From Rexomus “59 Fender” – Amazon user
I have spent a lot of time looking for a simple and easily portable dolly. Tiffen, Opteka, and Ravelli all make affordable dollies but they all lacked one option any camera operator needs for a dolly, pneumatic wheels. I was impressed by a product called the “Orbit Dolly” but the price is ridiculously high (starting at $1700). The “Orbit Dolly” is the only dolly I found that had a pneumatic wheel option, and it’s an extra $300 option at that. That is way to expensive for such a cheap to manufacture part. So I set out to buy an affordable dolly and add my own pneumatic wheels.
There are two main differences between this dolly and the “Orbit Dolly”. First, the “Orbit Dolly” has interchangeable wheels. You can switch the wheels from a hard acyclic to a soft pneumatic rubber for use on both hard and Carpeted surfaces. Second, the “Orbit Dolly” can be calibrated to move in a circle or arc around the subject your are shooting. Those are both nice features but hardly with the $2000 proce tag.
The Tiffen dolly is easily capable of mimicking the “Orbit Dolly” (minus the adjustable arc setting) with one do-it-yourself upgrade. I didn’t want to or really have $2000 to spend on what to me is a very simple piece of equipment. So I ordered this dolly with the intention of adding pneumatic wheels. I began to hunt the internet for a company that sold pneumatic casters that would be compatible with this dolly. I found “Caster City” located in California. Now the casters cost $100 dollars more then the dolly for a combined price of $200. But it’s worth the difference in price between this and the “Orbit Dolly”.
After I ordered the wheels I went to the hardware store and purchased three 1/2 chrome plated nuts, three locking washers and three regular 1/2 inch washers along with a 1/2 inch drill bit for drilling metal.
I removed the original wheels, pushed the tripod leg locking brackets back about an inch and drilled out a 1/2 inch whole where the original wheels used to be mounted. Then I placed the locking washer on the new casters, ran the 1/2 by 1 and 1/2 inch threaded bolts of the new casters through the whole and placed the regular washer on threaded bolt and tightened the 1/2 inch nut onto the bolt. It works perfectly and now I can use the tripod on both hard and soft surfaces with out having to worry about the dolly bouncing or hopping on different surfaces.
The dolly is light weight and made mostly of aluminum and some plastic. The legs expand and lock into place with a spring mounted pin for two of the legs, the other leg is permanently locked into place. The legs easily collapse back in to place by releasing the locking pins. The center of the unit has a handle for easy portability and storage.
I highly recommend purchasing this dolly as well as adding the pneumatic wheels. I do not regret it, and I will be purchasing at least one more of these dollies which I will also upgrade.
Dolly with all pneumatic (air filled) wheels. Works much better on hard and soft surfaces.
The new cast is twice the size of the original caster. approximately 6 inches in height.
Drill 1/2″ hole from top to bottom of the dolly arm so that the new caster wheel bolt can be secured by a nut t0 the dolly.