Friday, October 17, 2008

New Pan Tilt Head

Well I had to wait 3 weeks for it, but it finally arrived in the post this week! It's a Pan and Tilt Camera Head from Servo City. This web site is sells just about everything you need if you are into designing and building your own robot contraptions. This head will be the basis for all of my bench testing as I try to construct my own DIY Motion Control Camera Rig.

The head is designed for use with an RC servo. But I'm planning to use stepper motors with it. So there will need to be a few major modifications to the head before I can show it in action. I'm starting a relationship with a local fabrication shop here in Adelaide to help me with some of the tricky parts.

The first step is to model it all in 3D so I can make changes to the design and send the files to the engineer for a quote (well, that's the idea anyway)

The two main changes I will need to make are:
1.) Retro fit the stepper motors. Each with it's own worm gear box.
2.) Make it possible for nodal point offsets. This is essential if I want to make a good panoramic stitch from multiple images. It's also important for extracting 3D move data if I'm shooting a Visual Effects shot.

Here's some pictures!


Anonymous said...

Looks nice! Always wondered how those would hold up in person... Does it look pretty solid? I know their pan servo kits come well-fabricated.


Dan Thompson said...

When I opened it up. I thought, this looks pretty flimsy. But once a screwed it all together, I was surprised how rigid it became. The design is simple, but they've obviously put a bit of thought into how to strengthen the joints.

One thing that bugs me is that it's all imperial measurements. I was hoping to stay metric with everything in this design, but hey it's just a prototype :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Dan,
did you found matching worm gears yet for your rig and the steppers?

I made a panorama robot using spur gear boxes but they are a bit slow and have to much backlash.


Anonymous said...

what I forgot to mention: my robot is based on Arduino Nano and EasyDriver.


Dan Thompson said...

Hi Paul,

I've since discovered that a precision worm gear box with zero back lash at this scale can be very expensive.

The one that I am thinking of getting is about $180.00 AUS. But It is too big and heavy for this rig.

So I Have put this on hold for the time being until I have built my own pan tilt head out of extruded aluminum from my local hardware store.

Unknown said...

mmmm, homemade motion control head, you're living the dream. :)

seen this? sunit parekh is also building a stop-mo rig out of lego. LEGO I TELL YOU. Ok, and some custom made bits, but still, all very interesting, though you might want a gander:

Dan Thompson said...

Hey Thanks for the link matt! This looks amazing! The footage is surprisingly smooth for lego. Love those miniatures too.

I've rss'd this baby. Thanks again!

Fredrik said...

Hi Tom.
First of all, lett me say thank you for all the effort you have put in to publishing your work.

Am am currently working on a timelapse/ panorama robot similar to this: But I am looking for a more rugged head, so that I can employ 300-500mm lenses on it. Then the head you are showing here looks very nice. But the only one I can find on the web page of Servocity is this: An it seems much larger and rough than yours. Could you please advice on where you found yours?


Fredrik, Norway.

Dan Thompson said...

Hi Fredrik,

Dan is my name by the way :) It appears that they have stopped selling this unit on their site.

Not sure why, but it's not listed on the page I originally found it on.



Fredrik said...

So sorry Dan, must have been one of those Freudian glips :)

I am looking around for other solutions, and so far, it seems making one from scratch is the best way to go. I find that they have lots of nice stuff here: