DIY Motorized Camera Slider

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Introduction: DIY Motorized Camera Slider

About: I love designing cool gadgets... I'm also Founder at Lumi Industries where we design awesome 3D Printers and Holographic displays!

While documenting some projects at work, we needed a camera slider.

Being Makers (and after finding out that motorized sliders are quite expensive) we took the opportunity and designed one by ourself!

So, if you need a motorized camera slider to create incredible dolly shots for your videos but you are on a low budget, then we will show you how to make a low cost one by yourself too!

By the way, if you like to see what we design, have a look at lumi.industries to see some awesome 3D Printers and Holographic Visualizers, all designed and produced by us!

Step 1: List of Components

In order to make a DIY camera slider you need the following components:

Step 2: Assembling the Motor Support

Components:

  • 2 pcs M3 nuts,
  • 1 pc. end stop,
  • 1 pc. M5x15 screw,
  • 2 pcs Nylon M4 nuts,
  • 4 pcs M4x15 screws.2 pcs
  • Elesa Handle screws.
  • 2 pcs M4 Nylon nuts
  • 3D printed parts "BloccoFinale Staffa Nema" "gambettaDX.STL" "gambettaSX.STL"

Instructions:

  1. Put the nylon nut between piece "gambettaSX" STL part and screw them together using one of the handle screws. Repeat the same with "gambettaDX" STL part.
  2. Screw the endstop with 2 M3x10 screws to "BloccoFinale Staffa Nema" STL part, as in the picture.
  3. Screw the stepper motor in "BloccoFinale Staffa Nema" 3d printed part housing, with 4 pieces
    M3x16 screws. Fix very well the pulley to the stepper motor shaft to avoid the motor to loose steps. Fix the alluminum profile with an M5x15 screw.

Step 3: Let's Build the Slider Cart and the Tripod Fixing Base

Components:

  • 2 pcs M3x10 screws,
  • 6 pcs M3 nuts
  • 6 pcs M3x40 screws
  • 4 pcs LMK8UU bearing
  • tripod Head 360 Degree

Instructions:

This part is easy to assemble!

Fix 2 two LMK8UU bearing at the two sides of "Bloccomobile" STL part one end, using 3 pcs M3x40 screws and M3 nuts. Repeat the same on the other end.

Now push the tripod head screw inside the slot in "Bloccomobile" STL part and screw the head on it.

In case you want to use your slide with a tripod, you need to make a fixing base.

Components:

  • "ReggiFermoTrip" STL part
  • 4 pcs M3x10 countersunk screws
  • 4 aluminum profile nuts
  • 1 pcs metal screw adapter.

Instructions:

Insert the 4 nuts into on aluminum profile left or right side and fix them to the "ReggiFermoTrip" STL part with cpoutersunk screws. Separate the adapter from its own screw, insert the adapter in the housing on "ReggiFermoTrip" STL part and fix it with its own screw from top.

Step 4: Building the Other Side of the Slider (1)

Components:

  • 2 pcs M4 Nylon nuts
  • 2pcs hand screw
  • 2 pcs M4 nuts
  • 1 pc end stop
  • 1 pc M5x15 screw,
  • 1 pc M4x30 screw.
  • B1, B2, B3 3D printed parts

Instructions:

  1. Put the nylon nut between piece

    "gambettaSX" STL part and screw them together using one of the handle screws. Do the same with "gambettaDX" STL part.

  2. Screw the endstop with 2 M3x10 screws to "Bloccofinale_fissa" STL part, as in the picture.
  3. Now fix the round bearing to the housing on

    "Bloccofinale_fissa" STL part using a M4x30 screw inserting two nuts in between.

  4. After putting the Nylon nut, take the

    "gambettaSX" STL part and "gambettaDX" STL part and it is fixed with the M4x10 screws so as to have a base now, take the washer for the belt and the M4x30 screw and two M4 nuts, "imagines 4" to a arrow which indicates how to put the nuts and the screw. with the first nut the bearing for the belt is fixed and with the second nut everything is fixed in the "Bloccofinale_fissa" STL part as in the picture.

