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Old October 24th, 2009, 04:38 PM   #1
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Hardware, Hardware, Hardware

This thread is for all you gearheads out there. At the moment the project is seeking hardware designers, CAD modelers, or anyone with the means to fabricate parts. If you are interested or know anyone who might be interested in helping please make it known through email or the forums.

We are in the process of drafting some new CAD models so there aren't any visuals to show. I have drawn out some diagrams that I will make in photoshop and post for you to see shortly. The camera will have a beagleboard and 8.9" LCD to run the ElphelVision software. If we have a 35mm sensor this is this:

mattebox + 35mm lens + follow focus + Elphel 373 camera + Beagleboard with a 2-4 input XLR mixer in a rail-mounted enclosure + rail-mounted arm with the viewfinder on it + a small shelf type thing with space for the battery and magazines (hard drives or SSDs)

The rail system would have handles and a shoulder mount.

This post is a work in progress, I will have a complete overview of what I am talking about very soon.

PARTS LIST:

Mattebox:
I have a feeling, since these are particularly costly hunks of metal, we will end up manufacturing our own for much cheaper. We desperately need someone with a CNC machine or a company that is willing to work with us during the prototyping stage to get some initial units manufactured for testing purposes.

Follow Focus:
We already have a source for the most important part of the follow focus, the gearbox. We will be using the one manufactured by Huco that is used by Redrock Micro in many of their follow focus products. Fortunately, we already have a tentative design for the follow focus so it is all set to go.

1024x600 8.9" Touchscreen LCD: I have contacted various manufacturers along with researching some off-the-shelf solutions. Right now the touchscreen solutions from 3M look very promising. They are getting back to me with pricing.
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Old November 10th, 2009, 12:03 AM   #2
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I've been spending a great deal of time in VariCAD lately. I have a rail mount & t-part completed. In addition, I have nearly completed the tripod/camera rail block. I am hoping to finish a few components and post them in this thread later in the week.
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Old November 10th, 2009, 07:42 PM   #3
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Also an update from me: I've been thinking a lot about the rods support lately too. The current Apertus prototype is layed out here: Rods support | Apertus Open Source Cinema

I've tested it in 'real' situations, and so far it turns out to be a very workable setup. Jeremy and I are improving and replacing parts for the next, and probably first 'official', prototype. There are some things we really need to go into because of the new developments with the sensors.

First thing we need to find out is what the consequences would be for the camera's dimensions with a bigger sensor. Elphel sent me the 45 and 90 deg front ends (thanks again!) so I can test it with the prototype rods support. The first question would be: will a sensor in the range of 4/3" fit into the same camera front? In theory, it would (18x13,5mm), so only the lens would be bigger.

Using a large sensor would also rule out the use of a 35mm adapter (in most cases anyway)
This should should play an important part in the design of the rods support, because you'll loose a lot of glass = weight in front so the balance would be gone.
...Just some things to think about.
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Old November 18th, 2009, 05:40 PM   #4
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Rods support

I've been working out a possibility combining all parts needed for the camera rods support (except the PC or monitor mount) into one single part.
Jeremy has also been working on different ideas and I think with the setup I have in mind we can make different configurations. We are actually both breaking our heads to make it simple and complex at the same time.

The one thing that needs to change to make it possible is to change the 60mm rods spacing to 100mm spacing, which is actually studio standard for 15mm rods.
I'd like to hear peoples opinion on this. I think 60mm spacing is more a 'video' standard, but most of us here probably have a matte boxe or a follow focus using 60mm. There should be an easy way to adapt these to 100mm.

The first reason why I want 100mm spacing is because although the camera itself fits between the rods (60mm center>center), but the camera's harddrive doesn't. This makes it impossible to 'hang' the camera anywhere you want and difficult to take out of the rails.
Another reason is to make the rods support compatible with future improvements like a large sensor using bigger lenses in front.

I'll briefly explain what I have in mind (I'll post a model or a drawing soon):
I measured that there is enough space left between the 15mm rods, when we use 100mm spacing, to put the vertical 12mm rods I used in this model -between- the 15mm rods. So if we design a small rods mount that would fit the 15mm rods horizontally and the 12mm rods vertically and enough screw threads to attach all other needed parts (handles, battery, audio stuff etc) we only need one part to replace the tripod baseplate the handle mounts and all the T-parts in my original design. You just need the same part about 8 times.
Don't know if this is clear at all, but I'll draw it tomorrow:-)
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Old November 19th, 2009, 03:30 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oscar Spier View Post
The first reason why I want 100mm spacing is because although the camera itself fits between the rods (60mm center>center), but the camera's harddrive doesn't. This makes it impossible to 'hang' the camera anywhere you want and difficult to take out of the rails.
Another reason is to make the rods support compatible with future improvements like a large sensor using bigger lenses in front.
I would not bother about the HDD case, using only a NC353L-369 without internal HDD might be better as you can connect whatever you want to the external SATA port, but keeping space for bigger sensors in mind is definitely a good idea.
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Old November 20th, 2009, 12:01 PM   #6
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I've made some 3D sketches to explain my idea. So the basic idea is to make a 'rail mount' with 100mm spacing for 15mm rods and also an ability to attach the vertical rods. The vertical rods should be 12mm to save space (lenses and other parts that need to fit in between)
Jeremy has been working on a very nice rail mount (see third image) I think we can easily adapt that design and continue to improve it. You can use as many rail mount as you want, so it needs to have attachments for everything we need (tripod mount, handles, audio hardware, battery, etc etc...)
I think there are numerous configurations possible with this single piece of rail mount.
What do you guys think?
Attached Thumbnails
Hardware, Hardware, Hardware-apertusrodsnew01.jpg   Hardware, Hardware, Hardware-apertusrodsnew01b.jpg  

