Hi- we've been having a long discussion about the use of the ARC window in the new release of Dragonframe, - for, oooh, about 8 months now...

The thread got very lengthy, meandering, chatty- and well, warm and fuzzy, but perhaps a little LONG

So I thought I'd breath some life into it on the new board.

Most of those involved how now built some kind of motion control rig- pioneers include Jim, Mark, Doug and wrongboy- as well as myself.

here is the link to the original thread if anyone wants to head backwards- a lot of ground has been covered already.

my news is that i have some footage of current tests of the 3 axis rig I have built- like a cage to surround the sets on my next pieces.


the rig seems fairly reliable so far, after a rebuild last month on the vertical section- in the test footage we struggle a while to find a cleaner slower track, until the steps per revolution setting was increased to 3200- although i'm sure we can get even cleaner moves yet out of it...

I am still using the original DFMoco sketch for Arduino, and wonder whether any of the other guys have any thoughts on differences between the two?

I also think the curves used during these early test moves could have been designed better themselves- too many keyframes for each seperate axis i suspect...obviously 3 axis moves are going to be a very rare occurence anyway...

Anyway, the thread- it lives!


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I wish I knew how to make motion control rigs, my stopmotion films really suffer with static cameras and never seem cinematic enough. Whats the industry standard 3 axis rig? I bet they cost a fortune...

I'll continue to read the discussion here and stay confused!  I'm really hoping to have the time to try and build one myself in maybe 6 months. I'm hoping some of you guys are able to figure out and 'easy' way to do it by then :p   

d'oh and d'oh again!

i never posted the link to the original thread!

what a dolt!

some reason cant find a simple page link - it's late, I'm fairly fried, apologies......


That's the One.


Hey John,
Groovy new forum over here. The other thread is indeed huge! If anyone needs advice on stuff just ask. As for the new df sketch 1.1.2, it works great John. The ramping and the higher steps per second really help.

John Horabin said:

d'oh and d'oh again!

i never posted the link to the original thread!

what a dolt!

some reason cant find a simple page link - it's late, I'm fairly fried, apologies......


That's the One.


Hi John,
Thanks for the namecheck! I am still using the old sketch too, just haven't got around to working out which parts to comment out on the new one, but I will be doing it as soon as I've sorted out my pan-head.

To start a re-cap...

Things you need to buy/source/lay your hands on to build a rail based system:

an Arduino Mega
a Big Easy Driver or similar stepper motor driver
a Stepper Motor of under 2Amps, volts unimportant, the more torque the merrier.

a power supply of just under 35v, and at least slightly over the amps of your motors combined ampage- this makes it a bit harder to start with one motor/axis and work up, but that's what I did.

A Dolly and track. Aluminium profiles work, as do Igus rails, which come as a 'system' with bearings and fixings. MakerSlide is another, more Open Source source.

A means of turning your motors rotational motion into linear motion, either a threaded rod or a 'timer belt' and a cog to match, such as is sold at MotionCo.

Everyone has a different approach, so this is just one of many. I'll post a wiring diagram in a bit...


A customer just clued me into this forum so I thought I would introduce myself to the space.   I am the founder of  eMotimo.   We make small, motion control rigs specifically for DSLR rigs.  We have been focused on timelapse shooters, but there is so much overlap on needs with that market, our heads may make sense for low to mid end stop motion studios.  We released the TB3 motion control head earlier this year that has quite a few features that stop motion animators may like.  

Here is a quick rundown:

1)  Pan and Tilt control with resolution of 1/444 degrees on either axis.

2)  Powered Auxiliary stepper input to allow you to plug in a slider or focus drive that uses a bipolar stepper motor.

3)  We plug right into DragonFrame 3 by USB and work perfectly with the ArcMotion control.  We use a modified version of the DFMoco sketch that has the correct pinouts for our hardware.

4)  We run off standard 12 volt DC and can be run from a battery or AC adapter.

5)  When you aren't shooting stop motion, you can load up the standard firmware and shoot moving timelapse that is programmed by using a wireless gaming remote.

As you guys are putting together heads and playing, I wanted to make sure you know about our product.  Reach out to us if you have any questions are are interested! 

Also if you want some advice on gearing, bearings, drivers, or arduino code, I am happy to help.

Best regards,

Brian Burling - email is brian at emotimo.com


Thanks Brian

good to know what is coming down the line commercially- we did notice Dragon have themselves release similar MOCO devices in the recent Past- the Volocrane in particular is a very impressive piece of kit. I will check out your product too-

i note it is only two axis- but then , I have been questioning how often I would need the  third in any case...

I'm really interested to see the set price for comparison with the other available moco technologies.


actually, having visited your site, and discovered your new 3 axis head also, I am very impressed with the build and the price. Thanks for sharing- definitely an interesting ' plug and play' option foir those who dont want the time and hassle of having to build from scratch- and what is more, your design is also pretty enlightening...simple and logical.

Thanks again


Brian, thanks for posting - I had never heard of your product but I may be interested now!  It looks like it would work very well and the price is great, but I'd want to at least mount the TB3 on a dolly.  How easy/hard would it be to do so and be able to control the dolly in addition to your rig for someone who doesn't know anything about electronics or controlling a moco system ... yet. :D  

This could very well be a nice affordable solution for those of us who don't care to know how to build this from scratch and just want to work.

Thanks Jason and John.  The TB3 was really designed to be expandable and include that third axis potential.  There is the powered stepper output that allow you to connect a third motor for a track or focus really easily.  Just wire up a connector and plug it in.  I will show some examples of this with Dragonframe in the near future.

The Volo Crane from the Dragonframe brothers looks outstanding - can't compete on pure capability for stop motion.  It looks like they really have a perfect purpose built piece of hardware for high end stop motion studios.  

The TB3, on the other hand, is more like a toolkit.  It was originally designed to be super portable, lightweight (3.5 lbs)  and easy to use for people hiking to top of mountain to shoot time lapse footage.   The repeatability is good, but not perfect as I imagine the Volo Crane is.   I will put up some test that I am working on shooting to show registration. 

Best regards,


Hi Brian, thanks for posting. I am very interested in viewing the tests of your product.

Hey Brian,

your rig is a good place to start and probably would cover most animators needs. And the price is good!

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