I need a stand with a variable height (max 7 ft. tall) and a >40" horizontal lateral arm. the center column doesn't have to move, it can be secured to the ground. I should be able to move the horizontal arm up and down, and camera could be attached anywhere along its length using stand heads.

The stand is supposed to be fixed next to a table, and the horizontal arm should extend over it holding the camera towards the ground.

Any suggestion on how to make/where to find one?


I am looking for something similar to what the photographer in this video is using: http://youtu.be/b5t50g6Kf04 but with a longer arm. the arm and stand should be able to hold about 70 oz (2 kg) weight.

  • 3
    A 40" horizontal arm is going to be very unstable unless it's very massive. It'd be much easier engineering if you could support the horizontal arm from both sides (making it a bridge,not an arm).
    – obelia
    Jul 18, 2014 at 17:58
  • Do you also need the stability for long exposures that most of us use tripods for? Or is it just meant to keep the camera in place? Jul 18, 2014 at 18:19
  • @obelia A bridge needs a lot of space, and moving it up and down would be much harder.
    – Omne
    Jul 18, 2014 at 22:11
  • 1
    Maybe a camera jib: amazon.com/ProAm-USA-Orion-DVC200-Camera/dp/B002UPRCMC
    – obelia
    Jul 19, 2014 at 3:07
  • 1
    The folks at 8020.net make some very chunky, very rigid aluminum extrusions that are easy to bolt together. It'd be a great starting point.
    – Caleb
    Aug 4, 2014 at 19:05

2 Answers 2


While there are very large studio camera stands available (Foba makes several, and Manfrotto serves the lighter end of the market), none of the commercially-available stands will fit your specs (and the closest fit is about $5K). But there's not a lot to building one unless you're overly concerned with super-smooth adjustments.

A studio stand consists of a large vertical pipe (3-4" ouside diameter) anchored in a massive base. Typically, the base is a substantial chunk of cast iron, but there's no law that says it must be. It simply needs to be strong enough to support the vertical pipe and the arm/camera combination, and heavy enough (and low enough, of course) to keep the whole thing from tipping over. A competent welder could easily build a triangulated base out of heavy tubing, and you can use ballast bins to bring the weight up to where it needs to be. At the top of the vertical pipe, you need a pulley. A counterweight attached to the arm carrier by a cable will run inside the vertical pipe, which will allow you to adjust the height with minimal effort, and make it easier to lock the height adjustment with a hand-tightened clamping system. (In the "real deal", you'd want the pulley assembly on a swivel so that you can pivot the arm around the stand freely, but one can make sacrifices for cheapness in the DIY-ish world and, I dunno, maybe pivot the stand when the adjustment gets out of the cable's range of movement.) And you'll need casters for the base ('cos it'll be a heavy damned thing to shift without 'em) and screw-down "legs" (really just friction points, common bolts with a handscrew will do) to lock it into place once you get there.

The arm itself is just another chunk of tubing. It might be preferable to use square tubing for a DIY version, since you can control orientation without having a key rail (a little strip that sticks out of the main pipe to keep it from twisting around). It'll need to have holes at one end for a 3/8"-16 bolt (to mount the head), and a way to attach a counterweight/stop at the other end. 2" tubing should work fine for that; it will give you more than enough excess capacity.

The only tricky bit (for some value of "tricky") is the arm carrier. That piece is essentially just two holes at right angles to each other. It has to be strong enough to handle whatever torque is applied (with some excess capacity to account for clumsy photographers), long enough along each of the tubes to mimimize torque-induced friction, and needs to have screws to lock it in place on both the arm and the vertical tube. Bearings used as wheels will make things a lot smoother and easier to adjust. And if desired, you can add crank adjustability both vertically and horizontally (easy enough with cables and capstans, and much cheaper than rack-and-pinion).

It's not strictly a DIY project unless you have some metalworking and welding skills, but it's not beyond most people who have those skills either. The materials are relatively cheap; it's the time and skill that goes into making it that may add up. But it's hard to imagine it coming in at anything near the price of the close-but-not-quite Foba.


Sounds like you need some laboratory equipment. I bet you could find what you need here... (but this stuff is generally smaller than the stuff you linked, designed to be used on a table top - it is extremely versatile)


You are talking about a pretty long arm though. It's not going to be super stable, just due to laws of physics. There isn't much you can do about that unless you can support it from both sides somehow. The lab stands can be set up with ballast if you need it.

Have you considered something suspended from the ceiling instead? Maybe we can help you figure out a setup with more explanation of what you're trying to do?

  • Thanks Jasmine, but they don't seems strong enough to hold the camera and the lens. also I don't think that I could suspended anything from the ceiling in my home. I updated the question and added a video, I need something similar to what is being used in the video.
    – Omne
    Jul 20, 2014 at 16:03
  • 1
    What she is using looks wicked expensive. I have seen stands like that used for machinery in manufacturing. It looks custom made though. Machinists are always looking for jobs to do. If you can find a machine shop in your area, someone can build something like that for you, but be warned, it's gonna cost thousands of dollars. They usually won't design it for you either. Why don't you contact the person in the video and simply ask where they got that thing?
    – Jasmine
    Jul 21, 2014 at 16:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.