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G50 arm issue?


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#1 Lasse Gustavsson

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Posted 07 July 2007 - 02:56 AM

Hello everyone!
My new Steadicam Archer just arrived this week,
and I'm to 99% very satisfied with it!
What I'm wondering about is if it's supposed to be
any kind of "play"(don't know if it's the right word for it)
in the bearings in the G50?
There's no "play" in the armsections, but in the piece
that holding the arms together (4 bearings?) and the one
between the socketblock/first arm.
I can see the play with my eyes and can definetly see it.

Should I get in contact with my reseller or is this "OK"?

Haven't done my first job yet on this one...

Best regards
Lasse Gustavsson, Sweden

Attached File  Pix1.jpg   36.03KB   209 downloads
Attached File  Pix2.jpg   48.65KB   182 downloads
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#2 chris fawcett

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Posted 07 July 2007 - 06:36 AM

Hi Lasse,

There is some play in the hinge section, but it disappears entirely when under load.

Enjoy your Archer. I have one, and love it.

All the best,

Chris
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#3 Lasse Gustavsson

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Posted 07 July 2007 - 06:52 AM

Thanks a lot for the quick answer!
I just had in mind that all bearings
were supposed to be completely "tight".
But as you said, it disappears under load.

I've been working for quite a long time with the old
EFP so this seems like heaven, especially the arm!

Have a great day!

/Lasse
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#4 Jaron Berman

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 12:30 AM

I bought my rig second hand from Robert Starling, and while on the whole it has treated me very well, there are 2 arm issues I can't seem to get past.

First - from the day I got it, the outboard post (that goes into the gimbal handle) will not turn without a lot of stickiness. It moves smoothly and then hangs up, and then smoothly again. And no, it's not the thumb screw that varies the friction, because it still sticks when that screw is removed. Thoughts??? Also - anyone hear of Tiffen possibly offering other lengths of posts for the G-50? I'm a short guy, and it does get tiring to always have the arm up to get my lens height right (and also lose travel).... anyone?

Ok, now the non-critical but still annoying problem - its completely rusted! I was working in New York from the time I bought the rig till I moved a couple days ago. I worked in many locations outside the state, but never in a salty environment, never near water or other corrosive chemical. Still - every external bolt on my arm is rusted and starting to show pitting. I called Steadicam, and the response was "oh, yeah...it's bare metal. we don't really coat those.." If it weren't leaving smears on everything, or starting to pit I would have less of a problem. But it's a $10,000 arm that's about 1 year old... anyone else think it should probably not rust under normal usage? Is there a reason (beyond cost) to use mild uncoated steel instead of another material or a treated material? I could understand if I had abused it or subject it to water or salt or both... but just from being in the air?

Edited by Jaron Berman, 23 October 2007 - 12:31 AM.

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#5 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 01:38 AM

First - from the day I got it, the outboard post (that goes into the gimbal handle) will not turn without a lot of stickiness. It moves smoothly and then hangs up, and then smoothly again. Also - anyone hear of Tiffen possibly offering other lengths of posts for the G-50?

Ok, now the non-critical but still annoying problem - its completely rusted! I was working in New York from the time I bought the rig till I moved a couple days ago.


Hey Jaron, glad you're getting good use out of my old rig... if you can call a year old rig old.

I did not have that problem with the sticky post with my first or current G50 arm, but I did have the post cap come off on my current arm and it was a bit sticky when it started to get loose, but more like sticky trying to remove the post from the gimbal. I tightened the set screw and it's been good ever since. Do you have any up and down or side-to-side play in the post when you move it by hand?

Regarding longer posts; Tiffen does not offer it which is a shame but I think it would simply be a matter of having someone machine a longer post cap. I don't know how much longer we could go before it was too long for the inner pin to handle under load though. I'd be happy to research it and find someone to make them if we could get a few orders together...based on price of course.

