15mm Rail Mount For NEMA 17 Follow Focus Stepper Motor

by anewsome, published

15mm Rail Mount For NEMA 17 Follow Focus Stepper Motor by anewsome Dec 4, 2012
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I wasn't happy with the cost and limits of existing follow focus systems that are available, so I designed my own follow focus system as part of a larger motion control rig for my various camera systems.

My follow focus system uses NEMA 17 stepper motors so I needed a reliable way to mount the stepper motors. I also need to be able to move the system from camera to camera quickly, as well as perform lens changes quickly too.

Since I've printed a pair of these to use on my rig, they've performed flawlessly. I use one for the zoom gear and one for focus.

I'm pretty happy with them so I hope you get some use out of them too.


I used 10% infill and it seems plenty strong to me. With the default settings in ReplicatorG, the critical part for the captive hex nut is printed almost 100% solid anyway. If you're worried about strength, just go ahead and print at 100% infill.

You'll need a 3/4 inch long 1/4"-20 screw and a hex nut to go along with it.

Mount your stepper motor with 4 M-3 screws and you're all set. The 15mm rail clamp works nicely for me, hope it does for you too.

If you're looking for gears to mount on your stepper motors, I get all of mine from servocity.

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I am also using Sony PMW F3. 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.

Hello harvestmedia. These stepper motors are most likely quiet enough to use during a live event. As with any kind of motor, the faster the motor is moving, the more noise it will make. Lens rings don't need to turn very far, so typically, you can run the stepper at a speed that is silent enough for you. My system certainly could be powered by the F3 battery but since my motion control rig has 6 stepper motors, 6 stepper motor controllers and a single board computer, this isn't really practical for me.

My control system is all self made, that is I purchased stepper controllers from Phidgets and I wrote all of my own software to control the entire rig, lenses and motion. There's a few dozen videos of my rig in action online, but here's one that I really like, showing off my "auto-track" feature, which allows you lock the camera on a fixed target, create a sliding move and the linear motion, pan, tilt and focus all work together to keep the subject in frame and in focus: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/5506543/MotionControlPrototype/2012-04-17%20Motion%20Control%20Update.mp4https://dl.dropboxusercontent....

Hi Anewsome,

Thanks for your reply. Which software did you use to make this? Please can you tell me how can I attach remote with one motor or with both motors for focus and zoom?

Thanks in advance.

Well I made the software, so I used the Java programming language. I actually learned Java specifically for this project. I bought the Java for Dummies book on the same day I bought the stepper controllers from Phidgets.

I also implemented MIDI capability in my software. This allows me to use any wireless MIDI app on my iPad/iPhone to control my lens and motion control rig, without needing to program any software for iOS.

If you want to create a lens control system it's not hard. There's dozens of different controllers and bits that you can choose to use. If you're not the type who likes to create your own hardware and software setup, I'd recommend a system that works out of the box. Varizoom, Kessler, Jag35 and dozens of others make lens controls systems that are complete.

Excellent!!! I'd appreciate if you can post the gears (both, camera and nema) or give me the link where you obtain it. Happy new year!

The gears were purchased long before I owned a 3D printer. Honestly, I'd probably just make them rather than buy them.

The lens gears were purchased from Jag35:


The stepper gears were purchased from Servo City:


You'll also need one of the clamping hubs from servo city. The clamping hub needs the same size shaft as your stepper. I own almost every size of the 32 pitch gears from servo city. You might go through a little trial and error with gear sizes based on the size of the barrel on your lens, the strength of your stepper, desired speed of travel, throw distance of your lens, stepper precision, required force for turning the lens and other factors.

I understand the gear is pitched at 32, but what is the diameter? Thanks!

Great! I'll make the gear and then I'll post it for somebody like to use it.