DSLR Camera Slider

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MeanderBolt
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Re: DSLR Camera Slider

Post by MeanderBolt » Mon Jun 22, 2015 11:54 am

The design so far... (was done as a screen shot. It looked great in the DraftSight. It looks like crap as a still. Sorry about that.)
Screen Shot 2015-06-22 at 8.08.35 AM.png
Screen Shot 2015-06-22 at 8.08.35 AM.png (83.15 KiB) Viewed 789 times
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MeanderBolt
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Re: DSLR Camera Slider

Post by MeanderBolt » Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:44 am

I have been working on the project a lot the past few weeks. I ordered some parts from ServoCity to get me going as I don't think I yet have the ability to mill gears with the precision needed for GT2, or XL. So, I got pulleys, belts, some really sweet super thin bearings, and a few odds n ends. I needed to get these in hand so I could measure them to incorporate into my design. The tricky bit here was trying to figure out what kind of tolerances I needed to use. This is something I have been puzzled by for a while. How exact to I need to make things. Too exact and sometimes things don't fit together if they are even a little out of alignment. On the slider plate I needed 2 disks which will contain a flanged bearing. Being that this thing will be holding a camera, trying to shoot smooth video, it would be bad if there were any backlash, or wobble when the motor changed directions. So, I needed pretty precise, but not too precise (which is what I learned). My plan, (and for once, my plan actually worked) was to mill out the hole for the bearing, and once it was finished, leave it on the machine, with the motors still energized, so I still had my coordinates. I would test fit the on the machine, and if it was too small, run a finishing pass and take off .1mm each pass till it fit. I took a much deeper step down rate (.5 mm instead of my .15 mm) and did these as climb for a nicer finish. This worked great. Also, after I saw how nice the hole turned out, I decided to do a finishing pass on all remaining bearing pieces. I would mill the circle profile with tabs as one MOP, then move the spindle away from the area, cut out the center of the circle with some snips, then do the finishing pass to full depth. This allowed the ring to be super smooth and no little bumps that you would usually get if you had tabs.
BearingDisk_ChiliPeppr.jpg
BearingDisk_ChiliPeppr.jpg (114.85 KiB) Viewed 746 times
One of the more challenging parts while designing this, was how I was going to get stepper motor wiring, and camera triggering out to the camera without ripping up wires because they had wrapped around the pan or tilt axis. A buddy of mine flies rather large RC helicopters with a camera platform which I control. On his system, there is a small hole through each axis for allowing cables n such to travel. While I studied his design, I had no idea as to how to build it. He bought the system outright, so as where one might find these kinds of parts was a mystery. So I went in search of DIY pan / tilt units and I found a whole frightening array how people have done similar things. The frustrating bit was that most people are doing this with servos or brushless systems. I need the ability of precision locating of a position, so the brushless thing is out, unless I use an encoder, but I was not seeing anything somewhat affordable, or controllable (for what I am trying to do). Those things can motion stabilize all day, but not move to a specific point over a given amount of time. Servos can be fairly precise, but the resolution is not really there. You get too much judder. So... Steppers are my goto motor here, both for strength and positioning.
A few weeks ago I finally stumbled upon a video on YouTube for a ServoCity pan unit. In theory, this was SO close to what I needed. I stopped the video and made several screen grabs so I could wrap my head around how it all went together. While the idea is nice, it was for a geared motor (no precision) so I needed to sort out how to incorporate this idea with a stepper. I then found their website. It was stock full of great objects I hadn't seen anywhere else. So... it was time to zero in on how I wanted this to work.

Part of the purchase (and a last minute one, based on a hunch at that) was a 4 inch tube. I was thinking that I might want to suspend the thing below the track, so a longer tube which had a built in lock at the end would be ideal. But I hadn't considered that it would come in handy trying to get all the sides all aligned. The trick I found was to leave everything loose, and slowly continue pressing everything together and then tighten. Below you can see the lip of the bearing. Once everything was pressed together, the surface of the bearing sits flush to the plate.
TopPlate_w_Pully_Assembly.jpg
TopPlate_w_Pully_Assembly.jpg (139.52 KiB) Viewed 746 times
TopPlate_w_Pully_01.jpg
TopPlate_w_Pully_01.jpg (144.12 KiB) Viewed 746 times
975
Last edited by MeanderBolt on Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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MeanderBolt
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Re: DSLR Camera Slider

