How-To: Use hard drives for image stabilization

Photography & Video Technology
How-To: Use hard drives for image stabilization


Instructables user BobS made a gyroscopic image stabilizer from two harddrives and some spare parts. I’ll save this one for my next helicopter trip over the Serengeti.

12 thoughts on “How-To: Use hard drives for image stabilization

  1. anachrocomputer says:

    I think this would work best if you used 10000 RPM hard drives — faster rotation would give a stronger gyroscopic force. Time to ask on FreeCycle for scrap drives!

  2. Sean says:

    Played around with a junk hard drive. The precession from a lower rpm drive can be really strong. The newer drives, having a really light aluminum case can put most of the mass into the rotating disks. This is a really neat repurposing of what would otherwise be useless scrap. So, what other projects need a gyro-stabilized mounting platform? How about one for those people who cannot pan and tilt a video camera smoothly. Go from vomit comet to industrial strength smooth!

  3. bataspur says:

    I felt like saying, hard drives are born, not made, when I realized that I was all set to say the wrong thing as usual.

    What about suddenly becomign eco-friendly and trying to develop the newer hard drives recycling the olde ones if that is possible in any way? Saves a lot of problems for our planet.

    — Mark

  4. Jason says:

    From the sample images, he’s obviously hand-holding the camera for the 2 images without his device. I’d like to know if he’s also hand-holding with the device. And if so, is it performing like the steady-cam projects we see here where all you’re doing is strapping a weight to a camera? How about a test with the device connected but the hard drives not powered, and then with the IS on and off.

    As well, hand-holding at 1/15th second, I get *much* better images than him with IS on and off so I’m wondering how much of the effect is operator related, subconsciously holding the camera steadier with his device.

  5. Travis says:

    I also wonder how much stabilizing effect this actually has. It may be that simply the mass of the hard drives is significant. Great idea, but more info needed.

  6. jeff-o says:

    Read the instructable carefully. There are four images taken at maximum zoom at 1/15, all hand-held, and all with the “external IS” mounted. The first is with internal and external IS turned off, the second with just internal, the third with just external, and the fourth with internal AND external IS turned on.

    Based on the author’s results the external IS is a bit better than the internal, but when combined the results are fantastic. Of course it’s no substitute for a tripod, but when a tripod isn’t an option then this may be a good substitute.

    And yeah, this might be great for a video camera!

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Becky Stern is a Content Creator at Autodesk/Instructables, and part time faculty at New York’s School of Visual Arts Products of Design grad program. Making and sharing are her two biggest passions, and she's created hundreds of free online DIY tutorials and videos, mostly about technology and its intersection with crafts. Find her @bekathwia on YouTube/Twitter/Instagram.

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