Introduction: Keychain Rocket CamCorder

I have wanted to do this for years, Many have been built in my mind, but either $ time or something came up to prevent building like this, I have always wanted an ariel view of my home (green pool ,junk cars and all), I have built rockets, helicopters, blimps in my mind, but alas no further. My daughter got my first rocket cam with the 110 camera, but it gets costly to shoot a rocket 24 times, running to find it then $ to develop, (I have to admit that the original 110 film with several pictures are still in original nose cone, undeveloped.

Step 1: Little More on Why

A little introduction, Photography has been one of NASA's goals in nearly every mission, Photos, take a snapshot in history, Something every person can ogle at. Cameras on spy satellites to see what is going on at the other side of the world and now the Galaxy and much further, I was watching the shuttle activity's on satellite one night, when the astronaut got his camera out while in earth orbit, I do not remember the location, but the screen went to what the camera was taking pictures of, first they zoomed... Wow, then they zoomed some more... Then some more then more yet, I was awe struck by the clarity of the photography, and just the ability of what I saw... don't ever look up...Smile you could be on camera. This makes one really think  and look at this 

Step 2: Needed Materials

You will need either a  rocket that you have, Or build one from a kit, I chose one that I already  had,
I used a table saw
Belt Sander
Soldering iron to melt the styrofoam
very small keychain camcorder mine was from Ebay like item 180704235867
Time to construct apox 10 hours, or less, I goofed on several occasions and had to redo some stuff, I went from blank to finish, less publishing this on Instructables today

Step 3: Rough in Nose Cone

I chose the white stryofoam as I have plenty and it is light and EZ to sand, And if you goof, no great loss except for some time, I drew a circle on each end, Used a tbale saw to cut a long square piece larger than what I need, You can always remove, but very difficult to add. I then used a belt sander letting the end that I held away from direction of belt travel, If you try a different way it will eat the stryofoam and ether break it or sand your fingers. The goal is to make a long round strofoam log, Again just a bit larger than needed finished .

Step 4: Matching the Camcorder to Nose Cone

I made a log larger than I need, I cut this in half, good thing as I destroyed the frist one shaping the point with hack saw and file which didnt work very well, The one that worked, I used a hot soldering iron to shape a cavity that would fit the camcorder, i then shaped with belt sander so the camcorder and edge of the strofoam was as smooth as reasonable, NO flat edges to drive the rocket off course. I then drilled a hole so a string could be securly attached to the camcorder thru the nose cone then to the chute. I then sanded with belt sander the part that attaches into the rocket body so it fits snug but not to tight.

Step 5:

I used a short piece of string to secure the camcorder to chute, passing thru the nose cone, A simple fishing knot is just fine, The original 110 camer nose cone weighed in at just a 2 onces, The new cone with camcorder, and a second chute is just 1 1/4 ounces

Step 6: Almost Final Rocket Assembly

I then attached a new chute to rocket body same size as the original, I the added wading, Wading is used to keep the deploying charge from melting the chute as well as pushing the payoload out. The rocket body chute was place in first, The nose cone assembly was then rolled carefully and put into rocket body. Last dark picture shows the finished rocket.

Step 7: Motor Selection

Rocket motors are sized by alphabet, a number then another number, The letter A is smallest, second number is the average thrust in Newton's (I have no clue what a newton is) and third tells how many seconds it takes to deploy the load, Nose cone, I am using a C6-5 to power this rocket

Step 8: Lift Off

I just automaticaly do some stuff without even thinking, So my first launch I pushed the pin in the launcher, pressed the button , and nothing... forgot that there are igniters that you MUST use the little plastic piece that holds the igniter tightly against the motor, so first install igniter, then the little plastic piece, attach the aligator clips to igniter leads. The rocket is placed on the launch rod, I do lightly sand the rod and aplpy a little WD40 to make minimum drag to the rocket guide, I use a golf ball to prevent accidental Eye damage. To launch, push the safety pin down yell something important. press fire rocket will Launch in a few seconds and WOSH the rocket is launched, get ready to chase. Oh ya.. also DO NOT forget to start the camcorder. 3 second on button the 3 more seconds to camcorder mode, Sorry for the movie, The original is just to large for instructables, If you have real player you can pause and play to slow it down. THANKS Its nearly 7:30 and not much time to edit anymore, dinner to fix, and time to fish both at same time.

Just added at 9:50 Ok I have a couple more hours to fine tune this a bit, First Im a bit concerned on the amount of twisting the camera does after deploying from the rocket, When holding in my hand it twists one way, unwinds some more then goes back the other way, I suggest that the single narrow rubber strip (shock cord) be replaced with either a shorter double line from the chute, or a much wider but shorter shock cord, In real player I can choose to play slower, The entire flight down lasts only 2 minutes but is a huge 144 meg file, We are allowed 10 megs, which normally would be plenty. So jyou just need to pause in your player to see more.


Lolbert made it!(author)2012-06-08

According to my studies of kinematics, a newton is a measurement of force, or mass times acceleration. Since the acceleration of gravity is approximately 10 meters per second per second or 10m/s^2, it will take 10 newtons of constant force to make 1 kilogram hover. Add another 10, and it will accelerate upward at 10m/s^2. 6 Of course,using a lighter rocket means faster acceleration, and less power requirement.

I apologize for my excessive post-final-exam physics knowledge dump.

MikeD209 made it!(author)2016-09-13

Ah, someone else who knows the difference between N and Kg. Should I explain Slugs and Lbs to really confuse things? :-)

MadBricoleur made it!(author)2012-06-09

A wide angle "jelly lens" for phones, mounted to a tictac box inside which you put the camera, works wonders for field of view.

Matrix-technician made it!(author)2012-04-04

(Update) So I went and bought myself one of those micro keychain camcorders off of ebay. Cost me $8.00 usd with 1080x948p high def video. I fabricated a small blister on the side of my rocket that it fits in. Now I can record launches and the plummet back to earth. To get an idea of this check it out on youtube. So many videos of this that you can reference.

jmorey made it!(author)2011-12-18

FYI a Newton is a 1KG about 2.25Lb unit of force

nuclear12321 made it!(author)2012-02-29

Update: We were both wrong. It is the force required to accelerate 1 kilogram at 1 meter per second per second

nuclear12321 made it!(author)2012-02-29

I could be wrong but I thought 1 newton=100grams.

Matrix-technician made it!(author)2011-08-08

This is an amazing project! I have been in rocketry for 15 years now and with all this new technology things are being made that we only dreamed of back in the early days. :) I too have the snapshot and never use it much because of the trouble and work involved in devoloping the pictures. This is a great idea and has given me a few of my own. Keep up the good work!

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