Post by MeanderBolt » Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:47 am

Here's a view of the bottom.
TopPlate_Under_w_BearingClamp.jpg
TopPlate_Under_w_BearingClamp.jpg (179.77 KiB) Viewed 746 times
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MeanderBolt
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Re: DSLR Camera Slider

Post by MeanderBolt » Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:51 am

Coming soon... to a post near you...
Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 10.39.46 PM.png
Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 10.39.46 PM.png (35.9 KiB) Viewed 743 times
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RobCee
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Re: DSLR Camera Slider

Post by RobCee » Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:47 pm

Looking amazing! Great work so far.
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Hans
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Re: DSLR Camera Slider

Post by Hans » Thu Jul 09, 2015 6:44 pm

That's a lot of fine work in aluminum so far. When do we get to see it do it's thing? :D
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MeanderBolt
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Re: DSLR Camera Slider

Post by MeanderBolt » Fri Jul 10, 2015 3:17 am

Thanks Rob!!!
Hans, it's been frustrating fun. (Is that even a real thing?)

So... What does one do when the rest of the family is away? Have insane parties? Spin from the celling fan till you pass out? Join a biker gang?
No! You drive yourself batty trying to build crazy crap.
I have been really pushing to get the slider system done while the family is away is it is very time costly and somewhat (very) loud, so less annoying for them.

I want to get this done by this Sunday as I really really need it next week. I am not sure if I will be able to pull it off. It has been a lot of late nights and I need to back off a little as next week I have a rather large amount of shooting and editing I will be doing over a stupid amount of hours. So... do I push through it and burn out, or make the best effort within somewhat safe boundaries? The thing is, it is now assembled (minus one bearing... story forthcoming) so I have a crapload of electronics work to do to get the steppers all wired in, the drivers all wired into the Arduino, then how much time to program. It's the programming that worries me. While I will get it eventually, I am not a programmer by nature, only by necessity, and self taught. I know what I want it to do, and I know the capabilities of the Arduino and Arduino Mega, but I don't know how to get across the stream.

Now thinking back through it, I really should have purchased another GRBL Shield. The time that all the wiring is taking is not worth the $30 of savings I got for buying a hand full of stepper drivers. Call it a lesson learned. I have had many of those kinds of realizations during this build. But I am really stoked by how it is turing out.

I just keep hitting stupid mistakes. It just is frustrating when you have very limited time and you find out you just really goofed something up, and have to re-mill something that just took you several hours to finish. I used to think that a millimeter was really small. I am now learning that a 10th of a mm can make or break you, so you best measure carefully.

Here's more pix of my progress...
Tilt-Assembly.jpg
Tilt-Assembly.jpg (294.88 KiB) Viewed 674 times
Pan-Tilt_First-Assembly.jpg
Pan-Tilt_First-Assembly.jpg (186.64 KiB) Viewed 674 times
Pan-Tilt-w-CameraPlate.jpg
Pan-Tilt-w-CameraPlate.jpg (128.92 KiB) Viewed 674 times
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MeanderBolt
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Re: DSLR Camera Slider

Post by MeanderBolt » Fri Jul 10, 2015 4:16 am

So... 2 little hiccups along the way... (well there were more, but I will mention these now).
I mentioned the bearings I found at ServoCity. They can be found here and the item number is #535051. They are a little expensive (at least they are to me) when you consider that you need 4 of them for what I am doing here ( 2 for Y, and 2 for the X axis). But I was set on building this, so here we are. I ordered 4, and I received 4. I even took a picture of the booty in case I ever had any discrepancy of what I received. I put all my goodies back into the box from which it came and set it aside until I needed it. I got through the first bit of the Y Rotation without issue. Then when I got finished milling (and re-milling the parts I goofed up by putting the screw cap recesses on the wrong side of the plate)(grrrrrrrr) I started assembling the X axis rotation point, and I only had 1 bearing left. DuhHell? I dumped out the rest of the box, and went through the whole living room. I looked everywhere, even in seat cushions of the couch I never sit in. The damn thing is just poofed... gone. How does this happen? So... for now, I have an aluminum clamp holding the other side of the axis in place. I ordered another bearing this morning, so hopefully it will get here Saturday.

