Author Topic: Nikon Bellows with Stepper Motor  (Read 335 times)

MarcelvanEngen

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Nikon Bellows with Stepper Motor
« on: December 12, 2020, 15:49:02 »
As weather and Covid forced me more or less to stay at home, I used my time to design a Stepper motor attachment that is directly coupled to a Nikon Bellows PB4. I wanted to avoid additional aluminium tracks. The way the whole bellows on a PB4 can be moved should work.
What I did:
I removed the knob that drives the bellows. This knob is attached with a split pin which needs to be removed. Once removed there is a nice 6mm shaft for a stepper motor to be attached onto.
I used a 12 mm aluminium plate (100 x 100 mm) as a mounting base plate.
First thing I did was milling a 3mm deep contour of the PB4 mount shape. A 1/4" bolt will attach the base plate to the PB4 in a sturdy way.
I also drilled a 3/8" hole for a Tripot mount. A 3/8" to 1/4" convert screw went into this hole, basically to protect the screw thread.
At front and back of the base plate I milled two slots for 2 clamp down knobs.
I spray-painted the base plate with wrinkle paint to give it the same paint effect as used by Nikon on the PB-4.

Next I cut a standard Nema 17 plate and drilled two additional mounting holes. I also drilled 2xM4 mounting holes into the side of the base plate + 2 x M3 holes (distance as per holes of the Nema plate).
With the Nema plate attached to the base plate I could mount the stepper motor via a 5:1 gear with a M3 rods onto the base plate. I am still waiting for some nice studs, but for now the M3 rods will do.
To drive the stepper motor I reached out to a Belgium supplier who makes control boxes for Stepper and camera. I am sure that with a Arduino kit the interface can be made relatively simple and cost effective.
I have no experience so I had to reach out to a third party.

A sturdy wooden plate with a T-track is used to mount the base plate&bellows. This will allow quick adjustments and creates a nice stable rig.
Adjustable rubber feet are mounted onto this wooden base.

On this rainy day I managed to do a first test run. The picture is of a new end mill drill 2mm. I used an old Nikkor 55mm macro and a D300 in this setup.
HeliconFocus was used to stack the pictures.

Well maybe I inspired you to a new project.
Any questions let me know.

Michael Erlewine

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Re: Nikon Bellows with Stepper Motor
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2020, 16:25:21 »
Cool!
MichaelErlewine.smugmug.com. Founder MacroStop.com, MichaelErlewine.com (articles), https://www.youtube.com/user/merlewine (video tutorials), All-Music Guide, All-Movie Guide, Classic Posters.com, Matrix Software, SpiritGrooves.net, DharmaGrooves.com

Birna Rørslett

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Re: Nikon Bellows with Stepper Motor
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2020, 17:17:58 »
Erik would love such a contraption for a Christmas gift :) Interesting project.

Bent Hjarbo

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Re: Nikon Bellows with Stepper Motor
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2020, 17:22:38 »
Erik would love such a contraption for a Christmas gift :) Interesting project.
He would be able make one ;)
Nice work

Hugh_3170

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Re: Nikon Bellows with Stepper Motor
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2020, 00:11:59 »
Excellent work. Well done.

NG member SEAPY was working on a similar arrangement IIRC.
Hugh Gunn

Seapy

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Re: Nikon Bellows with Stepper Motor
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2020, 01:26:30 »
Well done Marcelvan, you have made almost what I intended, but I was going to mount a gear on the PB4 shaft and a smaller pinion on the motor shaft, your idea is probably better, more in-line.

NG member SEAPY was working on a similar arrangement IIRC.

I was, I acquired all the bits, stepper motor, Arduino processor and all that stuff but two things got in my way, my lack of experience with stepper motors, the accompanying control gear and a complete lack of time.

I have since changed tack, I have decided to go for a more solid and simpler (for me) approach, I bought two 20 ton hydraulic press rams for another project then realised that by controlling the variable stroke of the pump I could use a simple cam to move the ram(s) a tiny distance, like two thousandths of an inch or more, variable with a little thumbscrew.  Simple and rock steady.

Time is still my scarce resource, despite having been laid up for six weeks with Covid19, I am recovering slowly, I had it pretty bad.  I am not up to welding and machining YET...  ;)
Robert C. P.
South Cumbria, UK

Hugh_3170

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Re: Nikon Bellows with Stepper Motor
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2020, 06:34:12 »
Seapy, good luck and best wishes in respect of your COVID-19 recovery.

Thanks for your description of your geared approach in respect of the PB4.
Hugh Gunn

MarcelvanEngen

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Re: Nikon Bellows with Stepper Motor
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2020, 12:11:25 »
Hope you recover and get well soon Seapy!
I was reading and anticipating on your efforts for a while but your project took a left turn as it seems.

As you will understand, I wanted to keep it as simple and beautiful as possible. And I did not want to introduce a tower of materials :-)
I can program and walk away. Very satisfying to hear the shutter for 100 shots on its own. It also gave a new purpose the the D300 for that matter.
I still can remove the bellows by loosening only the drive shaft coupling. The PB-4 still remains original and useful on its own.

There are indeed more ways that lead to Rome :-)
Greetings!


Erik Lund

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Re: Nikon Bellows with Stepper Motor
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2020, 17:30:04 »
Awesome project!
Yes waiting for Santa  8)
Erik Lund

Thomas Stellwag

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Re: Nikon Bellows with Stepper Motor
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2020, 23:05:04 »
As weather and Covid forced me more or less to stay at home, I used my time to design a Stepper motor attachment that is directly coupled to a Nikon Bellows PB4. I wanted to avoid additional aluminium tracks. The way the whole bellows on a PB4 can be moved should work.

congrats - you did a great job
Thomas Stellwag