Convert Your Old 3D Printer Into a Camera Slider Rig

If you have an old 3D printer gathering dust and you like to record videos, then you'll want to check out DSLR DIY CNC's conversion.

Consumer 3D printers have now been around long enough that old models are becoming e-waste. There are lots of models that were inexpensive to begin with and now have almost no value because they're outdated. But instead of letting them collect dust in a closet or adding them to a landfill, you can salvage the useful parts for something productive. If you happen to be into photography or videography, you can watch this video from DSLR DIY CNC to convert an old 3D printer into a camera slider rig.

Motorized camera sliders are very expensive, but this project repurposes as many of the 3D printer parts as possible in order to keep costs down. If you already own an old 3D printer that you don't use, then this is an affordable project. And a 3D printer is a smart choice because it has most of the parts you need for a camera slider. However, your ability to duplicate the machine in the video will depend on the printer model you start with. That could require some modification or fabrication of parts.

You can repurpose the aluminum extrusion from the printer for use as the frame of the camera slider, cutting the pieces to length with a hacksaw. Depending on your printer, you may have hardened rails and bearings or v-rollers to use for the slider mechanism. All three of the printer's stepper motors can then be used to slide the camera gantry, pan, and tilt.

There is a good chance that you'll even be able to reuse the controller board. If not, you may need to use something like a RAMPS board or CNC shield paired with an Arduino. DSLR DIY CNC designed a custom remote, based on an ESP32 development board with an OLED screen and joystick, to work with their camera slider, which lets the user enter simple movement parameters. It would also be possible to pre-program a series of movements as standard g-code commands, but that would be something you'd have to plan ahead of time before filming.

The best part is that DSLR DIY CNC has plans to continue development and introduce some very interesting features, like facial tracking. But even with just the regular movements, this is a great project for videographers that want to capture dynamic shots on a budget.

Cameron Coward
Writer for Hackster News. Proud husband and dog dad. Maker and serial hobbyist. Check out my YouTube channel: Serial Hobbyism
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