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 My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project... 
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Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 5:28 pm
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Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
Wow I missed your replies, I didnt get the email notification for some reason.

That all looks really good, very nice.
The bearing brackets look really solid. I need to remake mine in a stronger material, the HDPE is a bit soft I think.
The only thing with that bracket that you have is that it wont 'lock' onto the rail, meaning that that dont have anything gripping the cart to the rail.

That means that you cant hand the cart upside down nor do a climb of any kind, the weight of the camera and the moment arm of the distance that it will be from the track will simply tip the cart off the track.

I managed to get mine 99% finished,
All electronics mounted to the cart, the belt in place, idlers in place, the whole lot.
I just have to fit the limit switches and this dolly is done!

This one is for my mate that is finishing the coding for our system, so I have started on my dolly now.
It will be for all intents the same, just fixing a few things that I found when building this one that will make it better :-)

Image


Sun Aug 17, 2014 2:09 pm
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Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
That looks great Andrew - excellent work! Love how you've got the bearings recessed like that.

I seem to be having daily discoveries almost about tiny adjustments that then lead to having to buy more bolts of the correct size and so on!

I've also been busy designing and printing more parts.
I've created a bracket that attaches to the end of the rail brackets for the purpose of attaching the stepper motor, and the pulleys that gear it down further for slower speed and increased torque.
This is a 2 part attachment which consists of the main bracket which the stepper fixes to, plus the bottom of the pulley shaft goes into, through a bearing/bushing that I fitted via a recess included in the print, then a top half that fits above and connects the matching top side of the pulley shaft.

This first pic still shows some of the support material that's not yet removed from some of the print.
Image

Image

Image

I was a bit concerned myself about the fact the cart bearings won't secure it in a way that will hold it against gravity properly. I'm going to have to make some design changes to remedy that, but for the time being I'm going to try it anyway since I've printed the parts now.

The lower bearings are below centre so it's possible they might allow a reasonably steep angle as they will have some grip but not that much. Once I've cut the plate for the cart itself and can attach the bearing guides I'll get a rough idea of course, but I'll add the camera (or a weight) and see what I can get away with before it detaches! As long as it allows me to try the rail out at a reasonable angle then it will suffice for now, since I'll undoubtedly have other changes that I'll want to make in due course for what might be a hopefully final mk4 version at some point....

It's interesting to ponder on the 'evolution' of rails I've done. The first took a day or two I think, the second one was done over a few days, then this third one has been weeks in the making so far and is a way off being done yet.
Once I have it in use then I can enjoy getting some footage with it while figuring out the finer points of the controls and hardware for adding pan & tilt electronics.


Mon Aug 18, 2014 2:32 pm
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Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
That is looking really good.
My 11 year old mentioned to me yesterday that we need a 3D printer, I tend to agree with him. :lol:
Just need to work out if I want to buy one or build one, or get the hot end attached to the CNC mill, that would allow full 3D printing.
Im leaning towards a standalone printer though, then I can be printing and milling at the same time.

That stepper and gearbox integrated bracket is looking very good. It should work a treat.
With the bearing blocks, be aware that the carbon tubes will flex somewhat, so the cart can, under some circumstances, pop off the track if you exert too much force to the side bearings.

I havent tried the new one yet anything but flat, but the design is close enough to the 3 other carbon tube versions that I regularly use on near vertical angle, so Im content that mine wont pop off the rails, but I have that bearing at a much steeper angle than yours is.
The beauty is that it is just making new brackets to hold the bearings :D

Tomorrow night Im fitting the limit switches to this dolly cart and it is done, then Im going to start to cut out the next one with design changes that I have already drawn up.
The CAD work is ready to go, just need time to cut them out.
Ive run out of material, so the next one Im going to make out of 12mm ply.
It will be heavier I think, but should be a bit stiffer than the HDPE.

