Introduction: 3D Printed Camera Slider - Motorized

About: My name is Simon Sörensen and I am the creator of RCLifeOn. I´m 19 years old and live in a town called Trollhättan, located in the southwestern part of Sweden. I´ve been in the RC hobby f…

With both hands busy it can be difficult to achieve the camera angles and movements you wish to accomplish. In this Instructable I will show you how I made my own motorized 3D printed DSLR camera slider. By using a geared DC motor I was able to construct a powerful slider with adjustable speed and direction. It can also be mounted to a tripod!

This project was made with minimal cost as number one priority.

Step 1: Materials

There's quite a few DIY camera sliders out there, but most of them uses expensive steel rods with bearings. That's why I decided to use cheap PVC pipes for just 2$. You will need 2 pieces with a diameter of 16mm and 720mm long. Even though the length of the PVC pipes are only limited by the length of your timing belt.

You will also need a rectangular piece of wood, 250x110mm. It's important that the piece of wood is stiff, as its the main carrying platform for the slider when mounted on a tripod.

Besides from the PVC pipes and the scrap piece of wood, you need these components:

In order to print the necessary parts to assemble the slider you will obviously need a 3D printer, I recommend this one:

You can find the STL files here:

Step 2: Design and Printing

By using Fusion 360, which by the way is a great CAD software, I designed each and every part to be efficient during the printing process. By avoiding high walls, overhangs and minimizing the size of each part, you are able to print at higher speed, with NO support structures and minimal infill. Here's the settings I used:

Layer height: 0,3mm
Infill: 25% (>10%)
Temp extruder: 200
Temp bed: Off
Speed: 60mm/s
Support: No

Don't for a second think that I nailed it on the first try! I had to try numerous deisgns and constructions before I was happy with the perfomance. I ended up with a bunch of failed prints shown in picture 2.

I then exported the files to Simplify3D (slicer software), and decided to print some parts with black filament and some with orange. The printing process could now begin.

Step 3: Assembly #1

3D printer done with all the parts? Great, let's continue!

I began cutting two pieces 720mm long PVC pipes. I also sanded the corners to make it easier press them into the 3D printed parts later.

The DC motor was mounted using M3 bolts, make sure not to use too long screws! The pulley and roller was also mounted according to picture 4 and 5. At this point you can press the two PVC pipes to each mount.

Step 4: Assembly #2

Assemble the two sliders to the camera mount by using M3 bolts. In order to mount the camera we will be using one standar camera mounting screw:

Push the GT2 timing belt through PVC and hook the ends to the slider. Secure the two ends with zip-ties.

Step 5: Assembly #3

Use the calibrator to mark two holes in each corner of the rectangular piece of wood. Place the tripod mount in the middle and mark the holes accordingly. Drill them out with a 3mm drill bit and tighten all the parts using M3/M4 bolts. Remember to mount the four brackets on the opposite side of the tripod mount.

I know it seems sketchy using hot glue as the structural component carrying the weight of your camera, but it bonds extremely well to PLA and PVC. I've done numerous tests measuring the force required to knock the brackets off, and it's way past what the camera will ever weigh. In conclusion, using hot glue is perfectly safe.

The assembly of the slider is now complete, let's continue with the electronics!

Step 6: Electronics #1

The motor speed regulator has four terminals called Motor (positive and negative) and DC (positive and negative). Connect two of each red and black wires to the terminals labeled Motor. Now connect the two black wires to each corner of the 2-way switch and the two red wires to the opposite corners according to picture 2 and 3.

Connect a 9V adapter to the two terminals labeled DC.

Solder two long wires to the two middle pins of the 2-way switch, and push the two longer wires through the PVC pipe and solder them to the DC motor.

Step 7: Electornics #2

Find yourself a plastic box and mark two holes and drill them out. Screw it down flush to one of the main holder parts. Drill out two larger holes on the lid for the 2-way switch to protrude outwards, as well as the potentiometer. Install the electronics inside the box for protection, and connect the 9V battery. Your DSLR camera slider is now complete!

Step 8: Perfect Tool for Filmmaking!

The 2-way switch has 3 positions; up, middle and down. In the middle position no current is flowing to the motor. When pushed to the upper position the motor will spin one way, and pushed to the lower position, it will start spinning the other way. You can also adjust the speed with the potentiometer.

Mount the slider to your tripod and secure the camera. Quick tip, place a couple of earplugs or foam on the camera mount. This will reduce vibrations in your footage as the camera tends to shake when resting on the hard plastic.

Start shooting beautiful footage, and make sure to watch the video in the beginning of this Instructable.

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