Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Meet the New and Improved Mini-Crab #72

Newly refurbished, Mini-Crab #72 is pushed onto the showroom floor by Marty Drennan. Seated in the operators seat is Corri Stiemle, receptionist/accountant and the smile that greets everyone at Visual Products. Click on any image to enlarge!
Marty shows just how compact this Mini-Crab dolly truly is. Marty will soon be sharing some photos he took during the refurbishment.
We then pushed #72 outside the showroom to get a sense of how well it maneuvered on a paved surface. It performed flawlessly! 
#72 is posed here next to Marty's beautiful Model A Ford.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Proper CO2 bottles REQUIRED for your Colortran Mini-Crab Dolly!

The correct CO2 bottle position indicating 'This side up'.

Recently, the inventor of our favorite dolly, William Sargent shared with me critical information about using the proper CO2 bottle. These bottles had specially designed syphons installed to be used with the Colortran Mini-Crab Dolly.

Originally, each Mini-Crab dolly that was sold by Colortran were outfitted with this special CO2 bottle. Over the years, these bottles were either lost or replaced with conventional CO2 bottles that are NOT acceptable to use with your Mini-Crab.



If your bottle doesn't have a stenciled 'THIS SIDE UP' it's most likely a conventional/replacement bottle and SHOULD NOT be used in your Mini-Crab!

The obvious reason is that the CO2 bottle used by the Mini-Crab dolly is placed in the CO2 compartment laying on its side. The distinction is that they're placed horizontally. Conventional CO2 bottles are designed to be used in an upright position NOT on it's side as needed for the Mini-Crab.

Mini-Crab Dollies should use a specially designed CO2 bottle with syphons installed to prevent moisture entering into your hydraulic system which can lead to cracked o-rings or other major problems. It's probable your hydraulic system will be compromised using a conventional gas bottle.

If you need the correct CO2 bottle, or if your original bottle is no longer certifiable by your local gas house...call Marty Drennan at Visual Products, 440-647-4999 about obtaining the correct bottle.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Visual Products - The Official Repair Center for the Colortran Mini-Crab Dolly

Meet my friend and Colortran Mini-Crab Dolly expert, Marty Drennan of Visual Products.

Recently, I visited my new friend Marty Drennan at the world renown Visual Products in Wellington, Ohio.
Marty is a Camera Support Technician who handles the repairs of professional fluid heads, gear heads and dollies. Speaking of which, Marty is currently refurbishing a Colortran Mini-Crab Dolly bearing the serial number of #72.  This dolly was sent to Visual Products by a private owner for refurbishing. 
Once I heard that Marty was working on #72, I took the half-hour drive from my home to Visual Products. I had to see first hand what was in store for this classic dolly! To say I was impressed is an understatement! Not only did Marty completely disassemble the Mini-Crab with great care, he began bringing it back to life with new and improved processes including new cabling, seals, proper CO2 tank, lines, etc. You'll be happy to know that Marty has photographed and documented the different stages involved in refurbishing a Mini-Crab. Marty will share some of his insight and photographs in a future post. 

Over the years, I've heard from Mini-Crab owners from around the world asking about obtaining service. I'm pleased to announce that after my recent visit to Visual Products and watching Marty maneuver in his meticulously kept machine shop, Visual Products has been selected by this site as the official and recommended repair center for the Colortran Mini-Crab Dolly.

Remember, the Mini-Crab is more than 40 years old! What an excellent way to bring your dolly back-to-specs by having it updated by Visual Products. Needless to say, Mini-Crab #72's market value has jumped substantially after Visual Products refurbished it! Compared to some of today's professional crab dollies which can reach north of $10,000, this investment was well worth it!

You may contact Marty Drennan by calling Visual Products at: 440-647-4999 or going to their website at: