Tilt and pivot camera base uses just two servos

[Caled] shows us how to build a tilt and pivot camera base. One of these can be quite handy for taking precisely aligned images that can later be stitched together into panoramic, or even spherical images. We have grand visions of being able to produce something along the lines of these stunning interactive images with hardware that is cheaper and easier to build than this other motorized rig.

The design utilizes just two servo motors. In the image above you can just make out a pair of discs that serve as the base for the rig. In the center of the upper disc is the first servo, pointing downward, which rotates the camera. Two upright supports on either side of the point-and-shoot provide the framework for the tilt feature. The camera is mounted in a frame whose center is a threaded rod on the near side, and the second servo motor on the far side. An Arduino with a servo shield controls the movements along with a button pad and LCD screen as a user interface. The last step in the project log points to software options for combining the captured photos.

Comments

  1. dave says:

    Of course it uses just two servos.

  2. For proper panoramas you need to rotate the camera at the nodal point, so you’d want the bracket that hold the camera to be adjustable, as it’s going to be different for different cameras, lenses, focal lengths, etc.

  3. GameboyRMH says:

    How would you set one up with *more* than two servos?

  4. G says:

    Yeah it’s PAN and TILT… how many servos would you expect? :S

  5. zing says:

    Actually, it uses 3 servos, 2 medium and 1 micro.

    The micro servo presses the shutter button.

  6. In fairness, this particular build actually uses *three* servos: one extra to actuate the shutter mechanically.

    It’s somewhat sad that such a simple thing such as “take a picture” often requires such an obtuse interface. A digital interface would be so simple and so much more reliable.

  7. Reggie says:

    Neat hack :) motorised Alt/Az mounts are relatively cheap ($250-300) these days but nowhere near as cheap or cool as doing it yourself like this :) The advantage that the commercial ones have is a handset and tripod.

    Actually dave, a 4th servo to tilt the base would be a very neat addition, turning it into an Eqauatorial mounted camera, if the tilt angle was set to his latitude and if he could regulate the speed of what was the AZ axis to the sidereal rate (1 revolution per day roughly) he’d be able to track stars, nebula galaxies etc.

    As for digitally interfacing the camera, you could wire the button contacts to be fired by an MCU but not all hackers want wires hanging off their point and shoot camera.

  8. andrew says:

    ZOMG A TWO-AXIS DEVICE THAT ONLY USES TWO SERVOS?? WHOA!!!

  9. Myke says:

    Two servos and an overpriced, overpowered POS.

  10. Tomasito says:

    I’ve done this when i was 12, with two steppers from 5” floppydrives and a couple of bc337, directrly to the parport =)

  11. Pilotgeek says:

    Tilting along 2 axis with only 2 servos??? What sort of black magic is this?!?

  12. macw says:

    for each (p:project in hackaday) {
    if (p.complexity reader.knowledge) {
    print(“this is FAKE! TOTALLY FAKE!!”);
    }
    else if (p.complexity == reader.knowledge) {
    print(“this is USELESS! Who would ever need this trash??”);
    }
    }

    I think that about sums it up, right?

  13. macw says:

    ok, well, something about hack-a-day’s comment parsing broke my code! the point I was trying to make was

    if project complexity is less than the reader’s experience: “This is stupid and wasteful! I could have made this with cat-whisker diodes and hand-wound resistors!”

    if project complexity is greater than the reader’s experience: “This is FAKED!!!”

    if project complexity is exactly equal to the reader’s experience: “This is totally USELESS! Also DANGEROUS! They should be locked up for building it!!!”

  14. Dids says:
  15. strider_mt2k says:

    It’s a cool enough hack.
    I don’t get the “two servo” hype, but okay.

    I also have made a similar setup, but much simpler in the form of gluing a servo horn to the side of another servo and attaching a small black and white video camera to the top

    After attaching the second servo and fashioning a mounting bracket, I ended up with an extremely workable pan/tilt navigation camera for my wheeled ROV.

    There are all kinds of really cool possibilities.

    Cool hack

  16. strider_mt2k says:

    @ Dids: I just described your first example!

    Nice!

  17. INquiRY says:

    Another thumbs up for the “Tilt and pivot .. just two ..”. Come on guys. You’ve been doing this for .. a couple of years now?

  18. kichimi says:

    well this sucks, me and my friend were building this and after seeing this have no motivation to complete it. at least we have half a tripod!

  19. Olivier says:

    For those using Canon cameras, instead of using a servo to take pics, it’s probably better to use CHDK.

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