Motorized Camera Mount Was Once A 3D Printer

If you plan on building your own motorized camera mount, a 3D printer can definitely be of help. But in this case, [dslrdiy] didn’t use it for printing out parts — finding himself with little use for an old printer built from scrap back in the day, he decided to repurpose it and turn it into a remote controlled DSLR camera mount that’s capable of panning, tilting, and sliding.

The main goal was to not only salvage the stepper motors and controller board, in this case an Arduino Mega 2560 with RAMPS board, but also to keep the original firmware itself in use. For this to work, [dslrdiy] redesigned the mechanical parts that would allow him to perform the different camera movements using regular G-Code instructions operating the X, Y, and Z axes to pan, tilt, and slide respectively.

The G-Code instructions themselves are sent via UART by an accompanying control box housing an ESP32. This allows the camera mount to operated by either via joystick and buttons, or via serial Bluetooth connection, for example from a phone. The ESP32 system also allows to set predefined positions to move to, along with speed and other motor tweaks. You can see it all demonstrated in the video after the break.

While there’s simpler solutions for camera mounts out there, this is certainly an interesting approach. It also shows just how far desktop 3D printers have come if we already find the older generations repurposed like this. For more of [dslrdiy]’s work with 3D printers and cameras, check out his customizable lens caps.

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Converting A Sigma Lens To Canon, Digital Functionality Included

These days, camera lenses aren’t just simple bits of glass in sliding metal or plastic housings. They’ve often got a whole bunch of electronics built in as well. [Dan K] had just such a lens from Sigma, but wanted to get it working fully with a camera using the Canon EF lens fitting. Hacking ensued.

The lens in question was a Sigma 15-30mm f/3.5-4.5 EX DG, built to work with a Sigma camera using the SA mount. As it turns out, the SA mount is actually based on the Canon EF mount, using the same communications methods and having a similar contact block. However, it uses a mechanically different mounting bayonet, making the two incompatible.

[Dan] sourced a damaged EF lens to provide its mount, and modified it on a lathe to suit the Sigma lens. A short length of ribbon cable was then used to connect the lens’s PCB to the EF mount’s contacts. When carefully put back together, the lens worked perfectly, with functional auto-focus and all.

It goes to show that a little research can reveal possibilities for hacking that we might otherwise have missed. [Dan] was able to get his lens up and running on a new camera, and has taken many wonderful pictures with it since.

We’ve seen some great lens hacks over the years, from 3D printed adapters to anamorphic adapters that create beautiful results. If you’ve got your own mad camera hacks brewing up, drop us a line!

3D Printed Adapter Puts Slides In Their Best Light

If you’ve got old family photos on slides there’s an excellent chance you’ve considered digitizing them at one point or another, but perhaps didn’t know the best way of going about it. In that case, this 3D printed adapter designed by [Rostislav Persion] that lets you photograph slides with a standard DSLR may be exactly what you were waiting for.

The idea is simple enough, you place the slide inside the adapter, get your focus right, and snap a picture. But of course, you’ve also got to provide some illumination. In this case, the camera is mounted on a tripod and pointed at an appropriate light source. Once you’ve experimented a bit and got the image backlit the way you want it, you can lock everything in place and easily power through a stack of vintage family memories in no time.

For such a straightforward concept, we really appreciate the little details in the execution. For example, rather than just sliding a 3D printed cylinder over the DSLR’s lens, [Rostislav] came up with a foam-padded “shim” that’s strong enough to hold the adapter on without marring anything. The two-part slide spacer that features a bit of springiness to hold everything tight is also a very nice touch.

An approach like this should work nicely for the amount of slides most families are likely to have, but if you’re in a position where you need to digitize thousands of images, some automation would certainly help things along.

3D Printing Your Own Sturdy Lens Caps

Lens caps are important for protecting expensive camera lenses from damage. Dust, grit, and other nasty things will all quickly spoil the quality of a shot, and can even permanently damage a lens if you’re unlucky. However, lens caps are also lost quite easily. Thus, it’s useful to be able to make your own, and [DSLR CNC DIY] has the low down on how to do it. 

The benefit of printing your own lens caps is customization. No matter the oddball size and shape of your lens, when you’re 3D printing your own cap, you can design it to fit. The video also shows off the benefits of being able to embed text right into the body of the cap, so you’re never confused as to which cap goes with which lens. The caps use the metal lever from a binder clip in order to provide the clamping force necessary to hang on to the lens. It’s an improvement over some living-hinge designs that grow weaker over time.

