Best Way To Clean Camera Gimbals
Often times I see people on Facebook and Twitter reaching out for advice on how to clean camera gimbals. Sadly, most of the suggestions they acquire are either useless or potentially dangerous.
If you’re someone who’s looking for ways to clean their gimbal stabilizer, then you’ve come to the right place.
However, before I get into the tips and tricks, something I’d like to point out is that I DO NOT recommend strip-cleaning your gimbal. Over the years, I’ve seen countless people fail to put the pieces back together before taking them out in order to clean the gimbal, be it a 3-axis handheld, drone-based, or wearable gimbal. It’s not worth it.
That said, let’s check out the best way to clean Camera Gimbals so you don’t end up breaking yours.
Should You Lubricate Your Gimbal Ball Bearings?
Although lubricating gimbals is a common practice (or so it used to be), what most people don’t realize is that most modern camera gimbals have a sealed bearing mechanism.
Therefore, thanks to the advancements in technology, it’s essentially pointless to lubricate your gimbal as it probably doesn’t have an open ball bearing system, unless the gimbal was manufactured before 2015, in which case lubrication is still a feasible option.
Sealed Ball Bearings — How Do They Work?
The sealed ball bearing system offers plenty of benefits to the user, as well as the gimbal’s manufacturer.
For example, it keeps your gimbal’s ball bearings in a cool, sealed environment.
As you know, ball bearings are used by your gimbal in the course of image stabilization, which is why having them in a sealed environment makes more sense as it prevents dirt from getting inside and affecting the performance. This also enables the manufacturers to use high-quality lubricants in the ball bearings to ensure they’re always lubricated.
Should You Consider Compressed Air?
Again, this is yet another common practice used to clean camera gimbals, but can potentially be hazardous for modern stabilizers.I personally have never used compressed air to clean camera gimbals due to modern stabilizers having more circuit boards.
Compressed air has a reputation for building up a static charge during usage, which can dissipate into your gimbal’s circuitry, causing permanent damage to the stabilizer.
The reason we’re mentioning this is that some canned-air products are promoted as being “harmless” or “electronic friendly,” which, to be honest, is more like a marketing strategy.
People who maintain their technical equipment regularly use something like an electric high-pressure air duster, which is much safer than a canned-air product. However, for your gimbal stabilizer, I’d still not recommend using this particular method for the said reasons.
The Proper Way to Clean Camera Gimbals
With all that said, the safest and most convenient way to clean camera gimbals is to not use something specifically built for cleaning gimbals. Confused? Let me elaborate.
Everything I’ve mentioned so far is nothing more than a series of my own personal experiences with cleaning gimbals. Using both lubricants and canned air dusters have damaged a few of my old gimbals in some way.
With some popular handheld gimbals now costing hundreds of dollars per unit, more people are opting for the anti-static brush method, and so have I.
Here’s why I prefer using the (Amazon) Anti-Static Brush Cleaning Kit to clean my gimbals:
- An easy way to clean your gimbal. You can also use it for car detailing, vent, interior, PCB, Xbox, computers, cellphones, gaming keyboards, and hard-to-reach areas
- High-quality brush structure, lightweight, small size, safe use, and easy installation
- Anti-static brush
- High-temperature resistant
- Easy to use and carry
- Unique flexibility: the contact won’t scratch or damage the film; can dramatically reduce the anti-static timely
- And lastly, when the conductive thread of the brush comes into contact with insulated parts, the static charge is eliminated via corona dissipating and discharging.
Electric air dusters can only separate the dirt from their nozzles. But, an anti-static brush allows you to easily manipulate it out of your stabilizer in the best possible direction. It allows you to prevent dirt from getting deeper into the gimbal and causing a problem.
What method are you using to clean your camera gimbals?
Feel free to share your thoughts and recommendations with us in the comments below.