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View Full Version : My coroplast slowstick mount


kodel
04-18-2006, 05:55 AM
My first try at AP:

A 10 minute adjustable coroplast mount, attached to the slowstick using the standard battery holders. No glue involved, just fold together and put some scotch tape over the edge reinforcement triangles.
2 paperclips form the hinges that allow for tilt adjustment. For now tilt is pre-set at the ground using scotch tape over the right paperclip, but this will become servo-operated in the future (shrink tubing over the paperclip to link with a control rod to the servo)

Some questions for you experienced AP guys:

- how do I get rid of vibration? I suppose my mount is now too rigid, since engine on shots are blurry. Can I just hang the mount on rubberbands to dampen the vibration or is something more sophisticated needed.

- any examples of a pan/tilt unit mounted under a stock slowstick? My idea was to also add a panning servo on the top, but that would add too much height to allow the standard LG to give enough ground clearance. Even now when landing in grass, the mount strikes the ground, as you can see in the picture from the mud and grass hanging from it :)

- any idea's on the feasability to control both camera pan/tilt using a video downlink, take pictures with a shutter release and at the same time control the airplane somewhat safely. To me it sounds like a handfull for 1 person, so I was wondering if anyone is doing this all by themselves.

kodel
04-18-2006, 05:57 AM
here are the pictures:

kodel
04-19-2006, 01:25 AM
nobody knows how I could get rid of the vibration?

firemanbill
04-19-2006, 01:28 AM
Well Kodel I'm not into aerial photography... yet... but it may work to lightly wrap your camera with egg crate foam or something like that. just don't put it in front of the lens:D

just a thought.

qban_flyer
04-19-2006, 01:36 AM
My first try at AP:

A 10 minute adjustable coroplast mount, attached to the slowstick using the standard battery holders. No glue involved, just fold together and put some scotch tape over the edge reinforcement triangles.
2 paperclips form the hinges that allow for tilt adjustment. For now tilt is pre-set at the ground using scotch tape over the right paperclip, but this will become servo-operated in the future (shrink tubing over the paperclip to link with a control rod to the servo)

Some questions for you experienced AP guys:

- how do I get rid of vibration? I suppose my mount is now too rigid, since engine on shots are blurry. Can I just hang the mount on rubberbands to dampen the vibration or is something more sophisticated needed.

- any examples of a pan/tilt unit mounted under a stock slowstick? My idea was to also add a panning servo on the top, but that would add too much height to allow the standard LG to give enough ground clearance. Even now when landing in grass, the mount strikes the ground, as you can see in the picture from the mud and grass hanging from it :)

- any idea's on the feasability to control both camera pan/tilt using a video downlink, take pictures with a shutter release and at the same time control the airplane somewhat safely. To me it sounds like a handfull for 1 person, so I was wondering if anyone is doing this all by themselves.A friend of mine who is into AP with his B/L powered Slow Stick always stops the motor before activating the camera to get rid of vibrating clips.

He gets the plane to decent altitude, kills the motor then lets the camera roll. :)

firemanbill
04-19-2006, 01:39 AM
Well that makes sense... the kiss method 'eh

Randy Due
04-19-2006, 04:39 AM
Shooting with motor off is best. You can also do some other things that will help. Balance your prop. It will run smoother and be easier on the whole machine. Dampening with foam will help, but I wonder if you're not getting too much movement with the mount attached with just rubber bands. Maybe try it with something more rigid and with a piece of foam in between to dampen vibrations. Looks like you've done a good job coming up with an easy to build mount.

I think you'll get mixed opinions about lining up the shot with a downlink. Personally, while taking still shots, I prefer to just guess at aiming the camera. I usually set up my Nikon in sports mode and make several passes at different altitudes while using the retract switch to depress the shutter via servo. In sports mode, the camera fires continuously (after flipping the switch) until I flip the switch off. I have a lot of pictures to sort through to get the good ones, but it works for me. I have a good downlink system that I use regularly for video. I capture the video on the ground with and Aiptek MPVR. It is certainly feasible to fly while operating tilt/pan and viewing a monitor simultaneously. It just takes some practice. Don't get so caught up in controlling the camera equipment that you forget to fly the plane. I think there are a lot of people that prefer this method instead of guessing at it. I would recommend using the method that you are most comfortable with. Good luck with the vibration problem.

Randy

falingtrea
04-19-2006, 06:02 AM
Balancing the prop sounds a good suggestion. Also, if you can, try to force the camera to as fast a shutter speed as possible.

kodel
04-20-2006, 06:22 AM
I'll balance the prop tomorrow and see what difference it makes.
Motor off isn't too good for stability with the wind levels we're seeing around here these days (spring didn't reach Belgium yet :)

The camera I use now is an old 2M pixel model, since I don't want to risk something expensive until I got this AP thing under control. Thinking of a 8Mpixel fixed-lens quality camera, possibly with vibration reduction.

Randy Due
04-20-2006, 02:08 PM
I'll balance the prop tomorrow and see what difference it makes.
Motor off isn't too good for stability with the wind levels we're seeing around here these days (spring didn't reach Belgium yet :)

The camera I use now is an old 2M pixel model, since I don't want to risk something expensive until I got this AP thing under control. Thinking of a 8Mpixel fixed-lens quality camera, possibly with vibration reduction.


Is your 2 mp camera a ccd or cmos? A cmos needs more light and is also more sensitive to movement. Also, if it's really windy and the plane is getting bounced, it makes it harder to get good shots.

TaSaJaRa
04-21-2006, 01:58 AM
I agree make sure the prop is balanced. Also some of the shots can look like vibration but are really not. It can be the focus. I always put my camera in manual focus. That way it's not always tring to zoom in on any one object.

kodel
04-25-2006, 06:19 PM
most definately vibration. I balanced the prop and all was OK. Not perfect, but OK. Engine off was OK to perfect, depending on how high I was and how steady the wind blew (or the pilot flew :) ).

Crash resistance tested: I had a mid-air at 30 meters high with another slowstick. We where flying at an event with the FlyGWS.be demo-team with 3 slowsticks, where I was carrying the camera trying to get the other two Slowsticks in the picture. The mid-air collision resulted in the two slowsticks falling down together from the the sky.

Result: 1 broken prop, 1 tail feather that needed repairing with scotch tape and a hole in the wing of the other plane. Oh yes, the camera was still functioning, the mount absorbed the shock and all I needed to do was to remove some dirt from the mount. It's a pity I forgot to take pictures during the "free fall" after the crash :)

I'll be further developing this mount when my Nikon 7900 arrives. I want pan and tilt and a construction time of under 1 hour. We'll see. This old, heavy, cmos camera proved to me that the Slowstick will carry the weight and drag and that the mount is strong enough, probably better fit for the purpose than a balsa or CF construction