Is your aluminium plate going to be too heavy?
I have got two 6mm Alu plates that I have considered using multiple times, but figured that they would need a lot of material milled out to make them light enough, and Im not really that satisfied that my CNC mill can do Aluminium to a good enough finish.

I milled some 3mm Aluminium to make the tripod mounts for where the 1/4 inch screw from the tripod attaches to the mount, to prevent it from pulling out of the HDPE, and while they did work, it was a nervous 10 minutes while it cut out :?

I have changed my pan and tilt design again, this time it is using worms and worm gears instead of the closed loop belts, to allow for being able to sleep the stepper between moves to save power.
Im on my 4th design there and only built the first and second versions.

cheers
Andrew


Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:16 pm
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Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
Busy busy mate!

The ally plate will have a bit of weight but not too bad. I'm using a similar one now and overall the weight is very little compared to previous stuff even if it could be lighter.
This is still effectively a prototype and it's easier at present to just get it in one piece then refine bits gradually. Once my CNC conversion is done I should be able to mill out the plate to lighten it etc.
I have two of three axes done now and awaiting a new ballscrew for the vertical axis. Then when it's all wired I have to figure out how to use the software!!

End switches is something I also need to consider. Present one does not have them as I couldn't be bothered, and I just switch it off just before the end of its travel.
I'd considered not using them and having it move a set number of steps, but the problem is that without a worm hear this isn't workable since it can be moved out of position too easily, unless it's 'homed' each use by starting from the same end point.
Wires for end switches and whatever else can run along the tunes though so it's no hassle to include them, I've just been lazy up to now! :D

Need to get to work with programming though, and a few of my machines at home are deciding they don't want to speak to my arduinos, which is annoying.
Need to sort that out!

Re' worm gears, are there some stepper sizes that have a 4mm shaft I wonder, or would it be feasible to turn the 5mm shaft on my current ones down to 4mm to accept commonly available worm drives perhaps?
I could attach a stepper to the lathe but of course the cutting tool may most likely just cause the motor shaft to spin on contact rather than turning it thinner...

Might be worth a try as it would solve problems if I can do that.
Or another easier option is I might be able to turn adapters that go from 5mm to 4mm.
No idea why I didn't think of that sooner actually! That's probably the best solution for me.


Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:42 pm
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Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
Im curious to see your design for the other axis now :lol:
We are using end switches as we have an utilisation routine that you can run that basically just determines the number of steps on the dolly.
This is used as primary safety to not hit each end, and the switches themselves are the secondary.

You dont need a switch at each end of yours, as you have a looped belt, just have a clamp on the belt for the far end limit and have to limits at the electronics end.

Yeah I dont think that you can conceivably turn down the stepper shaft size without dismantling the stepper, the adapter is the way to go.

My worm is a nylon one and it is the 4.735mm or whatever that metric/imperial is, and it will jam fit onto the 5mm shaft, but i can't get it off now ;-)


Tue Aug 19, 2014 12:13 am
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Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
Well here's the parts I'm waiting for the Z axis if it's any use:
http://www.aliexpress.com/snapshot/6188728104.html

Fortunately it comes with an adaptor block that fits over the ballnut and will greatly ease the fitting of the ballnut to the mill head. I'm going to try the easy route first of all and direct drive the ballscrew.
I think my stepper should be man enough for it but we'll see I guess. The mill has an air spring that I fitted so the head goes up & down with equal ease I'd say.

Not done a lot over the last night or two - am waiting for some bolts still, although I have got to grips a bit with the arduino. Got the sodding thing to speak to my netbook since the clone Uno I've been trying to use (not the one on my current rail) has refused to speak to my macs.
Got it to work, plugged in the LCD shield, and have uploaded a basic sketch to it and messed about a little with the code:
Image

Doesn't do a lot currently other than cycle through menu display options but it's a starting point where I can add to the code and muck about with it a bit at a time. :)


Wed Aug 20, 2014 2:38 pm
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Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
Haha, when you said axis, I read it as the pan tilt axis, not the CNC Z axis.
All good.

