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01-24-2019, 02:23 AM - 2 Likes   #1
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DIY Gear

I thought I'd share some of my DIY gear that I've made - figuring that I can't be the only one who makes bits and bobs for their photography!

I've made a few fun or interesting things in the past - mostly 3D printed but sometimes I commit random atrocities acts of carpentry for when I need larger things like tripods! When out shooting birds at short-to-medium ranges, I use a red-dot reflex sight on a little adapter in the hot-shoe mount (model courtesy of BikeyCyclist on thingiverse, though I do have a few of my own models that all have their own shortcomings!).

My latest mini-project, just leaving the design stage, is a combined fine-focus adjust/lock and lens support to help me do astrophotography. My design was inspired by these two thingiverse projects - but I wanted to build my own so that I could be certain it'd fit my lens, while making use of the parts I have, with easier-to-remove fittings and a mount for the tripod, and support for adjusting the zoom on a push-pull style lens.



This will make use of a 9mm wooden dowel driven along the rail by an M6 screw - the idea being that the driven section can slide along it longitudinally (zoom-axis), but motion is drastically reduced laterally (in the focus-axis) - or if you don't want to change the zoom, just butt the driving and driven bodies against each other. I've also designed them with a clamping design with a hinge to allow greater range of adjustment - though this might not actually be needed (I will remove it from future designs if I find it superfluous)

Should hopefully have pictures of the finished bracket up tomorrow - assuming of course that I don't have any issues printing!

Are there many/any other DIY-gear aficionados on the forums here? Feel free to share your ideas/designs/failures here too!

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01-24-2019, 02:40 AM   #2
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Ingenious! can't wait to see the finished item
01-24-2019, 07:10 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by LensBeginner Quote
Ingenious! can't wait to see the finished item
--Afraid credit for this idea goes to some of the folks on thingiverse (and it's entirely possible that they've been inspired by others themselves!) - all I've done is design my own version with a hinge and some tweaks that I wanted

I'm looking forward to giving it a go myself! My current sigma lens has a habit of slipping slightly when I use it for astrophotography - and of course, the focus nudges at the sniff of a wet rag!

I'm a bit concerned with my design actually, I'm pretty sure there will be slop in the drive rod (yellow), even with the holes I've left to add strengthening bars in. I might need to use a sliding dovetail arrangement instead - we'll see how it turns out first though! I can also make a small cover for it with some brass inserts, so that its held more rigidly in a perpendicular position against the leadscrew.

We'll cross that bridge if we come to it! In the meantime, finger's crossed - will hopefully get it printed tonight - but I suspect I'll need to get half tonight, and half tomorrow - either way, I'll be able to see how the slop turns out!
01-24-2019, 07:32 AM   #4
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First of all kudos to you! it is awesome to see people invent their own gear, and this looks like a must have tool for somebody doing astro-photography or macro. From my modest analysis, there seems to be something missing in the design. there's a certain degree of freedom in movement to the yellow rod. i think it should be constrained by a rail on the near end mounted on the clamp to avoid turning around the screw axis and also a second hollow rail mounted on the other side of the clamp to further minimize the turning. I think utilizing the bed of the sliding path for this effect would result in to much grinding between the parts.
Check put this sketch i did real quick

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01-25-2019, 02:06 AM   #5
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I did wonder about that - the bed of the slide is currently being used to arrest radial motion of the driving rod (yellow) - BUT if the leadscrew (an M6 bolt in this case) has any play in it, it will be transferred to the driving rod.

If you look at the design, there are two smaller holes beside the hole for the leadscrew, with the intent of installing some thin metal rails (1.6mm welding rod in this case) to further reduce any movement.

My intention was, if there is any additional movement, I was going to install a small saddle-shaped part over the rod, which would overlap the edges of the bed and arrest motion in both axis.


Unfortunately, 3D printed rails as per your design would be difficult (not impossible, but quality might suffer) - put simply it's difficult to print in mid air - so I'd need to build a scaffold onto it, which adds to post-processing as I'd need to carefully remove afterwards - and even then, I've not had much luck with scaffolds in past prints.

ANYWAY - you have however given me an idea! If I close the top surface of the bed (turning it into a slot) and install the driving rod into a T-Shaped bearing block inside that, it will be unable to move radially or laterally relative to the leadscrew!

I printed the Driving-Bracket (the most complicated part xD) last night - took 3 hours, not too bad - I'm worried about quality though as there seems to be a bit of delamination (this is my fault for not dialing in the right settings for the print) - BUT it will let me see how much slop I'll have to deal with, and in which directions.

I actually like the idea of this T-bearing block (wait, is it considered a bearing? Huh... It will look kinda like a T-bolt but with space for nuts on either end so it can attach to the leadscrew, and have a hole in the centre to accommodate the drive rod) - despite having an extra part (the bearing) it's actually a simpler design, and means I can drop the two stiffening rods (weld rods) I added for support, which means I don't have to be quite so concerned about the precision of the holes drilled in the driving rod.

So, I think I'll go with that idea - thanks for the suggestion/input!

--EDIT--
Just had a thought - it may also be possible to redesign this contraption to use a rubber drive belt (instead of a rigid clamp) so that it can fit on any lens. Hrm - I'll need to investigate that for the next version after I get the 3D printed prototype working!

I'm currently in the process of adding the modifications you suggested/inspired

Last edited by cprobertson1; 01-25-2019 at 02:41 AM.
01-26-2019, 04:38 AM - 1 Like   #6
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Yup! - very slight slop as we expected - but surprisingly, very little in the up-down direction - the rod, being pressed against the bed, struggles to move on that axis - yet it slides smoothly to either end of the bed with very little effort.

Definitely going to migrate the design over to the T-slot style I think - that should arrest the movement in all directions, while also reducing the exposure of the leadscrew, meaning it will need less oiling (and be less prone to dust/dirt buildup).

As a side note - holy canole - was that difficult to print! It took six attempts! First I had delamination problems, the next four failed due to curling corners (as the print cools, it contracts and tries to curl up - causing corners to peel off the print bed), and the fifth popped off the bed entirely, leaving me with a blob of plastic! Sheesh!

I've got the settings nailed down now - I've also got the print time down to 1-1.5 hours per part - so we should have it done before monday... only a few days late! This was meant to be a quick and easy project!
01-29-2019, 12:43 AM - 1 Like   #7
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There we go - that's it finally built - just need to build a support for the bottom (there is a mount for a second tripod on the driver-ring.

Seems to work exceptionally well - at least for macro work - I took a few random macro shots of things in the livingroom and I was thoroughly impressed with it actually!

The mechanism runs as smooth as butter and is pretty damn sturdy - there is a tiny amount of slop in the wooden rod - which I believe is the rod itself flexing - but it really isn't noticeable (by which I mean once you set the focus, it stays there even if you move the camera around a bit).

All-in-all, I'm very impressed with it!

There's room for improvement (there always will be!) but I'm certainly happy with it so far! Can't wait to give it a go with some astro work!

Ps - note the finish isn't great - I've still to sand it and paint it - so there are a few burrs here and there; but the moving surfaces have all been cleaned up - the movement is ::Barry White voice:: Smooooooooth. Oh yeeah.

--EDIT--
Added images showing use of lens-support
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Last edited by cprobertson1; 01-30-2019 at 03:01 AM.
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