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GoPro Hero3 Frame

GoPro Hero3 Frame

I like the acrylic housing that comes with the GoPro Hero3, but I tend to run some pretty long time lapses, and the battery doesn’t last long enough, so I made a lightweight frame, and it’s over on Thingiverse.

GoPro Hero3 Frame

I’m (slowly) getting better at OpenSCAD, thanks to projects like this. I’m sure I’ll get even better in 2013.

GoPro Hero3 Frame

I’ve got plenty of long USB cables and USB power supplies, as well as a Minty Boost from Adafruit to provide power for shooting hours and days at a time.

Here’s a quick time-lapse test I shot before I had the frame. I ended up balancing the GoPro on a book on top of two water bottles, which was silly, and just one more reason for this thing.

GoPro Hero3 Frame

The frame has a bit of flex to it so you can easily wrap it around the camera. I may play around with some thicker housings, but for now, it does the job.

I ended up printing about 6 versions before I got one that was good. I should probably do more paper prototyping, but with how easy it is to 3D print things, sometimes you just hit “print” and hope for the best. If it doesn’t work out, you tweak things and try again. It’s just the way it works.

(Note: I guess GoPro also sells a frame for the Hero3. Go buy it from them if you want a really nice one and have $40.00 to spend. If you just want this cheap plastic one, print it yourself.)

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New Slider Ends

New Slider

If you saw my post about a Motorized Camera Slider, this is a bit of an update, but it’s really more about the process than the end product, so if you’re interested in that, read on!

Slider End (Original)

I was originally using the improved camera slider V2 from our pal Marcus, and it worked well enough, but I wanted something different, so I tweaked what he had.

Slider End sliced

Marcus created his original file (I think) with Alibre Design, and since I couldn’t open it, I just worked with the STL file he provided. I loaded that into OpenSCAD and grabbed a slice of it using this method.

Slider End outline

Once I had a line drawing of the original slider end, I could use it to make my own. I imported the DXF File into Inkscape, my standard for 2D (and 2.5D) illustration.

Slider End outline

In reality, the only parts I really used from the original were the approximate size of the piece, and the two holes for the rods. I could have measured things, but loading up a file as a template was easier. I guess I could have got all fancy at this point, but I just kept it simple.

New Slider End

Once I had my SVG done in Inkscape, and exported a DXF file, it was a matter of doing the old linear_extrude method, like I did for my snowflakes, etc. I saved out an STL file and I was ready to print.

Nw Slider End

Here’s what the final piece looks like. One of the issues I had with the design Marcus created was that the rods only went part way into the plastic. There were screw holes to tighten down some screws onto the rods to hold things in place, but I never put any in. They might have also helped with the twisting issue this design has, but I may explore the idea of a two-piece design that clamps tight with the plastic. Or not… the nice thing is, it’s easy to experiment.

If I wanted to, I could probably make these ends out of wood, which would require just a drill press, or maybe out of a nice heavy metal, which might require drilling, or maybe milling. Both processes are a little messy, potentially more expensive, and require equipment you might not have. The nice thing about 3D printing these is that I can iterate a design quickly, and at a very low cost. I can even make them mostly hollow to save on time and materials during testing, and then make stronger, more solid versions when desired.

Nw Slider End

You may notice the carriage has some zip ties on it. Those are holding the LM8UU linear bearings in place. My original carriage was way too stiff, and without exact alignment (which you may not get with DIY plastic parts) it didn’t slide without some binding. The bearings were 58 cents each (I got a 10-pack from an ebay seller.) The bearings are a little noisy, so if you plan to shoot video with sound, you might have some issues. (Maybe more expensive bearing would make less noise?) As for the rods, they were about $15 each (pricey compared to the other parts) from VXB.com. There are cheaper alternatives depending on length, size, quality, etc. I went with 8mm because those are standard RepRap sizes.

At some point I may play with carriage designs as well. I actually did an early version that used felt instead of linear bearings (another trick from the RepRap world) which makes things cheaper and quieter, which may be desirable in some cases. And of course, I need to revisit the whole “motorized” part of this thing.

