Tag Archives: Robot
A few views on my two LOADR #stopmotion puppets. One is N-scale the other 1/24. Both are concept models for the same character in #drabfuture, and it’s about time I got those creative juices flowing again, might try and split the difference and make a final working version, or mash these two into a matched set #art #robot #mecha #kitbash
Continued from here
I’ve made progress on Cambot. I drilled up some stock aluminum bars to fit between the gearing and the rail mounts so now it is all secured together. I also swapped out one of the axels for a carriage bolt so I’d have a way to tighten it down.
So far I’ve worked out the pat/tilt mechanisms and it seems to be working pretty well. I’m driving the two DC gear motors via a Dynamic perceptions AT2 controller.
I’m still a bit concerned about the overall weight and size. I wanted to avoid unnecessary strain on the motors, so I took the camera off the mount while testing it.
Sadly immediately after this test there was a ‘pop’ noise and since then the 12v DC adapter I’ve been running this from stopped working. This was a new power supply, purchased with my AT2 and used only 4-5 times no longer than an hour each time, and and it was hooked up to a surge protector, so I’m at a loss to explain what happened to it, manufacturing error perhaps?. I have no way of testing to be sure it didn’t fry the controller or motors, I can only assume(hope) that is as far as the problem extends. I’ve got a replacement on the way …
I keep reminding myself that I started this project to learn what goes into building something like this more than I did because I couldn’t afford a packaged system.
This week I’m sending off one of my ball joint dolls, the Robot gynoid, the fifth of the series.
Its always sad to see them go, but I’m glad she found a good home, and I will be casting a new round of dolls very soon.
You can see my work in progress ball joint dolls in the flickr Gallery gallery here;
Continued from; Cambot pt2 (BRAIN storming)
I’ve been thinking a lot and working on my Cambot. I try to keep the end goal in sight as I am teaching myself just enough to make this work. In the end I’m hoping to be able to set it up for both live action and StopMo, on a stage and out on location. So it needs to be somewhat modular and self-contained in the end, so not (solely)controlled by a computer.
I’m not much of an engineer, more of a hardware-hacker and I’m basically teaching myself this as I go along, which is partly why I’m working it out in parts. I’ve also not got access to a proper machine shop, so I’ll either be at the mercy of my friends, looking into buying a mini mill, or attempting it with hand tools.
But first some inspiration from Vimeo user Displacment1, who has some really amazingDragon Stop-mo MoCo rigs;
I’m really liking these designs, modular and adjustable. As much as I like the simplicity of my Geared tripod head I think I’m going forward with this sort of a nodal pan/tilt head design.
Mohan has made some really slick 15mm-based pan/tilt/slide rigs. He appears to be using carbon fiber 15mm rail rigs, so it’s both light-weight and strong! which he has custom built using stepper motors and custom gearing;
Another similar 15mm pan/tilt head was found on the dynamic perception’s forum here. He says he was able to assemble the whole thing for $450, which seems low to me, especially after seeing other offerings.
The miniengine seems to be a really cool way to run time lapse, or shoot-move-shoot based moco. It seems to be well-supported and designed, and actively developed. The next version seems even better, definitely something to keep an eye on…
BFG motion control seems like a great system. They provide a hardware encoding box and GUI interface for designing complex shots. However their price of $1000, which is reasonable for something of this kind, is outside my budget for this project. I’m really hoping to put the whole thing together for 1k, and there is a lot of hardware to put together…
I’m getting close, my research and brainstorming seem to have brought me to a clear path. Well I say one path, but its more like a three phase plan.
- -Realtime mode
- -Playback mode
- -Program mode
Realtime mode – Hardware rig
The first step is assembling the rig, the real hardware of it. That will show me the physical limitations of the rig; size, weight, as well as the number and positions of axis.
This is where I am now, essentially a manual stopmotion rig;
Bogen geared pan/tilt head, mounted to Jib(rigged to raise and lower with an automotive jack), on machinist’s rotary table and linear slide. Current arrangement is set up for manual moments. Turning the wheels incrementally of the geared head and cross slide allow for an animate-able camera.
Pros/Cons; It works… mostly. It is limited to either stop motion animation for camera moves, which takes a lot of patience and focus for long, smooth camera moves. To move increments as well as animating the puppet or prop actually in the scene, or for an actor I can release the jack and move the jib smoothly, for hand-operated movements but its a bit wobbly, and requires an operator.
On to the next phase!
