Missile Launcher to Webcam Az-El base

This page shows the modification of a toy USB controlled Missile launcher into an Azimuth & Elevation controller for a Webcam.

The one factor causing me the most delay on this little project was the software interface side, well that is now coming together;

There has recently been a flurry of interest in these :-)  See Scott Weston's site for Linux version.

As delivered the unit provided only 180 degree Az. control and about -20 to +60 El. control I wanted at least 270 degree Az if possible and as it turns out I was able to modify the unit to give about 330 degree Az.

Unit as delivered

Base opened

Controller board released

Controller board


Mechanics of base unit

The thrust plate & limit switches

Remove the launcher head - push fit pins and unscrew head.

Azimuth gear

Note the "missing" teeth to prevent overrun beyond 180 degrees.

Modified by cutting extra teeth to allow maximum rotation.

reposition limit switches on thrust plate to allow extra rotation.

Detail ensure they don't touch gear teeth!

re-assemble and mount Webcam on head.

OK that's the hardware, now to dig into the software to see if I can drive it from an interface written in PHP to allow control from the Web .................


Oh yes can it be USB powered ?  Yes it seems quite happy, just jumper  lead from the Red USB feed to the other side of the slide switch and it seems to be happy, haven't tried it with the rocket launcher release mechanism, but I suspect that the motor drive won't be significantly different from the other two drives - however I haven't tried it with more than one motor running at a time, it might trip the USB current limits in that situation.

Shooting the Wife