After 3 years of the Stage One lightweight expandable/collapsible dolly system in the wild we had received a lot of great feedback and grown to understand where there were some minor shortcomings in the design and we had some opportunities to add some new features. Our first stab at major improvement to the Stage One happened about a year after it's launch when we transitioned from aluminum connectable rails to carbon fiber. This was a major weight savings (close to a pound per set!) as well as some improved accuracy in the joint from rail to rail. From there we continued to improve our processes and made slight modifications to the rails to get even better quality. The rail specifications remain the same and all rails new or old are fully compatible with any Stage One parts new or old (although an important note: we don't suggest mixing the aluminum rails with the carbon fiber due to the different material and process, although they will connect and the joint between the two may be 'okay' it probably won't be up to our high standards).
What is the same?
-Rails remain the same so therefor system weight capacity also remains the same (15 pounds with max spans around 40" between supports)
-Motors, Quick Change System, Belt, Idler Rollers and Drive Pulleys have not changed between the old and PLUS so any of these parts old or new will still be fully compatible.
-Bi-Pod Legs are still cross compatible with the Stage Zero system as well as old and new Stage One PLUS systems.
-Main Cart 'Top Plate' has not changed from the very beginning, but the undercarriage and wheel design has been updated (see 'Cart Undercarriage' below)
What is different?
-Rail Ends have been completely redesigned, we've been able to shave about 1 pound off the system as a whole and a majority of this weight was shed in the end components. The ends (and even the mid-spans) now use a 'clamping style' structure to securely grip and hold the rails in place, we've added longer 2 1/2" extensions to the lower clamps which greatly improves resistance to twisting forces in the system and helps to keep the rails level/straight as they are assembled. By using a cap head hex bolt to securely tighten the ends and the mid-spans users can generate extremely strong connection to the rails. We've been able to add bubble levels to the end and mid-span structure for easier leveling as well as a new rubber bumper that will stop/protect the cart if it happens to fall and hit the ends. Last but not least we now use a centered 3/8" tap on ends and mid-spans, including a 3/8 to 1/4 adapter so no matter what type of support your connecting to the structure it's always centered and secure. Additionally we've created two 1/4-20 taps 30mm on center which is our standard bolt pattern in the Dynamic Perception universe for max creative mix/match use.
-Rail Mid-spans have been completely redesigned. As mentioned above the major difference here is how all mid-spans now have a 'clamp style' connection to the rails. This makes it so every connection with the rails is now a structural connection allowing for solid connection points anywhere along the rails. This change alone is quite major when it comes to creating very long rail systems and more importantly the ability to make extremely secure support connections anywhere along the length of the rail. This introduces two major new features to the system; the ability to center mount (40" max suggested length) and the ability to create more efficient structure with longer rails.. For center mounting we suggest tying two of the mid spans together with our new 'Heavy Duty Multi-mount Plate' or a longer 'Arca style' quick release plate for the best results. On the efficient structure side the secure support connections anywhere on the rail allows for supports to be placed in from the ends. The most efficient span structure looks like a long span bridge, the major supports are not at the extreme ends of the span but rather about 1/5th to 1/6th of the total span in from the ends.. This reduces the overall span and creates small overhangs at the ends. Just like the new ends the mid-spans have the same mounting pattern and the integrated bubble level.
-Cart undercarriage and Wheels have been completely redesigned. All the improvements to the rail structure required some re-imagining of the cart undercarriage and wheel system. The new wheel structure is now smaller overall and more efficient, one major new aspect of this redesign is the system can now sit completely flat (on a table for example) without interference from the wheels. Many of the great features of the previous design remain; still smooth/quiet, still fully captured for any orientation even upside down, and although there is one less wheel per side there are more bearings for redundancy. The older design relied on perfect machining of the undercarriage to create a tight cart fit, we maintain the same perfection in the new part but there is now the ability to tighten/loosen the center wheel and take out any minor play. The new cart packs better as it's more compact and the cart can now be placed on a flat surface and it won't damage the wheels or roll away..