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Light Stand Wheeled Dolly

Universal Light Stand Dolly

I needed wheels on the light stands in my studio, to make moving them around easier and quicker.  A friend gave me a set of casters that fit over the legs of the light stands, and I thought I was in business.  However, I found that the tube part of the casters did not fit the legs of my light stands.  I soon discovered that the diameter of the legs on all of the light stands in my studio were not equal....different manufacturers used different sized tubing for the legs of their stands, which set me off on a mission to create a rolling dolly base that would fit all my light stands, regardless of the diameter of the legs.


Nine lengths of 3/4 inch plywood, cut into 2.5 inch strips
Metal strapping
Foam sheets
Three casters


I planned a design using 3/4 inch plywood, which is plentiful in my woodshop.  I first cut the plywood into 2.5 inch strips.  I needed nine individual pieces, which I cut into the following lengths:

            three that were 22 inches long;

            six that were 19 inches long

Round the corners of one end of each of the 22” pieces.

Glue up the three sets so that the 22” length is on top of one leg section, in the middle of the 2nd section, and on the bottom of the 3rd section.  When you glue up each set, make sure that the squared ends are aligned, and that the rounded end of each 22 inch piece extends beyond the ends of each of the 19 inch pieces.

Leg 1   22 inch top layer

      19 inch middle layer

      19 inch bottom layer

Leg 2   19 inch top layer

      22 inch middle layer

      19 inch bottom layer

Leg 3   19 inch top layer

      19 inch middle layer

      22 inch bottom layer

Universal Light Stand Dolly - Joint Detail

Universal Light Stand Dolly  - detail of joint


When the glue has dried, lay out the leg sections together, so that the rounded ends are towards the center, and the square ends radiate out from the center.  Make sure the rounded ends are overlapping appropriately, then drill a hole through the middle of the rounded over ends, to accept a 3” bolt that ties them all together.

I sanded all the wooden surfaces, then primed and painted them.  To keep the light stand legs tight to the dolly, I used strips of metal strapping that can be found in the plumbing aisle of most big box hardware stores.  I attached a piece of foam to each piece of strapping, then screwed them to the squared off end of each leg, making a stirrup.  The foam is merely to prevent scraping the paint off the legs of the light stand and ensure a more secure fit.  Attach one caster to the bottom of each leg, directly under the location where the light stand leg will fit in the stirrup.

Universal Light Stand Dolly - caster and stirrup detail

Once each leg of the dolly is complete, attached the rounded ends of the dolly with a 3 inch bolt, careful to put a large washer both above and below the contact points with the wooden legs.  Do not over-tighten the bolt, as you may need to adjust the angle of each leg as you set the light stand on it, to ensure that each leg is 120 degrees from the adjacent legs.


Once finished, set the light stand on the dolly, spreading the legs of the light stand so that each on engages a stirrup at the end of each dolly leg.  When in place, tighten the knob on the light stand, locking the legs in place.  You should be able to lift the light stand and the dolly should move with it, if the stirrups are correctly positioned and the light stand legs are properly in place.

The beauty of this design is that it should fit any light stand that I have in the studio, and the weight of the light stand (and anything on it) is transferred down the legs of the light stand and directly to the casters...there should be no weight on the center of the dolly.

Universal Light Stand Dolly

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