Category Archives: DIY

Playing With DigiSpark

I was thinking about building a delay circuit quickly and effectively and with small footprint. The idea is to delay a signal either from a camera or from other camera triggering devices and then trigger a flash after the delay.

Beside my need to build such a circuit, it is also my goal to share it and make it DIYable. Therefore, using a small microchip came up to my mind. One such MCU is Attiny45 series by Atmel (now Microchip) as it is so popular and you can use an Arduino to program it. While searching for Attiny45, I came across something that I have forgotten — DigiSpark boards!  Continue reading Playing With DigiSpark

Building A Micro Focus Stacking Rail Using Arduino

When I first showed an micro sized automatic focus stacking rail video, the response was over whelming. Some requested an DIY version of it. Though it only took me about two days, one day for hardware design and one day for software development to build a complete system shown in the video below, it is not that easy to actually write a blog about it. Why? Because it is so easy to design a PCB using Eagle and then solder components on it. Writing a blog and building one with Arduino is kinda tedious because you have to wire them and it is messy.

Anyways, here is the video I shot showing what I did, see how clean it is. While using Arduino might be messy but you will be able to do it. Important disclaimer: I am the designer of MJKZZ Focus Stacking Rail Systems

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Reading Digital Caliper From Arduino

I have just encountered the need to read a digital dial indicator for another personal project. However, most of these digital dial indicators are “expensive” (normally cost about 30 – 100 USD), so I figure to just get a cheap digital caliper costing about 3 USD to start with. I totally understand that a cheap digital caliper might have different data protocols, but from what I gathered on the internet, most of these Chinese digital measurement tools use similar format — a clock and a data.

CaliperProofArduino output matches (closely) caliper reading. There are some discrepancy, but I think it the poor caliper that is displaying wrong data

Not able to find my USB logic analyzer and my oscilloscope is dead, I decided to use an Arduino as signal analyzer. read more

Say What? Using A Speaker As Stacking Stage For High Magnification Work?! Part I

Yes, you heard it right, you can use an audio speaker as stacking stage for high magnification work. It was during the Chinese new year when almost all businesses are shut down for almost two weeks in China, my speaker for PC was behaving strangely, after all, I have been using the pair for about 7 years. So, I started investigating what was wrong. By touching some wire, the speaker made some noise, and since I was testing some setups for high magnification stacking, the movement of speaker cone caused by noise immediately drew my attention: can that movement be used for stacking? I was pretty sure it can and I posted the idea on a forum which drew some attention.

StackRailVC_2PM

After some more experiment on my own with above circuit, I think it is a very viable solution.
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Making A Focus Assist LED Ring Light For Manual Macro Lens

When taking pictures using a macro lens, shallow depth of field usually mandates a rather small aperture to gain sharpness. With automatic lenses, stopping down is not a problem because the camera keeps the aperture wide open during view finding, unless you press the depth of field preview button. Only when camera is taking a picture, does it set the true aperture to whatever you set it to for exposure. However, if you ever used a manual macro lens, stopping down the lens cuts the light significantly, making it really hard to see through the view finder and focus.  This is particularly hard for higher magnification macro lenses such as Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8, Laowa 60mm f/2.8 2x and lenses on extension, etc, where it is almost impossible to focus even at f/11.

focusassist_cover

Good news is that there is a simple and easy to do DIY solution to this problem as shown above and the difference can be day and night.  more …

Making a Shoot From Below Water Drop Setup

As water drop photography grew popularity, there has been many innovations about making water collide and splash. One such technique is the so called “Shoot From Below” setup. Basically, this technique utilizes pressurized or compressed air to push water jet up and then collide with water drop falling from above, the result can be astonishing.

img_2605Here is one example of Shoot From Below technique — yellow jets are shot from below with pressurized air tank and collide with red drops from above

This might sounds very expensive to do, but in actuality, it is not and it is safe, too.  more …