The next phase involves motorizing it all. I’ve got the motions plotted out, but it needs to drive itself, So I’m beginning to add gears and motors now. The goal is to rig it so that it can be remotely operated. (with speed controllers). I’m looking into offset gear motors, DC motors, and gearboxes. I’m planning to work out/test 2 axis at a time in realtime, and possibly set it to record/playback once that is working.
I’m starting off by setting up my hardware to run off an Dynamic Perceptions AT-2 controller, starting with ez-swap dc motor or a a gear motor like these or a DC motor like these.Which will get me the chance to set up all the mechanical parts of the rig properly.
This real-time controlled live action remote rig gives me the ability to control and test two axis of DC motors.
Here is my rig as it currently stands, 2 geared axis hooked up to a joystick
From here, an idea for self-contained playback in the mean time, this servo recorder, seems like it could record up to 3min of motion for 4-axes, and with speed controllers it could control DC motors, then play back recorded motions.
This really seems like a good place to get, since it seems like I’d be able to control pan/tilt/focus and movement, either; slide/track/jib/rotate, however it’ll be $3-400, for it and I’m still not 100% sure it’ll work reliably/repeatably… DC motors aren’t really known for their detail in movements, and while my gearing may help I just don’t know, really people tend to use other types of motor for this sort of design, i.e. steppers or servos.
Program mode MoCoBus Rig; stepper motors, nanoMoCo, upgrade device…
Once the mechanical parts are working for live playback, I’ll be looking into swapping the DC motors for steppers driven by a computer, or potentially some portable brain. Ideally I’d have a magic box which allowed me to move the rig however I wanted, then have it repeat the move and export a 3d camera move which could be imported into effects software.
This post from Dynamic Perceptions got me very excited. There are plans to take the AT2 and use it to communicate with record-able repeatable systems. Naturally it wouldn’t work with DC motors.
If I rig my mover with stepper motors, like these Phidgets or NEMA-17,
or another stepper, I’d expect I need some sort of driver card for each them. I’d need something like the easydriver. I don’t really know a lot about steppers, yet. But I’ll learn.
Currently I’ve got my sights set on Dynamic Perception’s MoCoBus, driving the stepper motors via their nanoMoCo cards. The whole system chain (MoCoBus) will feed into a computer, (potentially a netbook) for movement recording/edit/playback, StopMo, etc. (Software Workflow)The upgrade device will also allow me to drive the steppers and record the AT2 joystick’s movements into the MoCoBus chain.
Then when the upgrade becomes available I can upgrade my whole system to use MoCoBus. Then I would need to swap the DC or gear motors out for steppers to use the nanomoco on,
Itd be great if I could rig all my motors with nanomocos as drivers, control 2-axes of them analog for now. Once its all working smoothly, I’d plan to delve into chaining all the axes via mocobus and get more complicated multi axis moves through Graffik on the computer. And hopefully by that point I’d have access to the adapter and this updated workflow.
Continued here; Cambot pt4
To begin what are the goals of this project?
- Inexpensive (as much as I’d love to get a MrMoCo rig I just can’t)
- Wide range of movement
- Programmable; Move-shoot-move, Play-back and Real-time controls
- Self-contained Modular/lightweight/portable
I hesitate to put a number down because it’d be laughable and embarrassing, but suffice to say I have very little budget, so I’m looking for the best solution for the least cash.
When you look for cheap video gear on ebay you’re sure to find Proaim. Its not all bad, it works until it doesn’t. They offer some motorized tilt/pan heads, realtime only control, so I’d need a remote operator, or I’d still need to buy/make a ‘brain’ for it.
So, it may be great for long crane shots, but for this project its just too expensive…
Wide range of movement
How many axes of motion?
Ideally six; Dolly (back/forward left/right), Pan, Tilt, Jib/Crane, Jib/rotate
Yes. I want it all. I need to try and keep myself in scope for this project. My current Cambot has 7 axes of motion and may be just a bit too complicated for a programmable version; Dolly forward, incremental forward, incremental track to side, crane up, jib rotate, pan, tilt
There seem to be a few schools of thought surrounding this, there are the hobby-type time lapse/video; pan/tilt units, pan/tilt slider, and then there are the ‘pro’ solutions which can drive more channels but frequently connect to a computer; Ditogear evolution, MrMoco, etc. These can become monster rigs, and definitely not as portable, but can be capable of any possible moment.
For example MrMoCo’s Animoko;
C-MOCO is a german developed motion control system based on an industrial robotics arm.
