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Connects Your motion control rig to Dragonframe stop motion software.  Rewards with motors are plug and play ready.
Control four motors with Dragonframe. Follow Focus motor for Dragonframe, Emotimo and NMX. Connect your slider to Dragonframe.
Control four motors with Dragonframe. Follow Focus motor for Dragonframe, Emotimo and NMX. Connect your slider to Dragonframe.
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3 backers pledged $1,516 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

Follow focus and Follow zoom for Dragonfame and TB3 project video thumbnail
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Follow focus and Follow zoom for Dragonfame and TB3

$1,516

3

Motion control brings a new dimension to your real time video and timelapse productions.  Building motion control hardware or adapting off the shelf video hardware for motion control can be an exciting project, but the electronics to control it can be a more difficult problem than the hardware.  Thats where miniDF comes in.  It serves as the electronic bridge between Dragonframe stop motion software and the motors that move your camera.  

miniDF is the first low cost four channel adapter  system for the Dragonframe stop motion software. It can drive up to four motor drivers.  Up to four miniDF controllers can be plugged into Dragonframe at one time, providing control for up to sixteen independent motor axes. The  system is very attractively priced. A kit comprised of a zoom motor, a dolly motor and a focus motor with ALL mounting and connecting hardware  is priced below the average cost of a Dragonframe interface adapter or motor.

If you have considered building your own motion control rig to move a camera or other mechanical devices during stop motion animation or timelapse photography, you have probably already heard about Dragonframe. Its Arc Motion Control feature allows true keyframable motion control, coordinating many axes of movement simultaneously in one timeline.

Normally you would adapt a video slider or build your own, then you would build all the electronics, connecting them to a laptop running Dragonframe. That is  the part we want to make easy. 

miniDF controller
miniDF controller

Our miniDF controller is tiny, but when plugged into a USB port, it provides step and direction signals for driving four motors from Dragonframe's Arc Motion Control Window. All our rewards include a miniDF controller.

New updated verision of the MINIDF. Free upgrade. See update #5 for more info
New updated verision of the MINIDF. Free upgrade. See update #5 for more info

The miniDF is a complete camera and dolly control system. One amazing option for the system is the is the bracket focus motor. This zoom/focus motor is also made by us. It has a miniature high torque stepper motor with a tiny orbital gear reduction unit and a bracket that fits industry standard 15mm rail systems. It has a 32p output gear which meshes with standard 32p or MOD 0.8 follow focus lensgears. Two of them can be used to provide  concurrent focus and zoom control. It can be used with the TB3 pan tilt head. Upon backer request, we can terminate the the motor with a Emotimo TB3 plug.

New design, can be mounted left of right
New design, can be mounted left of right

We have redesigned the bracket motor to provide better clearance. Also, this new version can be configured by the backer for left or right use. The output gear is interchangeable and bigger gears can be used if required. All rewards have been updated to the new design.

New Bracket motor.
New Bracket motor.

We make things even easier when you choose a reward level that includes motors.  In this case, you get the new generation Toshiba 6600 stepper motor drivers already prewired to the motor with the current adjustment set. We also wire a barrel plug for connecting the driver to a 12v lithium battery pack (battery not included), and a TRS cable that fits into any of the four motor ports on the miniDF. This provides a plug and play solution all the way from the USB port to the turning motor shaft.

TB6000 driver
TB6000 driver

The Toshiba 6600 stepper driver is one sweet driver for small DSLR rigs. We tried the smaller  drivers from Allegro, Texas Instruments, and even the Big Easydriver breakout boards, but the high current Toshiba 6600's caused our motors to run a lot cooler while delivering more torque in all tests. Furthermore, due to the large built in heat sink, no additional cooling is required.

Dolly Movement motor
Dolly Movement motor

This video shows in more detail how to set the systems and how to make some camera movements with DragonFrame.

Finally, the family picture, the whole miniDF system

miniDF system
miniDF system

Some of the rewards came prepacked with all you need to have you rig working. Also, you can build your own kit by choosing the reward you want. A lens motor requires a stepper driver, lens gear and 15mm rail system to operate.

Production and Delivery Schedule

All the components of the Kickstarter campaign have been tested.  We are at a pre-production level and ready to start the process of production as soon as the project is funded successfully. The reward delivery schedule is based on a production run of 100 units or less. If a significant larger number of units were requested, another outsourcing options will be considered such as automated circuit assembly and injection molding. The increased volume of orders will allow us to have an improved vetting process that will result in better materials and better manufacturing process at no extra cost for the backer. In the case that the quantity of orders may make unpractical the actual manufacturing plan, the deliveries will get delayed 45 days over the scheduled plan.

Delivery schecule, in days.
Delivery schecule, in days.

Campaign: Keep working on the documentation of the product, interact with backers and interested people, create new video demos, keep evaluating motor bridges and lens gears. Create FAQ. Create stretch goals.

Shopping: All the the sub-components (drivers, cables, lens gears, motors, cases) and boards will be ordered. It will take 30 days for all the sub-components to arrive.

Manufacturing: With all the sub-components at the shop is time to start the manufacturing. We estimate that this process will take another 30 days. We do not expect any delay at this phase as we have already procured the choicest sources for all sub-assemblies and the design is at a mature state.

Delivery: We know that you are expecting the miniDf. At this phase we will pack the kits with a thank you note and take them to the post office. Our expectation is to be able to complete the shipping in less than 15 days, but 30 days have been allocated to allow for unforeseen delays.