Thennnnn there's the second little hiccup. I planned to use this system with both my Canon 5D mkIII with battery grip, as well as without battery grip. I also wanted to use it with my Panasonic GH4. So, there are 2 locations for the camera plate to go. The lower position is obviously for use with the camera grip. At this height, the center of the lens is equal to the center of the tilt (X) axis. Late in the game it occurred to me that if I could slide the camera back, I could rotate around the nodal point of the lens. This is an excellent thing if you are trying to get perfect panoramas (thinking about the possibility of future gigapans). I had thought through everything it was a great idea. Best idea ever. Big party. Woohoo. And then...
Pan-Tilt_Problems_01.jpg
Pan-Tilt_Problems_01.jpg (155.39 KiB) Viewed 671 times
Seriously? SERIOUSLY?!?
You know those moments when you just wanna bury your face in your hands and scream really really loud? Yeah, this is sort of one of those. I had checked for this exact thing prior to the 'Oh I have an idea' phase. So without consideration to WHY the side arm is the height that IT IS, I added the slot and extra space behind the camera plate so I could scoot the camera back when I wanted to. I never considered that it might BASH INTO THE BASE. So... I have to mill out a new side arm that will lift the plate about 3/4 of an inch. Sadly, the side arm is the most time expensive part of this whole system. It's nearly 2 and a half hours due to the 2mm stepper pocket. This time has been seriously reduced because I found a nice piece of 63.6 mm (2.5in.) wide aluminum, so I only needed to cut the round over at the top (which wasn't really necessary, but I wanted it to look nice). The rest of the piece was cut to length on a chop saw.

Other stupidity included drilling the holes for the cross pieces too close to the edge to the point that when I tapped it ridges appeared (= PART RE-MILL), and the above mentioned screw cap recesses on the wrong side of the piece (which was a previous side arm) (= PART RE-MILL) Then there was the one where I told the cam I wanted -6.6mm instead of -1.6 on the bearing flange recess. It is all self inflicted folks. But I don't know what I don't know, and each one of these things I am pretty sure I will not do again, it's just part of that learning curve. (Well that's what I keep promising myself).

So then.... It was time to attach the steppers. They fit so amazingly well. They clicked in and slid smoothly within it's recess. THAT! That right there is why I keep pushing forward. While it seems so trivial, it was so satisfying to feel it just lock into the groove with very little play. I attached them with m3 screws and it all fit beautifully. Now the part I was worried about. I found some formulas on line about how to judge the length of a belt needed between 2 different sized pulleys. I suck at math my nature, but I am learning a lot as I get deeper into this hobby... something about context. I put the pulleys on and they fit amazingly well. The arm comes very close to the bottom belt, but once I moved the flanged pulley down, it clears just fine.
Pan-Tilt-w-Steppers-Belts.jpg
Pan-Tilt-w-Steppers-Belts.jpg (201.29 KiB) Viewed 671 times
I moved the camera plate up to the second position and removed the extended battery off the 5D for a test fitting.
P-T_w_Camera_01.jpg
P-T_w_Camera_01.jpg (220.41 KiB) Viewed 671 times
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MeanderBolt
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Re: DSLR Camera Slider

Post by MeanderBolt » Fri Jul 10, 2015 4:18 am

P-T_w_Camera_02.jpg
P-T_w_Camera_02.jpg (184.53 KiB) Viewed 671 times
P-T_w_Camera_03.jpg
P-T_w_Camera_03.jpg (197.27 KiB) Viewed 671 times
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WillAdams
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Re: DSLR Camera Slider

Post by WillAdams » Fri Jul 10, 2015 10:43 am

Thank you for sharing all that. Very, very cool.

It also serves as a cautionary tale on material usage and the value of making prototypes, one which I’m glad to be reminded of, since I’m about to start my first bit of metalwork on my machine.

Makes using .stl files from 3D modeling software look better, since one can use the same source file for subtractive CAM and 3D printing. Need to give that some thought.
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