Motorized half automatic pano head

by Fx_CAD, published

Motorized half automatic pano head by Fx_CAD Apr 26, 2010

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Untested project for the MakerBot Giveaway contest. I’ve got no clue about how sturdy MakerBot printed parts are, this means that I don’t know if the parts I designed are thick enough to support the weight of the camera and steppers. I’m maybe plain wrong ! However, parts size have been carefully designed to fit into Makerbot’s build envelope. The only overhangs are holes, therefore the parts should be printable on a MakerBot (At least, I hope !). STL parts have been checked with Netfabb and are manifold EDIT:I reuploaded the STL parts. They are now oriented in build direction

This half automatic pano head has been designed to take pictures using a Canon Powershot A560 compact digital camera. The purpose is to shoot panoramas without getting into the risk of forgetting to take THE PICTURE absolutely needed to get a complete panorama (when you don’t have got a wide angle lens, you need to take a lot of pictures!)... The head moves left/right and up/down. Two NEMA 17 sized stepper motors are controlled by an Arduino (or compatible clone) using two Sparkfun\'s Easydriver. The shutting mecanism will be controlled by Arduino.

The Canon Powershot’s normally don’t have remote shutting capabilities. Fortunately, a great open source software package can add a lot of functionalities to these cameras: CHDK. It adds remote shutting by detecting when voltage is applied on camera usb port.
This head has to be mounted on a standard tripod.
Function: When pressing the start/stop button, the camera will take a picture (or more, if CHDK “bracketing in continuous mode” is checked – needed for HDR), then moves upward, takes a picture,… , then moves left,then moves downwards, takes a picture, … ,and it does the same column after column. When the necessary pictures have been taken, the photograph has to press the start/stop button. After, the reset button has to be pressed to put the pano head back in starting position (only horizontal axis needs to be moved).

Advantages of this design:
-No need to carry a notebook to control this head.
-Simple to use.

drawbacks of this design:

  • the row/column intervals and time between moves can only be changed by editing the arduino sketch.
    • No care taken about “No-parallax point” for now.

Software used:
3D CAD: Alibre Design http://www.alibre.com/
Renderings: SimLab Composer 2 http://www.simlab-soft.com/
Netfabb (STL file checking + repair): http://www.netfabb.com/

Hugin (panorama stitching and more): http://hugin.sourceforge.net/
Arduino: http://www.arduino.cc/
CHDK (Unleash the POWER in your Canon PowerShot!): http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK

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You can use gyro stabilized servos too. If you use a heading stabilized one, it wouild be even better.

Hmmmm. Does this scream Arduino powered camera stabilizer gimbal to anyone? Awesome!

Super cool. I've hacked together things like this for kite photography, but didn't even think about printable options. Very very cool.

If the same technology the makerbot uses can print other printers, it can almost certainly print this neat thing! I kinda think that you would be better off using a servomotor though, because steppers are not ideal for smooth motion.