3-axis camera gimbal for GoPro (back cage)

by s_f_x
3-axis camera gimbal for GoPro (back cage) 3d printed Mechanical parts Robotics All the parts for the 3-axis gimbal shown - this page is only the back cage (camera not included)
All the parts for the 3-axis gimbal shown - this page is only the back cage (camera not included)
  • White

    White nylon plastic with a matte finish and slight grainy feel.

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Update: I am currently working on an updated version, which is more robust and uses a more conventional 3-axis design (one servo per axis). I will leave this model available for spare parts. The new model is currently being tested and should be available soon.

 This is a 3-axis gyro-stabilsation gimbal for the GoPro HD Hero camera. Intended use is for aerial video and first-person view (FPV) flying.  
(Picture shows all the parts - camera is not included, and this is model here is only the back cage. Check the 3D model to see it. For the complete kit you have to order the back cage, the front lid, the servo cage and the mounting arm.  You will also need 3x MKS470 servos, and a 16mm x 8mm ball bearing, not shown)

Video demonstration:

Assembly and servo test

Preliminary Gyro stabilisation test 

Current status: 
This is still work in progress
- the current version has been slightly improved from the version in the video (I strengthened some of the elastic parts and improved the balancing). The gyro control board is my own design and currently not available yet. I will post an update once it is. The IMU is my design as well, and is available here.

You are welcome to order this design now, but be aware that it's still somewhat "beta". Whatever you do with it is entirely your own risk and responsibility, I unfortunately cannot make any claims towards its usefulness, stability or safety...

I would recommend, before you put this on a flying contraption, consider using a safety string to attach the camera to the plane somehow. GoPro cameras are very robust inside their waterproof case, but not quite so robust without that protection. They don't like crashing into the ground (and trust me, I know - as is probably obvious from the picture of my camera... in all fairness, it did mostly survive...)
Assembly instructions

For the complete kit you have to order the back cage, the front lid, the servo cage and the mounting arm.  The bearing at the top is a 16mm outer, 8mm inner diameter ball bearing, available from many places. Hobbyking sells those as well.
I will possibly modify the mounting bracket in the future and also offer one with a smaller bearing... this one is total overkill! :)

The servos that will fit are the MKS DS470 (available e.g. from Hobbyking). They do have a little play, but they are very smooth and by far the fastest servo I've seen in that size and price class. I'm still on the lookout for different servos that might be a bit smoother.


1) Press the servos onto the mounting bracket and the flexible arms of the back cage.  What works quite well is to carefully push it on just a little (best to put the printed piece onto a flat surface, and gently push the servo in just a bit to align). Then use a screw (maybe with a washer to spread the force), and slowly pull the arm onto the crown. You only have to do that once, it'll be a tight, smooth fit afterwards.
Remove the servos again after this step.

2) Mount the 3 servos on the servo mounting frame.  Start with the yaw servo (the vertical one in the middle).The yaw servo crown has to face downwards (might be a bit fiddly). Make sure the crown of the yaw servo is aligned with the little stub axle on the opposite side. The two roll/pitch servos have to be inserted so that the crown faces the camera (towards the flat side of the mounting arm).

3) Press the mounting bracket onto the yaw servo crown, and put in the screw to hold it in place. On the opposite side, press in the 16mm/8mm ball bearing.

4) Carefully push the disk-shaped closure knob into the cylinder at the top of the camera back cage. You might need to rotate it a bit to ease it into place

5) Push the flexible arms of the back cage onto the two roll/pitch servos, and fix with screws.

-- Update: Seems the MKS has too much gain for the yaw axis, and tends to oscillate a bit with all that weight swinging around. They are fine for the Pitch/Roll arms. I'm still looking for a small servo with high speed, smoothness and no (or little) play... Suggestions are of course welcome!!

-- The servos are still a very tight fit into the control arms and the bracket. I already made it a bit larger, but still not enough. What works quite well is to carefully push it on just a little (best to put the arms onto a flat surface, and gently push the servo in just a bit to align). Then use a screw (maybe with a washer to spread the force), and slowly pull the arm onto the crown. You only have to do that once, it'll be a tight, smooth fit afterwards.


