Like most projects that are started and finished here at the workshop delays, changes, new ideas and what have you seem to creep into the original design. Not that this is all bad but when I start a project I always seem to want it to be finished faster than it actually takes. Sometimes this works out better than I hope for and other times worse.
This has been the case with the 3D printed camera slider. But that is neither here nor there now that it is completed. This has been an interesting project that has had many revisions in the design to improve it and make it easier to build and also use. So I am happy now to show you the finished project and what it can do when shooting video.
Here is the motorized camera slider by itself without the tripod mount or video camera. The camera slider is very light weight at only 2 pounds 6 ounces. The extruded aluminum rail is the key to the assembly which makes the slider very light weight and sleek looking.
In the upper photo you can see the enclosure for the electronics on the far right that make the slider move both left and right with a variable speed control. All of this runs on one 9 volt battery. In the bottom photo is the camera slider platform where a video camera or DSLR camera is mounted using a quick release mount. Under the platform are three rollers that are mounted in a "V" configuration and glide smoothly along the extruded aluminum rail by use of a small electric motor and attached drive belt.
Here's a good view of the control box for the camera slider. At the very top you can see the small battery powered motor that makes the slider move. Next just below it is the double throw on/off/on switch to power up the slider and change directions either left or right. Lastly at the base of the control box is a knob to control the speed at which the camera platform moves along the extruded aluminum rail.
At the opposite end of the camera slider is a simple guide wheel for the toothed belt that runs from the camera platform to the motor through the upper portion of the extruded aluminum rail around the guide wheel and then back to the camera platform.\
Here's a good shot of the camera slider tripod mount. It took me a bit to get the center mount designed and 3D printed. Ten and a half hours for the center piece alone. The tubing is 3/4 inch aluminum tubing and the end mounts as with the rest of the project have been 3D printed. The mount is very light weight so that is a plus with the project.
Here the camera slider is completely assembled with my video camera set up as well. At this point I still have to shoot some video to test out the assembly and the only issue I think I will have at this point is stability using a single center mount. I will explain about this in a minute. All the electronics that are inside of the control box on the right have been tested and everything works so far so that is a good sign.
The center mount locks into the tripod nice and firm but I am still thinking about changing this to end up using either two tripods instead of one or having at least a stabilizing arm to support one of the far ends of the slider. Mainly because of the weight of the control box on one side and the additional weight of the video camera or my DSLR camera I think I will have balance problems. The overall travel that the slider has is 28 inches. This makes things a bit tricky with the camera weighing a couple of pounds and being moved to the far ends of the assembly. Two tripods which I already own will solve this issue in a quick hurry but would be a bit of a hassle to use when shooting. So I think a stabilizing arm will have to be incorporated into the design to solve all of this.
The entire assembly looks very professional so that is a real plus with the camera slider. Total cost came to right around $60 which is a far cry from the cost of a professional camera slider that can run into the hundreds of dollars. I will take that any day.
As I said earlier I have not had a chance shoot some video with this camera slider yet to show you what it does but I do have video that I shot some time back with another camera slider that I designed and built. This will give you a good idea of how this equipment works and what the end result looks like. Click the video below to check it out.
I will be working on the stabilizer for the tripod mount over the next few days so stay tuned for that update. As I said earlier about changes and delays in my projects? It's holding true to form on this project. This one has just a bit more fine tuning and then hopefully I can be completely happy with the end result. I'll let you know how it all turns out.