Pictured is my first attempt at a camera system comparable to what you would find on a commercial UAV. I hope to make available to the DIY Drones community a light weight, affordable, and highly accurate turret compatible with APM or any other open source autopilot system.


The goals for my design were:

1. Light weight for use in fixed wing and heli applications

2. Ease of manufacture/part replacement

3. Low(ish) cost

4. Highly accurate closed loop control in both pan and tilt

5. Continuous rotation in pan

6. Gyro stabilization either through an autopilot or standalone IMU

7. A design easily expandable to carry larger cameras (GoPro, and Sony block cameras are in the works)


My first iteration has succeeded mostly in hardware design, although the software is currently a work in progress. My goal is to connect it to an APM via I2C, and control it via a joystick on the ground. Obviously there's a lot of work left in that regard...

3689410294?profile=originalTurret control is handled by a Pololu Baby Orangutan robot controller. The Orangutan has a dual H-bridge to drive a pair of servos modified for use as gear motors. Being ATmega based however, pwm or steppers will work as well. It runs the Arduino PID library with input from two magnetic rotary encoders for precise position input.


Any input on software development would be appreciated. I plan to make this available as soon as it's ready, and it's going to be all open source, of course.


More info/pictures available at www.AUV-Research.com.






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  • are you using any slip rings? Also what is the system current weight?

  • what material have you used to make the whole structure ? 

  • Hi, any progress on this project?

  • I haven't been "gobbled up" quite yet. Creating unique, well designed, and non-derivative things takes time. This is a project that is still in process, but has temporarily been put aside so I can focus on other UAS work. 

  • looks like he was gobbled up by a large and powerful gimbal company so he wouldn't put them out of business.  I would like some more information on this as well. 

  • Has there been any development on this?

    I tried to see the www.AUV-Research.com site for details of the gimbal hardware but it only brings up a Joomla page. Any idea where the details have gone or where one can source the gimbal hardware

  • So am I. I would like to use it on my camera turret.



  • any progress with this? I'm very interested

  • Ok, thanks for your answer.
    When you say gears have huge play, you mean backlash, don't you ? Do you think we can find gearmotors with low backlash (I'm interested too) ?
  • The servos I used are a Hitec HS-62MG for tilt and an 82MG for pan. I removed the pot and other guts from the 82 and modified it for use as a continuous rotation gearmotor.

    The pan is controlled in this version by gears, and for tilt the servo is directly mounted to the gimbal frame. The gears allowed me to test different gear ratios, but have a little too much play. The next, and hopefully production version will likely use timing belts and gearmotors instead of servos. 


    This first attempt was a trial in constructions techniques and control. It is probably too small for most purposes. The next iteration will be large enough for a small point and shoot, GoPro, or a small Sony block camera.



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