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3D printable DSLR tracking, GoTo and autoguiding mount

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#1 intercipere

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Posted 25 February 2020 - 10:49 AM

Over the past months i've designed this mount for my DSLR camera. Not satisfied with the performance of the various barn-door tracker models that are available, i decided to go for a completely different design; the not so common EQ split-ring. The huge diameters mostly compensate imprecisions from printing and the cheap steppers that i'm using.

 

KFLxxRY.jpg

 

After the initial prototype i saw the potential for two axis GoTo, so I added that. After an initial calibration over Polaris HA, you can put RA and DEC coordinates (JNow). It works pretty well but is not extremely precise, theres a deviation of a few arcmins over a quarter rotation (6h). But its enough to usually put the target into the FOV, even with my 500mm lens. 

 

The tracking works very well. I've gotten consistent exposures at 60 and 120s at 330mm. Even at 800mm (500mm and APS-C camera) it tracks for 30s to 1 minute, but not as consistent. Here helps the Autoguiding capabilities. Yes, i've written an ASCOM driver and designed a guidescope. Its on the top in the picture. The guidescope uses a cheap 50/182mm achromatic doublet and a standalone AR0130 b/w sensor. The body is printed of course. With that i've easily achieved 5 and 10 minute exposures at 330mm and up to 5 minutes at 800, although thats completely overkill for where i live.

 

My biggest lens plus camera weights around 2kg and the mount takes that without problems. I cant test it myself really, but i'd say the maximum payload is around 3kg. The maximum length of a lens is somewhere between 20 and 30cm depending on its weight, as it has to be balanced properly. I have successfully used a 45cm long lens, but the GoTo wont work anymore. 

 

The polar alignment is done semi-automatically using the steppers and the DSLR screen. The adjustment is done over the large screws on the front and back.

 

A lot of functions could be added to this, but i'm limited by my coding skills. Theres already people talking about writing the code for various functions like star align, full-auto PA, bluetooth and PC control.

 

I have some pictures taken with this on my IG, but only the last one is with guiding and the newest upgrades (mainly the belt drive thats much better), so the others arent perfect.

 

The files are available here: https://www.thingive...m/thing:4167783

Source and CAD files are available here: https://github.com/O...penAstroTracker

 

Oh, and I opted for the cheapest possible components to make this, so building one costs around 50 bucks (Not including the guider)


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#2 bobzeq25

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Posted 25 February 2020 - 11:04 AM

My opinion.  Best DIY camera tracker, _ever_.  <grin>

 

For the GOTO issue.  Any way to make platesolving work with it?


Edited by bobzeq25, 25 February 2020 - 11:05 AM.

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#3 Gucky

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Posted 25 February 2020 - 11:08 AM

That's marvellous!

 

bow.gifbow.gifbow.gifbow.gif



#4 intercipere

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Posted 25 February 2020 - 11:15 AM

My opinion.  Best DIY camera tracker, _ever_.  <grin>

 

For the GOTO issue.  Any way to make platesolving work with it?

Thanks! 

 

I'm pretty sure that platesolving could be automated, either over the guidecam or the main camera. Shouldnt be too hard over the ASCOM driver, and i think some programs already have platesolving build in (NINA i think?). But thats a little over my head with my coding skills, but i'm sure someones gonna do it sooner or later, thats why i made this open source


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#5 JoeVanGeaux

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Posted 25 February 2020 - 11:50 AM

Nice work!

I just went over to Thingiverse and watched your video.  If that was recorded in real-time, that thing moves fast!

Can you post a few pics of some long exposures taken with you rig?  Please??  (I'm not usually one to ask for pretty pictures of the sky, but I'd love to see what it can do!  I did see the pics in your "IG" link but would like a few really long exposures with your latest rig if you have any.)

 

Thanks for sharing!

 

Joe


Edited by JoeVanGeaux, 25 February 2020 - 11:58 AM.


#6 hcf

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Posted 25 February 2020 - 11:53 AM

I did a platesolved goto for a DIY motorized EQ mount, using an open source platesolver on linux/raspberry pi.

 

https://www.cloudyni...-project-ps-g2/

 

My understanding (and I might be wrong) is if you have "sync" and "slew" support in your driver, external applications can do platesolved go to with it.


Edited by hcf, 25 February 2020 - 12:10 PM.


#7 brave_ulysses

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Posted 25 February 2020 - 12:00 PM

great work and welcome!



#8 intercipere

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Posted 25 February 2020 - 12:08 PM

If that was recorded in real-time, that thing moves fast!

Ah no, the video is sped up, i guess i should mention that somewhere. In real time the mount took over a minute to make those moves, the steppers dont have much torque and can only be moved slow.. But i can live with that, usually i align it once a night and i can wait a minute for that. 

