Make a Motorized Camera Slider from Stuff You Have in Your Workshop

Craft & Design Photography & Video
Make a Motorized Camera Slider from Stuff You Have in Your Workshop
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For an upcoming project, I really wanted some nice, fluid sliding shots. There are many, many ways to pull this off, all centered around sliding your camera along a rail of some kind. I’m really just trying this out, I’m not a fancy videographer or anything, so I really didn’t need anything complicated or expensive. I wanted to get a nice motorized sliding system for as cheap as possible.

I’m not going to put a hard price on this project since it hinges so much on “stuff you’ve got lying around”. I had purchased this cheap drill for another use, and the scrap wood was left over from another project. Even if I had purchased both brand new for this, I’m sure my total cost would be under $30. However, most people have an old drill (even if it’s not cordless) and possibly even some scrap wood. If you buy wood that isn’t meant for furniture, it is dirt cheap.

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Why modify the drill?

You could just tape a drill to the end of your board and be done. However, that would mean that you would need to stand there, holding the trigger. I film all alone, so I can’t do that and also be in the frame! To fit my needs, I wanted the ability to trigger this and set the speed while I’m standing a few feet away, ideally in front of the camera.

I disassembled the trigger, removing the spring that pushes it back to “off”. After reassembling, I now have a controller I can set to a specific speed and step away. I could have done this with pretty much any DC motor, but the drill is a convenient way to get something with a lot of torque very cheap and easy.

motorized camera slider

Going Further

This thing was done the fastest and easiest way I could think of to reach my goals. There is so much you could do to make this better.

  • Add wheels and a guide rail to your setup. This would give smoother motion and help it stay in a straight line.
  • Replace the drill with a quieter motor
  • Use a microcontroller and stepper motor for fine timing control
  • Replace the scrap wood with something collapsible and easier to transport.


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I get ridiculously excited seeing people make things. I just want to revel in the creativity I see in makers. My favorite thing in the world is sharing a maker's story. find me at

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