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Arduino controlled photogrammetry 3D-scanner

A completely automated way to take photo's and convert them into a 3D-object

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This turntable is a new and improved version of my hand cranked version (which is fully 3D-prinable, no extra parts needed. Check it out here: https://hackaday.io/project/166323-fully-3d-printable-turntable).It uses an Arduino UNO to control a 1602 LCD screen, a stepper motor and a 9g servo motor. The turntable can be used as a 3D-scanner by taking photos of an object 360 degrees around it. These photos can be converted later on into a 3D-model using photogrammetry software. The amount of photos that have to be taken can be determined by the user, ranging from 2 photos to 200 photo's (can be easily adjusted in the arduino program). The turntable can also be used to take cinematic shots. In this mode the turntable rotates at a constant speed chosen by the user. The last menu enables the user to manually move the turntable.

As said before this turntable is a new and improved version of my hand cranked version. A lot of people suggested to me I should put a stepper motor onto it to get some very nice cinematic shots. This is exactly what I did.

I gave it a bit more functionality than just a regular cinematic turntable. I added the possibility to use the turntable to capture photos 360 degrees around an object.

The photos are being taken by a smartphone connected to a Bluetooth remote located inside the turntable. I just used the most straight forward, obvious and simple solution to capture these photos, which was to use a servo to press a button on a Bluetooth remote. I went for this solution due to the fact that Apple products tend to not like the HC-05 and HC-06 Bluetooth modules and refuse to connect to them. I’m sure a cleaner and more durable solution is to use these HC-05 or HC-06 modules and connect them to an android device.

The amount of photo's that have to be taken can be determined by the user, ranging from 2 photo's to 200 photo's. These values can be easily adjusted in the Arduino program. The taken photos can be converted later on into a 3D-model using photogrammetry software. The photogrammetry software I use is Autodesk Recap Photo.

In the second menu you can find the possibility to use the turntable to make awesome cinematic shots of your objects. In this mode the turntable rotates a certain amount of turns at a constant speed chosen by the user ranging from 1 to 17 RPM (speed of the stepper motor).

The third and last menu enables the user to manually control the turntable and bring the plate to the desired position at the preferred speed.

All the mechanical parts of this turntable are completely 3D-printed. The bearing for example is a print-in-place one which works great for this application. The print in place of moving objects adds to the simplicity of the build.

The reason I didn't connect the servo and stepper motor to the onboard 5V regulator and used an extra buck converter is because the stepper motor and servo draw to much current. Everytime the stepper motor rotated or stopped, the backlight in the LCD got brighter and dimmer due to the fluctuation in voltage. Using an extra buck converter takes the load from the 5 volt onboard regulator.

STL-files can be found here: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3958326

Video can be found here:

wiring diagram arduino controlled turntable V2.1.jpg

Wiring diagram for the turntable

JPEG Image - 175.86 kB - 11/24/2019 at 20:18

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Camera_Turntable_Arduino_expansion_Final_version_1.ino

Arduino program for the turntable. It works but keep in mind there is room for improvement.

ino - 12.15 kB - 11/05/2019 at 21:02

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Ryan Hashiro wrote 07/19/2020 at 11:43 point

Wow this is a well-designed project!  I'm working on adding features to the arduino code while waiting for parts I ordered to come in.  Code additions/mods I'm working on include 1) allowing use of an I2C LCD display (the one I ordered from banggood came with an I2C backpack soldered on).  2) fast-scroll for setting the number of pics in the photogrametry mode and number of turns in the cinematic mode.  3) allowing operation cancel while in the photogrametry and cinematic operation.  I would like to share the code mods if/when I get it working - is there a way to easily do that here?

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Brian Brocken wrote 07/21/2020 at 09:34 point

Hello Ryan, first of all thank you, if you want you code displayed on this page, you can send me your code and i'll put in on here and add your name to it ;-)

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Ryan Hashiro wrote 07/21/2020 at 23:46 point

OK thanks - will do!  I have to wait for my stepper motor to arrive - I need to see how the cancel operation affects the motor movement.  [I discovered that the move command seems to block all program execution until the entire move execution stops - i.e. if you instruct the plate to do one full turn, program suspends until the full turn is done.   Will need to divide the plate turns into partial movements and do periodic cancel checks in between].

