TLA: New Track, Cart

The new track for the time-lapse automaton is done. I decided to re-create it out of aluminum, and yesterday I cut and assembled the materials. This one is again made out of angled and flat material, but the cart is designed to ride inside of the angles, rather than on top of them. The center is filled in just to add extra protection for the threaded rod and rivets are used to join the material. Overall, the design is much lighter and more visually-pleasing than the previous.

Four thin (1/2″) strips of aluminum run across the bottom and are riveted to the three track pieces. They provide extra rigidity and an easy way to attach the pieces together.

The cart is mostly finished, for now. It still lacks the tilt motor, but I’ll add that later. I’m considering making it out of aluminum too, and hiding the pan motor. Presently, the cart is made out of white acrylic.

Panning motion is handled by a pan servo from servo city. A Giotto’s quick-release plate is attached directly to the hub that is being driven by the servo, and is not attached to the shaft of the potentiometer. A small piece of acrylic is drilled and tapped to utilize the screw supplied for attaching to a tripod head.

The potentiometer for the servo is mounted on the under-side of the cart to help reduce height and increase stability. Additionally, it keeps me from having to cut the potentiometer shaft down to size by mounting it lower and not having to deal with it when attaching the quick-release plate. Hexagonal stand-offs replace the round spacers that are included with the kit and the potentiometer setup is bolted into the acrylic.

The cart its self is attached to the flange nut on the drive rod via a small aluminum plate that is attached to one end of the cart.

So far, everything is working well. The cart trucks properly and pan operates properly with my K10D and Sigma 17-70mm lens attached, weighing in at about six pounds. I’ll post a video tomorrow of a pan test showing the pan in action.

The following steps remain:

  • Create an enclosure for the DC geared motor that drives the trucking motion
  • Create an enclosure and do final wiring for the controller
  • Add tilt mechanism
  • Re-build cart out of aluminum or sheet-metal to match track
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~ by c.a. church on July 20, 2008.

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