Hello all – this is my first ever dabble in the world of Arduino, so please be gentle.
A bit of background – I'd describe myself as an enthusiastic tinkerer, with a hunger for problem solving. I'm quite mechanically and logically minded, but my programming skills are next to none. Soldering skills are average, although I can be a bit heavy handed with the heat.
I had a great enthusiasm for electronics at school, but that was 25 years ago... I find it relatively easy to work out how things operate, but more so with mechanics than electronics. However, once someone's explained something (and in particular, why things do what they do), I start to pick it up.
I first heard of Arduino a year or so ago, and wished I had a project I wanted to build. Well now I have...
Please excuse me if this has been covered, and point me at the right thread. I've searched for every string I could think of, but I may not have all the right terms yet.
So, here's my project. What I'd really like is a shopping list for the UK, and guidance on how to start programming what I want (I'm a Mac user).
I have an IGUS rail on the way to use as a video slider. I want to also use it for stop-motion photography. In it's most basic, I'd like a speed controllable system that will range from about 45 minutes to cover the 1m track, to three to four seconds. I'd like that to be a smooth, linear movement. I'd imagine this would be relatively simple, using a servo or stepper motor, and some kind of toothed belt.
Here's where my idea of the Arduino comes in... I want a simple to use, but self contained controller unit (so it'll need a display), that can either allow the simple speed control of a linear slide, or will allow a tightly controlled stop-go motion of the slider. The simplest way I can imagine this is to have a system that asks me how many steps I want it to break the 1m into, and how long I want it to delay between each step. After each movement, I'd then want a circuit to close, firing the camera. This would be to allow long-exposure stop-motion photography, so the track is still for each shot... moves a small distance, takes a shot, waits a specified time, moves again, etc... I want the smooth linear movement for video – ideally I could switch the controller to 'smooth', drop the track on the floor and spin a pot to determine the speed of motion, rather that moving it by hand.
I guess my first question is, how realistic am I being, both in what Arduino can do, and what a complete novice like me could achieve? I don't want to spend a fortune, and I don't want end up crying over my workbench, but I see this as a really fun project. If anyone's willing to help and guide me, I'd really appreciate it...
I'd really like advice on where I can buy EVERYTHING, including the pulleys, belt... even the mounting plate / hardware.
So, I'm at your mercy now...