Simple Camera Slider

A simple one axis machine that can be used for camera sliders.

Bart Dring

Project by

Bart Dring from Inventables
River Forest, IL

General Information

This is a basic motorized linear bearing that can be used for things like camera sliders. This project is only for the mechanical portion, but includes the stepper motor. You can edit your cart if you want a different length of MakerSlide. Be sure to have about 1 foot longer belt than MakerSlide

 
Material Description Price
Aluminum Extrusion End Caps (20mm x 40mm)

Aluminum Extrusion End Caps (20mm x 40mm) (×2)

Length: 20 mm, Width: 40 mm, Color: Black, Height: 20 mm, Type: Accessory

$9.10

Aluminum Spacers

Aluminum Spacers

Bore: .219 (5.56mm), Length: 0.3125 in, Quantity: 10, Spacer Type: Aluminum, Type: Spacer, Use With: #12, M5

$2.88

Aluminum Spacers

Aluminum Spacers

Bore: .219 (5.56mm), Length: 0.125 in, Quantity: 10, Spacer Type: Aluminum, Type: Spacer, Use With: #12, M5

$2.61

Aluminum Spacers

Aluminum Spacers

Bore: .219 (5.56mm), Length: 0.2500 in, Quantity: 10, Spacer Type: Aluminum, Type: Spacer, Use With: #12, M5

$2.61

Button Head Cap Screw

Button Head Cap Screw

Finish: Black, Length: 10mm, Pitch: 0.5mm, Quantity: 10, Type: Screw, Screw Type: Button Head, Thread Size: M3

$2.37

Button Head Cap Screw

Button Head Cap Screw

Finish: Black, Length: 8mm, Pitch: 0.5mm, Quantity: 10, Type: Screw, Screw Type: Button Head, Thread Size: M3

$2.30

Button Head Cap Screw

Button Head Cap Screw

Finish: Black, Length: 25mm, Pitch: 0.8mm, Quantity: 10, Type: Screw, Screw Type: Button Head, Thread Size: M5

$2.87

Button Head Cap Screw

Button Head Cap Screw

Finish: Black, Length: 30mm, Pitch: 0.8mm, Quantity: 10, Type: Screw, Screw Type: Button Head, Thread Size: M5

$3.01

Dual Bearing V-Wheel Kit

Dual Bearing V-Wheel Kit (×4)

Type: Wheels, Qty: 1

$19.40

Eccentric Spacer

Eccentric Spacer (×2)

Type: Spacer, Spacer Type: Standard, Qty: 1

$4.00

Flat Washer

Flat Washer

Finish: Zinc Plated, O.D.: 10mm, I.D.: 5.3mm, Thickness: 0.9mm - 1.1mm, Quantity: 10, Type: Washer, Washer Type: Flat

$2.50

Flat Washer

Flat Washer

Finish: Zinc Plated, I.D.: 3.1mm, O.D.: 7mm, Quantity: 10, Thickness: .45mm - .55mm, Type: Washer, Washer Type: Flat

$2.00

Hex Nuts

Hex Nuts

Width: 8mm, Height: 4mm, Pitch: 0.8mm, Finish: Zinc Plated, Quantity: 10, Type: Nut, Thread Width: M5, Nut Type: Hex

$2.00

MakerSlide

MakerSlide

Length: 1800mm, Type: Rail

$32.84

Makerslide Belt Clip

Makerslide Belt Clip

Width: 11mm, Length: 25mm, Thickness: 1.5mm, Qty: 2

$5.00

Motor Sub Plate

Motor Sub Plate

Material: 6mm Acrylic, Color: Black

$7.00

MXL Belting - Open Ended

MXL Belting - Open Ended (×8)

Pitch: 0.08" MXL, Width: 0.25 in, Length: 1' (shipped uncut if more than 1' is ordered), Type: Belt, Category: Accessory, Trade Name: MXL

$15.92

Plastic MXL Pulley - Dual Flange

Plastic MXL Pulley - Dual Flange

Bore: 5 mm, Teeth: 18, Type: Pulley, Category: Accessory

$5.50

Pre-Assembly Insertion Nuts

Pre-Assembly Insertion Nuts

Thread Size: M5 (5mm) × 0.8, Quantity: 10, Type: Nuts, Insertion Type: Pre-Assembly, Nut Type: Insertion

