MiniE slider dolly enclosure


The electronics of this project was made a long time ago, after I have built several motion controllers with Arduino and stepper motors with different results. Most of them were simple one potentiometer kind of controller to allow movement in both directions, but soon this became too simple and hard replicate.

I found this little company which made some motion controllers and offered a Kit to make a small intervalometer which allows time lapses, continuous shooting and has tons of features in a very small package.

It also supports most DSLRs either using a jack trigger or Infrared LED. It has limit switches and a LTC Clock which allows to set dates and time base operations.

The problem is that it has been laying around without a case and it’s simply a mess… cables everywhere and exposed electronics… so once now that I have upgraded the slider itself, I decided to make a nice case for this little guy and finalize the project.

MiniE Enclosure

Guts description:

So the electronics of this project consist of a sandwich of three boards.

  1. At the bottom an Arduino UNO.
  2. In the middle resides their MiniE Shield (Red), which holds an EasyDriver (Stepper controller) and LTC  Clock for date related tasks. It also has a few extras for limit switches and DSLR Trigger.
  3. At the top goes a KeyPad Shield which ads LCD screen and 5 buttons.

My KeyPad Shield was malfunctioning in the “select” button and also the switches are too low for the case, so I created a separate perforated PCB with 6 Omron switches of a bigger size, just connecting the old switches to the new board.

Plastic enclosure:

The plastic enclosure its once more made using “eco glass” which its easy to drill and cut. I did my drills and cuts using a CNC machine but it could be done by hand using a small blade. The lines which will be bent afterwards are only scored in the plastic so its easy to bend at that exact line.

Once bent, I paint the interior of the enclosure so we get a nice glossy finish looking from the exterior.

Wooden side panels:

For the side panels I decided to use a normal plywood piece I had around. Using the CNC I mark a groove of 2mm in depth, inside the outer edge which will help to hold the plastic part and fit nicely.

Then I apply some dye, you can use any color you want or go for a different finish, the idea is to give it a protective coat which will help the wood if exposed in damp conditions and give it a more durable finish.

Final Assembly:

Now is when the fun starts. I decided to simply wire a new DC connector to the wooden side panel. Here we will have aswell the Jack for the DSLR trigger and a 5 Pin DIN connector (MIDI) to wire the stepper motor, which uses exactly 5 cables.

This was a decision I took so I can use the controller with other inventions I have around that use stepper motors too… like my 360º rotating table for video/photography (more info coming soon).

The electronics are screwed to the plastic enclosure, the rest of the case just “snaps” in, and stays together quite good… if anybody using this system wanted more strength you could glue the wood to the main case and leave the bottom so it can be opened… I prefer to have access and take it apart if necessary.

So I think that´s it. If any of you is interested in design or CNC files, let me know in the comments and I will prepare a small downloadable file. Hope you like it and helps somehow, cheers!

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