Steel Yourself

Sometimes, it’s just better to do it yourself. Like when its time to make custom parts for your Polecam. And in this case, when I say by myself, I mean with all of the adult males from the farm leading the charge and me in the dust.

When I added the Ronin M head to the kit, I needed a counter weight to balance the Toshiba head & zoom lens payload. For that, I needed a piece or steel. To work the steel, I needed my in-laws. Good thing we were visiting and they have spare parts around the farm.

As often happens on the farm, a simple request to cut some metal turns into a group outing. Maybe because someone needs to check your math before turning on the torch, maybe because they need to check the soundness of my idea. Either way, what was 2 of us turned into a gathering. The steel that was selected was from (if memory serves) old church windows. It was used  to assist with the opening and closing of said windows. This was good as I would not have to train the steel to behave as a counterbalance when it was cut and ready for use.

First we had to figure out how much weight I needed, then divide that by the square inverse of the size of the hole in my head. It was a large number. Upon checking my math, a different formula was chosen, checked and prepped. The torch was lit and cutting began. We were close on weight after the first cut, however the existing holes threw off our weight by a 2 ounces… so back to the torch. Then to the grinder to take off the weathering from years outside in the elements. A drill press was used to make a hole so the steel so threads could be put in.  More polishing and boom. A custom counter weight. Shortly after that I used the head at the Sony E3 event in Anaheim, CA.

In all seriousness, my dad-in-law gets 107% of the credit on this one. He did all the math in his head to figure out the weight (per cubic inch) of the steel, adjust for the existing holes and anticipate the loss of material that would occur during the grinding/polishing.  He planned to be a little over, and it was. Trim to perfection. Nailed it. I asked if he would be interested in making more parts for other people.  Naw…. was the answer. Too much work.