Spin DIY Photography Turntable System

A motorised turntable is very handy when taking product pictures, or creating animated GIF’s or walk around views. [Tiffany Tseng] built Spin, a DIY photography turntable system for capturing how DIY Projects come together over time. It is designed to help people share their projects in an engaging way through creating GIF’s and videos which will be easy to post on social networks like Twitter and Facebook.

The device is a lazy susan driven by a stepper motor controlled via an Arduino and an Easy Driver motor driver shield. The Spin system utilizes the Soft Modem library to send signals from an iPhone to the Arduino. This connects the Arduino to the iPhone via the audio socket on the phone. The Spin iOS app is currently in Beta and is invite only. After you’ve built your own Spin turntable, take a picture of it and request the app. Of course, there are many different ways of controlling the motor so if you are handy, you can build your own controller. But [Tiffany]’s iOS app provides a way to stitch the various images to form an animated GIF and then share them easily. Building the turntable should be straightforward if you grab the design files from the github repo, follow the detailed instructions on the build page, and have access to a laser cutter and a 3D printer.

Check out a few similar turntable hacks we’ve featured in the past, such as one that uses the motor from a scanner, an attempt that just didn’t end up working smoothly, and one that uses a belt-drive system. There’s a video of the turntable in action after the break.

14 thoughts on “Spin DIY Photography Turntable System

  1. That has got to be the most over-engineered turntable I have ever seen.

    Really! A micro-controller, stepper driver board and stepper motor. A microwave turntable has a single synchronous motor – just add voltage.

    Triggering the photo – micro-switch and de-tents on the bottom of the turntable to actuate the micro-switch.

    Looks good, professionally done but wow over engineered to the max.

    1. I actually did consider using a microwave motor: http://buildinprogress.media.mit.edu/projects/2330/steps?step=8944

      But I liked the control of having a stepper motor to more precisely actuate the turntable to the different positions. Also, have you seen the power circuitry in a microwave?! Most run on very high power (http://www.amazon.com/GE-WB26X10038-Turntable-Motor-Microwave/dp/B004H3XQ3O), and I wanted this to run on a basic DC Wall adapter to make it safer and more accessible for people to make.

      If you want to build a DC motor version, go ahead and use the documentation to redesign it. (:


    1. The iOS app is invite only at this point just because I’m still finishing up some features for it. I plan to release all the code very soon. It’s hooked up to AWS, so I’ll probably release all the code without the AWS credentials so I don’t pay for everyone’s image uploading. Also, since I’m the only developer on it and this is a research project, I wanted to keep the community smaller and more manageable as I begin.

  2. If you have a small and light product to photograph, you can buy a quartz clock mechanism (smooth running, not one that moves second to second) from ebay for about $3. Cut the second hand small enough so it is not visible and cover the clock with white or green paper (green screen removal technique). Use some putty-like material to stick the device on. It works great.

  3. I wanna shoot a product with user-definable turntable angles, I need 3 angles for e.g., let’s say 0˚, 13˚, 47˚ I shoot a product one angle at a time, upon finish, I shoot the next product and at exactly the same angle. I know a manual rotation with pencil marking will do the trick, just wanna know if it can be automated. If yes, can u do one and how much it cost? Also, how fast the rotation speed?

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