Resources

To use the MiniDF, you need Dragonframe stop motion software.  You can download a copy at http://www.dragonframe.com/

We've placed a tutorial showing how to install Dragonframe here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TliROwjXwE4&list=UUX_5DlpJN0ay2wxV7LdxMAg

If you plan on getting your own drivers and wiring them to the miniDF yourself, we have placed a tutorial showing how to wire several kinds of drivers to a functional prototype of the miniDF here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ispUu9mwswI&list=UUX_5DlpJN0ay2wxV7LdxMAg

Visit our website at http://www.stepoutmoco.com/

Prototypes and Development

Original Idea and prototypes
Original Idea and prototypes
Molds of the bracket engine
Molds of the bracket engine
Testing various stepper drivers.
Testing various stepper drivers.

Risks and challenges

We have tested several variations of the circuit and it works. The miniDF has run several different stepper motor types and has been tested with three different stepper motor drivers. We have sourced suppliers for the aluminum cases, all electronic components, and circuit boards. We're ready to go!

Possible risks are those involved in sourcing parts and having printed circuit boards fabricated. Although we have fabricated a small number of boards which work perfectly well, there is always a small chance the next batch could have problems. The boards are fabricated elsewhere, beyond our control, however, enough funds will be left in reserve to correct any problems. We do not foresee any delays with sourcing the parts we put into the boards after they arrive here, but there is always some possibility of a needed part being on back-order. If this causes any delay, we will find alternate suppliers. None of the components is especially hard to come by.

If we sell an overwhelming number of units, we explore other manufacturing options and to meet our reward commitments in a timely manner. We would love to be in a position to hire more people!. Thank you in advance for all your support.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $41 or more About $41

    TB600 driver, The one used in our rewards. 4.5 amp rating, no cooling required, 16X micro stepping capable.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Lens Gear, the ones used in our rewards. You need one per lense.

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    Pledge $52 or more About $52

    15mm rail system, the one used in our rewards

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Get one miniDF controller with USB cable. Gives you four motor ports which provide step, direction and ground connections to your motor drivers. Controls up to four stepper motor drivers.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $191 or more About $191

    The Bracket motor for follow focus / follow zoom. By popular demand. This item will be shipped within 30 days after the campaign gets funded.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $192 or more About $192

    International Early Bird: Get one of the existing prototypes and a TB6600 driver as soon as the campaign gets funded. No shipping fee. ONLY ONE AVAILABLE

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $195 or more About $195

    Motor driver and miniDF. Get one Toshiba 6600 stepper motor driver prewired with a step/direction plug that fits the miniDF motor port and a plug for 12 volt lithium batteries (lithium battery not included).

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Get your miniDF right now! We have five working prototypes that were fabricated to validate the circuit design. Backers at this reward level will receive one of these boards as soon as the project closes and funds are received. Gives you four motor ports which provide step, direction and ground connections to your motor drivers. Controls up to four motor drivers.

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    Pledge $240 or more About $240

    Two Drivers Get two prewired Toshiba 6600 stepper drivers and a miniDF.

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    Pledge $252 or more About $252

    Dolly Special! Get one miniDF controller, one Toshiba 6600 stepper motor driver, and one NEMA 17 stepper motor with 27:1 gear reducer. This is the ideal motor for driving small DSLR dollies. The motor comes pre-wired to the driver and the current adjustment has been set here, so you don't have to. The driver is pre-wired to a 12v barrel connector for lithium battery packs (lithium battery pack not included), and pre-wired with a TRS plug that goes into one of the motor ports on the MiniDF. You build your own dolly hardware, install Dragonframe, and attach the motor. We've done all the rest.

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    Pledge $450 or more About $450

    Lensmotor special! Get one MiniDF controller plus everything you need to adjust focus or zoom in your stop motion or timelapse project. Includes a MiniDF with USB cable, One Toshiba 6600 stepper motor driver, and One focus/zoom motor, one 15mm rail system to mount the motor to your camera, and one JAG35 D-gear that goes on your lens. The driver is pre-wired with a barrel plug for 12v lithium battery packs (lithium battery packs not included), a TRS plug that goes into one of the motor ports on the MiniDF, and all motor wires connected with a six foot cable. There is nothing else to wire. Adjust focus or zoom, plug and play easy!

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    Pledge $505 or more About $505

    A miniDF and two bracket motors.

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    Pledge $650 or more About $650

    Two lensmotor special! Get one MiniDF controller plus everything you need to adjust focus and zoom simultaneously in your stop motion or timelapse project. Includes a MiniDF with USB cable, Two Toshiba 6600 stepper motor drivers, and Two focus/zoom motors, one 15mm rail system to mount the motors to your camera, and Two JAG35 D-gears that go on your lens. The drivers are pre-wired with barrel plugs for 12v lithium battery packs (battery packs not included), and TRS plugs that go into two of the motor ports on the MiniDF, and all motor wires connected with six foot cables. There is nothing else to wire. Adjust focus and zoom simultaneously, plug and play easy!

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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge $675 or more About $675

    Dolly Focus And Zoom. Get one miniDF controller, three Toshiba stepper drivers, two focus/zoom motors, two D-gears that go on your lens, a 15mm rail system to attach the focus motors to your camera, and a NEMA 17 stepper motor with 27:1 gear reduction to move your dolly or other heavy axis on your DSLR rig. All drivers are prewired to their motor and current adjustment is set here before we ship to you. All drivers are prewired to TRS plugs that plug into three of the miniDF's motor ports. We also prewire the drivers with plugs for 12 volt lithium batteries (lithium batteries not included). This gives you a complete three motor system all prewired and ready to go! You build your rig's mechanical parts, use our electronics, and load Dragonframe software on your laptop. Gives you fully keyframable motion control, plug and play easy!

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Funding period

- (40 days)