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Rlove1966 wrote 06/11/2020 at 08:02 point

can anyone answer this: in the wiring diagram the 5v and ground from the pot, lcd and joystick connect together before connecting to the uno... how does that work? It seems like one big wire is split up or something... much thanks in advance for help

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Anacapala wrote 07/02/2020 at 03:37 point

It can be constructed in many different ways.  One version is a double row of male or female header pins soldered to a piece of prototyping PCB.  On the solder side, all the pins in each row are soldered together. The 5v supply and the common ground are then soldered to their respective rows.   Now you can plug any ground wire into a pin in the 'ground' row, and any 5v wire into a '5v' row pin. You can use the same sort of double-row piece of prototyping PCB and solder each wire to a hole for its respective row, or you could use two separate pieces of PCB, or just twist them together in two bundles and solder each group (but that is more difficult and doesn't look good).

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rlove wrote 07/02/2020 at 06:01 point

so I lug in the two pins for power and then plug the rest of the stuff into the same PCs board?

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Rlove1966 wrote 06/11/2020 at 02:24 point

I'm a total newb that is ready to dive in... all parts printed, wires ready... my problem is i don't understand how the power distribution module you made works. Where is the input and where are the outputs? (probably a stupid questions) I think i've got everything else down...i'm planning on using the turntable in my classroom. (and maybe build a bigger one with them too!)

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rorybourdon wrote 07/02/2020 at 22:20 point

input 5v anywhere on one of the rows you soldered together, and ground on the other row... then plug everything else into the 5v or ground row as needed

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Anacapala wrote 05/29/2020 at 05:45 point

Great project - works well and easy to follow instructions.   The following points might be useful for others.
- Don't stint on the power/gnd  distribution pins.  6 is the minimum - 8 is better.
- The stepper driver board can be mounted vertically using a bracket attached under the mounting screw for the motor.
- I used a 7805 on a scrap of prototyping PCB for the 5v for the motor rather than a buck converter. The IC has a hole in the tab that can be used to mount it under the other mounting screw for the motor.
- I used 90-degree male/male header pins so that all connections to the Arduino board are horizontal. This makes fitting everything much easier.  Use the type that is equal length on both ends - not the PCB mounting type which has one end much shorter than the other - and push the plastic shroud into the angle so that the full length of the pin is available for the socket.
- I got a lot of bounce from the joystick button until I changed the initialisation code for the pin for the button to
  pinMode(SW_pin, INPUT_PULLUP);      //Set pushbutton as input
  // digitalWrite(SW_pin, HIGH);      //Set SW_pin High
I think the original code might be for an earlier version of the IDE.
- Digital Pin 3 is available for driving the camera shutter release. I used a IR LED with some code I found on the www for triggering the remote shutter release on the camera, and that works well.  For instance:
https://www.christidis.info/index.php/personal-projects/arduino-nikon-infrared-command-code
- Don't try to debug the code using serial output in the IDE because it won't work ;-(

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kyle wrote 05/26/2020 at 15:42 point

Hi Brian- just want to say thank you for uploading this project!


My question is probably a silly one I’m afraid but I’ve been searching everywhere and don’t seem to be able to get an answer.


regarding the 5v cable coming from the arduino board- how is the easiest way to get it connecting to the potentiometer, LCD and joystick? I’m experiencing a similar issue with the ground cable. I’ve tried playing your video frame by frame as well as googling it.


many thanks! 

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Rlove1966 wrote 06/25/2020 at 04:37 point

I have the same issues...

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damminh88 wrote 05/26/2020 at 03:09 point

Hi Brian, im i encountered blank lcd problem. please help me

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Josh Smith wrote 05/19/2020 at 22:11 point

Heya! Project is going well so far except one thing, I am unable to select the next menu screen by pressing on the joystick, I should have everything wired correctly, any suggestions?

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Paul wrote 05/11/2020 at 15:58 point

Hello Brian, I would like to make a few changes to the STL parts. Is it possible to get the Fusion 360 files? I would be more than willing to share the the changes of course. I understand if this is not possible.

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David Ladd wrote 02/23/2020 at 21:31 point

Hey, this is a cool project.

Rather than using the servo on the remote had you thought about using a 2N2222 transistor and a resistor from the Arduino to act like a switch and hack the remote directly?

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Michael Gardi wrote 02/16/2020 at 03:36 point

Done. Works great. Posted a make to Thingiverse.