That looks like a good part for a decent price though, food for thought.

Our software is ready for a in the field test this Saturday, so I will have a time-lapse to share soon :-)
I am really amazed that no-one has done camera control via USB, it is dead easy and the wealth of info that you get is astounding.

Image

you can see that we can get battery, ISO, shutter speed, disc space, etc etc, all with simple calls to the camera over the single USB connection.
The kicker is that all this stuff can be set as well.
So all you do is set the camera to M or B mode and aperture, shutter speed, ISO are all set via your smartphone or tablet.
THis means that, eventually, we will add in automatic bulb ramping :D

Cant be done from the Arduino though.......


Wed Aug 20, 2014 4:27 pm
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Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
Ha ha, I did wonder if you meant the dolly or the CNC!
I've ordered some worm gears that use a 4 mm shaft so i'll have to turn a shaft that comes off the stepper and fits the gear, with a press fit presumably, then sits in a bearing probably to support the end.
Not all planned yet fully.

Re software, for this version I'm not planning on it being so elaborate to be honest, certainly not at this stage.
It's possible in future I'll go that way with a PI, but no plans to currently. It's all too new for me and this is already a bit of a project as it is by myself with lack of time and no real experience writing arduino etc
Re bulb ramping, I've no experience at all of using an automated process for it but have read more than once that it can be a hit and miss technique?

Am interested in thoughts on that since I haven't tried it myself. Articles I read deterred me from trying it for fear of trying and getting failed/wasted results but I should just try anyway since trigger trap has it built in. I suspect I'm worrying too much, so I'll set it up by the front door one night when I'm not actually bothered about the results as such.

I'm dying to get out with the new rail but there's a way to go yet.

Yours will be fantastic with all that functionality but I'm going to keep mine more simple. For now!


Wed Aug 20, 2014 11:51 pm
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Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
Trust me, we didn't start out this ambitious with the software, it has just grown that way :D
I can't wait till Saturday to do some actual shooting.

I just went to start cutting out my dolly parts on the CNC and I've lost another of the cheap Chinese steppers, so have to fix that before I can get my dolly going.


Thu Aug 21, 2014 12:19 am
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Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
That's a shame about the stepper! They're not lasting long then?
Makes me nervous about mine...

I can't wait to get the mill finished but as said, I don't know what I'm doing with software for it!
I might have to wear body armor when I test it.


Thu Aug 21, 2014 1:36 am
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Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
That is 2 steppers in 6 months maybe.
The mill had really cheap quite small steppers on it and I have been giving it a hard time :P

Maybe not body armour, but I would strongly recommend a big 'All Stop' button and limit switches.
A mate of mine has just finished automating his manual mill, not too dissimilar to yours, and he said that fitting limit switches saved his arse many times before he got it tuned up enough to not have it dart off in unexpected directions.


Thu Aug 21, 2014 2:13 am
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Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
I've got a suitable E stop switch ready for when I wire it all up!
Not bought end stops specifically but I've probably got suitable switches handy.

I've no idea about how you control the machine's knowledge of positioning say when you change a cutting tool and it might protrude to a different position etc.
Presume you have to calibrate it's position each time or something on those lines. I have all these things to learn!


Thu Aug 21, 2014 4:34 am
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Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
I'm curious why you are turning down the stepper motor shaft instead of drilling out the gear?

I find center on the hole by starting with a drill bit the same size as the hole.
Slide the gear onto the bit, then move the mill table so it just touches the vise.
After clamping it, check it by moving the bit out of the hole and back in.
If the bit deflects, adjust mill table until it doesn't.
Now switch bits to one the size of the hole you want to drill.

I mill a flat spot on the side of the motor shaft so the set screw doesn't slip.
Deburr the flat with fine sandpaper before attaching the gear or the burr can jam it on the shaft.
Deburr the set screw hole as well for the same reason.
Screw the set screw through the hole and deburr again to get the little burr that hides in the set screw hole.