When you mention rust; are you talking red/orange corrosion rust or like a white oxidation? My bolts have a little white oxidation going on but not what I would consider corrosion persea. How about some photos to show us what you've got going on.

Maybe Sir Jerry Holway or Robert Orf can give us some insight.

Take care!
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#6 Jaron Berman

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 02:20 PM

Robert! Thanks for the reply!

The post has play vertically, and no matter how many times I take it apart, align the keyways, and retighten things, there's always a little play vertically. Turning by hand, it feels very smooth, but as soon as its under load, it sticks pretty badly. Once time when i took it apart and tightened everything, it felt great.... for about 5 minutes, then it started sticking again. So I now know what it SHOULD feel like, I just cant make it work reliably.

As for the longer post, what's the difference in systems between the posts of the g-70 and g-50? Would there be a way to modify the 50 to accept 70 posts? It seems like such a stupid limitation on an otherwise great arm... I'm all for finding solutions though, and if it can handle the forces, I'd certainly take a lengthened sleeve.

Attached are some pics of the rust. Note that when I got the arm from you, there was only a VERY small amount of red rust on the bolts, and they were pretty smooth. Now none of the bolt heads are smooth, all very coarse and pitted, and I SWEAR I've never done anything remotely corrosive to the arm. Am I supposed to soak the whole thing in tool oil between uses or something?????

Attached Files


Edited by Jaron Berman, 23 October 2007 - 02:21 PM.

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#7 Jaron Berman

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 02:22 PM

last pic. this one shows the texture of the bolt heads pretty well.

Attached Files


Edited by Jaron Berman, 23 October 2007 - 02:23 PM.

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#8 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 02:58 PM

As for the longer post, what's the difference in systems between the posts of the g-70 and g-50? Would there be a way to modify the 50 to accept 70 posts? It seems like such a stupid limitation on an otherwise great arm... I'm all for finding solutions though, and if it can handle the forces, I'd certainly take a lengthened sleeve.
Attached are some pics of the rust.


The G70 and G50 have a totally different mechanism for the post; the G70 post is for simplicity just one piece that inserts and extends all the way through the arm bracket. Maybe there is not enough material in the smaller G50 arm end to enable that??? Agreed, there should be an optional extension post.

Your pics of the rusted bolts prompted me go downstairs and break out my arm for a double take. Maybe it's a matter of me living and working in the desert with avg 5% humidity, though I do work a bit in LA / SoCal, but my bolts are anodized black with no signs of corrosion. The little white oxidation just wipes off with a finger.

Here is a tight shot of what YOUR current arm, at that time MY arm/bolts looked like mid-February 2007 roughly three months before you bought it:

Posted Image

I can send you the hi-res if you want it.

Edited by Robert Starling, 23 October 2007 - 03:01 PM.

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#9 JobScholtze

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 03:25 PM

When i had the G50, i had all the same issues you mentioned. Regarding the post, i believe there are not enough washers under there, meaning, under load it had some friction. And also about the rusted bolts, i used to put some greese or oil on it. Never had that issue again. Like sayd before, its steel, so it rusts.

Also, i believe extending the g50 post wont work. There is a small steel pin under that cap. Extending it takes much more force. Its the limitation you got with the G50. I now own the G70, and its easy to extand / change the post. Different system and different price.
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#10 Garrett Brown

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 05:43 PM

Hey Jaron,

We made the call several years ago to make an arm with a standard short post. We have had enough feedback now to be at least thinking about the problem for operators that want extended posts. btw, I'm not a fan of extreme post lengths because of the excessive torque on all the arm parts, but I agree that a 6" or 8" post could be useful at times. I'll be sure to let you know if we find a solution. I wouldn't recommend having an aftermarket version done in the meantime because given the small diameter of the through-hole in the endblock, whatever you came up with would be under a great deal of stress and would be subject to breakage.

As to the rusted 'trunnion' screws, they are what's called 'black oxide' alloy screws which are turned down to be the precision trunnion axles hat hold the arm together. Black oxide is much stronger than any version of stainless steel, but under certain circumstances they can rust. As Job pointed out, the solution is simply to keep them oiled!

