I’ve been pretty busy over the last few days or so. I built the rig for my bullet-time shoot at the weekend and this evening I built a new wheel up for my 24″ street unicycle.

I ordered the parts for my wheel late last week and they turned up this morning. Great service from the guys (and girls) at UDC as per usual.
Getting a parcel from UDC is probably still one of my favourite things. I always get excited, it’s better than christmas! (Probably because I’m actually getting what I want)
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I’m building a new wheel because my old one was getting old, it was the old Onza splined hub/cranks and it has developed loads of slop. I also wanted shorter cranks, which I already have but they are ISIS.
I’m using the Nimbus Dominator II rim laced to a Nimbus ISIS hub. The Nimbus gear has dramatically improved in recent years and I am a convert. I love the Dominator rims, they are by far the strongest rims on the market for unicycles. Jason at Voodoo Unicycles likes to ride with half of his spokes missing and his rim is still true. A testament to just how good they are.

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I proceeded to build the wheel up only to find out it wouldn’t fit in my frame without the spokes jamming hard up against the bearing housings! Grrr!
I spent 45 minutes filing the housings down so the wheel would fit without jamming and then I realised I’d have to do the other halves of the housings. Fuck that, my hands are fucked from doing the frame, I’m saving that for another day. I need a mill!

I can’t wait to ride the new wheel with shorter cranks. Gappage here I come!

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Bullet-time Update!

I spent the latter half of last week gathering materials and the weekend building the camera rig for my bullet-time shoot. Helped by Greg, the technician at college, I carried out 5 or 6 test shoots so we could work out what was going to work best. WE gradually got better and better results until we thought we’d got everything sussed. The final rig is 6 metres in diameter, can hold 34 cameras and covers just over 90°. You might not think that’s much movement; but I want the effect to look good rather than cover a wide-angle. With the number of cameras I can get this is the widest angle I think I can cover and still get acceptably smooth movement.

So, I started off with a sheet of 18mm thick MDF. I chose MDF because it is cheap, easy to work with and it is flatter than ply. When I was looking at materials on the racks at Wickes you could see how bowed the plywood was, even the thickest sheets. I need all the cameras to be dead level in order to maintain the correct framing, so flatness is really important.
I then drew a 3 metre arc on the MDF. I took this photo before I drew the arc. I was going to use a pen on a 3 metre long piece of string anchored to the ground but the string had too much stretch and I couldn’t get a smooth arc with it. In the end I used a piece of wood with 3 holes drilled in it. One at 3 metres for the camera line, one for the back edge and the other for the front edge.
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The MDF sheet was 8ft x 4ft and the front drive was the only place big enough in my house to lay it out to mark it up.
Next I cut the pieces out. I actually marked out 3 but only needed two in the end. I’ve kept the offcut with the third bit marked up, just in case I do something like this again and need a bigger rig.
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Next job was to make the joining pieces. I used door stop strip. It’s nice and straight and cheap.
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In order to make the rig rigid so all the cameras are level and so that the mounting screw heads are held off the floor I decided to put batons on the underside of the rig. I cut these as long as I could get away with without them interfering with the mounting screws. They are held down with wood glue and 1 3/4″ woodscrews.
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With the batons in place, I marked 140mm increments along the 3 metre camera line and drilled a 6mm hole on each mark.

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The last job was to fit the 1/4″ screws that the cameras will mount onto. The 6mm holes are a little tight for the screws which is perfect because they don’t fall out when I move the rig about.
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And that’s it! The rig is finished and ready for my shoot on Thursday. It’s absolutely massive, I can’t actually set it up anywhere but the drive.
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Big ups to my Dad for lending his expert knowledge and a spare pair of hands to help me build the behemoth.
I’m a bit nervous that I won’t get the number of cameras I need. Fingers crossed everyone that I’m borrowing cameras from remembers. Watch this space!

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