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Michael Gardi wrote 02/15/2020 at 18:38 point

Hi Brian, quick question. Is there a reason that you decided not to use the i2c or iic interface for the display? I sourced a slightly different display that doesn't have pin headers for the parallel interface.

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Brian Brocken wrote 02/15/2020 at 18:43 point

Hello Michael, I build this 3D-scanner using only the parts from a sponsored kit, and that LCD, arduino UNO, etc... where the parts I had to work with so that's the reason why. The LCD with the I2C interface would work just as good but you might need to change the code and mayby also the base where the LCD is mounted on.

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Michael Gardi wrote 02/15/2020 at 19:02 point

Thanks for getting back to me so fast. I was concerned it might have had something to do with the UI. I originally ordered all the parts from banggood but unfortunately they could not ship them until March 25th. So I ended up with some slight differences like the LCD. And yes I had to hack the base to get it to fit :-(.  I think I’m going to try and get the i2c interface working as well to simplify the wiring and because I haven’t done i2c in quite awhile. 

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Brian Brocken wrote 02/15/2020 at 19:07 point

No problem Michael haha, You could try to get the I2C module to work, which would work just as good as the way I did it. I also saw people just cutting the pins of the module, desolder the pins and wire it the same way I did on my wiring diagram which is also a possibility.

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Michael Gardi wrote 02/16/2020 at 03:45 point

Switching to i2c was easy. Wired SDA to A4 and SCL to A5 plus VCC and GND then switched to the LiquidCrystal_I2C library and everything just worked. I did directly wire V0 to the pot for brightness control. Works great!

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kboruff wrote 01/27/2020 at 03:45 point

I'm new to buck converters but they seem useful. I bought the one linked, LM9526. It appears to go from whatever voltage to 1-3.5v depending on the setting. On the diagram it shows taking 9v DC and turning it into 5v DC. Since the Arduino has a 5v line, I'm confused how to implement it. When I plug it in and adjust the resistance, the light flickers and the motor vibrates, but I think it is far underpowered.

 How should it be hooked up? Did I understand the diagram correctly to separate the Servo/gear voltage and ground from the general voltage and ground? Also, this is a very nice design. I'm taking out the Servo and using an opticoupler to trigger a shutter release for a Canon.

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Brian Brocken wrote 02/15/2020 at 18:50 point

Hello kboruff, sorry for the late reply, The buck converter is connected to the Vin pin on the Arduino. The Vin pin has the same voltage as the voltage of the power source that's connected to it, in this case a 9V adapter. And yes you are right, you should keep the ground and 5 volts of the servo and stepper motor seperated from the LCD and joystick, this is the reason I use the buck converter, when the stepper motor and servo are in motion they tend to take to much current from the system and the LCD starts to flicker. The buck converter solves this problem.

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Michael Gardi wrote 01/26/2020 at 04:40 point

Thanks so much for sharing. Parts are printing. Components are ordered. 

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Brian Brocken wrote 01/26/2020 at 11:23 point

Haha thanks Michael ;-)

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saliter wrote 01/13/2020 at 19:31 point

where are you getting power?

But fascinating project.

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Michael Gardi wrote 01/26/2020 at 04:15 point

I'm curious about the power as well. Why the buck converter when everything is running off 5V anyway?

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Brian Brocken wrote 01/26/2020 at 11:22 point

The stepper motor and servo draw to much current to run of the oboard 5V regulator. Everytime the stepper motor rotated or stopped, the backlight in the LCD got brighter and dimmer due to the fluctuation in voltage. Using an extra buck converter takes the load from the 5 volt onboard regulator.

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Rizky Zulkarnaen wrote 12/24/2019 at 20:53 point

hi, I'm planning to use esp32 as remote shutter (https://github.com/MinatsuT/esp32_remote_shutter) for smartphone and also for controlling the motor.

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Kevin wrote 12/03/2019 at 17:16 point

I've been thinking of putting something together to either laser line or structured light scanning of objects. This project would be very useful towards that goal. What is the outer diameter of the main cylinder that holds the motor and gears?

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jrweikle wrote 11/13/2019 at 14:58 point

what is the pot for?  and what value is it?

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Brian Brocken wrote 11/13/2019 at 15:02 point

The potentiometer is there to adjust the brightness of the backlight of the lcd. I used a 10K one.

