Control Systems

Camera control technologies range from Silly Putty to radio systems -- gather your notes on how to set up the cradle here

New AutoKAP rig using the ClickPAN-PRO

edited March 11 in Control Systems

When James Gentles closed his business back in January he kindly gave me a ClickPAN-PRO. All my rigs have been radio-controlled since my very early days in KAP and rather than convert an existing R/C rig I decided to build a new one. Rather than design it from scratch I adapted the design of my S100 rig - a 3D-printed one, seen here:

The basic rig is a single part with slots for the pan and tilt servos as well as holes for the two axles, a hole for the on/off switch and lugs to keep the 5v battery in place, seen here:

Here are some photos of the two rigs with the R/C rig printed in red and the AutoKAP rig printed in blue. Note that the RC rig has a 5.8GHz video transmitter fitted in a slot in the rig (hence the extra cable going to the S100).

If anyone is interested I can make the 3D design available. The servo slots are designed for standard micro-servos.


  • Very smart ! I l appreciate mini approach, with all major features, including direct access to card and battery. I also like your connection to picavet
    How did you find the perfect balance ? intuitive approach or secret formula ????
    I would be very pleased to have a look at your design, as i'm still puzzled about creating a new rig and making it real !

  • I fixed the dimensions of the metal L-shaped part, and the location of the axle and tripod screw holes by simple experiment. In the past I've drilled two holes to allow the use of different cameras, but both rigs are designed for my S100.
    I will make the 3D design available as stl and gcode files and as an AutoDesk 123D design file. It took a fair bit of trial and error - I probably printed 6 models before I got it right.

  • edited March 11

    I really like the minimalistic design. Nice work. I wish I had a 3D printer / CNC router / laser cutter or something like that. Maybe one day I'll get one.

  • My Ender 3 printer was really cheap - cost just over £130 some years back (the latest model is under $200 in the USA).

  • edited March 11

    Thanks for the tip. I could really use one of those right now as I suffer through cutting out parts for my latest project (ping pong training robot) by hand from plywood. I'll keep it in mind for later. Are the gears 3D printed too?

  • They are. Webpage with downloadable designs should be up in the next day or so.

  • Actually it's up now - see here

  • Dave: Another milestone in your work to perfect rig design and control! Well done. I hold your work in high regard having utilized some of your ideas in my past efforts at camera control.

    I am in the midst of building a new KAP rig for remote control (first time for a remote controlled rig; hand cut parts, not 3-D printed regrettably). I am facing limitations with the micro servos. I get a 60 degree throw. I would like to have 90 degrees or more so that my pan rotation gearing can be smaller. Is there an obvious way to achieve this? I am currently unable to reprogram my Spektrum DX5e; though once I salvage the transmitter board and use your Arduino-based program for a future control unit I gather I can program the signal for a greater throw.

    Any advice? BTW I like the velcro attached camera attachment screw; good way not to forget to have it at hand when needed.

    Bob Llewellyn

  • I have a cheap servo tester (cost less than $5) which lets me test the maximum throw of my servos. I just tested an MG90S micro servo (metal geared I think) and it does turn through a fraction over 90 degrees so you should be OK in the future.
    There are travel adjusters (see but they are not cheap!

  • edited March 14

    I also get slightly over 90 degrees max throw with Hitec HS-65HB micro servos, though to achieve that I have to program the travel to the max range (125% in both directions if I remember correctly) in my Spektrum DX6i. For a compact camera you can do without the gear drive with these servos, just make sure the axis passes through the CG of the rotating part of the frame.

  • Thanks for the responses. My servo tester also indicates a greater sweep on the micro servos (Tower Pro MG90s, 110 degrees). The limitation must be built into the pre-programming of my Spektrum DX5e RC unit. I have tried , without success, a simple servo extender; it seems only to work with standard servos. Will work with what I have, an 80::16 gear arrangement for 360 degree rotation, until I can move up to the more sophisticated and programmable KAP controller that Dave has pioneered.


  • For the record I can now answer my own question about increasing micro servo rotation. The issue was that I was getting only an approximately 60 degree rotation; I wanted 90 degree or more in order to have a convenient gearing ratio to achieve 360 degrees for the Spektrum dx5 controlled KAP rig. I purchased for about $6 a servo extender that promised 90-180 degree rotation provided the servo had this capacity. I installed the extender between the RC receiver and the servo and I now have approximately 120 degree servo rotation with rig rotation well over 360 degrees. I can now explore gearing ratios other than 80 to 16. Why my original test of this extender failed to work puzzles me. This is one of the aspects of KAP that I enjoy—solving a technical challenge with an efficient solution. The ultimate solution, I believe, will be to build Dave Mitchell’s Arduino based controller where I can program the servo rotation, a future winter project!

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