Project Otto Session 5

Hello Folks!


For the past week I have been shooting a flowering Drosera Capensis, and a new pitcher on a Nepenthes Alta.  It is a simple setup, 2 plants, 2 cameras, no motion on these. Just selective camera angles to give them the appearance of being outdoors. The Drosera timelapse is going fantastic, I don’t know if I will bother finishing the pitcher plant though.


I have settled and committed on the telescoping design.  The Aluminum extrusion has arrived. The system will comprise of a 8x8x12 aluminum square tube with 4 sets of the heavy duty drawer bearings that are used to raise and lower a 4x4x12 square aluminum tube.  At the most compact it will be about 12.5 inches long, and when fully extended 37 inches long allowing for plenty of travel and a comfortable top height.

I spent some time last night getting the bearings attached together, and with any luck the remaining aluminum stock needed to fit should arrive tomorrow.  I already picked up all the machined bolts, washers, and nuts, which ran a total of 27 bucks. Not cheap, but i want high quality parts 🙂

I am considering having the 8 and 4 inch metal square tubes annodized. But i may just prime them and paint them with a good enamel. I cant paint the bearings, they will remain black. I might look into creating some sort off a shroud or something that will cover those when extended.

The Frame

IT HAS SHIPPED! I am so excited! It should show up tomorrow. It took about 24 days from the time to the order to time of shipping, but most of the parts were custom cut and anodized black to help keep any reflections down.

I already have the Pan/Tilt/Roll, the hardware for the telescoping Z axis, the linear bearings and ball-screws, the motors, cabling, just about everything to get this shit up and running 🙂


There are several fairly critical design considerations that still need to be done. Right now I have a good idea how this will all go together, but the final method of attaching various things together is still undetermined. Sometimes these things are far easier to figure out when you have all the parts. You can line things up and see whatever leftover brackets are needed.  The most critical aspect is connecting the telescoping unit to the brackets, and figuring out where to run the Chronos rail, and when/where/size of pulley to use and how to mount it.  I also need to figure out where to mount the motors for the X and Y axis, and figure out how to attach everything.

These are all very critical connection points. But I am confidant that once I have the rest together that it will make sense and sort of work itself out.


Last weekend I had a visitor to the studio. He is a Canadian photographer by the name of Scott Portingale.  That was a very interesting visit, Scott is a pretty cool guy!  It is fun to be able to talk to somebody about this sort of work without their eyes glazing over and brain shutting down. If you have not heard of him, be sure to check out his film Infinitude. It really is a brilliant bit of film making. I don’t know how to describe it, other than it really strikes its own path and is fairly unique.  He has some BTS videos that are certainly worth checking out.


How much to Blog?

This is a pretty tough question. There is a part of me that sort of wants to clamp up until Project Otto is complete. It would be fun to put out a neat BTS video and keep some of the design aspects, or at least images of the design sort of under wraps until it is finished.  I may just keep the imagery out until the system is complete. Of course that will be at least another month out at the earliest.

Things left to do

  1. Build the frame
  2. Finish the telescoping unit and mount it
  3. Setup the control center and power system
  4. Wire the connections and run all the cables to the motors
  5. Wire the enable switches on the front of the power system
  6. Tweak/ Optimize the drivers for the motors
  7. Install limit switches
  8. Possibly shorten the arms on the Roll assembly
  9. Run the camera connections
  10. Test all 8 degrees of movement.
    1. X
    2. Y
    3. X
    4. Pan
    5. Tilt
    6. Roll
    7. Focus
    8. 3D Stereoscopic slider
  11. Test runs
  12. Troubleshoot and debug any problems with the system

I really do have my hands full.

One thought on “Project Otto Session 5”

  1. Things left to do
    First priority: “send some stuff to Norway”:)
    1.Build the frame
    2.Finish the telescoping unit and mount it
    3.Setup the control center and power system
    4.Wire the connections and run all the cables to the motors
    5.Wire the enable switches on the front of the power system
    6.Tweak/ Optimize the drivers for the motors
    7.Install limit switches
    8.Possibly shorten the arms on the Roll assembly
    9.Run the camera connections
    10.Test all 8 degrees of movement.
    8.3D Stereoscopic slider
    11.Test runs
    12.Troubleshoot and debug any problems with the system

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