I have several hobbies and sometimes they cross over. I've always liked photography and I like to go camping and hiking in Big Bend National Park. In the past I would always take my camera and shoot a ton of stills. Some are even pretty good. Earlier this year I came across some professionals that use camera sliders to do time-lapse videos. Where the foreground pans by while the sky moves. It creates a very cool effect and I think Big Bend would be a great place to do some of these shots. I'd really like some up in the mountains where there aren't very many visitors. When I started looking into sliders they can be very expensive and some are quite large or heavy. For my goals I wanted something cheap, self contained and easy to carry while hiking.
I first heard about Open Rail and the Phlat Boys on The Crash Cast and have been drooling over their stuff ever since. I kept checking the Open Build store and finally decided to give it a try. Initial order was just the parts to get the slider working. I wasn't exactly sure how it was all going to work so it was time to experiment.
Parts List from openbuildspartstore.com:
- 1 x Black V-Slot 20 x 20mm
- 1 x V-Slot Universal Plate
- 4 x OpenBuilds Dual V Wheel Kit - Delrin
- 1 x Smooth Idler Pulley Kit
- 1 x Aluminum Spacers sizes 1/8" - 1-1/2"
- 2 x Eccentric Spacers
- 7 x MXL (1/4″) Timing Belt
- 1 x 5mm MXL Aluminum Timing Pulley
- 3 x Drop In Tee Nuts
- 2 x Belt Crimp Clamp
- 1/4x20 nuts
- galvanized plates
- machine screws and nuts
- 2 x Heavy Duty Gorilla pod
- 12v 3 RPM electric motor
- 12v variable speed reversible motor controller
I used the universal plate with the 4 wheel sets and put a GoPro Mount on one side and left enough room to use the tripod mount on the other side should I want to use my DSLR. The idler pulley is on one end and I planned on mounting the motor on the other end. That was the easy part. Took all of 10 minutes to put together. The more difficult piece was how to mount legs on it. After discussing it with a friend he suggested using tripods. I really liked that idea as it made it very portable and adjustable. I took it a step further and used Gorilla pods. The question was how to attach it to the V-Slot. Temporarily I decided to just use a couple of small plates from Lowes with 1/4x20" nuts JB Welded to it. This works but eventually i'll redo this.
Powering the slider:
After a lot of looking around and servo motors and all the options I decided on a cheap motor and controller from Amazon. A small amount of soldering and some connectors and the motor and controller worked well. Again this is all an experiment so I just quickly made a motor mount out of a piece of lexan and bolted that to the V-Slot. Slipped the belt around the pinion and then tightened it up a little. Time to test...
Yeah it works!
Just testing and trying to figure out the right settings and angles to use.
Now that it's all working I put the electronics in a project box and mounted it underneath the slider. I've tested it a few times and it works really well. It will run for an hour off a small 12v battery and barely uses any juice. Perfect for hiking up into the mountains. However before I take it up there i'll probably put a slower motor on it. 3 rpm at it's slowest speed takes about 45 minutes to travel the length of the slider. For a good sunrise i'd like it to be able to run 1.5-2 hours.
One more test of the slider with some different settings
DIY GoPro Camera Slider
A compact portable DIY camera slider for time lapse photography using a GoPro.
- Build License:
- CC - Attribution - CC BY
Reason for this BuildI wanted a camera slider but for as little as i use it the cheapest i could find was over $500!