Please post any further concerns and I'll try to answer them... or contact me directly through my website: www.garrettcam.com

very best regards, Garrett Brown
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#11 Jaron Berman

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 06:02 PM

Robert - nice pic. Yeah, perhaps the acidic air of NYC is enough to rust steel. scary when I think of my lungs.... And according to steadicam, the bolts aren't anodized or coated, so the black color must be a gun-metal blacking (which would explain why they rust so easily).

Thanks Job! Good to know I'm not crazy. I'll clean them up and put some kind of waterproof oil on them...

And as for the 70 arm, it does offer a lot more capactiy and features, it just seems a bit stupid to me that to get the "feature" of different arm post lengths (which used to be standard on the EFP), you need to buy the 70 arm. I actually did try to buy the G-70 when I was initially looking, but "salesman" would not sell it to me with a clipper. When asked if I could buy it separately, he still would not sell it to me, because he knew what rig I intended to use it with, and couldn't therefore take the liability. When I offered to sign a release, he STILL would not sell it to me. So, I'm not sure exactly how us short ops are supposed to get longer arm posts on any rig besides the U2....

Apologies for the rant. When it works, the arm feels amazing and I absolutely love it. I am pretty put-off by the sales division though. Arg.



Garrett - Thanks for the reply. Any ideas on the post sticking? Does it need a delrin spacer or something?

Edited by Jaron Berman, 23 October 2007 - 06:05 PM.

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#12 Rob Vuona SOC

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 06:35 PM

Robert! Thanks for the reply!

The post has play vertically, and no matter how many times I take it apart, align the keyways, and retighten things, there's always a little play vertically. Turning by hand, it feels very smooth, but as soon as its under load, it sticks pretty badly. Once time when i took it apart and tightened everything, it felt great.... for about 5 minutes, then it started sticking again. So I now know what it SHOULD feel like, I just cant make it work reliably.

As for the longer post, what's the difference in systems between the posts of the g-70 and g-50? Would there be a way to modify the 50 to accept 70 posts? It seems like such a stupid limitation on an otherwise great arm... I'm all for finding solutions though, and if it can handle the forces, I'd certainly take a lengthened sleeve.

Attached are some pics of the rust. Note that when I got the arm from you, there was only a VERY small amount of red rust on the bolts, and they were pretty smooth. Now none of the bolt heads are smooth, all very coarse and pitted, and I SWEAR I've never done anything remotely corrosive to the arm. Am I supposed to soak the whole thing in tool oil between uses or something?????

-----------------------
Hey Jaron,
Bummer on the corrosion . . .I had similar happen to me after a three month shoot on the beach in Maui
I was tan as you can imagine but my rig didn't look so hot . . . everything that wasn't coated rusted including my trunions . . . .I'm still flying my trusty EFP with an EFP arm ,so my heart goes out to you regarding the G-50

Eventually my arm failed and springs snapped probably with the help of that shoot, I don't know . . .But anyway you can read about that in the archives . . .But after getting it fixed by Robert Luna, which BTW is awesome, he suggested that wiping the arm down with a little bit of baby oil after each shoot which helps avoid the arm from getting squeaky and corroding. Using sometypes of oils can irritate your skin and by using the baby oil it avoids this. I'm not saying to disregard teflon based oils or whatever it is that suits your needs but just a suggestion that seems to be working for me in addition to normal oil maintenance.

Oh . . .Ya did Robert tell you about the time he fell into a swimming pool with his last rig, oh was I not suppossed to say that . . . . . .???

No . . .NO . . .I'm just kidding . . .that was me . . .LOL . . .
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#13 Jaron Berman

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 09:16 PM

A most excellent suggestion Rob. I intend to add a pelican of "Assorted lubricants and scented oils" to my kit. Seriously though, good idea. Now I just need to clean off the corrosion so it doesn't spread.
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