Iconasys 360 Jewelry Photography & Video Turntable
by Darian Muresan, Ph.D.
The most professional turntable for 360 Jewelry Photography & Video
In an earlier article we discussed the features that make a photography turntable a world class turntable and described how our engineering teams at Iconasys have approached these design features to build the Iconasys Platinum Series Product Photography Turntables. The Iconasys Platinum series turntables are meant for various sized products from small to large and support weight capacities up to 500 pounds. For the diamond, jewelry, watch, coins and small items industries our Platinum tables may be an overkill and a bit bulky. Thus, our engineering teams at Iconasys revamped our 360 Jewelry Photography Turntable to include advanced features and functionality to improve 360 jewelry photography processes, usability and image quality. In this article we discuss the unique features that make the Iconasys Jewelry Photography Turntable the ideal choice for anyone shooting 360 views of small items. We will also highlight some of the engineering challenges we faced and how our teams overcame them.
1. 360 Jewelry Photography Turntable Motor Selection
At Iconasys, one of the first requirements was to select a small motor, to fit the miniature size of the table. Further, we wanted to precisely control the motor’s speed, direction and position, to do both start-stop photography and video.
The motor that best fit our needs is a small 35mm diameter, 400 steps stepper motor. The motor has a height of 13mm, a holding torque of 0.7 Kg.cm, 0.5A per phase and weighs only 80 grams. The motor has no additional gears, which means that all rotational and side-to-side play is eliminated. (Minimizing play is extremely critical for macro-photography.) With the selection of our motor, the table is bi-directional and has a maximum speed of 4 rotations per minute (RPM), which we’ve determined to be good enough for most 360 jewelry photography & video requirements. The table can be configured with higher speeds, but experimentally, we’ve determined that anything higher than 3-4 RPMs creates problems with the objects on the platform moving, due to higher momentum at higher speeds.
A huge challenge with the selected motor is heat. The motor can get as hot as 80 degrees Celsius above ambient temperature. For long shooting sessions, motor heat becomes a real challenge. To resolve the heat issue, our team mounted the motor through a 2mm, highly purified copper top and added heat sinks and thermal paste to maximize the heat transfer away from the motor, as shown in Figure 1. This has reduced the overall temperature by more than 70%, making the platform warm to touch, without the need for additional fans.
Figure 1: Stepper motor mounted on a copper plate and heat sink with thermal paste added for additional cooling.
2. Jewelry Photography Turntable Motor Driver
A stepper motor is controlled by a digital stepping drive that controls the actual motor rotation, speed and position. In turn, the digital stepping drive is controlled by our Shutter Stream 360 Product Photography Software via our software development kit (SDK).
The quality of the digital stepping drive is paramount to being able to properly tune and create as much of a vibration free stepper motor rotation, as possible. We have formed a partnership with a leading manufacturer of stepping drivers and through this partnership we have customized a stepping driver that provides as close as possible a vibration free rotation for our stepper motor. As a result, the Iconasys Jewelry Turntable provides a virtually vibration free continuous rotation and a stepping resolution of 6,400 steps per revolution (meaning users can capture up to 6,400 steps per 360 rotation).
3. Shutter release Port in Photography Turntable
The Iconasys Jewelry Turntable now has the ability to trigger any camera that supports the shutter release hardware protocol. For cameras that support shutter release (which are virtually all digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras) the process mimics pressing the snap button on the camera. This is done via two digital trigger mechanisms. First, the focus is set and within half a second or so, the camera is triggered. The turntable uses optical sensors to control the shutter release cable that is connected to it.
4. Photography Turntable Software Development Kit (SDK)
When developing our turntable, we maintained a common software interface for all of our Iconasys turntables, including this Iconasys Jewelry Turntable. This interface is freely available as a C++ SDK. Users can develop their own applications for this turntable and the SDK provides access to the following features: direction, speed, position and shutter release. This makes the table ideal for research applications too, where users can integrate their own imaging or testing software with our table.
5. Flexibility in Mounting Objects and Accessories
In designing the table, we wanted to keep the design simple, yet flexible. We realized that users may want to hang the table upside down or attach different mounting props. Thus, we added a simple hubcap, as shown in Figure 2. This provides four threaded holes to allow for a wide range of platform customization.
Figure 2: Hubcap with four threaded holes for platform customization
The most basic customization is the rotating platform as shown at the left of Figure 3. The table top from Figure 3 has four diametrically opposite holes, which allow the table to be hung upside down, as suggested on the right side of Figure 3.
Figure 3: Rotating platform mounted to hubcap (left) and suggested use for hanging the table upside-down (right).
In conclusion, this article discussed different features that make the Iconasys Jewelry Photography Turntable the ideal choice for shooting 360 views of small items, such as: diamonds, jewelry, coins and watches. For additional info and examples, please follow links below:
Iconasys has established itself as a leading provider of eCommerce product photography automation tools that are designed to enable users of any skill level to create better quality product images while increasing workflow efficiencies. By integrating camera control into an advanced image editing application, Iconasys has delivered the fastest and best eCommerce product photography applications that are designed for still and 360 Spin Product Photography. Solutions include:
- eCommerce Product Photography Software
- Shutter Stream Product Photography Software
- 360 Spin Photography Software
- Shutter Stream 360 Product Photography Software
- Shutter Stream 360 Captureless Software
- 360 Product View Creator Software
- Photography Turntables
- Manual Photography Turntables
- Motorized Photography Turntables
- Shutter Release Photography Turntables
- Computer Controlled Photography Turntables
- Photography Lighting:
- LED Product Photography Light Box’s
- LED Product Photography Panel Lighting
- 360 Product Photography by Industry:
- 360 Product Photography by Application:
- and more…
About the author: Darian Muresan manages the software and hardware development at Iconasys and is a key contributor to Iconasys’ image processing algorithms. Darian has undergraduate degrees in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics from University of Washington (Seattle, WA.); and a Masters and Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Cornell University (Ithaca, NY.).