Thu Aug 21, 2014 4:55 am
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Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
Misunderstanding I think!

I'm not turning the motor shaft down, I'm going to make an adaptor to fit on the stepper shaft then fit in the gear.
I had mentioned earlier the possibility of the motor shaft but dismissed it really.

I could drill out the centre of the worm gear potentially, but until I get them I've no idea how much material they have to see if this would work or make them fragile etc.

One thing I'm trying to ponder at the moment is the setup of the controls that I will be using.
The LCD has 6 buttons; up/down, and 2 sets of left/right.

What I'm considering is to use a potentiometer for the speed, dip switches for the setting of microstepping if necessary (since typically I would not expect this to be changed often), a 2 way rocker switch for direction (possibly - would prefer a small 2 way rotary selector type switch, but can't find any that are basic/small/cheap enough), then the LCD with menu for all the shutter control stuff.

That's about as much as I've considered it yet. Haven't even really thought out the menu processes yet.


Thu Aug 21, 2014 9:47 am
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Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
as far as cnc milling goes, you position everything by the centre of the mill tool, and the tip.
So in software when creating your gcode from your 2d shape, you tell the generator what is your mill bit size. It then automatically works out the correct offsets.
Z axis is harder, but in practice you simply re-touch off when you do the tool change, the x/y position is the same just the z changes, and again, the software knows the difference in offset as you set that up in the gcode generation step.

You wont need to change the micro-stepping.
I would say that you wont even need microstepping, just go for the full step option.
I have found that the dolly length produces so many full steps that it isnt necessary to use micro-stepping.
the pan and tilt on the other had, definitely need micro-stepping.

Sciencelookers, you are, of course, correct.
However, using a twist drill makes it very very hard to get it cutting straight, not to mention that you need a centring vise or proper chuck to take the work piece.
I've had mixed success in drilling out gears and pulleys to the correct size, just the slightest bit off centre and you create a binding spot that you can definitely see in a time-lapse sequence.


Thu Aug 21, 2014 11:55 am
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Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
Thanks for the info on the milling stuff Andrew, that's a useful bit of knowledge, thanks.

Re' steps, my rail already runs on the smallest level of microstepping (think it's the smallest or possibly 2nd smallest) in order to give the combination of being slow but in tiny tiny increments.
I suppose it would actually be fine doing full steps with a bigger step delay and would give much more torque. I've been meaning to meddle with the existing setup to find a sweet spot inbetween.

My idea really with this was that I would kind of have the potentiometer as the 'throttle', and dip switches for the microstepping as gears effectively, ie to provide different speed ranges according to the microstepping, with the precise speed setting by the pot. Maybe it's not that great an idea after all, but I've not had issues so far so I'll have a think about it and experiment a bit.

I've got pilot drills which would possibly work as solid drills for bore increase, but I don't have reamers that size. I only have a 10mm and 12mm one.


Thu Aug 21, 2014 12:04 pm
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Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
No worries on the mill front, Im more than happy to help out wherever I can.
It would have helped me immensely if I had someone to let me in on the secrets, so I am happy to help.

I do see the attraction to the simplicity of a constantly moving dolly, but cant help but feel that it should be stopped while exposing the image. 8-)
I guess that is the different style of time-lapses that we do, I like the night time scenes, you do the days, so my exposure times are 20-30 seconds while yours will be much much quicker.


Thu Aug 21, 2014 12:17 pm
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Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
That's exactly it. All mine to date is daytime, so it creeps along continuously slowly but the shutter speed is ample to ensure that no movement during exposure is noticeable.
But I do want to do night stuff, hence recognising that I need to expand the program to include the shutter control and run the exposures between steps.
I've already got a spare cable I can use since my original intervalometer broke, and I understand I need an NPN switching transistor to control the shutter pins on the cable, which I think I have a suitable one (I found a box of old circuit components scavenged from dead radios, from when I was a child. Used to make up circuits and use them to try and repair stuff, and I still had all that stuff!).

