DIY Camera slider Help!

arduino camera electronics slider stepper_motor

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I want to make a motorized camera slider that would use standard Arduino components. I don't know that much about Arduino but I still understand what people talk about.

You can look at my picture that I made to try and get an understanding of what I want. It would be powered by a stepper motor with a timing belt. I would prefer to use a Arduino Nano but any microcontroller would work.

At the ends, there would be microswitches. I would have a potentiometer to control the speed in both directions. A 3 way rocker switch would have OFF, INFINITE, and ONE WAY. The normal position would be off. When switched to INFINITE, the slider would move to one side, hit the limit switch, then go to th other side, hit the limit switch, and repeat, until I turn it off (this would be for interviews or things like that.) Then, the other position (ONE WAY) would start where the position was last left off, then go to one side (determind by the potentiometer for speed and direction) and hit the limit switch, and then just stop. Also there might be a little "Reset button" which just moves the carriage to one side of the slider which would be defined as the "home position", similar to a 3D printer. The thing I need help with is the coding/wiring. I can't imagine this being that difficult to code for most people, and I am currently taking an Arduino course. These are the electronics I am thinking:

10K Potentiometer
Stepper motor
Stepper motor driver
Arduino-type board
2 limit switches
3 way rocker switch

So if anyone can help me, or need me to clarify stuf, please contact me!

Sounds like a good project. I'm in the process of making a slider myself, and one thing I would recommend it using a belt drive instead of a leadscrew.

  • Leadscrew has backlash, belt drive no backlash.
  • Leadscrew will limit your speed - stepper motor can't turn fast enough to make it go fast enough for interviews (unless you drive it at 50v +). For macro stuff it would be ok.
  • Leadscrew is heavy
  • Leadscrew and motor will vibrate at higher speeds.
  • Leadscrew makes a loud metal bearing sound at faster speeds. A trapezoidal screw also makes a lot of noise AND has a resistance.

Unless you need a lot of lifting power for going vertical, use belt drive instead.

  • Also, if you use a smaller stepper like an average nema17 size, look into tmc2130 stepstick drivers designed for 3d printers. They have amazing current chopping tech which will drive the stepper nearly silently which is important for shooting interviews. Also it draws less power when there's little resistance, and ramps up when it detects a higher load which is great for batteries.

  • Also, consider using inductive sensors instead of limit switches. Limit switches make a loud click when they're hit. Not good for interviews

I would take a look at some other projects, that have step-by-steps. They may not be exactly what you want, but I'm guessing the code and hardware setup is probably pretty close.


I am happy to help with coding. Just post if you get to a point where you are stuck. Good idea taking an arduino course. If you can, also look in to taking a course on introductory C coding... they are offered at colleges all over and often have very good instructors (because they for the basis of education for young software engineers). Arduino is pretty much the same as C, but an entry level C course will skip some of the hardware info and focus purely on coding (so you end up with more coding knowledge, and C is the most universal lang.). This shouldn't be a very hard project to code once you learn the basics.

Also, you may have extra pins available to add a second stepper for rotation. That would make the slider much more versatile.

Yea I was thinking of having an external hole to make it "modular" to add a second axis or something like that.