I think I've got my laser-cut winder design just about locked in; I've cleaned up and streamlined the design a bit since I last posted about it in this thread. I've tweaked the internal structure so it doesn't rely on washers to properly fit a 1/4" rack, the control knob is fastened directly to the gear (much more secure than relying on the gear's bond to the shaft), and all the T nuts are replaced with these nifty heat-set inserts that go in much easier, neater, and more securely. Right now I'm just using M4 threaded inserts (because that's what I'm using for my puppet rig) but it shouldn't be too hard to tweak the design for other sizes. I'm looking at getting a larger diameter knob for better control, and maybe playing with a bearing insert as well, but at this stage it's pretty solidly usable.
My animation setup is tied up with another shot right now, but I should have that freed up in a couple of days to shoot a quick shot showing the rig in action.
Control knob and top-side rig inserts
Lock knob and side rig inserts
I'd like to make these available for sale (given how useful they are, they're weirdly difficult to get a hold of), but I want to really make sure the design is solid first. Is anyone interested in beta-testing? I'd be happy to send out a few at shipping cost if I could get some notes back on how it goes, and if their usability is lacking anywhere.
Any interested beta-testers, shoot me a ping at email@example.com, and let's talk!
Quick update for those interested -- after a lot of testing and attempts to streamline the build process, I decided that the acrylic-sheet design, although reasonably effective given the resources I had available, was not going to end up being something I could offer for sale at a price anyone would want it at.
However, I have a 3D printer now, which obviously gives me a lot more control over the design, but also cuts out 75% of the hardware cost, since I can just print the more expensive components. I'll also make the 3D files available for those who want to print their own (I'm guessing more of you have 3D printers than have acrylic laser cutters).
I've designed them to be compatible with Berkey 250 blocks, but obviously I can print customized rigging accessories for them as well. Here's the 2 axis setup I'm playing with right now:
Shot this as a warmup for my Stopmo Jam entry yesterday, but it also shows the dual-winder rig in action. Should be good to go soon!
this is amazing. great smooth animation. very interested in seeing this thread's progress.
Nice rig! And nice bunny hop, too.
That looks a lot quicker and easier to animate a jump with, than my bouncy bit of twisted armature wire! I get there in the end, but there is a lot of going back and forth between the computer and the puppet to get it positioned where I want it each frame.
@Nick, you can buy MOD1.0 racks in 1 meter lengths from E-bay in Oz. they are better suited for camera motion since they are approx twice the size of the ones presented in here. I tried making winders from them but they are too bulky and heavy but they can work perfectly for horizontal movement. I cannot find however anywhere in Australia, MOD0.5 racks like the ones from which Thomas made his winders. Most probably i'll end up buying from him.
@Thomas, how long are the racks you have?
Hey JD! Right now I ship out 8' or 12' kits. And yeah, definitely would not recommend trying to support a camera with these rigs (although they could work perfectly well for, say, moving a camera mounted on a slider).
I guess I never posted the link to the site in this thread, huh? I should probably do that.
Hi Thomas, I just ordered one of these :-) Very exciting.
I noticed Simon's review said about the base being slightly different. Is that now the default?
Got your order David! I'll ship that out to you ASAP.
The current base design is an iteration after the prototype I sent Simon. It has the same wider base (with 3 mount points), but the thumbscrew design is streamlined; by locking the rack into the corner of the slot rather than flat against a side, it achieves the same stability as the prototype but with only one screw.
Received today, Thomas. Thanks for dealing with it so quickly! All looks in perfect condition, and Simon has spoken of it in glowing terms. I'm really looking forward to working with it (still working on my puppets at the moment).
Awesome! I'd love to see what you do with it :)