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What Are the Best Tips for Making a DIY Dolly?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 24 November 2016
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It is possible to simply go to the store and buy a prefabricated dolly, but it is often less expensive and just as easy to make a DIY dolly at home. The first step is to determine how you intend to use the DIY dolly once it is built. In some cases, it may be used to help transport heavy objects such as pieces of furniture. In other cases, it might be used to transport a camera when making a home movie or professional film. The design of the dolly will vary significantly based on its intended use.

A heavy-duty DIY dolly can be made from wood or metal. It is a good idea to assess your own abilities to make the dolly before you choose materials, as each material will require you to have a different skill set. If you make the dolly from metal, for example, you may need welding skills, or at the very least, the proper tools to cut or otherwise shape metal. Wood tends to be easier to work with, and it will be adequate for all but the most heavy-duty applications. If you are building the DIY dolly for home use, wood is probably the best choice. Once you build the dolly, consider wrapping the wooden supports with scraps of carpet or other cushioning material to prevent scratching or other damage to the items being used.

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The wheels of the dolly are perhaps the most important component, as these will bear much of the weight being transported. Choose heavy-duty wheels that will be appropriate for use on all surfaces, and avoid cheap plastic wheels that are likely to crack easily. For lighter-duty DIY dolly projects, such as dollies used for camera transport, gel wheels like the ones found on some types of luggage or on rollerblades are perhaps most suitable because they will cushion vibrations and allow for exceptionally smooth rolling.

For filming projects, it may be necessary to build a DIY dolly track as well. The dolly will rest on this track, thereby ensuring the movement of the dolly is smooth and straight. It is often possible to build such a track using inexpensive PVC piping in conjunction with gel skate wheels mounted on the dolly itself. It will be important to space the track in accordance with the width of the dolly wheels, and to secure the PVC pipe at regular intervals to prevent shaking, bobbing, or bouncing.

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