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FORUMS General Gear Talk DIY & Customizing 
Thread started 23 Oct 2015 (Friday) 20:31
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Arduino based automated focus stacking rail

 
pulsar123
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Post edited over 2 years ago by pulsar123. (2 edits in all)
     
Oct 23, 2015 20:31 |  #1

I've finally written a detailed tutorial describing how I built my portable and cheap (~150$ total) DIY macro focusing rail based on micro-controller Arduino. Have a look here:

http://pulsar124.wikia​.com/wiki/Fast_Stacker (external link)

It also contains a link to the software I've written to drive my rail.

Here is the 35-minute long live demonstration of my rail:

https://www.youtube.co​m/watch?v=IsDcmt_CyNQ (external link)

Most important technical specs:

- Maximum stacking depth: 55mm;
- Maximum framerate: 4 fps (or higher if your camera + flash can handle it; my Canon 50D can do up to 4 fps for at least 30 RAW shots);
- Maximum speed: 5 mm/s;
- Accuracy: 2.5 microns, full backlash compensation;
- Total weight (the rail + motor unit + controller unit + battery unit + 8 AmazonBasics AA batteries): 1.28 kg (2.8 lb);
- Maximum load: at least 1.3 kg, probably more;
- Startup time: 0.5s;
- Has 45 different functions;
- Supports different modes of stacking: fast (continuous), non-continuous, single-point, two-point, timelapse (multiple stacks), with and without mirror locking

A test shot: magnification 5:1, assembled from 151 shots:

IMAGE: https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5675/21490797273_1ac3411a60_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/yK4X​it  (external link) Fly (external link) by syamastro (external link), on Flickr

6D, Tamron 24-70 f2.8 VC, 135L, 70-200 f4L, Laowa 15mm 1:1 macro, 50mm f1.8 STM, Samyang 8mm fisheye, home studio

  
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PhotosGuy
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Oct 23, 2015 21:16 |  #2

Good work! Keep it up!


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pulsar123
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Nov 07, 2015 20:34 |  #3

Another test - lower magnification (around 2-3:1), 89 frames:

IMAGE: https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5758/22847740342_bb363e454f_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/ANYD​cC  (external link) Watch (external link) by syamastro (external link), on Flickr

6D, Tamron 24-70 f2.8 VC, 135L, 70-200 f4L, Laowa 15mm 1:1 macro, 50mm f1.8 STM, Samyang 8mm fisheye, home studio

  
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pulsar123
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Nov 22, 2015 10:38 |  #4

Anyone trying to reproduce my rail (or just contemplating it), please check this new page:

http://pulsar124.wikia​.com/wiki/What's_new (external link)


6D, Tamron 24-70 f2.8 VC, 135L, 70-200 f4L, Laowa 15mm 1:1 macro, 50mm f1.8 STM, Samyang 8mm fisheye, home studio

  
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pulsar123
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Dec 09, 2015 15:57 |  #5

I am releasing a new major upgrade of my Arduino based focus stacking rail. It involves a slight hardware modification (a bit of soldering, only inside the control unit), and a significant software upgrade, with many new functions and improvements.

The detailed description of the changes can be found in my wikia tutorial:

http://pulsar124.wikia​.com/wiki/What's_new (external link)

The whole tutorial has been updated to reflect the changes.


To summarize, the upgrade:


1) Makes the rail more accurate. (Backlash compensation; code profiling and additional coding to eliminate any skipped motor steps; different - slower - acceleration for rewinding and fast-forwarding helps to position the rail more accurately.)

2) Makes the rail more convenient. (Full-featured "Pause" functionality during stacking; new functions "Start stacking from the foreground point" and "Go to the last starting point")

3) Makes the rail more pleasant to use. (Custom bitmaps for different battery charge levels and the direction of the rail motion; hardware SPI interface makes the LCD 10x faster = smoother experience).


6D, Tamron 24-70 f2.8 VC, 135L, 70-200 f4L, Laowa 15mm 1:1 macro, 50mm f1.8 STM, Samyang 8mm fisheye, home studio

  
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jkdwings
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Dec 09, 2015 17:59 |  #6

Just wanted to say this is really cool and it's awesome that you've taken the time to post DIY instructions and updates as you go. Great addition to the photographic community!


Canon 7D | Opteka 6.5mm/3.5 Fisheye | Tokina 11-16/2.8 | Canon 15-85/3.5-5.6 IS USM | Canon 35/2IS | Canon 50/1.8 II | Helios 44-2 58/2 | Sears 135/2.8 | Canon 70-200/4L
Canon T1i | Canon 18-55/3.5-5.6 IS

  
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sorpa
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Dec 11, 2015 18:24 |  #7

What software did you use to stack them?




