Barn Door tracker built with Lego Technic for Entry-Level Astrophotography

Photography & Video
Brian Carter’s Barn Door Tracker was designed primarily with Lego parts
Brian Carter’s Barn Door Tracker was designed primarily with Lego parts

Ever wonder how photographers grab those awesome time-lapse images of the night sky? Some use a device known as a Barn Door tracker (AKA Haig or Scotch mount), which cancels out the diurnal motion of the Earth (fancy term for compensating for the Earth’s rotation). Most barn door trackers are made using two pieces of wood to form a hinge, with the bottom piece used to mount on a tripod and the top for mounting the camera on, which is aligned with the celestial pole.

The boards are driven together or apart at a constant rate to compensate for the Earth’s rotation. Wood is surely functional but using Legos for a barn door tracker is better, which is what Brian Carter did when designing his camera platform. Brian designed his Barn Door Tracker using unmodified beams and axels from a Lego Technic set to form the device’s platforms. The device features a hand crank to articulate the two platforms, which can also be outfitted with a motorized version Brian designed using a Lego Mindstorms EV3 brick and motor that turns a series of gears. See more of Brian Carter’s creation at his notebook.

Lego’s EV3 brick powers Brian’s motorized crank
Lego’s EV3 brick powers Brian’s motorized crank
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