Time-lapse dolly uses some stock parts and a bit of machining work

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[Ben] just finished building this time-lapse dolly and decided to share his experience. We think he struck just the right balance of diy and commercially available materials to create a rig that is stable yet relatively inexpensive.

The project was inspired by Project Chronos. It gives a lot of details about the drive electronics and code used, but there are some gaps in the instructions for building the track itself. [Ben] forged ahead, purchasing linear bearings and a double-guide rail from IGUS. He didn’t mention the price on that item but we found 1000mm of the stuff (about 40 inches) for under $75 so it’s not outrageous. The part he couldn’t get for a reasonable price was precision thread bar. He ended going with regular threaded rod and a couple of nuts combined with a spring mechanism to keep the sled steady. That seems to work just fine. You can see the rod bouncing a bit in the clip after the break but it doesn’t harm the stability of the captured images.

The end stops including the one to which the stepper motor is mounted are his own work. It sounds like they required a bit more fabrication work than he was planning on but we figure if you don’t challenge your skill set you never get any better.

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Automating a key fob camera for time lapse

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If you’re lofting a digital camera high into the stratosphere with a helium balloon, you really can’t do better than one of those key fob spy cameras. Being extremely lightweight with decent resolution, they’re the perfect camera to take to near space. If you’re bringing someone along to snap the pictures, that is.

[Román] wanted to take his 808 spy camera to new heights, but not wanting to manually reset the thing when it’s 100,000 feet in the air decided to use a microcontroller instead. An 8-pin PIC12F675 takes care of taking 60 pictures with a 4-second interval, then switching to movie mode and recording a 20-second video.

The entire device can be powered by 6 to 9 volts with the help of a voltage regulator. [Román] found the camera hangs after taking about 1600 photos, so a connection from the microcontroller to the reset switch was added. Everything works on the ground, so we can’t wait to see what happens miles above the Earth’s surface.

Versatile motion dolly for time lapse photography

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This beautiful build is a motion dolly for making time-lapse videos. It is at a point where you could consider it complete. After all, the segments featured in the video after the break look marvelous. But [Scottpotamas] has a few additions planned and it sounds like it won’t belong before he accomplishes his goals.

The build is a linear rail on which the camera rides. In the image above you can see the stepper motor which moves the camera mounted at the far end of the rig. This is controlled by an Arduino. Currently the camera is responsible for timing the capture of the images, but [Scottpotamas] says the firmware is nearly ready to hand this responsiblity over to the Arduino. The system is modular, with a simple setting for the length of the track. This way he can swap out for a longer or shorter rail which only takes about five minutes. He also included support for a panning mount for the camera. It allows the control box can be programmed to keep the subject centered in the frame as the camera slides along the track.

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Gadgeteer plant monitor wants it wet and photogenic

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[Christian] is growing a tomato plant on his desk and wanted to capture some time-lapse images of its progress. To that end he built a rig that monitors moisture levels and snaps images at regular intervals.

The hardware he’s using is part of the Gadgeteer family. These run a .NET micro framework and are modular which makes for easy assembly. A laser-cut plywood stand helps to position the camera module for the best shots. Its takes a picture of the seedling once every ten minutes. There is a quartet of RGB LEDs surrounding the lens. They help illuminate the subject for each picture. But [Christian] also mentions that the red LEDs provide light the plant needs to grow (we raise an eyebrow at that claim, but in truth we have no idea if red LEDs make plants grow or not). There is also a moisture sensor which you can see inserted in the soil.

The images and moisture readings are all pushed to a server. There is an Ethernet board near the base of the rig. It uses POST to send the image, which is saved by a server-side script. The moisture data is sent via a GET command.

Taking moving time-lapse images over days at a time

It’s neat to watch these lilies open and close during the time-lapse movie. But what makes it even better is to see the camera slowly move during the time-lapse event. It’s thanks to a special dolly which the photographers built for this purpose.

The system is based on two curved and inclined pipes which make up the rails of the system. The dolly that rides along the rails has a geared motor on it which turns at 2 RPM. This is used as a winch, spooling a string that is tied to the high-end of the rail system. As the winch winds the string, the dolly slowly moves along the track.

To make this work over multiple days they covered all of the windows in foil and lighted the room with fluorescent fixtures. An intervalometer was used to trigger the camera every three minutes. An Arduino monitors the camera’s shutter LED via a light dependent resistor. Sixty seconds after an image is take the Arduino will drive the dolly motor for a few seconds

The finished video, as well as a hardware show-and-tell, can be seen after the break.

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Simple power adapter thumbs its nose at proprietary connectors

[Mike Worth] wanted to use his camera for some time-lapse photography. Since it’s used to take many pictures over a long period of time, he doesn’t want to deal with batteries running low. But there’s no standard power jack on the side; instead the official charger consists of an adapter that is inserted in place of the batteries. Rather than break the bank with the special cable, [Mike] made his own battery compartment A/C adapter.

You can see that it is made up of two parts. The first is a standard wall wart that outputs the correct voltage and has an acceptable current rating. The other part is the adapter cable that connects to the camera on one end, and has a barrel jack on the other. [Mike] rolled some paperboard around a pencil until it matched the diameter of a AA battery. Once of the cylinders has a thumb tack for the negative lead, and the other uses a screw and washer for the positive side. He soldered some wire to these and he’s in business.

He must be snapping photos frequently enough to avoid the auto-shutoff feature. That or he’s disabled it with the use of some custom firmware.

Hackaday Links May 13th 2012

Amazing ass… for a robot

Yep, Japan still has the creepy robotics market cornered. Case in point is this robotic posterior. Don’t worry, they’ve included a dissection so you can see how the insides work too. [via Gizmodo]

Time-lapse camera module results

As promised, [Quinn Dunki] sent in a link to the photo album from her time lapse camera module. In case you missed it, she built it in a Tic Tac container and stuck it to the side of a racecar.

Kinect controlled killbot

Didn’t we learn anything from RoboCop? We could totally see this Kinect controlled robot (which happens to weigh five tons) going out of control and liquefying an unsuspecting movie extra standing near it. [via Dvice]

Laser popping domino balloons

apparently [Scott] has set a world record by using a laser to pop a line of 100 red balloons. We enjoy seeing the size of the 1W laser that does the popping… it can’t be long now before we get a hold of handheld laser pistols. [via Gizmodo]

Laser balloon targeting

If that last one was a bit of a let down, you might enjoy this automatic targeting system more. The blue triangle shaped icon is setting a target, the amber triangles have already been targeted. Once all the balloons are identified a laser quickly zaps each in order. Quite impressive, although no details have been provided. [Thanks everyone who sent in a link to this]

http://gizmodo.com/5909007/we-hope-lasers-popping-hundreds-of-balloons-is-the-new-dominos-fad