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 DIY Timelapse Dolly 
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Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:20 pm
Posts: 283
Location: Genk, Belgium
Post DIY Timelapse Dolly
I've been working on a dolly myself, nothing too fancy so far.

- 2x Igus monorail
- 4x Igus slide-bearings
- 12V battery 7Ah
- RPM-controller kit
- on/off switch
- cables
- Gear (40t + 10t)
- Axis
- Bearings
- 12 DV 9RPM motor (1:600)

The rails & slide-bearings came from damenCNC, all the other parts came from Conrad.
I still have to find some sort of "cross-switch" to reverse motor-rotation and maybe in the future a more sophisticated controller to have shoot-move-shoot capabilities.
But for now I'm happy with it, especially because the total amount of money spent was somewhere between 150-200$.

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Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:48 pm
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Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 10:45 am
Posts: 1685
Location: Merritt Island, Florida, Estates Unitas
Post Re: DIY Timelapse Dolly
Forgive me if this is too basic. Your "cross switch" to reverse direction is called a double pole, double throw, or DPDT as they say in the toggle switch world. These switches are basicly two switches in one. One lever activates both switches. Thats the double throw part. Each switch has a movable conductor that toggles between two possible output connections, called poles. You run both power wires (- and +) to the movable conductors (one to each). when the switch is in one position, the + input goes to one motor connection, we can call this motor input "+". Obviously when the switch is in this position, the other movable conductor goes to the other motor wire, which we'll call "-". With the switch in this position, the motor moves in a direction we'll call forward. The other two outputs of the switch get wired the opposite way. With the switch in the opposite direction, the + input gets switched to the - motor wire, and the - input gets switched to the + motor wire. When the switch is in this position, the motor moves in the opposite direction, which we can call reverse.

i like the rack gear attached to the slider track by the way. Belts tend to sag when you make the track longer. If you can join track sections and have that rack gear line up from one stretch of track to the next, the belt problem is solved. You could potentially have an unlimited track length.


Wed Oct 19, 2011 7:29 am
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Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:20 pm
Posts: 283
Location: Genk, Belgium
Post Re: DIY Timelapse Dolly
sciencelookers wrote:
Forgive me if this is too basic. Your "cross switch" to reverse direction is called a double pole, double throw, or DPDT as they say in the toggle switch world. These switches are basicly two switches in one. One lever activates both switches. Thats the double throw part. Each switch has a movable conductor that toggles between two possible output connections, called poles. You run both power wires (- and +) to the movable conductors (one to each). when the switch is in one position, the + input goes to one motor connection, we can call this motor input "+". Obviously when the switch is in this position, the other movable conductor goes to the other motor wire, which we'll call "-". With the switch in this position, the motor moves in a direction we'll call forward. The other two outputs of the switch get wired the opposite way. With the switch in the opposite direction, the + input gets switched to the - motor wire, and the - input gets switched to the + motor wire. When the switch is in this position, the motor moves in the opposite direction, which we can call reverse.


Yeah I know, I studied Electronics/Electricity in school... I just didn't know how to say it in English.
In Dutch we call it a "cross-switch" or a "cross-circuit", so forgive me for my weird translation :)
At first I only found them for house-installations, which were a little too big for this setup haha.
But I found a tiny electronics store and they got what I needed.

I'm pretty pleased with the result :) I calculated that it would take about 400 minutes for the slider to go from one side to the other at the absolute slowest speed. I think the speed will be fine for doing timelapses :)

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Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:07 am
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Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2011 8:34 am
Posts: 12
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Post Re: DIY Timelapse Dolly
Very very cool! Any chance you're going to do a write up on how to make it? :D


Fri Oct 21, 2011 11:30 am
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Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:20 pm
Posts: 283
Location: Genk, Belgium
Post Re: DIY Timelapse Dolly
Well it's pretty straight forward if you're familiar with electric circuitry.

