I find gimbals really fascinating even just to look at. So lately I decided to make my own since the ones out there are so expensive, and making stuff is so much cooler than buying stuff.
I quickly realized that they are usually made with a gimbal controller board and brushless motors. And they are super easy to make, so maybe later I will make one of those. But I also have a lot of components laying around, and just because i was curious i decided to make a arduino gimbal with micro servos
luckily I found this instructable by woojay wich became the basis for my gimbal.
I had no hopes that it could even support my action camera, but to my surprise it did. It has some delay, but its a fun and interesting project and its really cheap.
Step 1: Partslist
The parts needed for the arduino gimbal with micro servos is:
2 x 9g micro servos
1 x arduino (i prototyped with the uno, and in the end i used the nano just because it so little, you can use wich one you like)
1 x mpu6050 accel/gyro sensor
2 x 10k resistors
Power supply (i ended up with 4x1.5 AA batteries) IMPORTANT, the power output from the arduino will not be enough to drive the servos itself, you NEED external power.
And the casing and arms. I printed this item, my design can be found on thingiverse. And if you have a printer yourself, i would love to see some other designs, mine was rough and could probably be a lot more refined.
Step 2: The Prototype
So i searched a lot around the web to find anyone else making a gimbal with micro servos. And i couldn't find much info, so I assumed that this wouldn't even work since the internet wasn't full of info. But there was one instructable that made it all happen. It was a prototype of the system made by woojay. This really helped a lot since I am not a programmer in any ways.
So i went ahead and built his system with his code and it worked without any issues.
The only thing to be clear about here is the calibration of the MPU6050. Everyone of these sensor are unique in there own way, therefor you need to run the calibration program stand alone on your MPU6050 first to read its characteristics. The the value you get out of you chip must be edited in to your specific program for the gimbal.
For this sample to work, the I2Cdev and the MPU6050 libraries need to be installed. Find the calibration program and wiring diagram attached. Also check out woojay's instructable, he has good wiring diagrams.
Step 3: Going Forward
So i made woojay's system, then it is time to turn it in to a real gimbal. This is all about creativity and how you want to make you specific system, you can use my step files and print it, or make something completely different.
I used a nano instead from this point to make it smaller and a cheap protoboard to make it one unit.
I put the mpu6050 inside the main box. I've read that maybe putting it on the camera side (the arm the camera sits on) might be a better solution. So that is up to you. Everything would still be the same if you choose to do so.
As you can see from pictures and video the first arm configuration i design was to flexible, maybe I should have seen that one coming, but anyways I am giving you a heads up now if you should want to design your own. I also added a switch between the battery and arduino.
Any questions leave a comment, and read more at my blog