Stop motion camera crane

Ok. I need to create a camera crane. It dosn't have to be very big since I'm using it for stop motion. Just a simple pan and tilt crane with a counterweight to off-set the camera. Now, I can make a regular one very simply using a video crane method that you can find on this site. However, this crane must do 2 things. 1. It must be able to move at incredibly small increments. Only fractions of an inch at a time. 2. The crane must be able to hold it's position in a very sturdy manner. It cannot move even in the slightest because stop-motion requires that the camera does not move at all while individual pictures are being taken. For the life of me, I can't figure it out. Traditionally, a "step motor" is used to create the individual movements for things like this. But they are incredibly expensive. I've had more luck with gears and servos, however I want to figure out the logistics before I just go buy gears individually on a website that may or may not work. Your help would be appreciated. Thank you.

caitlinsdad7 years ago
There was a topic somewhere else but kelseymh suggested a laboratory jack to hook up to servos or an indexer mechanism.

McMaster-Carr is kelseymh's preferred online source for maker elves and tinkerers alike.

Maybe you can attach a big "Wheel of Fortune" to the pivot point of the crane. If the wheel has closely spaced serrations or stops on the edge, advancing it one click will give you better control of moving it up and down. Vary the diameter to see what works best. You can even mock it up using cardboard and the build it out of wood or knex, yeah, get a lego's mindstorm to control the motion. Good luck.
Kiteman7 years ago
Bumped back onto first page of topics - somebody must be able to help here.