PhotoRobot Hardware for Automated Product Photography

Introducing PhotoRobot hardware features for automated product photography, still & 360 image capture, and production of spin videos and 3D models.

Anatomy of PhotoRobot Hardware for Automated Product Photography

In this post, we’re showcasing our latest YouTube video on PhotoRobot hardware for automated 360 / 3D product photography. See under the hood of three PhotoRobot solutions: the Centerless_Table, the_Cube, and Robotic_Arm.

In the video (see above), we decided to really geek out and dive into the technical specifications of our machines. There’s a lot in the video to unpack, so we’ve also written this article for further reading.

Continue reading to learn about the anatomy of our hardware, its technical details, and automated product photography with PhotoRobot. 

The Centerless_Table: Setting the Standard in the Studio

PhotoRobot takes pride in solutions to automate the product photography studio, and the Centerless_Table is no exception. The Centerless_Table is a universal, motorized turntable for shadow-free product photography of small and medium size objects. Deploy it in the studio to automate the production of packaging photography, still images, 360 product images, and eCommerce 3D models.

Automated product photography system and setup.

This solution is an industrial grade machine with a glass turntable. The centerpiece of this model is an 850mm optical glass turntable, with 8mm thickness and weighing 11,5kg. It can support up to 40kg, and has no green-color tinted edges, as seen on many entry-level solutions.

Under the Hood of the Centerless Table

Inside the Centerless Table, we have a precisely machined aluminum wheel with a rubber O-ring reading the plate position 1000 times per second. Some competing products do this as well, but at a lower frequency.

Additionally, there is an optical sensor calibrating the wheel readouts every single turn of the glass plate. This sensor constantly recalculates the gear ratio, allowing for unparalleled production speeds. 

Optical glass plate of 360-degree photography turntable.

Fully adjustable pulleys guide the glass plate. Each pulley has a user replaceable X-shaped silicone ring for perfect output geometry. There is also a storage place for a zip bag with replacement rings and instructions for ordering more rings, inside the machine.

Power, Precision, and Stability

Now, let’s talk about power running this machine. This drive shaft wheel, which is also user replaceable, has a robust motor behind it. The motor runs at 48V and 10A, and is controlled with pre-sized S-curves for acceleration and deceleration. 

It’s literally the power of a racing car at your fingertips. This machine can capture an entire 360 image in under 4 seconds, more than the output of most cameras and lights. In reality, it takes around 20 seconds to take a 36-image spin.

White high-top sneaker with orange laces spinning on turntable.

All of these components are housed in the massive frame of the machine. The frame prevents product shake in final images, even at high speeds, thanks to its uncompromising rigidity. 

Additional features

The Centerless_Table for automated product photography also has a number of other additional features. For example, in the front, there is an industrial rack to install our 19-inch control units, laser controllers, power distributors, network components, surge protectors, and more. 

All of these features help you stay better organized. There are also clever paths for hiding the wiring inside the entire workspace.  

The_Cube for Automated 360 Product Photography

The next piece of today’s automated product photography setup includes the Cube_V5. There are currently 3 different models of the_Cube to perfectly cover various configurations of the workspace, according to client specifications.

360-degree rotating mannequin support hardware.

This machine can work as a stand-alone device, or you can pair it with other PhotoRobot machines. It also has features for ghost mannequin photography and quick-mannequin exchange for shooting fashion products.

In another setup, the_Cube acts to precisely synchronize the rotation of a suspended product with the Centerless_Table. Nylon strings suspend the product in place. There is also an extensive range of accessories that fit on the snowflake-shaped output shaft wheel. These accessories provide an extreme latitude of adjustment for all of your automated product photography.

The Anatomy of the_Cube

The design of the_Cube also allows you to photograph electric devices, even when they are on. For this, there is a model with an electric socket and a rotating part for powering up the item when spinning. 

Glass product suspended on device rotating above turntable.

To keep the_Cube as well as other accessories perfectly aligned, there is a top portal with extendable columns. These, unlike with standard length columns, allow you to go to a 90° top view with a camera mounted onto a robotic camera arm.

The Portal to Lend a Helping Hand

Also, the portal can carry various holders such as pins, sockets, uniclamps, or heavy-duty clamps. Always useful, this ensures you have a third hand to hold spotlights, reflection boards, or other photography rigs.

The system of PhotoRobot hedgehog holders integrated with the portal allows you to have the lights, LED or strobes, always at the right place. Whether it’s in front of the object or evenly illuminating the background for its easy automated removal.

Photo editing automation user interface with handbag.

As the camera reaches higher angles, we ensure the background is illuminated perfectly at the furthest point from the perspective of the background lights. For this, we have a reflection surface integrated in the diffusion background set to distribute the light evenly.

The machine can also hold black flags, which you can place on both sides of the object you’re photographing. It’s also possible to place these under the glass plate on a nylon string web, which is adjustable in many directions. This gives you absolute flexibility to meet the needs of any setup. 

The Robotic_Arm for Camera Control

Finally, PhotoRobot’s Robotic_Arm in this automated product photography workspace is in its eighth generation. The Robotic_Arm ensures the correct angle of the camera when capturing still images or spins, single-row or multi-row.

Robotic camera arm for automating elevation and capture.

A brushed stainless steel seat provides a way to mount the camera sensor exactly to the optical of the machine’s rotation. The camera seat is at the end of a telescopic arm, which comes in two different lengths with the device.

This makes it so that you can use the Robotic_Arm with robotic tables and with larger platforms. The entire arm is also mounted on a pivot with position micro adjustment to perfectly position the camera. Meanwhile, a set of counterweights allows you to balance the arm for maximum precision of movement.

Precise object positioning

What’s more, the swing spindle of the Robotic_Arm is hollow to accommodate a cross laser for precise positioning. This is useful not only when placing products in the center of rotation, but also for aligning the arm and the table together. 

If doing this frequently, like when using the Robotic_Arm partly with the table and a platform, there is an optional docking station. This allows you to simply push the arm and lock it into place. Then, to unlock it and get it on its retractable wheels, a sliding bar on the docking station makes it easy.

Control unit of automated photography setup.

This is used for two purposes. Use it as a robotic swing to capture the exact angle, or as the height adjustment of the entire machine to the center of the object’s height. This is an automatic functionality of our control software if the information is available. It can be either in the shooting list, or via automatic measurement of CubiScan devices.

The Heart of the System: the Control Unit

At the heart of the entire system, there are our 19’’ control units. These controllers are mounted in an industrial rack chassis, providing easy access to upgrades to the latest generation. It also makes for easy maintenance and servicing if you require it.

Discover more about our product photography solutions

At the end of the day, PhotoRobot is more than simply all these technical details. PhotoRobot comprises solutions for photographers, by photographers. Moreover, we aim to provide product photographers with precise, robust, reliable, and extremely powerful tools and software.

Want to learn more? Contact PhotoRobot today. One of our technical strategists will introduce you to automated product photography solutions suitable for your operations.