Assignment 2: Make 5

For our second class in Introduction to Fabrications, we were asked to create five identical items using the tools that we learned about in our second lecture. The lessoned to gain from this concept is to form an appreciation of guides, jigs and an understanding of how to use these procedures in creating multiple version of the same item.

Since I needed to make five of something, I wanted to build an items that is usable so to avoid it simply being thrown in the trash after the class was finished.

I'm an individual that is driven to create visual media and stories and I feel that the ascetic in this form of expression is very important.  With that said, about a month ago, I went to ITP's equipment room to rent out a camera, tripod and tripod dolly to document one of my assignment.  To my surprise, our equipment room didn't have any dollies.  This made me sad, because I really like a moving shot in the scene.  It adds elegance and complexity to a shot --- something that a static shot can't always capture. Here's an example shot where a dolly is used, if you are unfamiliar with what a dolly shot might look like:

When I heard about this assignment, I thought this could be a great opportunity to create something that I can use for myself and then donate the other 4 to the equipment room at ITP.

I started looking online and found this amazing folding tripod dolly.

I thought to myself that this would be an easy project to replicate, but adopt slightly.

The short of the story is that  it turned out to NOT be an easy project, even with the guide from that website. It took many days of work and rethinking to pull off the five tripod dollies.  Below is my documentation of the process:

Creating the Tripod Dollies


Sanding belt

Sanding belt

Drill Press

Drill Press

Mitter Saw

Mitter Saw

Day 1: Cutting and Gluing


Cut wood for 5 dollies


gluing the feet at different levels so that the dolly can collapse for easy storage


Day 2: Finalizing the legs


These are the 5 tripods cut out and sanded.  I realized that each piece needs to have a small gap, as seen this in picture, so that the legs can swing out from their collapsed state.


When I added the gap between the different legs, as you can see in this image, the legs no longer line up.  I didn't take into consideration the gap when I first cut the pieces. Mistake #1 for this project.


I explained my issue to a classmate, Lindsey Piscitell, and she mentioned that I should simply cut two pieces of wood that would create the gap needed between the legs when stacked and then cut the ends with the Mitter saw so that they line up.  This photo illustrates that concept.


After cutting the legs, I used the drill press to drill a hole where the legs will rotate to open up into the triangle shape.

Day 3: Hardware


I couldn't find bolts that were the exact size that I needed for the dolly.  I needed 3.5" bolts and all I could find in hardware store around NYC were 3" or 4".  So I used Ben Light's tutorial on how to cut these to size.

I ended up using washers in between each leg, on the top of the dolly and on the bottom to help with the longevity of the pivoting hole.  My initial concern was that if I simply have a regular nut at the underside of the dolly, that it would become loose and the dolly wouldn't be as stabilized. I picked up some wing nuts so that the user of the dolly could tighten the pivoting joint or loosen it to collapse it. 


Here is mistake #2. When drilling the wheels in with a hand drill, it split the wood on the feet of the dolly


I'm not sure if this issue occurred as a result of (1) because I used Pine which apparently a wood that splits easily, or (2) becuase the wheel plate holes were too close to the edge of the foot, or (3) because I used a aggressive drill to insert these screws, or (4) because of a combination of all of the above, but I needed to troubleshoot this issue quickly because I had already spent 2 days making these.

Luckily, I only attached the wheel to one of the legs as a test, so I only had to fix one leg as a result.


I traveled to a hardware store near by and picked up a smaller wheel and decided to pre drill the holes and screw them in with a hand-held screw driver to avoid the issue from above occurring again.

This ended up working really well, so I got to move on the drilling the sunken holes in the top of the dolly legs where the tripod feet would rest.

I used a Forsner bit to create the sunken holes.  I drilled one hole on each leg 1" from the end because that was the perfect length for the tripod to be stabilized on the dolly. I also drilled a second sunken hole on the legs, closer to the center so that a smaller tripod could also be used on the dolly.


This is what the sunken holes look like on the legs

The end result

After a lot of sanding, this is what I have to show...

After a lot of sanding, this is what I have to show...

collapsed dolly

collapsed dolly

A short tripod using the shallower sunken holes

A short tripod using the shallower sunken holes

An extended tripod using the outer most sunken holes

An extended tripod using the outer most sunken holes