$5.00

Smooth Idler Wheel Kit

Smooth Idler Wheel Kit (×2)

Description: Kit includes 1 smooth idler, 2 ball bearings and 1 precision shim washer., Type: Wheels, Qty: 1 kit

$11.50

Socket Head Cap Screw

Socket Head Cap Screw

Finish: Black, Length: 10mm, Pitch: 0.8mm, Quantity: 10, Type: Screw, Thread Size: M5, Screw Type: Socket Head

$2.52

Standard Wheel Carriage Plate

Standard Wheel Carriage Plate

Type: Plate

$8.00

Stepper Motor - NEMA 14

Stepper Motor - NEMA 14

Holding Torque: 19 oz/in, Form Factor: NEMA 14

$13.87

Thumb Screw Cap (10 pack)

Thumb Screw Cap (10 pack)

Screw Size: M5, Color: Black, Diameter: 16mm, Height: 6.5mm, Qty: 10

$5.00

$169.80
from Inventables

 
File Description Unit Price
File-type-blank

cameraslider_inst.pdf

Visual Assembly Instructions

$0

File-type-blank

MakerSlide_Slider_01.ino

Arduino Sketch

$0

File-type-blank

camera_slider_STEP.stp

CAD File (STEP)

$0

Download Zip

$0
from Inventables

 
1

Assemble Motor Sub Plate

Assemble the motor sub plate per the image below. Consider which way you want the wires to protrude from the motor before you mount it.

Cs_step1
2

Attach Sub Plate to Main Carriage

Attach the prior assembly to the carriage per the image below. Be sure to note the orientation of the carriage. It is not symmetrical.

Cs_step2
3

Attach the V Wheels

Attached the v wheels as shown. Set the eccentric spacers so the wheels are in their widest position. After the carriage is mounted to the rail they will be moved to contact the v rail.

Step3
4

Assemble the carriage to the MakerSlide

Slide the carriage onto the MakerSlide. Adjust the eccentric spacers until they v wheel is just contacting the v rail. You do not want excessive pressure or you will damage the wheels.

The belt is threaded around the pulley and idler wheels as shown below. Firmly attach one end of the belt to the rail. When you do the other end, tension the belt as you tighten the last belt clip.

Cs_step4
5

Select a control system.

The selection of the control system is left to the end user.

There is a very basic open source one available though. This has been tested with grbl shield, the buildlog.net stepper shield and the ITEAD stepper shield. These all use an Arduino as the controller. Some other boards with built in Arduinos would work as well such as the G1 or X1 from www.pancatt.com.

For best results, dial the current as low as you can before motion stalls. Lower currents will make the motor run quieter. Set it up for highest microstepping too.

Here are two blog posts on the subject

6

Controller Firmware

A very basic version of Arduino controller firmware is attached in the digital files section of this project.

