Introduction: Motorized Camera Slider With Android App

About: Dream, Design, Make and then start again. Interested in Electronics , woodworking and most recently passionate about 3D printing!! .

The camera slider enables me to capture slow slide videos of stuffs I 3d print or make. The slider can be used with any standard camera/camcorder using a standard quick release mounting plate, or a selfie stick to hold a phone. If you want to add more degree of flexibility to it you can mount it on a tripod stand.

If you find it useful I hope you build a copy, or get inspiration for your project.

Step 1: Basic Components Description... List of Material

    The Android App .

    The app connects to the slider via the Bluetooth module. It should work on most android devices, I have tested it on a Samsung smart phone and a cheap android tablet. You will need to download the (apk ) file to your device and install it.

    The Arduino firmware.

    The firmware accepts and sends instructions from and to the android app via the Bluetooth module. The compiled hex file is provided for simple upload/flashing into the arduino board. I coded the firmware in such a way that it gives feedback to the device on every commands it gets and executes.

    Printed 3D parts.

    Using a 3D printer you will need to print all the plastic parts. I printed all parts in PLA at 0.3mm layer height using one of my 3D printer(s). In designing the parts I first create mock-ups in Sketch-Up and then modeled and assembled each components using "Fusion 360". You are free to choose what print settings and resolution you like. I am totally hooked onto designing and modelling in "fusion 360" !! Rendering, animating joints, creating engineering drawing all from one tooll!! You guys (fusion 360) are nut!!

    Laser cut plates

    The plates that holds the stepper motor, iddler pulley and center carriage are all laser cut 3mm aluminum . You can find them here.. The motor plate can handle the standard Nema 17 stepper motor as well as the small Nema 14 ones.


    The Arduino Uno, HC06 Bluetooth module, stepper motor, stepper driver, the Uno stepper driver shield, 2 limit switch and a decent 12V power supply makes up the electronics. Unless you have been living under a rock... Arduino boards/programming boards are becoming very accessible and easy to get.

    The Rails

    You will need the Openbuilds Vslot rail together with the assembled wheels, and a Gt2 belt widely used on most 3D printers. The length of both the rail and belt depends on how long you want to make your own slider.

    Download the detail list of materials.

    Step 2: Build the Frame

    1. Assemble the Center carriage.
    2. Insert the V slot rail.
    3. Assemble the Iddler plate and Stepper motor plate.
    4. Fasten the belt
    5. Insert the limit switch
    6. Insert the foots.

    Step 3: Connecting the Electronics.

    1. Use Xloader to load the firmware into your arduino.
    2. Connect the component together as shown in the circuit diagram.
    3. The RX pin can only accept 3.3V . This means a voltage divider is required to connect to a 5V Arduino. A simple voltage divider can be created using 2 resistors as shown in the image.
    4. I use one power supply for everything a 12V 4.5a adapter, connected into the arduino.
    5. A cable is used to jump the +ve of the arduino board into the +ve of the stepper motor shield.

    The circuit diagram gives an overview of all connection.

    Step 4: Operating the Slider.

    1. Ensure that the limit switch are both accessible and triggered when the center carriage plates hits them.
    2. Transfer or download the APK file and install the app on your mobile device.
    3. Using your mobile device Bluetooth settings, find and pair your mobile device with the Hc06 module.
    4. Launch the application and press the Bluetooth Icon to connect to the slider.
    5. Once connected the Bluetooth flashing light on the device will stop flashing and remain lighted.
    6. Unsure that the settings page in the mobile app is similar to the image shown.
    7. Once connected, first press the home button, this should move the slider to the home position and enable other buttons on the app.
    8. The rest of the buttons are self explanatory.

    Step 5: Conclusion ...

    I hope you are able to build one or at-least get inspired to create your own. Send me comments, feedback and let me know how this will be of use to you.

    Future improvements include re-designing the center carriage plate to allow for panning and tilting of the camera and more.

    The mobile app and firmware are totally independent and can be used on your own custom design slider/project.

    For example same app and firmware can be used to operate a window blind/shutter.

    Step 6: FAQ

    1. I cant detect my arduino on my pc: You will need to search online and download the correct driver for your board.
    2. What language did you use to write the firmware: Cpp
    3. Whats use to design the plastic parts?: Fusion 360
    4. Can I make my slider 1 Meter long?: Yes you can make it any length, get extra cables for the limit switch and also a longer belt.
    5. I can build something else with the hardware I have around me, can I use the app and firmware?: Yes you can make your own construction and wire it up the same to use the app and firmware.
    6. I have other type of arduino board, can I use it?: Yes, so long as you are able to figure out the pin mapping and connection for the stepper driver. head over to the settings page of the app and change the step pin, dir pin, enable pin and the limit pin mapping, match it to fit your connection and all should be fine.
    7. Why do you have more connectors behind the electronics board?: Prototyping and testing other projects using more than one stepper motor.
    8. How do you hold the lid of the casing?: Double sided tape :)
    9. A tick sound but no movement: Go to the settings page on the slider app and make sure that the direction, step, enable and stop pin are configured correctly.