 

I have linked my instagram in the first post, for more resolution you'll have to dig through my reddit account u/intercipere. Dont have the single exposures available atm, i'm in the middle of moving and packed my NAS already. The latest one i'm pretty proud of is this https://i.redd.it/bih8a1zqeof41.png with a low quality 500mm f/8. Its 16 lights at 120s with a 450d (XSi)

 

 

I did a platesolved goto for a DIY motorized EQ mount, using an open source platesolver on linux/raspberry pi.

 

https://www.cloudyni...-project-ps-g2/

 

My underatanding (and I might be wrong) is if you have "sync" and "slew" support in your driver, external applications can do platesolved go to with it.

 

Thats exactly what would be needed, cool! I'll have a look into it


Edited by intercipere, 25 February 2020 - 12:08 PM.

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#9 elakrab

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Posted 25 February 2020 - 12:17 PM

This is honestly amazing. I am imagining using one of these, or something similar with an integrated dome-like thing, as a remote pico observatory for automatic observations (e.g. variable stars, exoplanets searches, AGN photometry)

#10 hjd1964

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Posted 25 February 2020 - 02:24 PM

A lot of functions could be added to this, but i'm limited by my coding skills. Theres already people talking about writing the code for various functions like star align, full-auto PA, bluetooth and PC control.

Very nice, I like the concept.

 

But really for the software, don't re-invent the wheel, it's not worth it.  OnStep + a MKS Gen-L (both version 1 and 2 are supported though testing of v2 is more limited since it's fairly new) and about a hour (if you have some Arduino experience) can have it up and running.  Of the ideas mentioned only full auto align isn't supported, but OnStep can (and does) figure out how far the PA needs to be moved based on the align so it wouldn't take too much to add it almost trivial.

 

Read more here too:

https://onstep.group.../main/wiki/home


Edited by hjd1964, 25 February 2020 - 02:50 PM.

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#11 Sean Wood

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Posted 25 February 2020 - 06:42 PM

What's the maximum part size? How big of a printer do you need to make it?



#12 JoeVanGeaux

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Posted 25 February 2020 - 11:49 PM

What's the maximum part size? How big of a printer do you need to make it?

Sean,  I had the same question.  I opened a few files and found one of the split rings (assumed to be the biggest part) and I saw it is just a hair under 10.5" (under 265mm) long - so its possible to fit that on my Prusa-style (clone) machine if printed diagonally on the print bed... but I never printed that close to both ends of the print bed, either.  I'll have to move the bed clips to another position to avoid a collision for sure!

We'll have to wait for a definitive answer when intercipere weighs in.

 

Joe


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#13 Joral

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Posted 26 February 2020 - 12:04 AM

What's the maximum part size? How big of a printer do you need to make it?

 

 

Sean,  I had the same question.  I opened a few files and found one of the split rings (assumed to be the biggest part) and I saw it is just a hair under 10.5" (under 265mm) long - so its possible to fit that on my Prusa-style (clone) machine if printed diagonally on the print bed... but I never printed that close to both ends of the print bed, either.  I'll have to move the bed clips to another position to avoid a collision for sure!

We'll have to wait for a definitive answer when intercipere weighs in.

 

Joe

 

On my ender 3, I have used painters tape to hold my glass bed on.  Works fine for everything I do, and I don't have to worry about clip crashes.

 

Oriented to 45 degrees, it looks like 6a and 6c are about 196 x 204mm.  6b is 186x186.

 

1a is 210x204.

 

so should fit on an e3 or e5, but not by much

 

will also be waiting for official word to see how crazy I am. 



#14 intercipere

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Posted 26 February 2020 - 03:04 AM

I printed all the parts on a ender 3 pro. Part 6 should fit on at least a 210x210 print bed by rotating it a bit. Part 01 can fit on a 210x210 too, but you might have to increase the bed size in your slicer by a mm so it lets you slice. One of my testers has successfully used a 200x200 printer by shaving off a little on the edges of part 01 and 06. If your printer is smaller you'll have to get creative with the print orientation like this guy: https://i.redd.it/8jjb75kus6c41.jpg

 

Very nice, I like the concept.

 

But really for the software, don't re-invent the wheel, it's not worth it.  OnStep + a MKS Gen-L (both version 1 and 2 are supported though testing of v2 is more limited since it's fairly new) and about a hour (if you have some Arduino experience) can have it up and running.  Of the ideas mentioned only full auto align isn't supported, but OnStep can (and does) figure out how far the PA needs to be moved based on the align so it wouldn't take too much to add it almost trivial.

