Step 3: Mass and Lift Capacity

I started out weighing the WIRC set as a whole and each main component, the camera being the heaviest. But the camera has this lumpy plastic clamp of which a part can easily be removed by loosening some screws. Actually the packaging and cables show a lot of potential to hack them and loosing a lot of weight. But I decided not to do that on this first build, not risking the system not working properly anymore. I plan to do that on a second WIRC.

So I ended up with a control and video feedback system just under a 100 g.

Then I weighed the other RC components: servo’s, batteries and extension cords and everything together. Note that at that time I was still thinking to use a fourth servo (the white one) to tilt the camera, which I later dropped to keep it simple. I was at 172g

I pre-inflated the balloon with air to its desired size, which was determined by the maximum diameter still passing a common door. I tested a plastic clamp holding it closed and not being very impressed with it decided afterwards to use some string.

I left the air out and put in a good blob of “Hi-Float”, rubbing it out al over the inner surface. Then I inflated the balloon with helium to the same size again.

I checked the lift capacity by subtracting the weight from the ballast with the balloon pulling upwards from the weight when holding the balloon down by hand: 260g. So there was still plenty of room for the iris, a frame, small parts like the propellers and margin for loss of helium over time.
fraenzaen1 year ago
Hi nice project! Often thought of something like this. Didn't know that a small baloon is able to carry that much weight. Should have calculated or tested this.
masynmachien (author)  fraenzaen1 year ago
As a rough estimate one liter of helium at atmospheric pressure carries one gram.