  
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pulsar123
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Dec 12, 2015 14:34 |  #8

lui-même wrote in post #17815656 (external link)
What software did you use to stack them?

I used Enblend


6D, Tamron 24-70 f2.8 VC, 135L, 70-200 f4L, Laowa 15mm 1:1 macro, 50mm f1.8 STM, Samyang 8mm fisheye, home studio

  
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sorpa
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Dec 14, 2015 17:53 |  #9

You're using it in PTGui or LR?
Either way, I thought it's a panorama plugin not stacking.




  
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pulsar123
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Dec 15, 2015 06:18 |  #10

Sorry, I meant Enfuse (from the same - Hugin - package). Here's tutorial: http://blog.patdavid.n​et …-macro-photos-enfuse.html (external link)


6D, Tamron 24-70 f2.8 VC, 135L, 70-200 f4L, Laowa 15mm 1:1 macro, 50mm f1.8 STM, Samyang 8mm fisheye, home studio

  
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sorpa
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Dec 15, 2015 22:18 |  #11

No problem, thank you.




  
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pulsar123
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Dec 20, 2015 16:00 |  #12

I am releasing the next public version of my stacking software - s0.12. The one important change is the addition of non-continuous focus stacking (only for 2-point stacking). Requires the same hardware - h1.1 - as s0.10.

I have already updated the wikia tutorial to reflect the changes. The full list of changes can be found here:

http://pulsar124.wikia​.com …ware_s0.12_.28r​eleased.29 (external link)


6D, Tamron 24-70 f2.8 VC, 135L, 70-200 f4L, Laowa 15mm 1:1 macro, 50mm f1.8 STM, Samyang 8mm fisheye, home studio

  
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pulsar123
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Post edited over 2 years ago by pulsar123.
     
Dec 25, 2015 12:53 |  #13

Here is my Xmas present: a new version of the software, s0.14:

http://syam.no-ip.org/stacker_v0.14.z​ip (external link)

Now the rail senses if it is AC or battery operated, and if the latter it will use a slower speed limit (adjustable), to improve the motor's torque. Also a bug was fixed in the "Factory reset" function.


6D, Tamron 24-70 f2.8 VC, 135L, 70-200 f4L, Laowa 15mm 1:1 macro, 50mm f1.8 STM, Samyang 8mm fisheye, home studio

  
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pulsar123
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Dec 30, 2015 11:56 |  #14

Great news! Just in time for the new year, I have managed to do the ultimate hardware modification to my rail (which I already coined "h1.2") - the one where I gained independent programmatic control of both camera's shutter and autofocus - and the rail survived this major surgery, and seems to be working as expected. This new setup should be the most attractive to non-Canon camera owners, as many non-Canon cameras require both the shutter and the AF camera switches to be controlled to do remote shooting. I believe now I can make my focus stacking rail truly universal - should work with any camera model. For Canon camera owners there is less incentive to do the mod, as the only improvement you might see will be slightly faster startup time when doing 1-point stacking.

The software hasn't been updated yet to make use of this new functionality. I will start working on that, and also on updating my wikia tutorial to reflect the hardware and software changes.

Stay tuned!


6D, Tamron 24-70 f2.8 VC, 135L, 70-200 f4L, Laowa 15mm 1:1 macro, 50mm f1.8 STM, Samyang 8mm fisheye, home studio

  
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pulsar123
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Jan 07, 2016 14:07 |  #15

Update [07.01.2016]: I am releasing a new version of my stacking software, which is ambitiously named "s1.00". It is designed to only work with the newest hardware version, h1.2. This new software and hardware should make the rail much more universal: it now independently operates both camera's shutter and autofocus, so in principle should work as is (or perhaps with slight parameter adjustment in stacker.h) with any camera which has a wired remote shutter connector. The modifications will also likely result in faster maximum shooting speeds attained with your camera: e.g. my Canon 50D can now reliably do at least 30 frames at 4 fps (RAW format), without any perceptible delays at the beginning.

My wiki tutorial has been updated to reflect all the changes:

http://pulsar124.wikia​.com …stacking_based_​on_Arduino (external link)


6D, Tamron 24-70 f2.8 VC, 135L, 70-200 f4L, Laowa 15mm 1:1 macro, 50mm f1.8 STM, Samyang 8mm fisheye, home studio

  
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Arduino based automated focus stacking rail
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