Introduction: Drone Floats (350 QX3 AP Combo)
Before I get into this too far, I made upgraded floats that have less of a chance of getting in the shot during hard turns or high winds. They also float higher for emergency landings in choppy water. I will publish that instructables.com soon and will provide a link here when I do.
So I love my Drone (350 QX3 AP Combo) and I trust it's capabilities more than I think I do.
Though flying over water still makes me a bit hesitate. Not so much that somthing will go wrong, but more so that if it does I want to be able to recover it.
Spring is in the air... Rivers are rushing and the runoff from snow pack is filling lakes and streams... all of this equals great photos and videos.
So it was time to make my drone some new shoes... Water recover shoes!
Step 1: Playing With Your Noodle!
I was at a big box store getting the 10th tire pump for my bike in 2 years... Not sure where they keep going, but that's aside the point.
I grabbed a pump, turned a corner down a kids isle. Cutting to the register when a full box of promises stopped me...
Every color, size and some that even had horse and dinosaur heads... But one in particular cought my attention...
There she was! Not too flashy, she wasn't begging for attention like the others. She just sat in the corner blending in and observed all that was going on around her.
My mind racing, hands trembling... Ideas filled my head... I had to slow down. I knew she was perfect, but how? Without thinking I extended my hand to her and we left.
What happened next I don't quite remember....
Flashes of us in my car, then somehow my living room and at one point we even made it into my bedroom.
The next few days I sat at home feverishly playing with my noodle... Then it came!
It was so simple!
The next period of time was increasingly crazy and filled with false alarms, worries and cravings.
Even after all that time we remained close ... After work one day "It's time!" shattered everything I was doing....
Follow the journey to the birth of this brainchild...
Step 2: Weight a Moment
Okay, enough funny business...
Grab a flat surface. In my case a plate, but a baking sheet, piece of plastic or even some wood will work...
Place it on your scale and tare it.
place your drone (battery, camera, gimbal, and other accessories) on the scale.
Step 3: Similar Weights
Find somthing that has a similar weight to the drone.
It just so happens that after I tared the scale, the plate I used to weigh the drone weighed almost the same weight as the drone it's self...
Step 4: Float Test
Measure the legs of your drone.
leave an extra 2 inches for use on step 6.
Fill the sink or tub with enough water to make your weight float.
Check to make sure the water dosent exceed 3/4 of the noodle. Upon a hard landing or possibly crash into water current, wake, falling water etc... Will more than likely push the noodles under water.
Step 5: Cut the Plugs
Cut off an inch from part of the spare noodle.
You can cut plugs by measuring a 1 inch circle or use a 1 inch I.D. tube and press hard on spare slice.
An imprint will be left. Simply cut around the imprint.
Do this 4 times to make 4 plugs.
Step 6: Stuff It
Check the fit of the plugs.
If they are snug in the center hole break out the E6000 and apply a generous layer to the plug.
Press the plug into the noodle till it's flush.
Use any excess glue to seal any holes around the plugs.
Step 7: Weigh / Measure / Cut
Weigh out your floats. they should be about the same weight as when you started. E 600 is not very heavy.
Use the measurement seen on step 4 and cut a slit along the top with the ruler as a guide.
Be sure to only cut to the center and not cut all the way threw the noodle.
Step 8: Reason for the Plugs
The reason for the plugs: This compass sensor is on the inside of the landing gear.
If you are lucky enough to have your drone upright upon an emergency water landing/ crash this sensor will hopefully remain dry and operational.
So be sure there are no leaks if possible!
Step 9: In the Way
Test your camera with your floats.
Power your camera up into FPV (First Person View) and fly or move your drone and camera in all directions.
Make note of if or where your floats come into the picture.
Shave your floats little by little to reduce/ remove any potential of them ruining your shot.
Be careful not to cut too deep and puncture the floats all the way to the center!
Step 10: Slip On
Now simple slide your new water shoes over your legs and go fly with a bit more confidence!
Quick cautionary minder: Test your drone before flight over water...
1.) Test to make sure your drone correctly lifts off, hovers and operates property.
2.) Be aware that your new floats will catch wind and may also cause vibration.
3.) Adding any weight to your drone may cause a loss in flight time. Test flight time before taking your drone into the field.
4.) Test to make sure your floats are not in the way of the camera during turns or while rotating camera/ gimbal (up or down - side to side)
To see my drone videos click here: www.youtube.com/brookekathryn1980
For still images from my drone check out my Flickr page: