Introduction: Yes, Another Camera Slider - NOW MOTORIZED!

Hopefully a lot of folks were inspired to build their own camera slider - either this design of mine https://www.instructables.com/id/Yes-Another-Camera-Slider-Idea/ or another that struck your fancy.  I'm more of a time lapse fan than production video person, so motorizing the slider was the real goal, and I'm glad to sayit has worked out as good as I had hoped!

To complete the project, I got:

1 - 6v DC 6rpm motor
1 - 1/4" x 36" piece of all-thread rod
1 - 1/4" coupling nut
1 - 1/4" bronze bushing
1 - 3/8" rubber bushed wire clamp
1 - 3/8" grounding coupler
Epoxy
Magnets

Step 1: Mockup and Assembly

Clearances and alignments are critical so the mechanism doesn't bind throughout it's travel, so magnets and clamps temporarily held things in place while I measured and tested to be sure all was lined up and worked as I wanted.

The bronze bushing is held by the rubber bushed wire clamp.  I had to use a 1/4" shim to put it out so the rod would be parallel to the dolly.  You have to be sure you have the coupling nut (which pushes/pulls the dolly) also mocked up into it's final position as well so binding is eliminated.

Once these two were where I wanted them, I then positioned the motor to be sure it could be mounted in the necessary location.  It fit perfectly, so I then drilled SHALLOW holes through the outer wall of the square tubing (Remember- on my slider design there is an all-thread running through it - severing it would ruin the slider) only, just enough for a short sheet metal screw to go in.

At this point I mixed a batch of epoxy and liberally covered the connections at the bushing and the motor to lock them into place.  I am attempting to use a strong magnet to connect the coupling nut to the dolly, but ther is not enough friction/stiction to use the dolly at angles other than level, so that needs to be addressed.


Step 2: Wiring and Power

I got a 6V DC motor because I use a Voltaic 15V battery pack to power the dolly motor, as well as extend the GoPro camera life long enough for 2 hour projects.

I took an old extension cord and cut the ends off to make a quick connect for the motor.  I did this instead of wiring the motor direct to the USB plug because the motor is reversible and when setting up shots I want the flexibility to run the dolly from either end, or in either direction, and by merely flipping the plug I can reverse the polarity - and the direction of the motor.

The other end of the plug is wired to the USB plug that goes into a USB hub so the battery can power the motor and add to the camera's battery capacity to last for 2+ hours.  

Step 3: Final Notes and Thoughts

I'm extremely pleased with the initial results.  Some things to be aware of is the fine tuning required for proper operation, such as:

1] The coupler to the motor needs to be set where the ends aren't touching, by doing so there is no binding and it turns smoothly.
2] I need a stronger magnet to attach the coupler nut to the dolly, it just isn't quite strong enough to pull the dolly vertically without slipping off.  I may bite the bullet and just epoxy the nut to it, as when the motor coupler is loosened, you can still quickly turn the rod to reset the dolly or remove it.

This is the first test video, just under two hours and a bit rushed in my eagerness to see the results.

Hopefully you find something useful in this build that may be able to use in your own way.  As always, comments, suggestions, and critiques are always welcome.

Comments

author
SCHLEPIC (author)2015-04-20

I've been scheming up ideas for a slider, but will also want to motorize mine. This Instructable has been really helpful. Great job. Where do you mount your external battery pack - on the carriage with the GoPro and the extension cord running to the motor?

author
shootr (author)SCHLEPIC2015-04-27

I left the cord long enough to just hang the battery in a pouch along the centerline. Thanks for the positive feedback, good luck.

author
sle5 (author)2014-02-16

I was htinking about a project like this. Great job @@!