DSLR Camera 15mm Rails Platform

by anewsome, published

DSLR Camera 15mm Rails Platform by anewsome Mar 12, 2013


I've been doing development on my motion control rig for a few years now. After selling my primary camera for the rig (Sony F3), I only had my Nikon DSLR left to test the rig with. Since I didn't have a way to mount the required focus and zoom motors, or even a way to attach the camera to the rig at all, I made a complete camera platform 100% 3D printed.

I looked on this site for anything that would work that someone else had already made but I couldn't find anything that worked exactly how I needed it to, so I modeled everything from scratch in OpenSCAD. I'm not an OpenSCAD expert and the code shows it, so I won't be posting the source files. If you want them, just ask and I'll send them to you.

Also keep in mind that I modeled the bottom plate to fit directly into the Bogen tripod quick release plate. This makes the rig much simpler. If you need it to fit your tripod plate, just design a new bottom or put holes in my bottom plate and attach your tripod adapter.

Obviously there is a bit of risk in creating a part like this and putting $5k worth of camera equipment on it. I'm confident that the parts I printed are up to task and I'm not too worried about breaking my camera, but use at your own risk.

Also, the rig pictured is using my 15mm Stepper Motor Rail Mounts too. That part has its own page and you can get the STL for that there.

Lastly, the actual 15mm rods are standard rods. They are not printed. I get mine from Filmtools.

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Thanks for that info! definitely cleared up my confusion

The lens gear you point out is a .8 pitch gear, which is standard for CINE lens gears and CINE follow focus gears. The servo city gears are also .8 pitch, although they do have gears that work with ENG lenses too. I've never made any .8 pitch gearing on my 3D printer, so I definitely have not uploaded any .8 gears to this site. The only gears I've made on my printer are for XL size belt/pulley systems, which is something completely different. I also have not uploaded any of my XL pulleys, since they are pretty specific to my particular motion control rig.

Thanks! any chance those gears are uploaded in Thingiverse ? I'm just not sure what gearing i would need for something like this http://www.thingiverse.com/thi.... Thanks again for your response

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You'll need some 1/4-20 Panhead screws for the platforms to attach to the vertical posts. I get mine from home depot. I can probably find the exact SKU for you if you need it. I sized the holes in the vertical rails just perfectly so they can be tapped with a 1/4-20 tap. Sorry if you don't have a tap, just go buy one. They're not that expensive. Just get a good grip on the rod and tap it, pretty easy.

You'll need some 1/4-20 hex nuts and bolts too. These are used to fix the rail holders to the vertical posts and also for the rail holders to grip the rails.

The camera is held on the platform with a thumb bolt. The rod blocks are fixed to the vertical rods with a super extended thumb bolt. The 15mm rails are using a shallow extended thumb bolt. These are all essentially the same thumb bolt with different depths to fit the purpose.

The lens support is very specific and it was made to fit my 24-70mm Nikon. Your lens probably needs a support with a different diameter. If you get the OpenSCAD source from me, you can probably figure it out.

I am aware that the bolt hole in the rail holders is slightly off-center. I can't figure out why but it still works fine. If there is an OpenSCAD expert who thinks they can unravel my code and figure it out, please do.

If you make one, post a picture of your rig so I can check it out. Good luck!


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ChristianNIcco on Dec 3, 2013 said:

This is AWESOME! could you possibly provide a link to where you purchased the black plastic gears you used for the stepper motor
Thanks !

anewsome on Dec 3, 2013 said:

I purchased those gears at servocity.com before I owned a 3D printer. Since I've got my printer, I model and print my own gears. Printing your own gears is much cheaper and you get exactly what you want.

harvestmedia on Apr 25, 2013 said:

Very creative!

I want to make this type focus and zoom puller for my camera lens. I am looking for a motor with very low noise because I use my camera for live events so that is important for me to record clear live voice also with the on camera microphone.

Please can you tell me how did you connect those motors with power and remote control also. Is that possible to connect with sony pmw f3's battery for power?

I will really appreciate your help.

Makerperson on Apr 25, 2013 said:

Is the rig compatible with only Nikon DSLRs or could a Canon DSLR work also?

anewsome on Apr 25, 2013 said:

This rig is not camera specific. A Nikon or Canon should work equally as well on it. I've been putting the rig through some pretty rigorous testing with a heavy camera and lens on it though. Starting to notice some stress marks in some parts. I may need to do a re-design but overall, I'm pretty happy with how it came out.

MarcusWolschon on Mar 13, 2013 said:

Do you have Flattr?

anewsome on Mar 13, 2013 said:

No Marcus. I do not have flattr. I don't even know what it is.

jameghino on Mar 12, 2013 said:

Excellent work!!!! I'd appreciate if you can share the OpenScad file for 15mm_Rail_Block.stl. Thanks a lot!!!!

anewsome on Mar 12, 2013 said:

Thanks jameghino. I send you a link to the OpenSCAD file. If you happen to fix it, please let me know!

fma on Mar 12, 2013 said:

Very nice work!