I ordered this from DamenCNC (but if you have a Igus dealer in your own country, I would order it from them):

2x Drylin WS10 profile (these are TWO monorails, if you want you could also order the WS10-40 profile, which is a double rail)
4x WJUM200UM (01-10) (these are the glide-bearings where you can put your own slider-plate on)

I ordered this from Conrad:

1x Aluminum plate 100x200x1,5mm (used this to make the axis-plates)
1x Transmissionmotor RB-35 (1:600)
1x Gear 40T module 1 (this gear will come on the Gear rack)
1x Gear 10T module 1 (this gear will come on the motor itself)
2x F-Bearing 6/10
1x Axis 6mm
1x RPM-controller (kit, so you have to solder it yourself)
1x Lead battery Charger AL 600 Compact 2/6/12 V
1x Conrad energy lead battery 12V 7Ah
4x Gear rack (Acetal) (they are 25cm long, so you'll need 4 of em to fill up the 1m long Igus rail)
1x Motor suspension for Transmissionmotors (ready to go for the RB-35 motor)
1x Euro casing/housing/box ABS black 150X80X50mm (for the RPM-controller)
1x Euro casing/housing/box ABS black 165X71X29mm (for the motor-rotation switching and wiring)
1x Tumbleswitch (on/off switch)
1x Loctite glue metal/plastics (to glue the gear rack)

Some others things I bought locally:

A couple of meters of cable/wiring
A couple of "tags" (to put on the wiring to the battery) 4,8mm (bought some extras)
A "cross switch" (or a double pole, double throw, or DPDT switch as mentioned above)
A bigger aluminum plate to act as the slider-plate itself.
Bolts, screws, etc (I just used what I had laying around in the basement lol)

You'll also need some basic tools, soldering iron, disk slicer (I hope this is the correct word? lol), drill, etc...

From here on it's pretty straight forward, once you have all the parts you'll see it coming together in your mind :)

1. RPM Controller

I started with the RPM-controller since that was probably the most fun part :D
Solder it together, test it out with a Multimeter to see if you can control your voltage output.

2. Rails/Slider

I screwed my rails onto a piece of wood for extra sturdyness (be very precise in your measurements before you start drilling holes)
Cut the bigger aluminum plate I bought locally to the "right" size (whatever size you like).
Drill holes for in the plate for glide-bearings and for your ballhead.
Screw your plate onto the glide-bearings and glide onto your rails.
Losen/tighten the screws untill it glides perfectly.

3. Motor/Gears

I started by glueing the 4 gear racks onto the piece of wood with the loctite glue I bought.
I followed the contour of the rail itself so it would be perfectly straight.

Slide off your slider-plate and cut out a piece above where the gear rack is.
This way your 40T gear can drop through the plate into the gear rack.

Next I took the aluminum plate I bought from conrad and cut out 2 identical strips to act as the stand/plate/holder for the Axis and the bearings.
I know that it could be better made with others materials, but it was fairly simple to do it this way.
Just make two identical strips, drill holes in em (the size of the bearing), fold the aluminum plates below the drilled holes.
Drill a couple of extra holes to screw the 2 plates onto your slider.
Put your bearings & 40T gear onto the axis and put it through the 2 drilled holes in the plates.
Your 40T gear should be spinning onto your gear rack.

Screw your Motor onto your motor-suspension and put your 10T gear on to the motor-axis.
Fit the whole motor-construction on to the slider-plate and mark the position on the slider-plate so your 10T gear matches up with your 40T gear.
Drill holes into the slider-plate and motor-suspension and screw it into place.

4. Connecting it all

Next you take your RPM-controller and the housing for it.
I took some little bolts, bolted them onto the bottom of the housing so my RPM-controller-print could be screwed on to those 4 bolts with 2 nuts.
Connected the battery and the motor to the RPM-controller.
Double checked if all the gears were okay (look if nothing is jammed or too tight) and tested it out :)

Drill a hole in to the top-plate of the RPM-controller-housing, click your on/off switch in.
Cut your + wire from the battery in two, connect the two sides to the on/off switch.

Drill a hole into the top-plate of the other housing and put your "cross-switch" in, next you'll have to connect your motor to this cross-switch like this:

You'll see 6 contact points on the switch itself and just connect them like this:

MOT+ MOT-

RPM+ RPM-

MOT- MOT+

The two points in the middle are where the wires of your RPM-controller go.
The two points on top are where the wires from the motor go.
The two points below are where the reversed wires from the motor go (you'll have to use an extra piece of cable ofcourse).

If you turn the switch, the + & - signal from the RPM-controller is switched, meaning your slider will move to the other direction.

I think I explained pretty much everything, but if you still have questions, let me know!

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Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:32 am
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