the lumber in half with a table saw to create two identical 3-foot pieces. Place one of the 3-foot pieces to the side for later use. Measure 7 inches down your piece of lumber and draw a pencil mark. Cut along the pencil line with the blade of the table saw. Place the 7-inch piece of lumber to the side for later use. Measure 18-inches down your 3-foot piece of lumber. Draw a pencil mark in the center of the wood. Drill a hole through the pencil mark using a quarter-inch drill bit. Align the pieces of PVC along the edges of the 3-foot lumber to create the tracks for your camera slider. Drill four screws into each of the PVC pieces to hold them in place. Place one screw every 9 inches down the length of the PVC. Flip your T-shaped PVC fittings upside down. Place two of the fittings onto each of the tracks to create the sliders for your camera dolly. Align the 7-inch piece of lumber over the T-shaped PVC fittings. Trace the position of the fittings onto the 7-inch piece of wood. Remove the T-shaped fittings from the tracks of your camera slider. Flip the 7-inch piece of lumber over and place it onto the worktable. Align the T-shaped PVC fittings over the 7-inch piece of lumber in accordance with the trace lines. Drill one screw through each of the fittings to secure your sliders in place. Cut out four small pieces of felt that have a square shape. Apply a small amount of hot glue to each of the pieces of felt. Place one piece of felt over each of the screws located in the T-shaped sliders. Align the sliders onto the tracks of your camera dolly. Drill a hole through the center of the 7-inch piece of lumber. Insert a one-quarter-inch bolt through the hole and attach your tripod’s camera mount. Place the 3-foot piece of lumber atop your tripod with the slider tracks facing up. Drill three screws through the holes of your tripod and into the base of the lumber. Secure your camera onto the mount. Slide your camera along the tracks to test out your homemade dolly.