BEFORE STARTING: Most of this Robot’s elements have been “3D printed”. The “official” KIT comes with PLA Ingeo 870 printed parts, much more durable and with higher resistance to impact than the regular PLA. Of course, you can print the parts by yourself in ABS or PLA but keeping this in mind: You can break it if you apply too much force or tight a screw more that you should. We will let you know, during this assembly guide, when you can tighten the screws as much as you can or where you should just fix a part to another not forcing it at all.

Click/Tap on the image below to view an interactive 3D model of the Camera Slider. “A 3D-picture is worth a thousand words”

CAMERA SLIDER KIT BILL OF MATERIALS (BOM)

3D printed parts SET1
NEMA 17 stepper motor (MT-1703HS168A or equivalent)2
MOTOR CABLE (70 cms)1
MOTOR CABLE (14 cms) 1
20 teeth GT2 pulley 2
Circular Ball bearing 623zz5
Circular Ball bearing 6002RS or 6002ZZ1
Timing belt GT2 (cm for a 700mm rail)150
DEVIA control Board (or equivalent Arduino M0, ESP8266 + 3xstepper motor shield)1
USB cable 1m (micro USB connector) 1
TMC2208 Ultra Silent motor driver + aluminium heatsinks (long version)2
Camera Swivel1
Anodized Aluminium profile (2020 V-shape)1
Wheel bearing (V-shape)3
Smartphone holder + camera screw (short)1
12V/2A Power supply with 2.1mm POWER JACK 1
M3 bolts (10mm,15mm and 20mm) + nuts
M5 25mm bolts3

First, you will need to break a thing: the camera screw. The metal ring around it won’t let you fully insert it into its socket. So, take it out.

Take the rotating platform and clean/remove any burr you may find among the outer gear teeth. Keep in mind that even a tiny piece of plastic may block the spinning movement of the platform. Apply some grease to the teeth if you want, that will make the movement even smother. Now, push the 6002 ball bearing into the centre hole (completely) and insert the camera screw into any of the two holes you will find in the platform.

NOTE: if you are using a DSLR camera, you will need to insert the screw in the centre hole. For a smartphone camera, insert it as I have done in the left image.

This is how the camera screw pops out if you are planning to use a smartphone. The reason to be off-centre: the smartphone’s camera is located close to a corner on its back face, so you will need to hold the device from a side, not from its centre.

Insert two 623zz ball bearings in the 3D printed pulley. It should be tight.

Use a 15mm M3 bolt to attach the pulley to the PULLEY TOP part. Check that it can spin freely.

Use a small mallet or any other “sturdy” tool to push the SMALL GEAR part into the motor shaft. Be gentle but push it firmly. Keep pushing it until the shaft’s end gets levelled with the gear horizontal surface.

Place the BOTTOM GANTRY aligning the rounded channel as indicated. That is the correct orientation.

Use 3x M3 10mm bolts to fix one to the other. The bolts go in the holes indicated on the left image.

Fix the motor (pay attention to its cable connector orientation) as the photo. Use 3x 20mm Bolts

Push the rail’s motor into the MOTOR END part and fix it using 4x M3 15mm bolts.

Attach and fix the 20 teeth pulley to the shaft. The end of the shaft has to be levelled with the pulley.

Use 2x M3 10mm bolts to join the PULLEY END LEGS to the PULLEY END

Push the PULLEY END into the aluminium profile. You will need to make use again of the mallet (or equivalent). Take out, temporarily, the pulley if you think you can damage it, hitting it, in the process. At this point, do not fully insert the aluminium profile into the PULLEY END.

Use 3x M5 25mm bolts to attach the V-slot Wheel Bearings

Insert a M3 nut in its socket and screw a M3 10mm bolt. This bolt will be in charge of keeping the timing belt tight.

Well, do not pay attention to the parts color change 🙂 A white part was better to show where everything goes, but black 3D printed parts look cooler…

This is how it should look at this point.

Press the PLATFORM into the gantry´s main shaft. It should be tight.

NOTE: depending on many factors due to the accuracy of a 3D printer (and the PLA material used), the union between the big shaft and the rotating platform could be a little loose. In that case, use glue or thin tape to increase the shaft diameter. You will need to push a bit hard the platform to fully insert it. Otherwise, it may pop out later and your smartphone/camera will come with it.

Capture the end of the timing belt with the teeth of the BOTTOM GANTRY part.

Insert the aluminium profile through the camera gantry.

Run the timing belt around the pulley and back to the aluminium profile. Now it is time to push the PULLEY END completely (make use of the mallet). Be gentle!

Pass the timing belt behind the carriage’s wheels

Pass it around the 20 teeth pulley as the image and use the mallet to fully insert the MOTOR END part into the aluminium pulley.

NOTE: Do not pay attention to the electronics already placed. That will come later.

This could be tricky: bend a little the end of the timing belt so the tip will tend to get inside the channel of the BOTTOM GANTRY. You will need to guide it through that channel. Once there, pull it so it gets tight, then capture the belt with the bolt as the photo. Feel free to cut the remaining timing belt.

Time to place the electronics. Check the next photo as well, it will indicate you how to put the electronic’s case. Use 1x M3 10mm bolt for the back side of the DEVIA control board (the one I am pointing to). Screw it as shown, that will fix the protective case to the PCB.

