So here’s the first of a couple of posts about my motorized slider I’ve made. In this post I’ll cover the slider aspect of it; what I used and what holes I drilled, etc. After that, I’ll explain a bit about the control unit that is powered by Arduino and future plans. I won’t exactly outline what I did, but more of the concept of it so you get an idea of it all.
I started with an IGUS slider kit off of Amazon, it was the DryLin W1040-A. At this point, you can drill a hole in the platform, attach a short 3/8 bolt and you’d be good to mount a tripod head and therefore your camera. I wasn’t satisfied with just a hand slider, so I wanted to motorize the thing. Sidenote: this is a great hand slider, I wouldn’t use it for heavier cameras (5d w/long zoom lens) but it works great for subtle slides.
So what I did was checked around the Internet and based a lot of my design off of Koko Monstrum. I used a lot of the same parts and really wanted to aim for as portable and functional as possible. I wanted to use the slider for slides from one end to another and for timelapses that start and stop for pictures.
So if you look on the Koko Monstrum site, he lists out using a lot of parts from McMaster Carr, which is a great resource for this kind of thing. The timing belt, the pulleys, aluminum shaft and coupling are pretty much the bread and butter to my slider. I’d definitely look into how big your sleeve bearings should be, they’re essential to prevent metal on metal contact and make the slide that much smoother. So definitely check out his page, he has two pages for his slider, one with a crank pulley and then he motorized it.
One thing that confused me was how to attach the belt. I got enough to cover two meters of length. Cut it and then attach it like you see in the picture. Make sure you have space for the belt under the platform, especially on the smaller W1040-A unit I have. Just make sure the length of your belt will fit your rails because it has to go twice the length of the rail length.
Another thing was how I attached the servo. I opted to mount it below the slider after drilling four holes that correspond with the mounting holes that are on standard sized servos. I had to be precise here so I measured on a sheet of paper the dimensions of where the screws were, taped it on the slider rails and drilled it with a drill press. I really would suggest using a drill press for the precision.
The rest of the holes were quite simple. Remember you’re using 1/4”-20 or 3/8”-16 for tripod mounting holes. A tap set will be really helpful here, I got a cheap one from my local hardware store, they work alright for the aluminum. You’re going to have to also grab some bolts and nuts if you don’t want to tap any holes, and be prepared to cut the bolts to your liking if they’re too long.
As for the servo, GET A CONTINUOUS servo. I attempted modify a servo but it didn’t work for me. I mean it moved continuously but it didn’t go the other way… So I got the Hitec 1425CR with a 1/4” shaft spline attachment instead of the shaft coupler that Koko uses.
The tripod head that I’m using is a cheap ball head that is surprisingly sturdy. But you can really use any head that fits. The one caution for me was that since I use nuts and bolts to secure the belt, the nuts would prevent me from putting a large tripod head onto the platform.
UPDATE: Just posted about the control box, you can check that out with some pictures here