Timelapse Slider

Timelapse Slider

I’ve always loved timelapses, and after seeing some timelapses with movement in them a while back, I decided one day that I wanted to build a timelapse slider.

Its using an Arduino Pro Mini 5v @ 16Mhz as the controller, with a Big Easy Driver to drive the stepper motor. This all gets wrapped up in a little controller box, with a screen and some other niceties.

The slider itself is basically a 1m IGUS rail with slider, which I have drilled into and tapped holes for tripod heads and quick release plates using the mill at Uni. I’ve also machined out plates to hold the stepper motor and pulleys. I’m using aluminium pulleys and a steel ribbed polyurethane timing belt which drags the slider back and forth. The whole thing is powered off of a 12V gel cell battery, which is completely overkill but has capacity for dozens of timelapses on a charge.

I’m yet to do a proper writeup, because I’m swamped with tasks and a new puppy, but will get one done in the next few days hopefully. In the mean time, here are some progress shots etc.

IMG_6575 Testing the front panel of the case with the display, rotary encoder and two switches for motor sleep and rotary encoder sensitivity.

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The Big Easy Driver. I got it (and most of the other parts), from Sparkfun and it’s driving a NEMA23 stepper motor, which provides just enough torque to run diagonal slides. I still need to tweak the current limiter to allow for more holding torque for vertical slides.

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Lid rear shot, where the wiring for the lid is all connected to the main board with a small ribbon cable and molex connector so I can easily remove/replace parts as needed.

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The stepper motor mounted on long M5 bolts through the base plate I machined at Uni. Im just using washers to hold it up like this, as this was far easier than mounting underneath or on the cart. One issue with the other mounting position was the axle length from teh stepper was quite short, so mounting like this overcame this issue in the simplest way possible.

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And a quick little test video.

Edit: Posted the video on reddit, which was well recieved and then somehow ended up on Hack a Day. Not really sure how, but a writeup was coming and has since been abandoned.

Heres the code for anyone wanting to piece everything together. I do answer emails.

TimelapseSliderBasic.zip