Until next time!

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Hot Shoe Mount

Hot Shoe Mount

In June I posted about my Hot Shoe Audio Mount which allowed me to put my Zoom H2 audio recorder on top of my DSLR… and I also had this to say:

The nice thing about the “Nikon DIY GPS Holder” I printed was that I can see it being a generic part I can modify in the future. I can easily import the STL file into Google Sketchup and built on top of it

Hot Shoe Mount

Well, in the past few months I’ve done a lot more in OpenSCAD than in Sketchup, so I wanted an OpenSCAD version of this thing, so while you can still grab the original Nikon DIY GPS Holder, there’s a new derivative, the Hot Shoe Mount, which features the OpenSCAD code.

Brain Slug

But what can do you with this OpenSCAD stuff? How about combining it with other OpenSCAD scripts so you can mount a Brain Slug on your camera? ;)

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Motorized Camera Slider

Motorized Camera Slider

Still very much in progress, but here’s the first iteration of my motorized camera slider. The slider ends are this part, and the carriage is this part. I had to tweak the heck out of the OpenSCAD file for the carriage to get it to fit right. I also learned about silicone spray to get things sliding more smoothly, and the fact that it’s better to leave bearings a little loose if you don’t have precision alignment.

The “motorized” part is pretty simple…actually too simple, and I need to complex it up a bit. It’s a continuous rotation servo with a spool attached and some string wound onto it. It just slowly pulls the camera across the rods. I need to add some controls to allow for setting the speed, and some gearing might also help things move a little better. I’d also like to investigate using a threaded rod as a screw drive, which could also function as a third support.

Ultimately, I want to have a rig that will move the camera slightly, then trigger the camera to snap a photo, then repeat. I’ve got the code for all this, so right now it’s mainly a matter of the mechanical build (needs improvement) and wiring things up without it being too messy. (The guys at the Federal building told me they get concerned when they see wires and batteries.) A nice case might be in order. I might also look for a smaller ball head, as this one is quite large and heavy, which doesn’t help outside on a windy day. There’s a long list of improvements to this, so expect more posts in the future.

See a video of one of the early tests of this thing.

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iPhone Tripod Mount

iPhone Tripod Mount

Since the camera on the iPhone 4S is so good, more than one person has thought about mounting the iPhone on a tripod.

In fact, some guys did a Kickstarter campaign and got over $137,417 for the idea! And a bunch of other people designed things you could make on your 3D Printer to do the job.

The Glif

The problem with the Glif and most of these other phone holders is that they are designed to work with an uncased iPhone, and I tend to leave mine in the case all the time. I use an OtterBox case (It’s this one.) It’s grippy and rubbery, and since I wanted a tripod mount that would work with the case, I made my own. (Here’s a post that mentions an early version.)

iPhone Tripod Mount

This mount would probably work with almost any phone that uses a rubbery case, since it uses the grip of the rubber to its advantage to stay in place. You just gently tighten the wing nuts to hold the phone in place. There are nuts under the top piece of wood to prevent you from over-tightening.

iPhone Tripod Mount

Yeah, it’s basically two pieces of wood, two bolts, a few washers, nuts, and wing nuts. I may consider printing some knobs like I did here to replace the wing nuts. (And yeah, you’ll notice it’s the same screw method I used for my DIY Mouthpiece Puller.)

iPhone Tripod Mount

The bottom piece of wood has two small pilot holes to accommodate the two buttons on the side of the iPhone, so the buttons do not get depressed when in the mount.

iPhone Tripod Mount

The other tricky thing is how I mount the tripod plate to the bottom. I ended up getting a nut coupler, and then drilling a hole into the bottom piece of wood, and pretty much hammering in the nut coupler. It was too long so I had to hack saw it off to be flush with the bottom. Not pretty, but it does work.

Now that I’ve got this done, I should probably go back and do those test shots comparing the iPhone 4S camera to other cameras. :)