Automated Turntable With Steppermotor

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About: FluxGarage is a project of Dennis Hoelscher from Hellfish Design, Germany.

Let's build a simple turntable that rotates light objects precisely and fully automated.

Together with an arduino based controller that will control the stepper motor and the camera shutter, we'll create a powerful tool for automated 360° product photography. The controller is described in a different instructable:
https://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-Controller-for-Automated-360-Product-Photo/

Now let's start with the turntable.

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Step 1: Gather Parts and Tools and Files

Files (find download links below)

  • Parts list and explosion graphic (PDF)
  • Eps files for lasercutting (zipped)

Parts

  • 3x Lasercut Acrylic Plates, 3mm thick
    Download the template eps-files (see below) and place your order at Ponoko(american/international users) or Formulor(german/european users). Choose one of the 3mm/0.118 inches acrylic P1-Plates in a color you like. For my turntable prototypes, I choosed the material “Acrylic - Black (Matte 1-Side)”. If you have access to an own lasercutting machine or if you want to use a different service, just import the vectorpaths from the eps-files' layer named "Your Design" into your preferred program.

  • 1x Bearing „Lazy Susan“
    Hole distance top: 81mm
    Hole distance bottom: 90mm
    Inner diameter: 54mm

  • 1x Drive Dog / Diver Disc
    5mm inner diameter (must fit to the stepper motor shaft)

  • 1x Stepper Motor
    NEMA 17 with 5mm shaft diameter
    (max height determined by the height of the female-female spacers, see step 4 for further information)

  • 4x Rubber Feet
    M3, 17x10mm

  • Screws, nuts, bolts
    • 4x Countersunk Screws, M3 x 8mm (8mm total length including the head!)
    • 8x Pan Head Screws, M3 x 8mm
    • 4x Lens Head Screws, M3 x 14mm
    • 4x Self Locking Nuts, M3
    • 4x Washers M3, 9mm outer diameter (washers should fit into the rubber feet. You can also buy rubber feet with integrated washers)
    • 4x Female-Male Standoff Spacer, M3 x 15mm
    • 4x Female-Female Standoff Spacer, M3 x 35mm (please note: the height of the "female-female standoff spacer" determines the maximum height of the stepper motor, which is here 35mm.)

I also prepared some kits that include all the parts you need to build your own turntable - except the stepper motor:
https://www.tindie.com/products/FluxGarage/turntab...

Tools

  • Some Allen keys
  • Phillips screwdrivers
  • A drilling machine with countersunk drill

Step 2: Prepare Acrylic Plates

At first you should peel of the protective foils from the acrylic plates. Sometimes it can be helpful to carefully warm up the foils with a hair dryer.

Since we want to use countersunk screws to fix the "upper plate", we need to prepare the four inner lasercut holes accordingly.

Step 3: Mount Motor on Middle Plate

Put the stepper motor through the middle plate. Make sure that the holes of the motor match the correct holes in the plate. Use four of the M3x8mm pan head screws to fix the motor.

Step 4: Add Distant Bolts

Put the 15mm female-male spacers through the plate. Screw the 35mm female-female spacers against them.

Please note that the "female-female spacers" determine the maximum height of the stepper motor, which is here 35mm. If you want to use a higher stepper motor, you have to choose higher standoff spacers accordingly or add additional female-male-spacers. For example, you could add 4 additional female-male spacers with 30mm, this would allow a motor height up to 65mm.

Step 5: Add Bottom Plate

Turn over the construction and put the bottom plate on top.

Now place the washers into the rubber feet, insert the M3x14mm lens head screws and attach everything to the construction.

Step 6: Mount Lazy Susan Bearing

Place the bearing on top of the spacers.

Make sure the the bearing's side with the 90mm hole-distance is facing down. Use four M3x8mm pan head Screws to fix it.

Step 7: Fix Drivedog

Put the drivedog on the motor shaft and tighten the screw.

The drivedog should protrude about 2mm above the bearing.

Step 8: Add Upper Plate

Put the top plate on the drivedog.

Turn over the construction and place the holes of the bearing to match the holes in the acrylic plate.

Insert the M3x8mm countersunk screws (from below through the hole) and tighten the nuts.

Step 9: The Final Turntable

If you did everything right, your turntable should look like it is shown in the above 360° image sequence. Sure, this sequence was made with a second FluxGarage turntable and a white acrylic plate on top of it :)

Step 10: Next Step: Build the Controller

The next step will be to bring the turntable to live. We'll create an arduino + easydriver based controller to control the stepper motor and the camera shutter. Find the detailed instructions here:

https://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-Controlle...


If you like this stuff, you can find more of this at www.fluxgarage.com

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    13 Discussions

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    dhruv.adhia

    17 days ago

    the drive dog in your step 7 keeps becoming loose after like 100 rotations. My code currently rotates the turn table by 20 degrees and then stop, take a picture and do this cycle again. I see after a while that turn table only rotates by a few degrees. Any way to tighten drive dog further? and other options to buy the same online? It would be good to hae two or 4 screws holding drive dog to the nima motor instead of one.

    5 replies
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    FluxGaragedhruv.adhia

    Reply 16 days ago

    Hi,
    the drivedog I used is actually a part that is used in RC boat technology, so it should be able to tolerate even higher torque forces and rotation speeds without breaking loose.
    Did you check that the tiny screw of the drive dog faces against the flat side of the stepper motor's d-shaft? You could also try to add some threadlocker glue that fixes the screw and the drive dog even more.
    There are several suppliers of such drive dogs e.g. at ebay. Also, many hobby rc boat suppliers offer such parts. When you buy it, you have to double check that the inner diameter is 5mm (or the actual diameter of your stepper motor, if different).

    Sure, there are some other solutions for connecting the motor's shaft to the turntable's upper plate. But realizing them would be a different approach with some efforts, of course.
    3D-Printing or creating a custom part on a lathe machine could be an option. Also, you could search for "aluminum mounting hub for 5mm shaft", but this is almost the same as using a drive dog.

    I hope I could help you.

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    dhruv.adhiaFluxGarage

    Reply 15 days ago

    that was a great piece of information. Currently I tightened with the l shape tool you recommended. So it should be good to go, I am testing it for hours and see if it breaks. Apart from that for driving stepper motor with 4 pins, which driver board will you recommend? I am using a4998 currently, but I am concerned about it heating up. I do have heat sink though. Also when the board rotates, i think the lazy susan makes noise. any way to reduce that? thanks

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    FluxGaragedhruv.adhia

    Reply 13 days ago

    Regarding the stepper motor driving board:
    I'm using the original "Easydriver" board (with A3967) and the "Big Easy Driver" board from Sparkfun (also the a4998 ). I also added heatsinks and they both still get really hot, but in my case they work fine without burning or exploding :)

    Regarding the bearing's noise:
    Yes, the bearings itself are un-lubricated. This is what the manufacturer mentions in the description: "Note: Lazy susan turntables are supplied un-lubricated and may sound noisy until lubricated with either oil or grease as determined by your application."

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    FluxGaragedhruv.adhia

    Reply 12 days ago

    You're welcome! If you have any further questions, feel free to post them ;)

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    FluxGaragewokawayo

    Reply 10 months ago

    Hi wokawayo,
    in the controller's code, the default value for the speed is 0.03 and can be up to 1.00. So the movement can be definitely lots of faster than shown in the videos. I did not yet test the value 1.00 but I guess there will also be some limitations on the hardware side, meaning the easydriver board and the steppermotor.

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    MissionCritical

    1 year ago

    really rigid rotating table, i have never seen such a beautiful and robust construction in case of motorized turn tables, great joob!

    1 reply