So as mentioned the plan (certainly open to better ideas) is to have the following control inputs:
1) Potentiometer for speed control.
2) Dip switches on the back of the control box to change microstepping level if desired.
3) A rocker switch to control direction.
4) The LCD keypad to control the menu for setting intervalometer settings.
5) A power switch!


Thu Aug 21, 2014 12:29 pm
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Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
I will look it up if a get a chance, but have a look for Arduino Time-Lapse projects that use opto isolated camera triggering.
That is what you want.

Your plan sounds sane I think, it is just different to mine, that is all :-)
Im used to using the Dynamics Perception MX2 controller.
For that you tell it the exposure and wait times, then just give it a L or R direction and effectively, how many steps per move. ( it isnt steps as it uses DC motors, it is actually a time that the motor should run).
That is is. Your speed is determined by the exposure time and the wait times and the distance at each step.

ie I know that with my 2m rail, the sweet spot for 25 second exposures with 5 second wait times between shots, is 0.10cm a second, or whatever the timing is measured in, I never really got my head around what the numbers meant, just worked out the right settings :-)
That gives me a time-lapse of around 460 frames if I cover the whole 2m dolly rail and takes approx 4 hours to shoot.

So the concept of how changing the speed that the dolly moves at is a foreign concept to me at this stage :shock:


Thu Aug 21, 2014 12:43 pm
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Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
That all makes perfect sense and as I understand it is a more normal way of doing things.

At this stage though (and in general) I like to have complete manual control with stuff.
I vary the speed of the cart depending on a couple of things really, proximity to the ground being one, and the speed the clouds are moving being another.
It it's right next to the ground then I try to run it slowly as the lateral movement becomes more conspicuous and less smooth if it moves too quick versus the frame rate. Now if the clouds move fast then I use a faster frame rate so potentially faster than 1fps depending what memory card I'm using etc (ie if it can cope emptying the camera buffer of the raw files continuously at that speed), and how long the sequence is that I want to do. i kind of have to factor it all in together to figure how fast to run it. I'm only a beginner at this timelapse stuff too of course so I don't always get it right either!
If the sky is moving slowly then I don't want a mega fast frame rate even close to the ground, otherwise the timelapse looks dull in terms of what's going on in the sky if it barely moves in the finished sequence.
But if I slow the cart way down, and use a relatively slow frame rate (a 3 seconds between shots), then I still get smooth lateral movement, but the sky more interesting in the end sequence as you can actually see it moving.

Hopefully that makes sense, there's method to my madness but as you mention, it needs to be a different approach for day or night shooting, plus I have the factor of ensuring the whole sequence can be worked with the constraints of the memory card in use.

I've just ordered a 32gb Sandisk 80Mb/s card which should help as it'll allow speeds of 1fps+ to be maintained for a large number of continuous shots, whereas other cards I've had either slow down quickly due to inadequate write speed, or run quickly but run out of space due to being too small (8gb ones). I've just invested in a 3rd NAS box (4TB MyCloud) too since I'm using astonishing amounts of data storage on my network since discovering timelapse. It's a bit worrying!


Thu Aug 21, 2014 1:37 pm
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Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
It's all good mate, I understand totally.
As I said, I have only done a couple of daytime sequences, most of mine have been night.

Aurora


Sydney daytime


My first real multi day effort


Daytime stuff
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10 ... 4586272792

so Im pretty varied I guess, but mostly it is nightime.