Overall, if you’ve got a bunch of lenses that need a new cap, this could be the project for you. It’s also likely much cheaper and easier than hunting down replacement caps for obscure lenses online. Alternatively, contemplate what you could do with fancy lens adapters. Video after the break. Continue reading “3D Printing Your Own Sturdy Lens Caps”

Old DSLR Lens Becomes Useful Soldering Magnifier

Soldering tiny stuff is hard, if not impossible, without some optical assistance. [Ad_w00000] was having just this problem, so built himself a soldering magnifier to help.

The magnifier uses a variety of components [Ad_w00000] had lying around. For the optical side of things, an old Canon DSLR zoom lens was pressed into service as the main magnifying element. The lens was then fitted with an old laptop webcam, which was glued into an old lens extender to avoid modifying the main lens itself. The webcam is hooked up to an Asus Tinkerboard fitted with a touchscreen display to show the images. The whole lens assembly is then fitted onto an old TV stand to enable it to sit far enough above the work surface to focus properly.

The build is a great example of building something useful out of whatever you have on hand. Sometimes, that’s cheaper and quicker than spending money and waiting for something to ship. It also has the bonus that you’ll learn useful skills along the way.

We’ve seen other great soldering hacks recently, too, like this gimbal to help steady hand tremors. If you’ve got your own coming together, be sure to let us know!

Extensive Modification Of DSLR Includes High Quality Audio

Modern DSLR cameras are incredible pieces of technology that can take excellent high-quality photos as well as record video and audio. However, as they become jacks of all trades they risk being masters of none, and the audio quality in modern DSLRs certainly reflects that old cliche. To get true high-quality audio while recording with a camera like this Canon 80d, you’ll either need a secondary audio recording device or you’ll need to interface one directly into the camera itself.

This build from [Tony] aka [Carnivore] goes into the inner workings of the camera to add an audio mixer to the camera’s audio input, allowing for multiple audio streams to be recorded at once. First, he removed the plastic around the microphone port and attached a wire to it that extends out of the camera to a 1/8″ plug. While he had the case open he also wired a second shutter, added a record button to a custom location on the front of the camera, and bypassed a switch which prevents the camera from operating if the battery door isn’t closed.

With those modifications in place, he removed the internal flash from the camera before closing the body. A custom 3D printed mount was placed in the vacant space which now houses the audio mixer, a SR-AX100 from Saramonic. This plugs in to the new microphone wire from earlier in the build, allowing the camera to have an expanded capacity for recording audio.

While [Tony] has a fairly unique use case for all of these modifications to an already $1000 camera, getting into the inner workings of DSLRs isn’t something to shy away from if you need something similar done. We’ve even seen modifications to cameras like these to allow for watercooling during video recording.

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Making A 3D Printed DSLR Camera Mount Even Better

We’d love to say that all of our projects worked perfectly on the first try, but the average Hackaday reader is a bit too experienced to buy a fib like that. The reality is, DIY projects rarely get everything right out of the gate. It takes some time to identify issues and work out all the kinks. But of course, that’s half the fun.

For a perfect example of this process, check out the latest update on the 3D printed DSLR camera mount that [isaac879] has been working on. When we last checked in with this project over the summer the mount was already impressive, but with the latest improvements and the addition of a whole new axis of movement, this homebrew camera motion system is an extremely compelling project for anyone who wants to take their project videos to the next level.

The new Hall effect sensor mounts are a very nice touch.

Back in June, the mount [isaac879] showed off was only capable of pan and tilt. But as you can see in the video after the break, he’s since mounted that to a track made of 20×40 aluminum extrusion and added another stepper motor. This allows the pan/tilt mount to move itself back and forth on the track to get those slick panning shots that all the cool kids use in their videos nowadays.

But even if you’re not interested in the slider aspect, the core pan/tilt mount has also received a number of refinements over the last few months. Perhaps the most obvious is the switch over to thinner and lighter stepper motors. Reducing mass is always an improvement with a moving system like this, and in the case of the pan motor, the shorter can prevents a potential collision with the camera itself. Obviously the smaller motors are weaker, but [isaac879] considers that a feature; the mini motors will just start skipping steps if things get bound up instead of potentially damaging your expensive camera.

He’s switched to flange bearings to help hold the frame together, improved wire routing, added a mounting point for the electronics, reprinted the pinion gears in a flexible filament to help absorb some vibrations, and switched over to TMC2208 stepper drivers. The new drivers may actually be one of the biggest usability upgrades, as they allow the entire mount to move faster and more accurately. Critically, [isaac879] also reports the new drivers have solved a troublesome vibration issue he was seeing when the camera was moving slowly.

Obviously you can throw together a simple pan and tilt mount with a couple of servos and some zip ties if you only need to use it once or twice, but a project of this caliber would rightfully become a permanent fixture in your workspace. Perfect if you’re looking to up your project photography game.

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