Macro Slide for Focus Stacking

In Electronics, Photography by Steve

My third Arduino project was inspired by the second, the Timelapse Slide. This project was to include an existing Manfrotto 454 Micrometric Positioning Sliding Plate. with this slide & a stepper motor I hope to be able to do some Focus Stacking have a look at Zerene Stacker the software I intend to use.

Attached to this will be another Stepper motor from Robot Gear. This is the same one that I used in the Timelapse Slide project. I mounted the stepper to the slide plate using scrap alloy angle I had laying around.
The stepper shaft is 5mm and the slide has a 8mm thread, I just happened to have a 5mm propeller spinner that had a 8mm thread, with a little work I had the stepper fixed & moving the slide.

Now to the Arduino control, this time I decided to use a Freetronics “eleven” board, the Freetronics LCD & Keypad shield and the Adafruit Motor/Stepper/Servo Shield that I used in the Timelapse Slider project.

The below photo shows all the slide hardware mounted & tested.


Another view.


The stepper will now move the slide with 100mm of free movement. I did some testing & one motor step will move the slide 0.0062mm & 1mm of travel will be 175 steps. Slightly different possibly due to my measuring ability.

So the next step & what I’m working on now is the Arduino menu & control.

Below is a photo of the Arduino with the stepper shield in the middle & the LCD shields on top.


The menu can be clearly seen displayed on the LCD, I’m using phi_buttons library to handle the LCD buttons & the phi_prompt library for the menu items. I have the menu programmed with what I think I need, now to get the menu to control the stepper.

Its been a while but I have finished the Macro Slide to a point that I can use it. It took a little while to work through the programming of the menu to control the stepper but now I can set the time between shots, the number of shots to be taken & the number of motor steps between each shot. The photo below is the completed Arduino hardware enclosed in a temp housing, powered up with the start menu showing.


The Arduino is setup to trigger the camera between the motor moving the slide, the camera will be set up independently due to the fact that I will be using the reverse lens technique to capture macro photos. This has proven to be a cost effective way for me to get into macro photography as I already had three older FD canon lenses & the reversing adaptor ring was very cheep through eBay.
The fact that the lens is reversed on the camera means you have to set the aperture wide open with a little trick, then I set the shutter speed via the normal camera method, manual control over static lighting is the last requirement.

Finally have the entire setup together.
Manfrotto 244RC Variable Friction Arm
Manfrotto 454 Macro-positioning Sliding Plate
Canon 60D
Canon FD 50mm Reversed
Viltrox JY-675 Macro Cool Light
Arduino controller, see above
Zerene Stacker, see above


Now have the Arduino control boxed in its final enclosure.


Below is a Stack using the Macro Slide. 178 RAW images converted to TIFF & stacked usingĀ Zerene Stacker. Not happy with the result, might try JPG instead of RAW next time.


Not sure why it looks like it does, need to look into it.