Now, flip the board and place it as the image, then attach it to the MOTOR END part using a 10mm bolt (upper left corner hole of the board) and 20mm bolt for the other hole, the one that goes through the protecting case. Two bolts will fix the control board to the MOTOR END piece. Use two M3x10mm to attach the MOTOR LEGS to the MOTOR END.

NOTE: you may need to adjust the output current delivered by the TMC motor drivers. Do that before placing the heatsinks. More info at the very end of this page

Place the heatsinks on top and insert the stepper motor drivers in their sockets. The heatsinks are quite bulky, so this is important: Do not touch the metal headers of the top face of the steppers with the heatsinks. That might create a short circuit damaging the module.

Check the correct orientation of the stepper motor drivers and motor cables.

This is how everything is connected. Motors, cable connectors orientation and stepper motor drivers

Another image of the TMC2208 motor drivers already connected.

Now connect the RAIL MOTOR to the control board. Use the 14cm cable

Do the same with the PLATFORM MOTOR. Use 2 zip ties to fix the cable to the MOTOR END part as the photo. That will keep the cable away from the moving carriage.

Done

NOTE: The photo shows the camera slider attached to a tripod. You can easily do that with this 3D modelled part + 2xM3 15mm bolts + 2 M3 Nuts. Every tripod has its own fixing system. This 3D part has been created for a standard camera screw 1/4″-20 but you may need to create yours.

What do you do with the remaining 5x623zz ball bearings?

If you are going to put a heavy camera on the rotating platform, you will have to reduce the friction as much as you can. To do so, insert the 623zz bearings into their holes (in the BOTTOM CARRIAGE part) and keep them in place using 5 x M3 10mm bolts (check theur location in the interactive 3D model).

Camera swivel and smartphone holder

A helping element of the KIT is the smartphone holder, you can attach it to the popping-out camera screw. Alternatively, fixing that holder to camera swivel, will make orientate the smartphone to any point of interest easier.

Camera Slider KIT with DSLR camera

HOW TO UPLOAD the ARDUINO CODE to the DEVIA CONTROL BOARD

NOTE: The jjRobots KIT comes with the DEVIA Control Board already programmed, so you can skip this step if you got it.

a) Install the Arduino IDE on your PC from here (skip this step if you have the Arduino IDE already installed) This code has been tested and developed on IDE version 1.6.5 and later versions. If you have a problem compiling the code, let us know

b) Download all the arduino files , extract the files inside the same folder in your hard drive  

c) Compile and send the code to the DEVIA control board:

  1. Open your Arduino IDE
  2. Open the main code in \CameraSlider_vX_M0 \CameraSlider_vX_M0.ino
  3. Connect your DEVIA board with the USB cable to the PC
  4. Note: If this is the first time you connect an Arduino board to your PC maybe you might need to install the driver.
  5. Select the board Arduino/Genuino ZERO (native USB port). In the TOOLS menu->board (You might need to install the “Arduino SAMD Boards (32-bits ARM Cortex-M0+)” libraries. Go to Tools->Board->Boards Manager… and install the “Arduino SAMD Boards (32-bits ARM Cortex-M0+)”
  6. Select the serial port that appears on the tools->Serial port
  7. Send the code to the board (UPLOAD button: Arrow pointing to the RIGHT)
upload
Selecting the right board before uploading the code

d) Done!

IMPORTANT: The TMC2208 stepper motor drivers are top-notch electronic modules, but they might need to be adjusted to deliver the correct amount of current to the motors. Too much current will overheat the motors. We strongly recommend adjusting the current output to 0.7 A per motor. But how to do that? This wiki provides very good information about it

Place the stepper motor driver in their sockets on the DEVIA control board and connect the 12V power supply to the board. Measure the voltage between the indicated points above. Use the screw provided with the KIT or get a tiny one (3mm wide). Rotate, anticlockwise, the screw of the potentiometer just a little and check the voltage. Once the voltage has been set to 0.8-0.9 V you are done and the stepper motor drivers are ready to move the camera slider not wasting power as heat.

RMS Current (A): 0.7 <- This is what we want
 Reference Voltage (Vref):  0.9V

But… I do not have a multimeter! How am I suppose to do this?. Why did you not send the stepper motor drivers already adjusted?

With the KIT, we supply a tiny screwdriver. With it, just rotate anticlockwise, just approx. 20 degrees, the screw tagged in the image above as “potentiometer

That should be enough to reduce the output current.

The reason for not adjusting them to this voltage by default: these drivers can be used with other jjRobots projects and with the default configuration they will work just fine. So, we decided to leave them with their initial “settings”.


Control APP

Get the control APP for your iOS or Android device (They are free):

Control APP user guide


Troubleshooting:

The slider is making a weird sound and vibrates when the carriage moves

Check the pulleys and the timing belt, are they aligned? Is the timing belt touching a 3D printed part? If so, re-adjust everything. If the noise continues, check if the motor drivers are delivering enough current.

I can not connect to the CAMERA SLIDER from my smartphone

Check the Control APP user guide. Everything related with the control APP is explained there.


Useful LINKS: