Camera for Time Lapse Pictures Made Easy.




About: Retired and live in a little trailer park. I have a bunch of computers networked together that I mess with. We go to the gym. Spend a lot of time going between here and the hospital for different problems th...

I was checking out one of the other Instructables about making time lapse movies. He pretty well covered the movie part. He told about the free software that you could download to make the movies. I said to myself, I think that I will see if I can make my camera into a time lapse camera. I have wanted to do the time lapse thing. First I had to think about all the good junk that I have lying around. I remembered the video camera that I took apart. It had some nice parts in it. One thing that I needed from it at this time was one of the motors that ran the lens. I got out the motor and checked it with a 9 volt battery. It worked really nice. With the gear reduction that it had, I thought it would be just what I needed. After checking that out, I had to do a little thinking. I just got out all my tools and went at it. I am hoping that you will be able to see the test run that I made after I got it put together. It is the first picture.

Here is a link to the video that I have on YouTube;

Note: (You will need the Firefox browser to view the site. IE will not let you open the pictures right or make comments on what you see. Thanks for viewing the site.)

A word of two on safety; anytime you are working with any kinds of metal, you need safety glasses and other safety type equipment. Gloves are also helpful. I can not be responsible for any harm that might come to you if you try to build this instructable for yourself.

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Step 1: Parts List and Equipment Used.

1. Drill and bits.
2. Grinder
3 Files
4. Saws
5. Safety glasses.
6. Gloves.
7. Metal cutters
8. Pliers
9. Needle nose pliers
10. Vice gripes
11. Hammer
12. Small screw driver set.
13. Regular screw driver

1. Small motor
2. Battery 9 volt.
3. Small pieces of tin
4. A few screws.
5. Duct tape.
6. Pill bottle
7. Camera

Step 2: Getting Started.

Below you can see the metal that I used to make the one end plate. I had to fold the metal over on the edge to make it strong enough to do the job.

Step 3: More Material Used.

Below, in the picture, you can see the other metals that I used. I cut off part on the one piece to make the hinge. It went on the long bronze rod that I found. I used a nail for the hinge. The rod I used as a lever to push the button down to take the pictures.

Step 4: Hinge on End Plate.

Step 5: Another Look at the End Plate.

Step 6: Lining Up Up the End Plate.

Step 7: More Tools on the Table.

You can tell by looking at this picture, I am starting to get with it.

Step 8: Moving Into Action.

Step 9: Still Working on Alignment.

. I put a bolt in to push the button down.

Step 10: Mounting the Motor.

The motor mount is made out of a piece of metal that you saw in one of the earlier pictures. That was the piece of metal that I had left. The motor that you see is out of a video camera that I tore apart.

Step 11: More Alignment.

Here is another look at the alignment of the camera lever.

Step 12: Cover for Motor.

This is the cover that I made to cover the motor.

Step 13: Mounting the Bracket.

I still need to drill the hole for the mount. Just one screw holds the bracket on. The cover on the motor is a pill bottle.

Step 14: Looking at Motor.

Another good shot of the motor.

Step 15: Lever for Motor

Here you can see the little lever used to trip the camera. The end plate is still not mounted at this point.

Step 16: The Whole Thing.

This is a shot of the whole project. The end plate has the screws in to hold the end plate on.

Step 17: Just Another Good Picture.

A good shot of everything lined up.

Step 18: Another Angle

I thought that I had better put a lot of picture so that you would be able to see every step that I took to build this project.

Step 19: The Back of the Camera.

A look at the back.

Step 20: Another Picture Showing the Finished Project.

This is a picture looking at the front. You can see the little lever that trips the camera to take the picture. That part, I made out of a prong from an electrical cord. Also you can see the little bolt that I used to push the button on the camera down. It was at this point that I put the last screw in to hold the end plate on.

Step 21: Closing Statement.

All that is left, is to put the battery on and give it a try. It worked really well as you can see by the pictures that I have taken.

In closing, I have other plans for this camera so you might check back from time to time. One thing that I want to do is to put a resistor on to control the speed. A variable one is what I am looking for. I think that somewhere in all my junk that I might just have one. Another thing is to go back to the other person's site and get the information that I need to make a movie of the pictures that I am taking. Thank you for viewing my instructable. Leave a comment of two. Good or bad, what the heck.

