The eMotimo TB3 controller is an amazing tool for creating multi-axis time lapse sequences. They also sell a very elegant accessory called the turn table that can be used for product photography, stop motion, or video. Unfortunately, I don't do that much product photography, but still wanted to see if I could build one of these myself for a lower cost. Using Actobotics parts from ServoCity, I created a DIY turn table that mounts to any tripod.
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Step 1: Parts
- 1/4" Round Screw Plate
- Stepper Motor Mount NEMA 17
- Planetary Gearmotor Mount B
- 1.5" Aluminum Channel
- 3/8" Flanged Ball Bearing
- 1/4" Flanged Ball Bearing
- Quad Hub Mount C
- 1/4" Plastic Spacers
- 1/4" Set Screw Hub
- Flat Bracket D
- 6-32 Socket Head Machine Screw
- 1/4" Precision D-Shafting
Wood to cut out platform
Screws to attach platform to motor bracket
You'll also need a tripod to mount your turntable. I am using a MeFoto DayTrip Tripod in the video
Step 2: Motor Mount & Wiring
The turn table uses the 1/4" screw plate lets you mount this to any tripod. The NEMA 17 mount connects to the stepper motor and the screw plate.
When I purchased the eMotimo TB3 as my 3-axis time lapse solution, they only had a few options for stepper motors. A 27:1 geared stepper motor that is slow, but maybe too slow for the rover, and a 14:1 all around motor, and a 5:1 for fast moves but no torque. These are excellent motors as the have the TB3 connector built right into the motor, and all you need is the jumper cable. For this project, I wanted an option that rotated more slowly, so I went with the 51:1 geared stepper motor from Stepper Online. Unfortunately, these motors need the correct molex connected to integrate into the TB3. You can buy the Molex jumper directly from eMotimo, or get them on Sparkfun.
You will need some soldering skills to wire the molex connector to the motor wiring. I used some mesh sheathing and heat shrink to clean up my wiring, but it isn't necessary.
- Black Motor –> Black jumper
- Green Motor –> Red jumper
- Blue Motor –>Orange jumper
- Red Motor –> Yellow jumper
Step 3: Planetary Gearbox Mount
You have 2 options for connecting to a stepper motor using Actobotics parts; the NEMA mount or a planetary gearbox mount. For this application, I'm using an Planetary Gearmotor Mount B. However, I must caution you that I needed to alter the part to make it work. The Planetary motor mounts from ServoCity do not use the same hole pattern that the stepper motors that I have from either eMotimo or stepperonline. It's close, but not an exact match. I'm not sure if the ones from ServoCity are made specifically to their brand of motors, or if it's a metric versus imperial thing. All I know is that I had to drill the aluminum mount to make the holes bigger. If servocity created a mount that would work on standard stepper motors, I would probably exchange all of the NEMA 17 mounts that I currently use on other eMotimo projects.
ServoCity also does not sell 1/4" to 8mm shaft couplers, so I needed to get those from eBay. I finally found one that I really like because it has set screws on both sides of the coupler for a tight fit. A 1.5" Actobotics channel is enough to create space for the 8mm to 1/4" coupler. A small d-shaft is used to connect the flat bracket using a set screw hub mount. Wood screws are used to attach the flat bracket to the wood platform. I used a CNC machine to cut a perfect circle, and use shelf liner to create a non-slip surface.
Step 4: The Results
I am very happy with the results. This is another accessory that I can add to my eMotimo photography arsenal. I'm not going to go into the details on how the eMotimo TB3 works, but basically you can to motion time lapse photography and have the turn table rotate between each photo. The video above is an example where I removed a small amount of beer from the glass between each photo to give the impression that the glass was emptied magically.
I've never personally seen the turn table that is sold by eMotimo, but it looks gorgeous. This DIY version looks much more industrial, but the functionality should be the same.