Thu Aug 21, 2014 1:58 pm
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Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
Those are great chief. Wish my stuff was a patch on that but it's early days of course. I managed to get a photo of the aurora from about 2 miles away from my house, earlier this year. It's a very very rare sight here on the rock indeed so it was a treat to catch it even though it was a poor photo. Unfortunately it was the one night of the year I didn't have my tripod as it was in my car, which was being repaired, so I was really hampered by that. To add insult to injury I lost my Lee filter holder set on the side of a hill on the same evening somehow. But anyway....

Waiting for a few bolts still to arrive and then I should be good to make some more progress!
Another option I want to include for my rail is the means to attach it via clamps of some description to enable me to attach it onto gates etc. Not yet found a clamp that looks just right for this, although I've seen manfrotto ones that might do.
I don't care if it's a clamp designed for photography purposes, as long as it's strong, can be attached somehow to the rail, and can clamp onto a tube maybe 2" wide potentially.


Thu Aug 21, 2014 3:27 pm
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Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
thanks ;) I think that I still have a long way to go....

That's funny, I just finished designing a clamp for that very purpose last week, as I want to do the exact same this and there wasnt much that I could find that opened up enough for bridges and hand rails etc.

Image

I designed it to open up enough to clamp onto a 60mm pipe.
Once you get the CNC going I can send you the files to cut it out.

I was going to make it out of 11mm thick HDPE but it could just as easily be cut out of Aluminium or even ply.


Thu Aug 21, 2014 3:39 pm
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Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
For daytime shots you might try something called a PWM (pulse width modulation) controller for adjusting speed.
It lets you accurately control the motors speed over a much wider range of speeds than the potentiometer.
Type pwm controller or something like that into ebay or amazon search.

If you need long exposures at night, its best to stop the dolly during exposures.
You could get a Dynamic Perception MX-3 or a used MX-2 for this, or program an arduino.
Check out

viewtopic.php?f=24&t=11743


Fri Aug 22, 2014 5:38 am
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Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
Sciencelookers - thanks for the input.

Not sure if you've read the thread content but my project is already using a very precisely controlled stepper motor with an arduino. It currently rotates the motor shaft about 0.11 degrees with each step sent to the motor.
The potentiometer varies the delay between steps by a very finite range to very the speed of the dolly carriage between moving very slow, and very very slow.

Stopping between shots is exactly what it's going to be doing as discussed above.

Cheers


Fri Aug 22, 2014 9:52 am
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Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
Andrew - that clamp is a cool design! Like that a lot. Isn't it funny the same idea had occurred to us both! :D


Fri Aug 22, 2014 9:54 am
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Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
As I was sitting waiting for a time-lapse to complete one night, there is little else to do other than think and try to keep warm, so I was thinking of alternatives to the tripod.
There are a couple of places that i want to shoot more of where its a real pain to get the tripod to sit right due to the protective railings.
I wondered how I could fit the dolly to the railing and the clamp design was born.

I haven't cut one out yet, but there is no reason why to won't work.
I might cut one out of ply.


Fri Aug 22, 2014 9:56 pm
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Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
Well I went out shooting Saturday morning and took a few waterfall time-lapses.





This was the old dolly as I didnt get the time to load up the new software onto the new dolly, unfortunately.
I didnt think that it did, but it would seem that this older version of the track still suffers from the bending in the middle that produces a sharp tilt in the middle as the dolly car runs over the join.
New dolly definitely wont hace this problem due to the way that it made.

That waterfall was down a bush track that is only 250m long, but climbs down very steep.
It was interesting getting all the gear down there, but nearly killed me hiking it back out again, I had no idea that I was so unfit!
Lighter gear is the answer, the tripods are the killers.

I think that the next project is work out a tripod replacement with carbon fibre legs.


Sun Aug 24, 2014 12:05 pm
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Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
Those look great! Specially love on the first one the proximity to the rocks on the left. Looks fantastic moving past.

