While not every camera mount needs to have six degrees of freedom, one or two can be extremely helpful in the photographic world. In order to make time-lapse shots with some motion or shots that incorporate some parallax, a moving camera mount or dolly is needed, and this small one builds upon a pre-existing, although non-motorized, camera slider.
The slider is an inexpensive model from everyone’s favorite online warehouse, with rails that are at least coated in carbon, if not made out of it entirely, to ensure smooth camera motion. To add the motorization to automatically move the camera, a stepper motor with a belt drive is used which is controlled by an Arduino. A few limit switches are added, letting the dolly perform different movement patterns automatically, and a pair of potentiometers for fine and coarse speed control are included as well, letting the camera take both time-lapse and video while using this mount at various controllable speeds.
With everything tucked into a relatively small box at one end of the dolly, the build is both accessible and functional. The code for the microcontroller is also available on the project’s GitHub page for anyone looking to replicate or build upon the project. And, for those looking to add more degrees of freedom to their camera setups, take a look at this DIY pan and tilt mount.