DIY motorized camera built from recycled 3D printer parts

A filmmaker has built a homemade motorized camera out of recycled parts from an aging 3D printer.

The remote four-axis camera slider, which the device’s creator calls “EdelKlone” – an apt joke referring to the Edelkrone company – uses not only the stepper motors, but also the Arduino board and ramps which control movement with Pan and Tilt, as well as movement along a slider.

The design was noticed by Hackadaywho noted that the rig is not made from 3D printed parts, but rather parts from a 3D printer.

“I was watching a video about motorized cameras from Edelkrone and Rhino, and noticed their prices,” says the filmmaker who goes through the DIY DSLR handle.

“Then I remembered that I had an additional 3D printer, which had a very good resolution, so I decided to turn it into a 3-4 axis camera head slider.

DSLR DIY relied on the 3D printer’s existing firmware to create a set of instructions known as G-Code and used these instructions to move along the X, Y, and Z axes in such a way as to that the motorized camera support can translate into movement.

In this case, he translated the X axis to pan, Y to tilt, and Z to slide along his camera cursor. It was also able to adjust the speed and program it along a defined forward and reverse path.

G-Code instructions were sent using a UART protocol to the ESP32 controller board built into the 3D printer.

Housed inside the firmware, it is possible to not only pre-program a set of motion instructions, but also to manually operate the motion via the manual options built into the original menu.

With just a press of a few buttons, the creator was able to move and create the movement of the camera along a defined path. The path can then be programmed into a file that can reproduce the same instructions over and over for multiple takes.

DSLR DIY also used a Serial Bluetooth Terminal app on their cell phone, which can connect to the rig via Bluetooth and send G-Code commands wirelessly. With it he was able to create a motion control that could also be controlled remotely.

The design clearly works, and DIY DSLR was able to save the $2,750 to $4,000 that photo or video companies would charge to perform the same type of motorized functions, albeit in a much more elegant way.

DSLR DIY has featured its full version on Instructables for anyone who wants to replicate it.

Picture credits: All photos by DSLR DIY.

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