Monday, December 29, 2014

Pelican Goodness

Amazon recently had a Gold deal of the day on Pelican cases, and I ordered a Pelican 1560 hard case for my DIY time lapse rover.

Using the pick and pluck foam, it provides a snug fit for the Actobotics rover, the eMotimo TB3, and batteries.  The case is deep enough to stash any cables underneath the main level of foam.  I didn't have a secure and safe way to transport the rover, and it always ended up sitting on top of a pile of stuff in the car.  Now I'll know that it's ready to go and won't get damaged during transport.  

Sunday, November 2, 2014

DIY Time Lapse Rover 1.5 Update

One of the tweaks that I needed to do to get the time lapse rover working was come up with a coupler that went from 8mm to 1/4" so that the stepper motor shaft would connect to the 1/4" D-Shaft.  I originally could only find ones that didn't have a set screw, and the shaft would slip under any torque from the motor.

I settled on buying a coupler from ServoCity, and then drilling out the side so that it would fit the 8mm shart, since they didn't sell one that fit onto a stepper motor.  There was still a bit of play in the shaft under pressure, and I found myself constantly tightening the set screw.  

I finally came across what I was looking for, and ordered an 8mm to 1/4" aluminum coupler from ebay.

Unfortunately, the new coupler had too big of diameter, and I couldn't mount it like I did previously and just replace the old coupler.  I made the decision to make some design changes, and mount the stepper motor  in reverse, and use the NEMA mount from servocity on the back, versus on the shaft side like I did originally.  Luckily, the D-shaft that I used initially was still the right size and everything is mounted more securely and firm.  

The emotimo TB3 time lapse rover is now back in action and ready for testing once again.

If you haven't seen what the rover can do, here is some recent footage from Two Medicine Lake in Glacier National Park.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Badger Gameday Timelapse with Jump Around

It's not often you get a chance to watch the University of Wisconsin Badgers from the suite level. I brought a GoPro HD Hero 3 with me thinking that I may be able to get some time lapse footage of the game. It's still a fun little camera, as they don't let you into the stadium with professional level photography gear, and it's not worth the hassle of walking back to the car if you get turned away. The GoPro gives a really wide angle of the stadium and crowd, but can't zoom in on the action. Perfect for some time lapse.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

DIY Time Lapse Rover Version 1.5

When I originally built the time lapse rover to work with the eMotimo TB3, the only option that I could figure out was to have the gears outside the frame, and have the stepper motor mounted parallel to the back axle. This wasn't pretty and based upon that original design, the rover was only 1-wheel drive.

The motor and gears hung off the back on one side of the rover.  Not ideal, but it worked.  

Recently, ServoCity released a new bevel gears that would allow me to create a much simpler drive mechanism and keep everything tucked within the frame.  I also made the change to a longer d-Shaft that now makes the rover 2-wheel drive.  The Stepper motor is mounted underneath the main support beam perpendicular to the back axle.  I also changed the way that I mounted the wheels, and brought them closer to the frame, as I figured there was no reason to extend them out the way they were previously.

I'm also using the new stepper motor mount.  Having a motor that has a gear reduction box made it tricky, and I suppose that I could have reversed the shaft to come out the bottom to make it easier.  It's a solid mount to the back axle with a small channel spacer to provide room for the 3/8" to 1/4" coupler.  The back axle is fixed now, and only the front axle can rotate.

The 3/8" threaded mount was rotated so that the TB3 always sits on the rover with the input ports positioned to the back.  This creates a cleaner path for the cables, and always bothered me a bit to have it mounted on a diagonal.  The GoPro mount is still on the front, and the 3/8" screw is ready on the back in case I want to do a scorpion mount for the flexible GoPro mount.

The bevel gears are smooth the rover feels more solid now.  With the wheels moved in, and the motor tucked underneath, the rover is a svelte machine.  Hope to get out and play with it more soon!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

DIY Floating Wall Mounting Blocks

Save money by making your own floating wall mounting blocks for aluminum metal prints

The 2014 Art Fair season is almost here, and I'm making last minute preparations.  I ordered a number of aluminum metal prints to add to my collection, but didn't order them with mounting blocks.  It adds an additional ~$8.50 per metal print depending on vendor, so I decided to try and save some money by making my own floating wall mounting blocks.  I already have a plunge router, so all I really needed was the router bit, template, and template guide.
I had a 8' x 3" poplar board, and used the Rockler picture hanging keyhole template to create the floating wall blocks.

You'll also need a 5/8" router template guide for the template to work.

A plunge router works best if you have the router plunge depth set properly before your first cut.

I cut about 16 larger size blocks, and a few smaller ones.  I cleaned up the edges with some sandpaper, and they were ready to mount.

Using the double-sided tape, I stuck the new blocks to the back of each metal print.  

In the long run, this method will save me a ton of money.  For this batch, each block cost less than $1.50 each.  I made a few extra blocks for future metal print purchases.

2014 Art Fair Schedule

m2 Photography will be participating in a number of summer art festivals.  I will keep this page updated if I am accepted to any more.  I hope to see you at one of these events!

Monument Square Art Festival - Racine, Wisconsin

Saturday, May 31st - Sunday, June 1st, 2014

Art Fair OFF the Square - Madison, Wisconsin

Saturday, July 12th - Sunday, July 13th, 2014

Uptown Art Fair - Minneapolis, Minnesota

Friday, August 1st -  Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

Art in the Park - Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Saturday, August 9th - Sunday, August 10th, 2014

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Cloud Gate Time Lapse

I took a day trip to Chicago yesterday to play with my DIY time lapse rover, and captured one of the most iconic Chicago landmarks; Cloud Gate.  I believe that most in Chicago refer to this as "The Bean" and is heavily traveled by tourists.  Great place to test the longevity of the rover, and capture a ton of movement due the high volume of foot traffic in the park.  The cool thing about the bean is that it's basically on giant mirror, so in essence, this is my and the rovers first time lapse "selfie."

Unfortunately, I had to stand guard over the rover as it made its way around the bean, as I didn't want anyone tripping over it.  Therefore, I'm in the reflection of the bean too.  It wasn't a great day for clouds in Chicago, but there was some whispy clouds that showed up better in the reflection.  The eMotimo TB3 drove the rover hundreds of feet in 2 hours and 15 minutes.  I captured an image once every 10 seconds on 3 different cameras.  The 2 GoPros were there to document the journey, and my Canon 5D Mark III was pointed at the bean.  I had about 15 people come up and ask me what I was doing, and some aspiring photographers interested in the rig.  The problem with the rover is the time for set up, as I have to drive the entire distance that the rover is going to take, and it wasn't designed to go very fast.  So for this sequence, it probably took almost 20 minutes to set up.

I'd like to come back someday to drive under the bean, but most likely I'd have to do that at night.  I also think doing some light painting in the park at night while the rover went around the bean would be cool. Definitely a fun toy, but it take some patience to get the sequence set up and completed.  I definitely think that I can find other fun locations like this, and test the limits of the eMotimo robot to see how far of a time lapse I can do.  Who knows, maybe this set the record for farthest distance for an eMotimo time lapse sequence.