• Brandon

CAD Models for Two Different Motorized Camera Phone Sliders

Updated: Jan 27


Recently, I decided that I wanted to build myself a camera phone slider that also has the ability to pan. I also wanted to see if I could build something like this from home without the use of a workshop.


Fundamentally, the existing products are simply linear actuators with hardware for a DSLR or camera phone. Most, slide with the use of a belt/pulley system or rack and pinion. The panning motion is achieved with an additional motor or a mechanical linkage.

One of the earlier steps of my design process is creating CAD models of my potential concepts. The challenge with this project is that, with no access to manufacturing tools, I don't have the luxury of making too many unique, custom components. The majority of my parts will be off the shelf parts. I purposely created my design with parts that I could get from

  • Servo City,

  • Sparkfun,

  • McMaster-Carr

  • and GrabCAD.

I did this so that I could download CAD files of the various components. From Servo City, you can download most of the components in the form of a STEP file.

Downloading CAD files

On Sparkfun, STL, IGES, STEP, BLENDER, and Solidworks files are available for download for some of the parts. For some of the circuit boards, Sketchup, STL, and Blender files can be downloaded.

Downloading CAD files

For the hardware that I can get from McMaster-Carr, you can download EDRW, IGES, PDF, SAT, Solidworks, and STEP files.

Downloading CAD files

For parts that you get on other websites, you can sometimes get lucky and find a CAD model to download from GrabCad, which is a platform where users upload their own models. These models are free to download.

Downloading CAD files

I've created two different CAD designs that are capable of both sliding and panning movement. For both designs, I decided to use a lead screw. This works by rotating a long screw which slides along the length of the screw as it rotates. The movement is stabilized with an extruded rail.

Lead screw and extruded rail CAD file

One of my designs will use a stepper motors to rotate the lead screw and to create the panning motion.

CAD model of camera phone slider design

My second design will also use a stepper motor to rotate the lead screw, but it uses a linkage mechanism to create the panning motion. Check out the YouTube video to see how they move.

CAD model of camera phone slider design

By designing around parts that I can buy online, I can save time by downloading the CAD files. I can also minimize the number of 3D parts that I have to get printed. If you're interested in the design, I ultimately chose to build, subscribe below to stay up to date.


My completed project is documented in my course, DIY Robotics and the Engineering Design Process. If you're interested in how to go from a robotics project idea to a working prototype, check out the course.








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