Step 5: Building the Other Side of the Slider (2)

  1. Mount the Endstop with two screws M3x10.
  2. Mount the part "BloccoFinaleFissa" on one end of the Bosch Rexroth profile with an M5x15 screw.
  3. After we have both side A and side B, we can go to the next step.

Step 6: Assembling the Slider

In this step, you mount together "Side A", "Side B", Camera Base.

  1. First of all take the belt (must measure 50cm open) and insert it as shown in fig.1, then make ti pass trough "side B" (around the bearing). Now insert the smooth linear rods into the assembly "Side A".
  2. Carefully slide the rods into the LMK8UU bearings on the Camera base
  3. Push them into "Side B", and here you need 4 M3x10 screws with four M3 nuts to keep the linear rods in place.
  4. After we have tightened the smooth rods, we tighten the belt, pull the belt hard and then mount the "piastrinaFermaCinghia" with two M3x10 screws and this must hold the belt tight.

Step 7: Mounting the Arduino Cover

The cover is fixed with 4 M3x16 screws; after that, the screws are covered with adhesive tape so we are sure there is no short circuit. Arduino Leonardo is kept in place with M3x10 screws and also M4 Nylon washers.

Step 8: Assembling the Circuit

Components:

  • Arduino Leonardo
  • Adafruit Motor Shield v2.0
  • Motor stepper
  • End stop
  • Resistor 10kΩ
  • Pushbutton

Assemble the circuit according to the drawing. Upload the included firmware.

Connect the powerbank to the USB IN of the Arduino.

Use the buttons to make the slider go to that direction, until it reaches the end and stops automatically.

The "F" button is not implemented yet.

Please remove USB connection when not in use!

Step 9: Final Considerations

This camera slider has been designed to work with an economic USB power bank; so to charge it you simply use you smartphone USB charger, I think this is indeed a very nice feature, compared to other solutions like AA batteries, or other lithium batteries that need a separate dedicated charger.

This slider has a quite smooth movement; it has some limitations too, as follows:

  • the movement is quite slow. You can speed up the video in post production, anyway.
  • you can mount any kind of camera; I tested compact and mirrorless cameras with good results. I tested a DSLR (Nikon D750 with 50mm lens), and here the movement is not as smooth. So DSLR are not recommended with this slider.
  • the "F" button is not yet implemented; it may be used to stop the movement, that at the moment, continues until one endstop is reached

So.. have fun!

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    12 Discussions

    I am on vacation to China where YouTube is not working due to government restrictions.

    But as I look at the Arduino code first anyway, I can see that it is only a test code from Adafruit and therefor not a project I would build. I do appreciate the effort put into this instructable with 3D printing.

    This is a really great project, however, I think a conclusion step with some footage of this being used would make this go from a 9/10 to a 10/10 Instructables!

    2 replies

    Thanks, I have updated it!

    habria que ver la forma de hacerlo mas fuerte para poder poner una camara mas pesada con un lente tipo teleobjetivo. que en un conjunto estaria pesando algo mas de 1.6Kg u el punto de gravedad estaría fuera del carro de avance. es para pensar. ( martin.iruleguy@gmail.com)

    1 reply

    Hi, you can use compact or mirrorless cameras with this Slider. A DSLR is not recommended!

    Thanks! I submitted to microcontroller contest, so tomorrow it should be approved for it and visible and you can vote it ! ;)

    0
    None
    cimbru

    4 months ago

    Nice work! You could use an ESP32 / ESP8266 instead of the arduino. It's smaller and you can control it via WiFi or Bluetooth with your smartphone. As an endstop you could use a reed switch at the end and an magnet in the carrige!

    This is a great and useful Instructable! Well done.