Introduction: How to Assemble Arduino to Take Pictures By: Sydney, Maddy, and Magdiel

Our goal was to assemble an Arduino and Cubesat that can take photos of a simulated Mars or the real mars. Each group was given projects restraints: no bigger than 10x10x10 cm, cant weight more than 3 lbs. Our individual group restraints were to not add any other sensors or change the original idea of our project.

Step 1: Gather Materials

1) You will need to purchase an ArduCam compatible with the Arduino Uno. We bought ours on Amazon and the exact model that we bought was: Arducam Mini Module Camera Shield with OV2640 2 Megapixels Lens for Arduino UNO Mega2560 Board (the link on Amazon will not copy but type that exact name in and it should be the first one on the page)

2) Build Cubesat. In our project we used a 3D printer to print out a Cubesat that was already designed. It doesn't matter what design you use. If you don't have the option to 3D print you can also assemble it using various items like pop sickle sticks, legos, other wood, etc. If you are not assembling the Arduino to put into a Cubesat, skip this step. (We will explain how we built out Cubesat on step 3)

3) Get Arduino. We used an Arduino Uno which is what is compatible with the Arducam.

4) Gather wires. You will need 8 male to female wires and 4 male wires. The colors do not matter but different colors may help you stay organized.

Step 2: Connect Wires

Take the 8 male to female wires and connect the female end to the silver prongs on the Arducam. It will be a tight fit but they will all go on with some patience.

We will refer to the colors that we are using going from right to left starting with grey.

1) Grey end to A5

2) White end to A4

3) Black end to 5V

4) Army green end to GND

5) Red end to 13

6) Orange end to 12

7) Yellow end to 11-

8) Green end to 7

Step 3: Assemble Cubesat

For our project we 3D printed our Cubesat. If you do not have access to a 3D printer then there are many other options for building like Popsicle sticks, legos, metal, etc.

Above are the stl links that we used and downloaded to print off our Cubesat along with a picture example. To access the links, click the photo links and it will take you to another page, once on the other page click the small link in the bottom left hand corner and it will download onto your computer.

To attach our top sheet and bottom we screwed three holes in it and pictures will be shown above. When 3D printing, it starts with one thin layer on the bottom and we decided to keep it instead of cutting it off and attaching the bottom piece but the choice is yours. With our finished design we decided to cut off the extra messy pieces to clean up the look a little better.

If you decide to build your Cubesat a different way, a shelf for the Arduino may be necessary to build.

Step 4: Set Up Code

1) Open Arduino/Genuino Uno on the computer

2) Download code from and used the spi cam and downloaded the library attached

a) Open

b) Press the spy cam slide on the home page

c) On the left side of the page press software

d) In software press Source Code Github links and download the 3 files on that page

3) Open the Arduino/Genuino Unoand upload the spi file onto the program

4) Make sure your usb cord is plugged into the Arduino and computer

5) Open the library that you downloaded to the page

6) Press the button that says "upload" on the top of the page

If you want to open the Arducam Host which is just a continuous video from the camera, go to the downloaded library and open up the Arducam Host button

Step 5: Secure Arduino

The Cubesats are built to be sent in the space and that means a lot of moving around. Your Arduino and Camera need to be as secure as possible so nothing breaks on its way to Mars, or in our case, on the shake test.

There isnt really a perfect way to do this step and you will probably have a better way than what we did but here is our example:

1) Take Arduino and find a good space at the bottom of your Cubesat or on the shelf if you decide to make one

2) Make a loop of tape (use Duct tape even though it is not pictured, we ran out) and stick it to the bottom of the Arduino

3) Press the Arduino and tape bubble and press firmly to the safe spot you made in your Cubesat

4) If you feel that the Arduino is not fully secure add a piece of tape over the top for extra protections

5) Find a good spot for your ArduCam

6) Secure the camera with tape in the best way that you see fit. In our picture it shows that we took two pieces on the top and bottom and made them long enough to wrap around the pieces of plastic

Step 6: Tests

Flight and Shake Test

To make sure that your Arduino is secure a flight and shake test could be taken but it is optional. In our classroom we had two machines to test our Cubesat but you may not have the option. We will have a video of our tests put above.

For the flight test you need to use string to connect from the Cubesat to the machine. We wrapped the string through four holes on opposite sides of the Cubesat. We recommend making the string longer because we had to make up for it and add more string. When we attached our string we put it on the side opposite of the camera so the camera is always facing down to get a better view. You will use a hook to attach the string to the machine. Once the string is attached, you will turn on the machine and slowly get to full power and have it spin for 30 seconds.

For the shake tests you will put the Cubesat in a small box and slowly get it to full power. There are two shake tests so for the second you will have to tape it down but it will be the same concept. Repeat what you did before and have it go for 30 seconds.

Step 7: Projects Physics

T : (2/1) sec/cycle

It takes 2 seconds to make on orbit around the flight test.

f : (.5/1) cycles/sec

In the test it can make .5 cycles in one second.

V : 2.29 m/s

The velocity of the satellite motion is 2.29 m/s, this was calculated by taking the diameter (1.46 cm) and multiplying by pi then dividing by time (2/1 sec/cycle). The velocity is the speed of the Cubesat while it is going in circles on the flight test.

Ac : 7.18 m/s^2

The acceleration is 7.18 m/s^2 calculated by squaring the velocity (2.29 m/s) and dividing by the radius (.73 cm). The acceleration is the change in speed of the Cubesat as it is on the test

Fc : 1069.44 N

The centripetal force is calculated by taking the mass ( 148.87 g) and multiplying by the squared velocity and dividing by the radius (.73 cm). The centripetal force is a force acting upon the Cubesat while it is moving in a circle, keeping it in the general path while Fc moves inward.

Step 8: Conclusion

These are all the steps that we took to assemble a Cubesat and code an arduino to take pictures of Mars, or any other object you'd like. In this Instructable we included our exact measurements and calculations, but at home your results may differ. Although our project had a few bumps in the road, we made it our goal to smooth them all out and make this project as simple as possible for anyone else.

Arduino Contest 2019

Participated in the
Arduino Contest 2019