axiiio mechanical design goals

  1. Tool-less setup. The team agreed that not requiring tools to set up or re-configure a rig would be a big time saver, allowing users to spend more time actually producing shots rather than getting ready to.
  2. Use standard rail and quick release systems. It should be able to interface with existing standard rail systems and quick release systems.
  3. Use industry standard connectors. The system needed to use high quality metal industry standard connectors throughout.
  4. 4 Axis minimum control. Able to drive at least 4 continuous rotation digital servo motors using closed loop technology.
  5. Gyro-Stabiliser control ready. Able to drive at least 2 additional servo motors using standard RC PPM signals (for gyro stabilised systems).
  6. Remote camera control. Capable of controlling selected cameras via an inbuilt USB host.
  7. Extremely low weight. The whole system including leads, receiver, pancakes, motors brackets, everything, needed to weigh less that 3 KG (6.5 pounds).
  8. The whole system needed to fit into a box no larger than 300 x 250 x 150 (12in x 10in x 6in).
  9. Must be able to move a 5KG payload (11 pounds).
  10. Have no structural plastic parts.
  11. Do all of this and ensure that a single axis starter system was under 1000 dollars for a kickstarter campaign.

Each of these goals represented a unique challenge to the project. Not least of which was the size and weight constraints.

making the system

The team wanted axiiio to be the lightest and smallest, professional quality motion control rig available in the world. To achieve this was going to require some serious weight busting engineering, using aerospace materials and design techniques.

Nothing beats testing actual parts, no matter how much time you spend calculating and modelling how things should react to loads, you always get a couple of curve balls that knock you back. Some of them are purely engineering related - things you missed or omitted, but some of them are tactile, design issues related to how the object feels when you use it or how it looks when it's performing tasks.

One of the first purchases the team made for the project was a small 3 axis milling machine, which would enable many iterations of components to be tested far faster than if the machining of these components was outsourced.

One of the worst things that can happen on a complex multi faceted project like axiiio, is finding out you have a problem when it's with customers. Being able to make prototype parts in house, really focuses you on the issues, not just with how the product reacts and feels, but also on it's manufacturability.

Another important part of the prototyping mix for the team was having a 3D printer to test parts before they were machined or expensive moulds were made for parts.