Here is a link to the person that has the site that tells you about making time lapse movies.

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    13 Discussions

    Mark Rehorst

    10 years ago on Introduction

    This is a great idea but doesn't allow much control of the timing of the focus and shutter. I am working on a design for a programmable intervalometer that uses a uC to time the focus and shutter closures. I was going to use relays but that would require modification to most cameras. Your method of mechanically tripping the shutter is a much better way to go. An RC servo could stop at the focus position for a few seconds, then continue to trip the shutter. Another way would be to use two solenoids at different positions on the lever arm- one far from the shutter button would pull the lever down far enough to set the focus and the other, located close to the button, would pull the lever far enough to actually trip the shutter. Or use a motor to drive a screw that operates the shutter button. A few revs activates the focus and a few more trips the shutter. Drive it in reverse to release the shutter.

    4 replies
    cateddyMark Rehorst

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the comment tyler_durden. I just put this together really fast. Wanted to get it in the contest. I plan on playing around with it a bit. Maybe changing the voltage either up or down. Going to try a variable resistor to see if that will do anything for it. You can see by the first set of pictures that the focus is working pretty good. I think one thing that would help to change the settings of the camera. I have it set so that it takes high resolution pictures. I think that this takes a bit more time and if I were to make a movie of the pictures, the movie would be really large in size. My camera has the automatic focus that you hold down half way before taking the picture. A person could make the lever like a cam so that it would hold the button down for a bit before taking the picture. That is just a thought. Well thank for you comment. I will look your comment over really good and see if I can figure out just what you have in mind for your project. Thanks again. Chuck

    cateddyMark Rehorst

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction
    Hello Tyler. I thought that I would give you an update on the time lapse camera that I was working on. Above it a link to a movie I made. I used the camera plus another project that I have been working on. It is a turntable. I set a clock in the background so that a person would be able to see it as a time lapse movie. I have another movie with some clouds on this site that looks pretty good too. Thanks in advance for any comment that you might have about this movie. Chuck

    cateddyMark Rehorst

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Right now the only control that it has it the speed of the motor. It takes a picture about every second. I plan try some type of controls like maybe higher or lower voltage. A resistor may work as well. Did you have a chance to check out the movie that I put a the start of the Instructable. Right now I am trying to put the video on youtube so that it will be easier to get started. I will update the project as I improve it. Thanks for returning the comment. Chuck

    Mark Rehorstcateddy

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I was not able to get the video in this instructable to play but the youtube video worked. I don't know about your specific camera, but many digital cameras can't record pictures as fast as you're running. Many also require as many as a few seconds just to focus. I think a lot of time lapse situations (clouds, flowers blooming, etc.) would require longer intervals than you can achieve by playing with the voltage to your motor. As you drop the voltage the torque drops and when the voltage is too low the motor won't have enough oomph to push the shutter button.

    cateddyMark Rehorst

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Hello tyler_durden. There is one think that I am thinking about. Maybe dropping out every other picture might bring it to the right speed. With the pictures that you take with a digital camera, it pretty cheap to lose a few. Just a thought. Chuck


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Great Instructable. I have a "slow" timer motor out of an old outdoor mechanical timer. This should work great for a steady rotating mechanism. Did I miss the link to your images?

    2 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Ashemha. Were you able to see the images. I could put them on another site and post a link to the if you want. Chuck


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Hello Ashemha. On the pictures, if you are not using the Firefox browser, you might not be able to see the pictures. I put a lot of pictures on this instructable just in case that someone else might want to do the same project that I did here. There are a lot of improvements that a person could do to it. On the motor thing, the only thing that a guy could do, is just give it a try. It is well worth it once you see it work the way that you wanted it to. Thanks for the comment. Chuck


    10 years ago on Introduction

    If you have a Canon PowerShot, there's this great little thing called CHDK that adds a whole bunch of features, including intervalometers.

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Hello Trebaqwa. I have a Fuijfilm Finepix 2650 that I was using. I had another on that was broken that I use to mount the parts on while I was putting it together. I will be looking at all kind of links to see what all my options are for making movies and other time lapse projects. Thanks for you comment on the instructable. Chuck