 

Read more here too:

https://onstep.group.../main/wiki/home

I came across OnStep several times and i will definitely integrate it sooner or later. In the beginning my code was so simple that Onstep seemed overkill but now i should look into it - it does everything i need .. and more


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#15 LarsMalmgren

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Posted 26 February 2020 - 05:09 AM

 bow.gifbow.gifbow.gif  AWESOME bow.gifbow.gifbow.gif

 

I love that you have put it on GitHub also waytogo.gif

I will definitely try to print this - even when i already have both the SW AdventurerPro & a SW Az-Gti mounts.

Yours simply have so much coolness-factor on it lol.gif


Edited by LarsMalmgren, 26 February 2020 - 05:09 AM.


#16 intercipere

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Posted 26 February 2020 - 09:49 AM

 bow.gifbow.gifbow.gif  AWESOME bow.gifbow.gifbow.gif

 

I love that you have put it on GitHub also waytogo.gif

I will definitely try to print this - even when i already have both the SW AdventurerPro & a SW Az-Gti mounts.

Yours simply have so much coolness-factor on it lol.gif

Thanks! I'd definitely love to see a direct comparison to a real tracker!



#17 Joral

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Posted 26 February 2020 - 04:00 PM

I'm planning to give this a shot, though the autoguider will be a later step.  I can't see anything on surplusshed which would make a decent objective lens (shortest 50mm is like 360mm FL.  I have a 50mm cemented doublet from an old Orion 8x50 finder, but need some guidance here on figuring the FL of it.



#18 james7ca

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Posted 27 February 2020 - 09:11 AM

Quite interesting, first time I've seen anything like this and thanks for posting. I guess someone could make a scale model of the Hale Telescope using a very small objective with a camera at the prime focus.

 

That said, I too would like to see a few images that have been taken with this setup (something a bit larger than shown on Thingiverse).


Edited by james7ca, 27 February 2020 - 09:20 AM.


#19 intercipere

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Posted 27 February 2020 - 04:13 PM

I'm planning to give this a shot, though the autoguider will be a later step.  I can't see anything on surplusshed which would make a decent objective lens (shortest 50mm is like 360mm FL.  I have a 50mm cemented doublet from an old Orion 8x50 finder, but need some guidance here on figuring the FL of it.

Someone found a UK shop that ships international, i linked it in the shopping list. You can just find out the focal length of your lens by trial and error, the printed tube draws in and out by quite a lot.

 

something a bit larger than shown on Thingiverse

https://i.imgur.com/NVOcftG.jpg Sony a6000, stock, Soligor 78-210 @210 f/4, 57 lights ISO 800 60s, some stray light from the neighbors

 

https://i.imgur.com/EvZNlZx.jpg Canon 450d (aka XSi), modded, same lens and settings, around 20 lights ISO 800 120s, this was before i used belts

 

https://i.redd.it/m36tu8u4z7b41.png a6000, Danubia 500mm f/8, around 20 lights ISO 4000(<- not a typo) 30s, also no belts and unguided

 

https://i.redd.it/bih8a1zqeof41.png 450d, Danubia lens, 24 lights ISO 400 120s, guided and after i integrated the belts

 

I have more single exposures that didnt make it into stacks, that show a major improvement after the belt upgrade, but dont have them available for the mentioned reasons. I do have one single exposure of 300s at 210mm with the a6000, unguided!! https://i.imgur.com/OdCh1QE.jpg Its not at all perfect, but i think pretty impressive for a printed tracker. 

 

The impressive thing with the Danubia lens is that its absurd long https://i.redd.it/az8231ozaq941.jpg about 45cm. Its massively out of balance, but the mount still tracks. However, probably only in the west.


Edited by intercipere, 27 February 2020 - 04:14 PM.

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#20 Sean Wood

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Posted 27 February 2020 - 05:04 PM

Looking over the files last night to get a work flow and print list going. I noticed the caps for the bearings on the RA(?) ring aren't in the files on Thingiverse or the GIt repository. Did you redesign the mount to not use them?


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#21 H-Alfa

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Posted 27 February 2020 - 05:06 PM

Very interesting project!
One question. Did you performed a PE analisys?

Enviado desde mi Mi 9 Lite mediante Tapatalk

#22 intercipere

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Posted 27 February 2020 - 07:53 PM

Looking over the files last night to get a work flow and print list going. I noticed the caps for the bearings on the RA(?) ring aren't in the files on Thingiverse or the GIt repository. Did you redesign the mount to not use them?


I changed that a little bit before uploading to thingiverse, the picture is a bit dated. If you look closely on the video (which is more recent), they're not there anymore.
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