How to Build a Low Cost Motorized Camera Slider for Perfect Video Shots


A motorized camera slider allows you to achieve smooth camera movements and motion timelapses with ease. While professional sliders can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, you can build your own motorized slider for under $100. With some basic tools and materials, I'll show you how to make a DIY motorized slider that rivals what the pros use.

Materials Needed

To build the slider, you'll need the following materials:

Building the Slider Rail

The first step is to build the wooden slider rails. Cut the 1x4 board into two 40 inch rails. Use a router with a rounded edge bit to create a channel along the top of each rail for the bearings. This helps center the bearings on the rail.

Next, use wood screws to attach metal corner brackets along the bottom of each rail. This allows the rails to mount firmly to the base platform.

With the rails completed, slide two bearings onto each rail. These will support the camera carriage.

Assembling the Base Platform

To mount the slider rails, you need a sturdy base platform. A simple way is to use an 11 x 14" piece of 0.5" thick plastic or wood. Drill holes to mount the rails parallel, spaced 8.5 inches apart.

Use the corner brackets on the rails as a template to drill mounting holes in the base. With the rails attached to the base, you now have a smooth set of tracks for the camera carriage.

Building the Camera Carriage

The camera carriage is what holds your camera and moves along the slider rails. Build a carriage using two pieces of wood connected by threaded rods.

Drill holes for the stepper motor shaft and idler rod to pass through. Attach the two pieces using nuts and washers to hold the threaded rods in place.

Mount the stepper motor to drive the main threaded rod. The idler rod with bearings provides stability on the other side. The camera screws directly into the wooden pieces or a tripod plate.

Wiring up the Electronics

Under the base platform, mount the Arduino, motor driver, power supply, and other wiring.

Connect the stepper motor to the motor driver. Use jumper wires to connect the Arduino to the driver board.

The Arduino code controls the stepper motor's movement by setting the driver outputs high and low in sequence. This code can be customized to control speed, distance, ramping, and other motion parameters.

Upload an Arduino sketch to initialize the motor driver and control the slider motion.

Creating Smooth Motion Timelapses

With the electronics wired up and Arduino code loaded, your DIY motorized slider is ready to go!

To shoot motion timelapses, program the Arduino with incremental movements over a set time period. For example, moving the carriage 2 inches every 10 minutes.

Use flexible couplings to prevent vibration or jumpy motion. Dialing in the stepper motor speed and using acceleration/deceleration in the code also improves the smoothness.

For best results, set up the slider in a location with interesting background motion, such as clouds, traffic, or city lights. The incremental movements of the carriage will create a parallax effect in your timelapse videos.


Building your own motorized camera slider is a fun electronics and woodworking project. The components such as the stepper motor, driver, and Arduino provide precise, customizable control.

With some easy to source materials and basic tools, you can construct a DIY slider for under $100 that moves as smoothly as professional models. The motorized slider unlocks new creative opportunities for your photography and videography.