When looking for suitable skateboard wheels for a heavy duty slider for my Red Scarlet camera, i stumbled upon the www.rigwheels.com website. They sell small wheel assemblies that can be mounted on (under) almost anything to get things moving… So, i was blinded by the great looking website and neatly produced demo videos and was lured into buying a set of Rigwheels for 130 dollars.
Rigwheels claims to specially manufacture these wheels (with high quality bearings), but alas…, the Rigwheels are nothing more than very cheap runners (with very cheap and noisy bearings) meant for sliding doors – your Ikea bedroom wardrobe is probably equipped with “Rigwheels”. They are not really wheels, but cheap plastic-coated ball bearings.
Never the less, i used the 5 times over-priced Rigwheels to construct a PVC pipe dolly by just putting them under a square piece of MDF furniture plank. I tried to run them on PVC pipes and on metal heating pipes as shown in the picture.
- They are extremely and unacceptably noisy on any surface
- Bearings are of the cheapest chinese manufacture (not sealed, noisy, open for dust, plastic closures)
- Website suggests that noise can be reduced by treating the rails, which is nonsense
- The “wheels” do not run smoothly at all
- Again -> the noise is unacceptable when recording live sound
Here is a little video my camera operator Roland Jacobs shot yesterday, with the Rigwheels rockin’ their socks of – AGAIN: using pvc pipes or even wooden broom sticks do not change the loud noise (much).
After having recovered from the first shock, i replaced the Rigwheels with a frame with skateboard wheels, which is a little more work, cheaper, smoother and operates noiseless. There are many videos on YouTube that show you how to build something useful with skateboard wheels. Such as this classic one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Ua_MDnlTXY
But, for a slider, a frame with skateboard wheels is too bulky to my taste, so i didn’t despair and Googled for “diy camera slider wheels” searching for a better Rigwheels alternative, and found http://www.camonwheels.com
Cam On Wheels offers a Rigwheels alternative at half the price. For $50, they provide much better “runners” with better grade bearings (real Abec-grade bearings) with a softer rubber coating. These are far less noisy than the Rigwheels and look more professional too. The CamOnWheels CW2 wheels run smoothly on any surface, so your slider top can also be used as a tabletop dolly.
I used the Manfrotto HiHat to hold my fluid head, just screwed it on a piece of MDF board, screwed the CamOnWheels CW2 wheels on and rode them on the metal pipes. Far less noise than with the RigWheels and much smoother operation.
I’ll try to post a video of the final product soon.
Final conclusion: If you need to use small wheels for a slider or tabletop dolly, go for CamOnWheels. If you want to build a PVC pipe dolly that doesn’t need to be elegant, go for skateboard wheels.