Introduction: Photographic Copy Stand

I built this copy stand for my Canon point and shoot camera because I couldn't seem to make good photographs of small parts or copy circuit diagrams effectively, because the camera moves while being hand held. Add to that, tricky camera auto focus. Or struggling to get the right lighting while simultaneously trying to focus on the object in the manual mode.

I made the stand using inexpensive 1/2" schedule 40 pvc pipe (US). The pipe O.D. is 21.84 mm x 15.25 mm (approx.) I.D.. I wanted to be able to adjust the camera height easily; therefore, I made a rack and pinion adjustment system similar to commercial camera tripods but made via 3D printer. The rack was just glued in sections to a 480 mm section of the 1/2" PVC pipe. I developed the pinion gear using the Fusion 360 Add-In called "Spur Gear". I made the gear housing in such a way that the gear is accessible for lubrication, the housing has 3D printed piano hinge on the bottom so it opens like a clam shell.

I am new to 3D design, and this is my most intensive design to date. The copy stand works well, and inspires me to do even more complex projects with Fusion 360.

Step 1: Construction Materials and Tools

Anycubic i3 Mega 3D printer

Black PLA 1.75 mm filament for housing, rack and pinion

Green PLA 1.75 mm filament for hub

1 ea. 1/4" dia. O.D. x 1.25" long brass tube for pinion axle

3 ea. 5/16" dia. x 5" long brass tube for camera adapter

2 ea. 6-32 x 3/4" long screws and nuts for holding housing together

1 ea. 1.6 mm x 76 mm steel wire (bailing wire) for hinge

1 ea. 10 foot section of 1/2" schedule 40 PVC

3 ea. 1/2" elbows

3 ea 1/2" couplers

If desired:

1 ea. RGB ring light

1 ea. Arduino Pro Mini for ring light

3 ea. 10K potientiometers to control ring light

1 ea. 5 vdc power supply for ring light

Step 2: Assembly

Print the 3D parts from the .gcode files, then remove flashing and sharp edges from parts. If you have a different camera, modify the camera adapter .f3d file in Fusion 360 to fit your camera. The camera adapter has 3 ea. 5/16" brass rods epoxied in (or use all thread and nuts). Fit the cylindrical boss on the upper part of the camera adapter into the bottom of the movable PVC with the rack. Then drill a hole through both the PVC and cylindrical projection and fit a wood dowel to hold them together; epoxy would work as well if you want only to fit one camera adapter. Epoxy the friction block to the bottom of the holder housing; epoxy should be applied only to the half that will remain stationary, not the part that is moved by the plastic screw. Print the three sections of rack carefully removing flashing from the bottom by using a round file. Epoxy the three sections to the PVC pipe.Use a few strips of tape to shim the green stand housing so the black pinion housing will fit snugly into it.

Adjust the friction knob to light tension against the rack's pvc pipe so the addition of the camera's weight will not cause the assembly to drop due to gravity, yet the rack handle can be moved smoothly to adjust camera height. for best results, use a remote camera release. Set the camera to manual focus, then adjust the height until the object is in focus.