So I finally started getting good at flying the quadcopter that I built at TechShop Menlo Park. But I wanted to be able see what the quadcopter was seeing when it was way up in the air. So I went out and bought a video transmitter and receiver and grabbed my GoPro.
I knew I wanted some ability to control the angle on the camera in mid flight but I didn't want the complexity nor weight of a full pan-tilt mounting system. I finally came up with this design to mount the GoPro to my Elev-8 quadcopter.
Step 1: The Design
I'll attach my design files so that you can use them for your own projects. Please make note that the servo mounting plate is designed to fit a Elev-8 quadcopter. You may need to modify this part to fit your own quadcopter.
- Tilt Bracket Cut Files.cdr
- Servo Mackup.ipt
- Plate Bracket.ipt
- Camera Tilt Assembly.iam
- Camera Mackup.ipt
- Camera Bracket 1.ipt
Step 2: Laying the Flat Files Out in CorelDraw to Be Laser Cut
I cut the parts out of clear Acrylite acrylic using an Epilog Laser Cutting that is available at all TechShop locations.
Your setting will vary from machine to machine.
Step 3: Bending the Acrylic Using a Strip Heater
The second piece is a little easier.
Simply line up the parts along the strip and once the acrylic has been heated sufficiently, fold it against a squared block to make sure it stays straight.
Step 4: Mounting the Camera and Servos.
I am using the following components:
GoPro Hero with the surfboard mount (its the lowest profile mount they currently have)
HiTec HS-485HB Deluxe as the control servo
A Spectrum DX8 tx and rx. It has a rotary aux channel control which will allow me to find tune the angle.
Any aux channel can work for this. A switch will simply let you select various angle depending on how many positions it has. However, a dial gives you continuously variable positions.
You can also get more complex with this and add it into the control board of your quadcopter (if it allows i/o control) with some custom script for automatic tilt control of some kind.
The Camera simply mounts with adhesive. I'm also using a tether just in case ;)
Mount the servo arm to the bracket first then turn on the servo and zero it out. After it is at the zero point attach the bracket/servo arm to the servo. This makes sure it is in the right position when the servo is turned on preventing it from forcing the bracket into the frame possibly bracket some of the parts.
Attach the whole assembly to your quadcopter using your choice of hardware (I recommend using some sort of nylon locking nuts as the vibrations tend to work things loose sometimes).
Step 5: Connecting the Cables and Testing
Connect the video transmitter to the camera. Using the main battery or a auxiliary battery, power the video tx. You may need a regulator is you are running straight off the main battery.
Turn everything on and test to make sure everything works.
You will probably have to adjust your radio transmitters servo setting to set the limits and range of the servo.