3D Rotating Image - Turntable Camera Setup

When i decided to restart making video's and taking pictures for the blog, i knew that i needed to find a way to show off what i was making.

Rotating Turntable - 3D Image - 360 Degree Camera Setup


Yes i could have continued to do what i did before, which was just take a lot of pictures, pick the best one out, and show that to people.  But then i saw something on TV where they would put a car or motorcycle on a rotating platform.  Kind of like how they show off cars at an auto show.  
animated gif rotating car

Then i realized that instead of video, i could slowly rotate the platform, incrementally take pictures, and convert the pictures to an animated Gif.  And that would be a great thing to put at the beginning and end of my blog posts and video's, where people could see all sides of an object.

Then i realized that i could kill 2 birds with 1 stone.  Years ago i took several pictures of the front of my house and using a program called PhotoFly, AutoCad converted the pictures to a CAD file.  I found out that PhotoFly doesn't exist any more, but AutoCad does have another similar program called 123D Catch.  
photofly, animated gif, autocad, 123d catch

I also took several pictures, from many different angles, of an Ocarina i made. 

This was really cool at the time, but you can see it isn't that precise and it took forever and it didn't always work.
photofly, animated gif, autocad, 123d catch, ocarina, how to

But if it did work, i realized that from AutoCad i could convert it to a 3D SketchUp file.

So that was the plan.

I will have to make a separate video and separate blog post explaining how i go about converting everything, it's not real simple.
plans, rotating platform, marbles, video, how to, build, make

But before i could do all of that, i first had to make a platform that i could place the object, to be able to rotate it smoothly and accurately.  I knew that after using the 123D Catch App that i needed to take 18 pictures from a low angle and 6 pictures from a higher angle.  
123d catch, autocad

View from the camera.  You can see the 2 rings down at the bottom left.  Blue means that the picture was taken in that spot.
phone, 123d catch, 3d model, rotating

Processing on the PC.
how to make a 3d model, camera

So using AutoCad i drew a circle and added the 18 numbers to it.  This would be my pattern / template for taking the pictures at a consistent angle.  
pattern for 123d catch, model, pictures, 3d

Cutting out the melamine circle and transferring the positions.
how to cut circle

Numbers all transferred to the melamine.
picture angles, 360 degrees

I ended up making 3 different versions.  I originally thought about using marbles as a type of ball bearings, but figured that it would be too difficult to make.  

The first version was very simple, just a round piece of plywood with a smaller round piece on the bottom.  Then i made a donut shaped piece that it would rotate in.  

This worked ok at first, specifically it worked ok for light weight parts.  
360 rotating, animated gif

But i realized that it wouldn't rotate correctly when the parts were heavy.  It was osculating and moving around on the table.  You can see with this animated gif that the part actually moves forward on the table.
how to photograph products, all angles, 360

So version 2 i removed the small round piece on the bottom and replaced it with a wheel bearing out of an old VCR.  I used the bearing because it was big and something i had sitting around.  Notice how high off the base board the platform is.
rotating image, how to photograph objects

The difficult part with this was mounting.  I couldn't get it to mount solidly to the table and solidly to the spinning board.

So i thought some more and realized that my first idea would be the best solution, marbles.  I realized that if i cut two circles out of plywood, then routed a circular groove in both boards, i could set marbles in the track and it would spin.

So i cut out the boards, that was the easy part.  The hard part was routing the circular groove.  I ended up drilling a hole in a scrap piece of wood, drilling a hole in it and clamping it to the router table.  I used that as a circle jig, a bolt through the center of the circular boards would go into the hole in the scrap board and i could rotate it through the router bit.  As far as the bit i used, it was this large domed bit.
router bit, round over, groove

Here was the board i cut.  You can see the shaded area marked out where i would be routing the groove.
cut round groove in board, marble

It took several passes to get the right width and depth.  Again, remember that the depth should be LESS than half the marbles radius, otherwise there will be no clearance between the 2 boards.
marbles in groove, rotating platform

This version worked great.  Super smooth no matter what weight i added on to it.
how to make 360 rotating platform, 3d model

Matching boards with grooves cut in.
marble wheel bearing

And here it is with the melamine top.
how to make marble bearing

You can see that i didn't actually cut the groove where i intended, i moved it more to the edge.
easy turntable

Another view of the marbles.
how to make turntable, marble bearing

I will make a video and blog post later about the process of taking the individual pictures, importing them to Photoshop, and making an animated gif.
how to photograph products

Bright light and camera with the correct depth of field.
photograph products, 360 degrees

In the end i only used the platform for making the animated gifs.  The 123D Catch program would not work properly and it said Error instead of sending me a 3D image.
rotating object, animated gif

However i recently bought a used XBOX 360 Kinect on Craigslist for $10 and i used it to scan myself.  I then printed that 3D image on my 3D printer.
3d model of face, body, head, 3d print, scan, skanect, kinect, xbox

I used a program called Skanect.  It takes some computer processing power but works well.  I also used Sculptris, which is a really cool and easy to use program for warping and editing a 3D file.  Because with the Skanect program you are not taking pictures, it scans you in real-time.  So there are some gaps in areas where the camera doesn't see clearly.  The Sculptris program was used to go back and fill in the gaps.

So now that i have a system to create 3D files i might go back and rescan all the things i've made.

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