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jrweikle wrote 11/13/2019 at 15:22 point

thanks i thought so but was unsure without the data sheet

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Chee Kit wrote 01/24/2020 at 05:12 point

Hi the pot that you linked is different. Would that work as well? Or could you maybe link me to the one you used?

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Brian Brocken wrote 01/26/2020 at 11:31 point

Hello Chee Kit, The one i used in my scanner was part of an arduino kit and I couldn't find the exact same one online. But since you only need to adjust the value of the potentiometer once (only to adjust the brightness og the LCD) the potentiometer in the link works just fine.

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Hexastorm wrote 11/10/2019 at 09:40 point

Thanks for sharing this! Could you do some measurements on the accuracy of your stage.
The most familiar stage I am aware of are the heavy duty rotation stages of thorlabs see https://www.thorlabs.com/newgrouppage9.cfm?objectgroup_id=1064 . They costs like 2500 euro.
Could you share the accuracy and bidirectional repeatability. I understand you can't reach the specifications of thorlabs but it would still be interesting to know what you can achieve with this setup. Personally, i also think arduino is non sensical. The only thing what is important is the motor and stepper or servo driver you use. I would use a nema 17 motor and at at least something like TMC2130 or TMC2160.
Design looks real nice!

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Brian Brocken wrote 11/10/2019 at 11:34 point

Hello, I did some quick calculating for you to get a rough idea on the accuracy. The stepper motor used takes 2048 steps to get one full rotation. The gear ratio between the small gear and larger inner gear is 1:7. So the larger inner gear needs 14336 steps to get one full rotation. One step would then rotate the larger inner gear by 0.025 degrees. 0.025 would equal about 436 µRad. This is a purely theoretical calculation, please keep in mind the bearing has a play of about 1 to 2 millimeters and there's also some play between small and larger inner gear. I really wouldn't know how to measure or calculate the bidirectional repeatability, I also don't think I have the right equipment for this. I wouldn't recommend to use this as servo or something similar as the 3D-printed bearing has to much axial and radial play. It's more then perfect for the turntable but not for a servo. If I where you, I would consider using some real bearings and create a custom design for your application. I think the right combination of 3D-printed parts and some real bearings could give you some good accuracy and repeatability. Of course not as good as a completely mechined one, but close enough 😜👍

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Florian Festi wrote 11/25/2019 at 14:19 point

Repeat-ability can be tested easily by putting a mirror upright on the table and shining a laser pointer onto it. Then approach the same position from both directions and measure the difference in angle. Divide the angle by two for the actual value as the mirror doubles it. But I doubt that kind of measurement makes a lot of sense for the intended use cases. This table is clearly not suitable for machining 

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Arye wrote 11/08/2019 at 17:11 point

I wonder how many kg's this pretty thing can hold being printed with pla. The latest cylinder structure seems quite solid.

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Brian Brocken wrote 11/09/2019 at 09:44 point

Hello Arye, it obviously isn’t intended for larger objects (they wouldn’t fit on the plate either) but more for smaller objects like action figures, small 3D-prints,... However, all the objects i put on the table so far didn’t seem to cause any problems. The servo i put on it is quite substantial and was about the max size of the plate and it worked great😁👍 I also forgot to mention in the details I added some fine machine oil to the bearing to get rid of the friction which seems to work very well 👌😁

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Brian Brocken wrote 11/09/2019 at 09:45 point

I wouldn’t go over a kilo though 😬😁👍

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Brian Brocken wrote 11/09/2019 at 09:48 point

The strength of the PLA isn’t going the cause any problems in this project, the strength of the stepper motor is 😅

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Dan Maloney wrote 11/06/2019 at 16:04 point

Nice build! In the video, the servo had me confused at first - I thought it was somehow locking the turntable for each shot. Then I saw the Bluetooth remote - clever! I've got a build I need to do that requires button-pushing like that - thanks for the idea.

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Brian Brocken wrote 11/06/2019 at 19:17 point

Thank you Dan! I would've preferred to use a less mechanical sollution to take the photos, but Apple product just don't like to connect with bluetooth modules like the HC-05 and HC-06. My first idea was to open the bluetooth remote up and extend the contacts of the pushbutton to the arduino, but the pushbutton turned out to be a capacitive or magnetic one like the ones you can find on calculators or keyboards. So the servo pushing the button turned out to be the easiest most straight forward sollution, I mean if it works, why not haha ;-)

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