Hardware, Hardware, Hardware-rail_mount_jeremy.jpg  

Last edited by Oscar Spierenburg; November 20th, 2009 at 01:20 PM.
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Old November 20th, 2009, 01:17 PM   #7
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Very creative! I like how the rail mounts still retain their function as standard rail blocks but can be outfitted to become supports for the cage-style design. The only negative is that the rail blocks use quite a lot of aluminum in comparison to the t-parts. We are definitely getting closer to what we are looking for.

I had an epiphany while looking at Sebastian's old concept:
Image:Elphel VIsion Concept 01.jpg - ElphelWiki

Sebastian did a few things very well. I love the structural integrity of the design. For instance, the solid frames he uses in the "Rig & Rails" of the design are very nice. Ultimately what hampers the design is the generous amount of parts used. Well, what if we were to create a design similar to Sebastian's except it used only:
- Different lengths of 15mm rails
- T-parts, like http://www.creativeshelters.com/imag.../tee1_25sm.jpg
- 4-way connectors, like http://www.creativeshelters.com/imag...b/4waypict.jpg

This would allow for us to create every single component we need. Very nice handles could be fashioned out of t-parts and 15mm rods. When one starts to think out of the box you can create very elegant solutions with this type of setup. For example, a display/viewfinder mount would simply be two t-parts connected vertically with a length of 15mm rod. In the center of the vertical rod could be a third t-part that attaches to the display/viewfinder. Using this method, the display could actually be adjusted in every direction.

Overall I think we would end up using a considerably smaller number of parts and it would be extremely customizable. Parts such as a follow focus would still require a standard rail block but that wouldn't be an essential part. Someone could already own some rail blocks or a follow focus from another company.

I thought of a potential issue with any cage-like setup. A standard mattebox would not fit onto the rails (the top set of rails would probably get in the way). A simple solution would be to make the lower set of rails longer than those on top (If I recall, the RED does this but I am not certain).
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Old November 20th, 2009, 02:51 PM   #8
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There are some nice things for sure in Sebastian's design. Only in 'real life' I found that the camera needs to be much more expandable. The dimensions of the Elphel are so small, we really need a bigger rods support to mount everything necessary. Only by looking at the dimensions of a suitable battery compared to the camera ( http://img9.imageshack.us/img9/1874/...erycharger.jpg ) you can see you can't build the rails system 'around' the camera.

Yesterday I stumbled on a filmshoot around the corner where I live. They were using a RED. I think even with the 100mm rods support our camera will still be much smaller than RED :-)

In the attached image you can see what I mean by adapting your design. In fact, one can choose to build a cage design or not. You can also assemble a support without tablet PC, by putting the support 'back' straight (not in 45 deg) and use a beagleboard for instance.

Lets see how we can make the rail block with as little aluminum as possible.

EDIT: something like this perhaps(second image)? I know it has the same amount of metal used, but still a smaller piece per part. (the top and bottom are the same part)
Attached Thumbnails
Hardware, Hardware, Hardware-rail_mount-vertical_rod.jpg   Hardware, Hardware, Hardware-railblock.jpg  


Last edited by Oscar Spierenburg; November 20th, 2009 at 07:14 PM.
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Old November 22nd, 2009, 12:58 PM   #9
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I really like the direction we are going.
Having universal parts that can be used in many ways is an amazing idea.

In the first image part I think we need to be careful that the one rail does not stop the screw from being turned around.

Can you also screw fix the part in the second image?
http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/attachme...-railblock.jpg
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Old January 4th, 2010, 06:37 PM   #10
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Universal DVD player holder

How about using such a DVD player support ( EMC 5000 ) on the rod support to mount the tablet PC?
Other suggestions?

EDIT: even better: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/PRO-RIGID-CAR-...item563029464c
or
http://gadgetmix.com/index/asus-eee-...-mount-holder/
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Old January 5th, 2010, 03:46 AM   #11
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Very nice!

I like the netbook carkit mount in particular, its flexible (7"-10" devices), solid (up to 5kg) and cheap!

The only thing we would need to figure out is how to replace the suction cup for glass mounting with a part that mounts to our rods support.

I toyed with the idea of building our own general purpose laptop mount kit but there is no point doing that with these kind of products available!
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