Project Otto Session 6

I am getting frustrated.

So rather than get into the techie stuff immediately, here are some plants.p1800023

Green guy just chilling outside the tupperware bin they call home. 


Nice new pitcher saying “Hey, whassup” to one of my Droseras. 


This guy is pitching a new pitcher and hanging it off an extension cable. 🙂


Look at that lil guy. That is one of my new Nepenthes.

Ok. Now for the geeky shit.

I feel there is a lack of progress, regardless to how much I have done.  Perhaps I am just being impatient. Or I have some underlying anxiety that some of my design choices will not work.  This is not really an indication of any failure, this is just my general anxiety. I have put a lot of thought in this system, purchased in stages, i think i should be good. I do have some parts that were purchased and will not be used, but that probably adds up to less than $300 of parts. considering the total price tag of this build, that is relatively acceptable considering those parts will more than likely be used in future projects.

I managed to make some progress last weekend, considering that I was on call for my day job, the amount of work done is not too shabby.

Lets revisit the power center.


The new addition are the two panels in the front with the switches.  These will be used to disable the stepper motor drivers so motors can be disconnected/reconnected/replaced without having to shut down the whole power center. They are directly tied into the ENABLE function of the stepper drivers. If enabled (which is default) disconnecting the motor can damage/destroy the driver.



I also replaced 6 of the Leadshine DM432C drivers (orange sticker) with CWD556 drivers (Pink stickers). The difference between them is pretty significant. The CDW’s can deliver more power, but even when set to the same power as the Leadshines they can get about 400% faster speeds, but the motors end up quite a bit louder.  These will be used for the X, Y, and Z axis, as well as the PAN, while the Leadshines will control the tilt, roll, focus, and 3D mini slider. That leaves two CWD556 drivers for AUX motors that can be used for various other tasks such as a turntable or whatnot.


Sorry for the lousy pics. I also printed out all 316 pages of the Dragonframe manual. While I do have soft copies its nice to have a hard copy on hand.  Thank goodness color laser printers are cheap these days. Would never have been able to do this on that Inkjet nonsense.


I also printed out another book which I have affectionately named “Appliance Standards and Configurations” which will have sheets listing the dip switch configuration of all the drivers, channel assignments, data sheets for all the parts, and other notes.

Moving along……




here is the frame for the rig. 8020 30 series extrusion anodized black.  This will give a 5ft x 5ft shooting envelope on the X and Y axis, with a horizontal range of about 7 feet of movement. The Z axis wuill give it a vertical movement of about 24  inches.  Not too shabby.

You can see the top part of the elevator which is the big silver box on the top. I suspect by the time its done the 5×5 will actually be 4.5 x 4.5 with about a 6 foot diagonal, but this will be more than enough for my type of work

Also i still have the overhead system i had been using for the lights. This will likely have to come down, but the studio lighting is being replaced so those LED’s will probably not be used much anymore.

here are some more images.




Bearings seen above. Right now they are just sort of stacked on there loosly. I need to drill out the holes in the base before i anchor them in the 8020.


Here is the top of the elevator system, right now it is just sitting up there for fitment purposes. The stepper motor and gearing will be used like a winch to pull the camera PT assembly up and down.


Another angle…..


Right now the elevator is dismantled while i work on it some more. I am waiting for some more aluminum stock to build the support for the winch. When finished it will be primed and painted a nice flat black with engine enamel.

p1770125the elevator with the bearings assembled…


DMX dimmer pack. This stuff is usually used for DJ and stage work. However Dragonframe has the ability to control this sort of stuff as well. I plan to fully utilize its capabilities.


A couple small DMX LED lights. RGB and brightness control all from Dragonframe.


And the mess of a control station. 3D monitor with 3d glasses, the rack up top is for the DMC-16 and power center. controlled by a laptop for built-in battery backup, using external mouse, keyboard and monitor.

So whats next….

I have to…

  1. Drill out mounting holes on bearing rails
  2. Cut the Y axis 8020 extrusion to correct size and attach to the bearing rails
  3. Fabricate the bracket for the winch
  4. Drill out the brackets on the elevator and fit them to the bearings
  5. Machine the spool for the winch and attach to the gearbox
  6. Finish the brackets that attach the PT to the lower part of the elevator
  7. Prime and Paint the elevator (not the bearings though)
  8. Re-assemble the entire elevator assembly
  9. Secure the elevator to the Y axis.
  10. Machine the brackets needed to mount the stepper and ballscrew to move the Y axis
  11. Secure the rear side of the 8020 frame to the wall
  12. Determine needed parts and brackets to be used to attach the ballscrews on the X axis
  13. Attach the micro slider to the cradle in the Pan/Tilt assembly
  14. Run the wiring to all the motors from the power box, solder the termination plugs and shit
  15. Run the cables for the camera control
  16. Test each axis out, get the dip switches setup for each axis and log that in the book
  17. start running motion control tests and adjust the frame as needed to prevent any binding.
  18. Do the rest of the junk I forgot about.

Luckily I have next week off. Ill try to get as much of this done as possible. I am ready to get this system up and running.

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