Introduction: Rotating GoPro Selfie Stick

Whether pointing the camera at yourself or filming someone else, selfie sticks are a valuable tool for filmmakers. However, if you want to make your film interesting it must have some movement. So why not making the camera continuously rotating?

This instructable shows you how to make a selfie stick where the installed GoPro camera is continuously rotating during operation. Taking movies in this way will give your “adventurous” memories a different touch (see the example in the video). You can make amazing 360 degree shots including yourself. If you change position during the period when the camera is not facing against you, your movies will be even more interesting with the changing background.

The battery-operated light weight handheld device can be taken anywhere you want to capture amazing, once-in-a-lifetime moments. Moreover, with the included LED lights you are also able to make pictures and movies from areas which are hardly accessible.

To complete this project, you need to know a little bit of Arduino and soldering. Please be aware that the Lipo Battery Charging Module has the capability to charge at 1Amp. The best way to charge the special Lipo Battery is to use around 0.15 Amp. I did not adjust the charging module with a resistor to limit 1Amp. I just was checking the consumption of the Lipo with an Ampere meter (see the video). Additionally, I did monitor battery temperature during charging. So far, I did not encounter any problem with this setup. Anyway - like always you do this on your own risk.

Step 1: Front View

The device consists of a GoPro camera on a mount that is fixed to a gear on a continuous rotating servo. An Arduino Pro Mini 3.3V / 8 MHz is controlling the servo. The device is powered by a small LiPo 1S 3.7V, 150mAh battery. The battery is connected to a LiPo Battery Charger Module (Micro USB 5V 1A 18650 Lithium Battery Charger Module with protection). This module is used to recharge the battery after operation by plugging in the USB cable into the charging module. The red led is illuminated as long as the battery is charged. As soon as the green led is lit the device can be disconnected. A micro switch is used to turn on and off the device.

Step 2: Back View

I had a standard servo left from an old RC plane and therefore had to modify it into a continuous rotating model. Since this modification is widely spread in the Internet I do not describe it here. I was successful with the procedure given in the book "Make: Arduino Bots and Gadgets", page 207.

The GoPro mount is modified to fit a plastic gear-wheel. The mount is then fixed to the gear-wheel using a two component adhesive. The gear is completed with a shaft from an old CD-ROM drive and a hub out of brass. A small gear-wheel is mounted to the servo with a screw directly.

Scrap wood is used as a platform to screw the servo on and the selfie stick. The rest of the material mostly is fixed to the platform using hot glue.

Step 3: Side View

From the side, you can see that the battery is directly fixed on the wooden platform and the charging module on the battery using hot glue. The USB ports are glued to the wooden platform as well.

Step 4: Schematic

The schematic shows you how to connect the different parts used in this project. The pictures from the individual parts are taken exactly from the same parts I used.The connection points do correspond with the Arduino code in the attached file (see next chapter). The only tricky connection is the one to the battery. I cut off the "legs" from a diode and soldered those to a wire. The "legs" then could be inserted into the battery connectors.

Step 5: Arduino

The code for the program is very simple (see attached file). First you include the Servo library. Number 9 is the pin number that is used to attach the servo pin. Then you create a function "servoCounterClockWise". Within this function you have the command "myServo.write(XX)". By playing with this number (XX) you can adjusted the rotating speed. The other possibility is to adjust the plastic gear-wheels. In the loop you call then for the function.

Step 6: Postscriptum

During my work within a pharmaceutical company we had to make an evaluation if a tank used for solvents is visually clean. Since the opening was connected to a pipe, no one really could look into to tank after cleaning. So, I decided to use my selfie stick in conjunction with the GoPro and the rotating servo. As there is no light in the tank we were obliged to add the LED lights to the device in order to access cleanliness of the tank. Later on I discovered that this device could also be perfectly used outdoors for filming. Therefore, this project is another example that product inventions are always happening accidentally.

I hope I motivated you to build the same kind of device. Even better would be if you post your modified improved version e.g. instead of a servo use a steppers motor .......

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Bio: Hello - I am the scientist formerly known as Naegeli and of course I was inspired by the artist formerly known as Prince. But in contrast ... More »
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