It features a record and playback model for repeated motions along 7 axis, as well as embedding camera tracking data into R3D files for use in 3D and compositing applications. This is exactly what I want, but the fact that there is no price on their website tells me ‘if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.’
It seems like the biggest limitation for this is the ‘brain’; how many channels can I simultaneously control?
Looking at “brains” to control a MoCo rig, so far these have looked like the best options;
Basic Motion Controller Bundle $480
This is a kit for converting a slider into a MOCo unit. It only controls a single axis and is primarily intended for time-lapse. Like many, its max speed is controlled be swapping motors into place, using the gearing of the motor to speed it up or slow it down.
They also offer the SMART controller. $706
This offers the same single axis, but also allows for more control, live mode, ramping of speed, stop-motion, limit switches, etc.
Timelapse Camera Slider Motion Controller $225
This is the brain behind many time lapse rigs, it controls a single-axis for slider movements and also can be made to hook up to a telescope head for pan/tilt movements
Sadly there was an update done to the model of telescope head typically used, but the best ones are available from this site
elektraDRIVE BUNDLE PACKAGE with ORACLE Controller $1,314.95 $1k(controller only)
This can control two axis, so either a slider or a P/T head. It appears to be set up for very complicated programming, ramping motions, real-time/timelapse/stop motion, all that you’d expect.
Ditogear evolution $976.47
Ditogear really has an exciting product here. With up to 6-axis control, bezier controls for the ramping and motions, wifi enabled. It runs on android devices, with an IOS version expected in 2013.
Ditogear has also been collaborating a lot with this next one…
Dragonframe software $295
IOTA controller $750
It seems there may be no option for live playback since this is a software solution primarily for stop-motion, but through their IOTA (2-axis) controller or with an arduino (up to 8-axis) you can interface with stepper motors for motion control. The interface seems really slick, with bezier ramping and many axis of potential control. Additionally, and this part is very cool to me, they have created an interface allowing for the control of DMX lighting, so that while being able to control your camera’s move you can also have animated/programmed lighting. (I’ll be writing another post about lighting later)
eMotimo TB3 $750
Programmable for video and stop-mo, and self contained, supports Pan and Tilt plus outputs to control a third axis. It is also firmware updatable with open source architecture and a community.
Slick, transportable and self-contained, the CineMoco dolly/slider presents a good option for a single axis of motion. It is programmable for Video/timelapse/Stopmotion. However it is $425 for the Dolly, and does not appear to have a supported way to control/program additional axis of movement. I did a bit of research though, and it sounds like they plan to allow for daisy chaining, and the developer of it says it can support up to 32 axis
Ideally this is something that can be easily broken down and brought on set, or out to a location to shoot background plates.
The best in the ‘modularity’ category, and something I’d love to model off of is CamBlock For their brain they use a pocketPC running custom software.
But at $10k for three axis movement its out of my league.
This group of makers/hackers using the arduino have come up with some great open-source solutions, and appear very helpful, and many solutions have come from here, including the MX2;
I’m sure there are a lot of people online doing similar home-made rigs, but John is one who’s designs have stood out to me;His design for a pan/tilt head using stepper motors and pre-assembled gearing is pretty inspiring
Gini Slider $350
This slider looks very good, especially for the price; Modular and expandable. I could definitely see hooking up a motor and belt to it very easily;
In addition to having a wide selection of stepper motors, DC motors and real-time controlers, servo city also offers a couple pan/tilt heads. They look very well made and sturdy, but the price is a bit high for something which would still need a ‘brain’.
For realtime and playback they even have self-contained servo driver/controllers;
I’d hoped gathering these notes would provide me with a clear winner, but I’m still deep in the brainstorming phase. I’m tempted to start with the Gini slider to go with my current rig and piece together a modular arrangement, then work on finding a way to motorize it with Phigets and ServoCity motors, or one of the more expensive kits from ditogear or Kessler ($629).
But deep down I realize the brain should be the starting point. The best brain sounds like it’d be an arduino-based custom one, since the majority of the open source ones appear to be that way, and there looks like some good firmware starting points at Open Moco but not being an engineer or skilled programmer I’m hesitant to try and do that part my self. As far as prefabricated, the best ones seem to be the dito gear evolution with its nearly $1000 price tag, the more affordable Cine Moco, which would be great and self contained, but most useful if I can confirm that it’ll support more than one axis of motion, or the eMotimo with it’s three axes and integrated pan/tilt, but I’m a little discouraged by the the non-nodal pan and need to separate the camera from the current rig.
Continued here; http://bradisdrab.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/cambot_pt3/