4-axis modular camera system

Andrew Sahlstrom

4-axis modular Camera system for video/time-lapse/stop motion applications



This is a developing 4-axis motion controlled modular camera system, with 3 axis in working order here for demonstrative purposes.

The linear rail offers 1000mm of  motion, 250-300mm of vertical motion control via scissor lift (which will be unveiled at the winter show), and  360 degrees of direct pan and tilt motion control.

Basically, this is an automated slider. Also an automated scissor lift.  Also an automated pan/tilt.  All of them modular and all of them offer manual control.  All of them capable of real time video as well as time-lapse photography for video footage.  For animation and stop motion applications, it also provides simple push button manual shutter-release control, as well as more advanced programmable solutions.

The 1000mm (roughly 4′) aluminum extrusion mounts on a tripod with a standard 1/4” 20 set screw mount with one 3-12V 40rpm geared dc motor mounted on a separate aluminum carriage plate.  For linear motion this system uses an mxl belt drive mounted on either end of the extrusion with two idler pulleys on the carriage plate which is being pulled along in either direction by the dc motor.

Mounted on the carriage plate is another set screw mount for the scissor lift . At the top of the scissor lift is yet another set screw mount for the  pan/tilt module. 

An Arduino with a motor shield is used for the more complex applications which happen within the project enclosure.  A shutter release cable is connected from a camera to an output from the Arduino within the project enclosure. The shutter circuit closes, and 4 motors pulse in desired increments along each desired axis depending on the specific position of a potentiometer as well as the direction of the pole of the DPDT switch .


Intro to Fabrication