Introduction: Arduino Gimbal With Micro Servos

I find gimbals really fascinating even just to look at. So lately I decided to make my own since the ones out there are so expensive, and making stuff is so much cooler than buying stuff.

I quickly realized that they are usually made with a gimbal controller board and brushless motors. And they are super easy to make, so maybe later I will make one of those. But I also have a lot of components laying around, and just because i was curious i decided to make a arduino gimbal with micro servos

luckily I found this instructable by woojay wich became the basis for my gimbal.

I had no hopes that it could even support my action camera, but to my surprise it did. It has some delay, but its a fun and interesting project and its really cheap.

Step 1: Partslist

The parts needed for the arduino gimbal with micro servos is:

2 x 9g micro servos

1 x arduino (i prototyped with the uno, and in the end i used the nano just because it so little, you can use wich one you like)

1 x mpu6050 accel/gyro sensor

2 x 10k resistors

Power supply (i ended up with 4x1.5 AA batteries) IMPORTANT, the power output from the arduino will not be enough to drive the servos itself, you NEED external power.

And the casing and arms. I printed this item, my design can be found on thingiverse. And if you have a printer yourself, i would love to see some other designs, mine was rough and could probably be a lot more refined.

Step 2: The Prototype

So i searched a lot around the web to find anyone else making a gimbal with micro servos. And i couldn't find much info, so I assumed that this wouldn't even work since the internet wasn't full of info. But there was one instructable that made it all happen. It was a prototype of the system made by woojay. This really helped a lot since I am not a programmer in any ways.

So i went ahead and built his system with his code and it worked without any issues.

The only thing to be clear about here is the calibration of the MPU6050. Everyone of these sensor are unique in there own way, therefor you need to run the calibration program stand alone on your MPU6050 first to read its characteristics. The the value you get out of you chip must be edited in to your specific program for the gimbal.

For the mpu6050 to work you also need I2Cdev and the MPU6050 Libraries installed.

For this sample to work, the I2Cdev and the MPU6050 libraries need to be installed. Find the calibration program and wiring diagram attached. Also check out woojay's instructable, he has good wiring diagrams.

Step 3: Going Forward

So i made woojay's system, then it is time to turn it in to a real gimbal. This is all about creativity and how you want to make you specific system, you can use my step files and print it, or make something completely different.

I used a nano instead from this point to make it smaller and a cheap protoboard to make it one unit.

I put the mpu6050 inside the main box. I've read that maybe putting it on the camera side (the arm the camera sits on) might be a better solution. So that is up to you. Everything would still be the same if you choose to do so.

As you can see from pictures and video the first arm configuration i design was to flexible, maybe I should have seen that one coming, but anyways I am giving you a heads up now if you should want to design your own. I also added a switch between the battery and arduino.

Any questions leave a comment, and read more at my blog

Comments

author
blackie99 (author)2017-08-03

I made the project with a Nano and it and it works great! Many thanks to Friedrikeide and Woojay! I will use it to show some teens how a gyro can be used to change the direction of a rocket. That's quite a leap from this project, but it's a start! Does anybody have suggestions for changing the servos from pitch and roll to pitch and yaw? Or even better, to use servos on all three axes.

Gimbal 2 Servo project.jpg
author
blackie99 (author)2017-07-30

Looks like a fun project! Question - I may be wrong but I think there is a wiring error in your small picture of the servos, UNO, 6050, and the 9V battery. The 6050 GND seems to be connected to the UNO VIN. Shouldn't UNO VIN get +9V and 6050 GND get ground from someplace?

author
paul.sneed.39 (author)2017-07-24

nice job!.. I have an issue with the code though, help? :)

author

maybe? what is the problem?

author
BrendanP20 (author)2017-07-07

I actually just finished building this! Thank you but the servos keep spazzing out. Any idea why? I calibrated the gyro too

author
Fredrikeide (author)BrendanP202017-07-26

how cool you build it :D no i have no idea why, i have not encountered this issue. maybe someone here with more knowledge then me might help you..? or if you ask under woojays post?

author
Terminator1515 (author)2017-06-28

This is exactly what I was looking for! Arduino nano, 3d printed, those cheap 9g servos... wow! Awesome!

Gonna have to look into the chip calibration but it doesn't look too difficult.

Do you think the servos could support the weight of a smartphone?

author

Thanks! The chip calibration just sounds difficult, it is not. I dont know about a smartphone. It might be just a bit to heavy.

author

Hmm ok. Thanks!

author
DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2017-01-14

Nice. That would be really good for DIY automated security cameras.

author

That's true, could be controlled via web. Good idea :D

author
NeilRG (author)2017-01-25

Nice quick proof of concept. Small servos are not meant for such a large cantilevered load. The life expectancy of this design could be improved by having the axes supported by a shaft running through a hole in your printed plastic parts and the servos only being used to impart rotary motion either with printed gears or via servo horn to a wheel on the drive shaft (s) via pushrod. This will reduce the off centered load on the servo output shafts which should improve the smoothness of the pan tilt motions.

author
Fredrikeide (author)NeilRG2017-01-25

Thanks :)

For the second servo I was thinking about a type of cradle construction where the arm for the camerea is suportet on both sides like U link, I think that would really help the servos, but also a shaft for the first one would do so. Its hard to make the connections to servos stiff enough with the current design.

Now I want to make a more accurate one with brushless motors, so I am not gonna go further with this, at least not in near future. But I am really hoping for some remakes, and cuorius to see what configurations people come up with.

author
Nematic! (author)2017-01-21

Great Job man ! I am waiting for my 3d printer to make something similar

author
Pantopush (author)2017-01-16

That's awesome! I want to try it for my youtube videos.. Good job!

author
Fredrikeide (author)Pantopush2017-01-16

Thank you! Glad you liked it. Would be interesting to see your version!

author
Bongmaster (author)2017-01-14

all vids are showing as black, can only hear sound

author
Fredrikeide (author)Bongmaster2017-01-14

hmmm. I don't know why that is. but you can find youtube user fredrikjohaneide and see it there.

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