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MakerSlide - Simple Camera Slider


This camera slider is more of a demonstration project than a polished design. The goal was to use as many off the shelf Makerslide parts as possible. The custom parts are the motor and idler pulley support plate, the tripod mounts and the belt clips. These parts are all open source and easy to fabricate. There are no tight tolerances on the parts and could be made with several techniques including hand fabrication.

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Camera Controller

Part Drawings

  • C30047 Carriage Assembly Drawing - PDF - STEP
  • C30049 Slider Assembly Drawing - PDF - STEP

Carriage Assembly

Reference assembly drawing when assembling carriage.

Assemble idler pulleys to sub plate.

  • Place screw in plate
  • Install spacer on screw.
  • Press one bearing into idler pulley.
  • Install idler pulley and onto screw.
  • Place shim on screw on top of bearing. Important!…this shim is required to prevent binding of the bearings. Many people skip this step.
  • Press in second bearing.
  • Install nuts and tighten.

Assemble sub plate to carriage plate.

  • Put (3) screws through carriage plate. Not the plate is not symmetrical. Make sure the screw go through the smaller sized holes.
  • Place spacers over screws.
  • Place sub plate on screws.
  • Install nuts and tighten.

Assemble wheels to carriage plate.

  • Mark each eccentric spacer with a permanent marker on the face that is closest to hole. This will allow you to easily determine the orientation of the hole after it is assembled. It will be easier to see which way you need to rotate the spacer to tighten or loosen the carriage.

  • Assemble V wheels. Press aa bearing into each side with a shim washer between them. Try to center the shim washer, but it can usually be adjusted to center later with a thin screwdriver.
  • Put four screws through carriage plate.
  • Install (2) nylon spacers
  • Install (2) eccentric spacers. Orient as shown with hole indicator mark towards the outside. This starts the wheels with the widest separation.

Install Motor and Timing Pulley

  • Install motor using (4) screws. Orient the wiring in the direction you want them facing.
  • Install pulley. Align center of pulley teeth with center of idler pulleys installed earlier.

Slider Assembly

coming soon

  • Install Thumb Screw caps onto screws. These should be pressed on using a clamp or vise. Do not hammer them on. Do not over press them or they will crack. Just press enough to secure them in place.

Camera Mounting

Most cameras, tripods and heads use a standard #1/4-20 screw. The carriage has several holes that are large enough for that screw. You can also drill out any of the smaller holes or add new ones. Using a small swivel head is handy for shot adjustment.

Slider Setup

Use the view and assembly drawing (coming soon) as reference.

  1. Rotate the eccentric spacers to put the wheels as far apart as possible. I usually put a reference dot on the spacer on the side closest to the hole, so it is easy to determine where the hole is of the spacer.
  2. Slide the carriage onto the MakerSlide rail.
  3. Adjust the eccentric spacer to the fit you want. Do not over tighten it or damage can occur to the wheels.
  4. Leave the carriage about 6 inches from one end.
  5. Clamp on end of the belt to the MakerSlide. The toothed side goes towards the MakerSlide. You do not need to tighten the belt too much. The teeth in the belt prevent it from slipping. Excessive tightening could result in cutting the belt over time. Once you determine the right length of the belt, you can leave the clamps in place and lightly tighten the clamps on the belt after you break down the setup for storage or transportation.
  6. Thread the belt around the idler pulleys and timing pulley on the carriage.
  7. Install the other clamp and tension the belt. you only want about 6 lbs of force on the belt. If you pull it really hard, it could bend the motor shaft.

Belt Clamp Detail

Tripod Mounting

Coming soon.

Motor Control


ms/ms_slider.txt · Last modified: 2012/11/19 08:03 by bdring