Here's a few recent ones I've taken:



This one is on the beach a couple of hundred yards from my house. The light wasn't as good as I expected and you can see it moved part way through:


The very end of the island where I live:


The timing is all over the place on this clip, and it's so short, but I love the content. I'm really hoping there's something I can do to smooth it out or something, perhaps just slow it down a bit since it's not something I can take again:


I love this time of year when the crops are being harvested. The stubble looks great, as do the bales. Really like this one although it's not so smooth:



And here's the awful outcome you get if you're desperate and stupid enough to try balancing your rail on foliage and thinking it'll stay still.....
:lol:


Sun Aug 24, 2014 2:38 pm
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Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 5:28 pm
Posts: 76
Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
They are fantastic, you certainly have some awesome locations really close :o

The spitfire one is superb! just a pity that it isnt longer really.

Lol at the balancing on foliage, I have to really keep reminding myself that the weight balance changes greatly as the dolly moves, that is why I think that old rail bends in the middle as I always set it up with the dolly at the end.
At least there is no way in the world that the new one can bend :)


Sun Aug 24, 2014 2:52 pm
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Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:52 am
Posts: 83
Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
Anyway, down to business!

Lots of progress has been made today. I've printed off more parts, and assembled bits & bobs, bolts have arrived that I needed etc.
So here's where we are now:

Got a working belt loop made to create the geared down drive from stepper to main belt:
Image

Carriage made
Image

Made a belt tensioner but then didn't need it after all.
Image

But to cut to the chase, it's now fully (mostly) functional at last:
Image

Image


Note that in addition to the main camera mount, I've added a balljoint mount for adding a phone as a secondary recording device (or any small camera for that matter), in case I want to capture a couple of angles at the same time. This can be positioned in 4 places around the platform, and the main camera mount can be positioned either side to facilitate tilting it to either side since the pistol grip will only realistically tilt to its left because of the handle.

I've tested that with this new gear version and due to the belt having proper spring tensioners etc, the motor will happily lift the cart vertically without the camera without any slipping.
Due to the levering effect of the camera's weight, it seems fine with camera attached to around 35-40 degrees I'd say, and happily winches uphill even though the battery pack is currently depleted from 12v down to 10.6.
Also moves slower now of course due to the gearing.
I've no doubt that if I tweak the design a bit so the cart can clamp from below, then it would manage a vertical climb now, whereas previously it's had trouble with almost any incline.

So I'm really really pleased with the progress at this point. Lots more to do though yet!!

Next thing is to make some very basic adjustable legs for it so it can sit on grass without a problem, then to fabricate attachment points for the tripods. Defo need a field test soon though! :D
As you can see the cart platform needs a good clean up and the edges chamfering perhaps. It's thick aluminium so it has a fair bit of weight. It's reassuringly solid though.
Once my CNC machine is working I will hopefully lighten it significantly.


Thanks for the comments Andrew :)


Sun Aug 24, 2014 2:53 pm
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Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 5:28 pm
Posts: 76
Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
Now you're talking, that is looking amazing!
The carriage plate looks really heavy ;-)
I like the idea of multiple mount points for camera, it would be a good idea to be able to shoot two up.

I didnt think of taking my 7D on the weekend, I could have actually taken some images as well as the time-lapse.

Image

I only took this one panorama

Feet for the dolly rail would be great. I have actually built some, but never got around to fitting them.


Sun Aug 24, 2014 3:05 pm
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Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:52 am
Posts: 83
Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
Yes the plate is heavy but the rest of it is so light and easy to handle I don't mind in the slightest at least for now.

I'm not sure re' the legs for it. It definitely needs something but I can't decide what form. I'm considering 4 fold out legs currently, which will swivel out horizontally, with an adjustable bolt foot through each one to set the height as required. It would give it a nice wide footprint then. The problem with the whole rail having so little mass is that the camera is relatively heavy and still perched kinda high up. my rail is pretty wide & stable but it wouldn't hurt to have even more stability if the rail is sitting on the ground rather than on tripods.
I'll think on it. But at least I can just about use it now!

I like that panorama of yours. No idea why, but they're not something I've ever got into doing for some reason.