Zach Kaplan
I have a Nikon D40 will it work with this slider?
Zach Kaplan
Bart Dring
It should work well for that camera. With all cameras, try to keep the mass centered on the carriage and as low (close to carriage) as possible.
Bart Dring
Jaime Aguirre
Hello Bart, I am wondering if you could make me a 3/4 threaded acme bolt for a bullfloat extension handle. I am in Vernon Hills, IL (312) 399-4851. Thank you for your kind attention.
Jaime Aguirre
Don French
There are a few minor errors in the instructions: Step 3: There is no callout in diagram for V-wheel and wrong part number is given for 1/4 spacer (see BOM). Step 4: This sentence does not make sense as written: "When you do the other end tension the belt as tighten the last belt clip."
Don French
Bart Dring
Thanks for the corrections. I think I fixed those issues.
Bart Dring
Dustin Veitch
Hey Bart, I am piecing together my slider and I made it to step 3. I do not have the '25206-01 Spacer, 1/4" Long'. Am I missing something or was it to be included with my order?
Dustin Veitch
Dustin Veitch
Nevermind! I downloaded the PDF from above and it doesn't have your last edit on it. Looks like the 25312-13 replaces the 1.4''. Thanks anyway!
Dustin Veitch
DEVTANK
Apart from the Maker Slide and the belt what else would change in the bill of materials list if I wanted to make a simple slider that was 1000mm instead of 1800mm? How much belt would I need for a 1000mm version? Thank you.
DEVTANK
Bart Dring
DEVTANK, I would buy the belt about 2 feet longer than the rail.
Bart Dring
Murat Kilci
Are there instructions on how to control this with an Arduino Board? What are the capabilities with the Ardiuno?
Murat Kilci
Mike Chastain
Is it possible to make a longer version by butting 2 Makerslide rails end to end? If so, how would one go about that?
Mike Chastain
Bart Dring
Mike, I join MakerSlide using 4.20mm drill rod (McMaster 2900A283). Put them in the central holes for perfect alignment of the MakerSlide. Put a strap across the bottom to keep them together. Mending brackets can be used for this. I'll post a picture soon.
Bart Dring
Adam Cole
How would I got about this if I wanted to extend it to be about 5' long? Is there a way to order the rail in that length? The only catch seems to be the length of that pre-made rail.
Adam Cole
Adam Cole
scratch that I guess you just answered that question
Adam Cole
Adam Cole
Any suggestions for a portable power source that can handle the stepper motor?
Adam Cole
Robert Erlichman
Bart, would this work vertically -- hanging from the ceiling and supporting a full sized DSLR (Nikon D800)? I'm looking to move the camera in what would be the z-axis. Thx
Robert Erlichman
Erlend Lorentzen
I was thinking about using a threaded rod with the design of the Shapeoko Z-axis (minus stepper) mirrored for both ends of the makerslide. Then you could use a cordless drill as a manually controlled power source in the field. It would of course be compatible with a stepper. What do you guys think?
Erlend Lorentzen
Bart Dring
Lead screws work great for shorter distances. I think it would work fine up to about 500mm-600mm. After that it would probably start to whip a lot.
Bart Dring
Erlend Lorentzen
Even if fastened at both sides?
Erlend Lorentzen
Bart Dring
Fastening at both ends with the rod under tension helps. A larger diameter rod also helps for longer lengths.
Bart Dring
Brian Stahl
Hi Bart, Your hardware design is great and I've assembled six kits. However, the control program you provided isn't compiling in Arduino IDE 1.0.5-r2. There is an error on line 143 that states "Timer1 was not declared in this scope." Have you run into this before? Thanks.
Brian Stahl
Bart Dring
Brian, Timer1 is an add on library to Arduino. Every time you get a new version of the Arduino IDE you need to re-install it. Look here for instructions. http://playground.arduino.cc/Code/Timer1#.Uw-QEfldXzw
Bart Dring
Brian Stahl
Hi Bart, Thanks so much! That was the issue. As you can tell, I'm new to the world of Arduino. Best regards, Brian
Brian Stahl
Brian Stahl
Hi Bart, We've been using the ITEAD stepper shield with unsatisfactory results (some lose steps, others don't). Does your Arduino code work with the Adafruit stepper shield?
Brian Stahl
Bart Dring
I would not recommend the Adafruit shield for this application. I originally design it to work with this shield. http://www.reactivesubstance.com/shop.html
Bart Dring
Brian Stahl
Is the Buildlog.net stepper shield 3.0 the most reliable/robust choice and if so, do you know if they sell pre-assembled shields? Alternatively, is the gShield a good reliable choice?
Brian Stahl
Bart Dring
Both shields are fine and reliable. I do not know about pre-assembled versions of the buildlog.net version.
Bart Dring
Brian Stahl
OK. Thanks again, Bart!
Brian Stahl
Joshua Ratten
Hi, I live in Australia, and due to shipping restrictions can get makerslide in a maximum length of 1m, if I were to join two 1m lengths of makerslide together, with the way you mentioned, to get a 2m long camera slider would it cause the slider to be weak or sag in the middle?
Joshua Ratten
Joshua Ratten
Also would the join cause the camera to bounce over it? Overall would joining two pieces of makerslide together to make a longer camera slide be a good idea? Also how would you recommend attaching a tripod mount to the slider? Thanks
Joshua Ratten
Jonathan Bloom
Is it normal for the M3 screws that hold the stepper motor to the motor sub-plate to bottom out before they tighten to the plate, leaving the motor a little loose?
Jonathan Bloom
Bart Dring
Jonathon, We have not seen that before, but there is variability in the thickness of the sub plate and the usable depth of the threads. I have added some M3 washers to the BOM. Contact our customer service department if you need us to send some M3 washers (#4 will work as well).
Bart Dring
Jonathan Bloom
Thanks Bart. I'll just pick up some washers locally.
Jonathan Bloom