TPB #16 – Camera Axe Motor Sensor Contest

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With this competition I’m focusing community attention on getting better motor controller support into the Camera Axe 5 sooner, while rewarding the winner with some free hardware. I now have a working Camera Axe motor sensor prototype and I’m looking for help making it more useful for photographers. Why would you want to connect one or two motors to the Camera Axe? Well, this would let you control a pan/tilt head and automate taking very high resolution panoramas, or you could put your camera on a rail and take very cool time-lapse photos. Those are just two ideas out of a very very flexible tool.

The person who gives what I judge to be the most help contribution related to the Camera Axe motor sensor will win two motor sensors with motors from the Camera Axe store when they are released, or $100 credit to buy whatever you want on the store.

Here are some examples of what I’d consider a helpful contribution:

  • Mechanical designs for pan/tilt head to be controlled by motors or a rail system
  • Help finding individuals or companies willing to make these mechanical systems for our store
  • Ideas for new uses of the motor sensor
  • Help writing the Camera Axe software or laying out motor sensor menus

Those are just a few ideas to get you thinking so don’t let that limit your thinking. One limitation is the current design only allows one motor per sensor port on the Camera Axe so at most you can have 2 motors.

To register your idea for a chance to win put it (or link if you want to host the contribution on a different site) on one of these four places (there is no advantage to posting to more than one so please don’t):

Here is a link to the eagle files for the Motor Sensor and here is the Camera Axe software with the code I used test the motor sensor.

The end of this competition is September 15th 2011.


About the Author:

Maurice is a computer engineer, photographer, and all around renaissance man.


  1. Colin  August 14, 2011

    I’ve spent some time recently looking into making an automated camera slide. I’m a mechanical engineer and so, can think of plenty of ways to do it. The stumbling block is always how expensive a decent linear slide can be and also the expense of getting parts machined. I propose two possible open source solutions; makerslide and makerbeam:

  2. Colin  September 2, 2011

    Great alternative open source design:

  3. Kristian Bødker  September 15, 2011

    A simple but powerfull use of the motor sensor is to drive a turntable, and using this to rotate an object while taking a series of photos.

    These photos can then be used to construct interactive “object movies” where a user can rotate the virtual object. (example of the concept and technical description of using panotools for this use case can be found on

    The precision of a stepper motor would make it possible to make high angular resolution object movies rather easy – and for small objects, the turntable could be mounted to the motor shaft directly – making it an easy “first use” of the kit – requireing very little mechanical experience.

  4. Maurice  September 19, 2011

    The winner is Ric. Congratulations! I will be contacting him about his prize.

  5. wilco  May 28, 2012

    I wish you develop robotic panoramic head with 2 stepper motor like