Sun Aug 24, 2014 3:29 pm
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Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 5:28 pm
Posts: 76
Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
Oh, another trick that I sometimes use, that I should do more often, but I keep forgetting, is that I have a number of nylon and mesh drawstring bags that I carry around in my camera bag.
I fill them with rocks or sand or anything that I can find where I am shooting, and tie it to the dolly or tripods.
This allows for it to be weighed down nicely and prevents movement more.

I just need to remember to do it more :lol:

The time-lapse that I shot with the photographers in it, was balanced precariously on a big rock.
Looking at the images I have just figured out that it wasnt the dolly rail bending in the middle, it was the weight shift tilting the tripods.

Image
Image
Image

I really need to be more careful of that!

Andrew


Sun Aug 24, 2014 4:14 pm
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Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:52 am
Posts: 83
Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
That's such a great setup! I'd love to make a longer one in future, but for now I'm quite content with this.
You've done a cracking job though!

So my next jobs apart from the feet and tripod attachments is to begin figuring out 2 things:
1) The software for shutter control, and
2) The hardware for pan & tilt

I'm looking after the kids today til wednesday as it's school holidays, but the mrs has surprised us by taking the day off today so I won't get away with slacking off and getting the kids involved in making camera stuff! :D
Horrid wet day as well, so no use for testing.


Mon Aug 25, 2014 12:01 am
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Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 5:28 pm
Posts: 76
Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
well, wait till you see the MK5 or whatever the next one is ;)
That is bugger about getting an unproductive day, it is usually easy for me to coerce the kids into something I want to do. :P


Mon Aug 25, 2014 12:10 am
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Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:52 am
Posts: 83
Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
The kids are easily brainwashed, but their mother not quite so much so! Not always anyway...

I did get a fair bit of time to myself yesterday though to be fair, and finally got out fishing in my boat - bliss!
:lol:

Today has turned into a 'chores' day though including dismantling & repairing a toilet. Great!!

Something has come up though which is making me probably change plans for the control side of things.
I'd seen this guy's project before as it was part of the inspiration behind my original rail, but somehow not registered the full stuff he's doing with a Pi and touchscreen controller, including the source code being open for use.
http://www.davidhunt.ie/lapse-pi-touch- ... ontroller/

So I've ordered the Pi B+ and a touchscreen to try this out as a lazy quick option. The thing is, that it wouldn't really make much sense to revert back to an arduino after it's already up & running with a Pi, with more functionality.
I will probably end up changing the program though to suit myself.


Mon Aug 25, 2014 7:42 am
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Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 5:28 pm
Posts: 76
Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
Lol at getting stuck on chores, that is my life currently :geek:
I did see that project and seriously consider it, but it is not driving a stepper motor is it?
It looks great though and definitely would mean getting the dolly up and running much faster. :D


Mon Aug 25, 2014 11:55 am
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Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:52 am
Posts: 83
Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
Will check about the motor - I forget offhand but that should be easy enough to tweak I hope in the code. If nothing else, I've got mine working for now at a basic level, so can use it, while I bench test the raspberry pi with the screen and this code.

I also saw Banana Pi model as well which is dual core and double the memory - nice!
And this remarkable looking little machine too - a powerhouse for the size, but a bit pricey compared to Pis, and overkill for this project.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/181102505711? ... 1436.l2649

Still, I could see one appearing at some point...... :lol:

Well I did manage to get some gripper bearing brackets designed & printed tonight. Not perfect but should do the job for now:
Image

I need to shave a little bit off the bottom edge of the centre bracket top clamps but that's fine as that's not what holds the tubes anyway.


Mon Aug 25, 2014 12:26 pm
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Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 5:28 pm
Posts: 76
Post Re: My home made Rail/Dolly - ongoing project...
That is ridiculously tiny!
Yeah quite expensive though.....


Mon Aug 25, 2014 1:02 pm
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