“Smooth Driver”: the $1.00 DIY tool every filmmaker should make.

A simple DIY project anyone can make.


Many quick release plates and other camera gear require a large flat screwdriver or a large coin.

In the 60’s my father always carried a Sears Craftsman pocket flat screwdriver. There still available on eBay, but seem rather expensive and I prefer a thicker size for camera work.


I purchased a large flat washer at Home Depot, attached some self-adhesive black foam, and added a short piece of elastic cord. The cord serves two purposes. It allows you to attach the screwdriver to your tripod and can be used to steady your shots.

I call this the “Smooth Driver”. It is two tools in one. 

  1. A perfect size slot screwdriver for camera gear and tripods. Especially good for those 3/8″ to 1/4″ thread adapters.
  2. The elastic cord can aid in ensuring a smooth pan and tilt and can even be used with a slider.

The YouTube video “Best Camera Trick Ever!” shows how old a rubber band or elastic cord can help steady your shots. I use the SmoothDriver even when I’m using a $1,000 fluid head and always when using a Slider.

You can use the washer as is, but I found it much better to take a file and flattened one side of the washer. This gives it a far better grip on the slot head.


no-film-schoolNoFilmSchool recently posted this commercial available tool – $8.00 USD. “This Nifty Little Tool Makes Tightening Mounting Screws a Whole Lot Easier”


Another option is the key chain screwdrivers. I own a few of these (around $4.00 USD) but I much prefer the SmoothDriver because it has a wider grip on the screw and I can attach to my tripod or slider easily with elastic – no fumbling in my pocket for my keys.



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