Posted 16 October 2011 - 09:15 AM
I'm working on a hybrid between the Merlin and Merlin arm,and the vest from my old Mini.
I know this isn't a new idea and I'm not trying to take credit for it being so.
I love the Merlin and Merlin arm, but really don't like the vest.
I have a Steadicam Mini. I love the vest, but hate the clunky arm.
I want to convert the Mini vest to take the Merlin arm.
I plan to remount the Merlin docking block onto the Mini vest.
Posted 23 October 2011 - 03:48 AM
The whole thing went very well.
I wanted to use the Mini vest's lower half too, so I removed the 'trailer hitch' Mini arm mount and fitted the Merlin mount to the Mini vest's centre spar. It's a snug fit, but doable.
I cut down the Merlin vest's plastic stiffener panel and installed it behind the centre spar. So, unlike another conversion I've seen, I used all of the Mini vest's components other than the trailer hitch.
Being a leatherworker, I designed and made a little arm-keeper to go on the left shoulder. The hole in the tab slips over the spigot on the arm's end and retains the arm ready for use when the Merlin is hand-held. As it points down, it drops down flat and stays out of the way when not in use and is silent, unlike a velcro strap
I also added a leather 'grab-tab' on the hip pad velcro strap. Partly to remind me which side to get into and out of the vest, and partly so I can find it in a hurry if I need to get the vest off.
I cable tied the three release clips I don't use. This stops them creaking.
The vest and arm combo is really comfortable.
Posted 14 November 2011 - 01:50 PM
The vest now is essentially equivalent to a Flyer vest, which is a great choice for a lightweight rig.
Since the socket block is now "lightweight-rig-standard", you should be able to fly a Scout or Flyer arm and sled if you ever had the opportunity.
I like your arm-keeper. Very clever!