IN: 2.866 w x 1.435 d x 1.921 h
CM: 7.28 w x 3.644 d x 4.88 h


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@s_f_x They said they would send it but have yet to see it. Almost as if it was coming from china.
February 24, 2014, 9:40 pm
@s_f_x BTW, I tried the links to the gyro stabilization stuff but they are dead. Do you have any suggestions which ones would work well for your design. Yours does not have typical range of motion as most do and I am curious if this presents a problem, or using the controller you have identified fixes this issue.
February 12, 2014, 9:17 pm
@s_f_x I did already let's see what the do next.
February 12, 2014, 9:14 pm
One suggestion that I have to ensure longer life is to add some swivel ball linkages to the servos and back cage assembly. Relying on that point ot flex indefinitely is asking for failure. The over all design seems to be decent. Y/ou might want to upgrade servo components.
February 12, 2014, 9:13 pm
@jsmith5050 Hi, Unfortunately it occasionally happens that Shapeways looses some small parts - try contacting them...
February 12, 2014, 9:10 pm
I ordered this but the locking nut was not sent with it. I also ordered all the rest of the assembly.....so I should have got that part too.
February 12, 2014, 9:09 pm
What is the overall depth of this with the servos mounted? (Front of GoPro mount to rear where you are holding it at in the picture)
January 22, 2014, 7:48 pm
Is this for hero 3+?
November 11, 2013, 8:01 am
I think some elastomer plastic might work well between gimbil and phantom
May 31, 2013, 6:28 pm
Awesome if I could mount the upcoming Raspberry Pi camera board with this.
February 20, 2013, 11:00 am
Can't you see it wants out!? Video 1:55.
February 8, 2013, 1:24 am
Great project! Congrats on the progress you've made to date! What is the best way to keep updated with how things are going? This page or do you have an email list?
January 27, 2013, 5:54 pm
AMAZING! Love what you're doing! I would be interested to buy you entire set up for my gopro, servos and all! Can you contact me when you have time? Thanks schafer1986@gmail.com
November 5, 2012, 7:36 pm
Hello friend I am interested in the system with gyroscope gimbal this on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYaz_oRHyOY, I would like to know the price, thank you very much
October 18, 2012, 3:40 pm
Might be nice to extend the rear housing to include space for the wifi backpack or offer a second option for a rear housing.
October 2, 2012, 5:48 pm
Hello, Can you direct me to MKS470 and 16mm x 8mm ball bearing at hobbyking? I searched but no luck.. Are there any other similar servos to use? Also, I read a complaint about weak plastic and issues using as a hobby grade mechanism. I'm going to use on the front of the Super Sky Surfer with gopro 2. I want to make sure I don't have issues such as loosing camera or weak plastic. Can you please advise on any modifications? Thanks a lot!
September 19, 2012, 5:05 pm
I agree with DAIGN's comment on the 3 axis camera gimbal for GoPro. I just got mine today. It took maybe 30 to 45 min. to put together. The first time I tried the servos the arm snapped at the joint of the 'v". The material is too brittle. Having said that, the concept is good, the material is not. Again, I agree with DAIGN's comment made in 2011-05-17. This comment is Aug. 01, 2012. Change the material and it might work.
August 2, 2012, 1:33 am
Cool! Keep working at it!
July 22, 2012, 5:48 pm
I bought this item thinking it was a complete kit for the Go-Pro. Be careful to include the additional three parts for a total of 61.09 plus shipping. Great idea but I'll just use the HD Skeleton Housing.
March 24, 2012, 10:37 pm
Looks like a cool product. Do you have any plans to sell it as a complete camera mount with servos and board?
June 19, 2011, 5:01 pm
Please read the description before buying. Nobody said this is ready, or mainstream - in fact I always stated clearly that this is work in progress, beta, and that I do not make any claims towards its usefulness. Please also consider that I am doing this as a hobby, but as I liked the way it turned out I decided to share it with others - that is all. I would not say that Shapeways plastic is not suitable for hobby parts. I took a shot here using the natural flexibility of the material (which I doubt many plastics can do - certainly not ABS), and it works for me. Of course as anything it can break due to excessive stress, but so far during normal operation it has been fine for me.
May 17, 2011, 9:33 pm
This item is NOT ready for the mainstream. Not only is the shapeways plastic entirely too brittle for such an application (during assembly) the so-called "pliable" arm snapped at the joint of the 'v'. The servo holes are not sized properly for the recommended MKS470 servos, the holes distort when trying to slid the servos in. This product is 100% not ready for the market nor applicable. Seller has no proof of actual usage on a flying model as well. I took a chance to try and give a new cool company a try and regret my chance. Shapeways plastic is not up to par for the hobby industry.
May 17, 2011, 7:00 pm


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