This 3D printed motion control rig offers pro-level features at a DIY-level price

May 25, 2021

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

This 3D printed motion control rig offers pro-level features at a DIY-level price

May 25, 2021

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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I’m a big fan of DIY motion control rigs and we’ve featured quite a few here on DIYP before, including this crazy 6-axis (mostly) 3D printed one. But this one from Andreas Epp – who goes by FuzzyLogic on YouTube – is a really slick design. Not only is it a thing of mechanical beauty, but it also seems to rival many commercially available systems out there, too.

Andreas’ motion control system is 3-axis, including a slider and a pan-tilt head. It’s a setup that you wouldn’t expect to be all that difficult. But having had a go at building some myself, they can be quite complex beasts to nail down – especially when you’re relying on 3D printed parts.

YouTube video

The design of Andreas’ system incorporates a lot of very cool design features that are common to commercial systems, but often lacking in DIY solutions. Features such as slewing bearings (like what they use in lazy Susans), fancy slip rings and optical end stops – which allow it to reset its position while still offering more than 360° of rotation in its two pan and tilt axes.

Looking at Andreas’ YouTube channel, he’s been working on this system for at least a year now, having started with a custom MQTT remote, based on a cheap PG-9023 smartphone game controller. The initial 3-axis motion control rig used to film sequences of that first video was shown off in his next video. And now, almost a year later, the video above presents a significant update to his system, which uses much less material to print, making it not only faster and less costly to produce but also lighter.

As well as the 3-axis slider & pan-tilt system, Andreas also developed a 4th-axis in the form of a panning “rotary plate” that’s linked to everything else. This allows for easily repeatable moves from the slider, the pan-tilt head and the rotary plate which opens up all kinds of possibilities – including 3D scanning of small via the use of photogrammetry.

YouTube video

It’s well worth watching all of the motion control videos on FuzzyLogic to get an idea of how the whole system comes together and the design considerations that have gone into developing these if you’ve been thinking about building your own motion control rigs.

Andreas has placed all of the files for the code and the 3d printable STLs available to download from GitLab so that you can have a go at making your own.

[via Hackaday / Images GitLab]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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4 responses to “This 3D printed motion control rig offers pro-level features at a DIY-level price”

  1. Patrick Snitjer Avatar
    Patrick Snitjer

    A nice build, for sure! But what I always find with most DIY motion rigs on the internet, is that they are built to be used in a studio or at home. As a landscape timelapse photographer, weight and size are the most important and come with its own unique challenges. I’m now in my fourth itteration and i can finally say that for my purpose, I’ve perfected a simple DIY design for minimal costs, weight and size.

    1. Kaouthia Avatar
      Kaouthia

      Yup, it’s definitely not easy to get them out on location. With plastic 3D printed rigs needing to generally be bigger than their commercially available aluminium and carbon fibre counterparts, they are often quite bulky, heavy and difficult to use on location.

      We’d love to check out your design. Feel free to hit the “Submit a Story” link at the top of the page if you’re interested in having it featured here on DIYP. :)

      1. Patrick Snitjer Avatar
        Patrick Snitjer

        I’ll go and have a look! I’m currently developing my 2nd slider (which I develop separately from the PT head). When that’s done I’ll see what footage I have lying around to send!

      2. Andy Avatar
        Andy

        Thank you very much for the article!
        My design is actually quite portable because the raspberry pi has a built-in wifi access point for the remote, smartphone and rotary plate. I’ve used it on location as well.
        Cheers,
        Andy