MATILDA - Missing and Trapped Individuals Location Delivery Attachment




This Capsule is one of five integral parts that together form the MATILDA (Missing And Trapped Individuals Location Delivery Assistant) Phantom 2, 3, & 4 Search and Rescue drone attachement.

The following items are required to complete the MATILDA Search and Rescue Drone attachment;
Part 01 - MATILDA - Capsule (one required)
Part 02 - MATILDA - Caps (two red quired)
Part 03 - MATILDA - Arms (two required)

Link to instructional video;

As an ex-firefighter myself, I found it hard to watch the wildfires rip through Fort McMurray in Western Canada this summer, when more than 90,000 residents were displaced. Many had to run for their lives. I was shocked by the ferocity and speed with which the fire spread through a forested area.

The blaze caught the entire community by surprise and thousands of people could've been trapped. Locating and continuing to know the exact location of missing, trapped or injured individuals would greatly reduce response times and speed rescue efforts.

With that idea in mind, I introduce to you; MATILDA for use with the Phantom 2, 3 & 4 Drones. MATILDA is a self releasing rescue delivery capsule that is also know as; a Missing And Trapped Individuals Location Delivery Assistant.

MATILDA is a device that will attach to both legs of the Phantom 2, 3 or 4 Drone in just seconds without the need for extra tools or fasteners. This multipurpose device will hang beneath the drone where it will remain stable during flight.

To open the capsule; simply twist off one of the end-caps to access the storage compartments within. Each end-cap has directional arrows that indicate “Open” and “Close” to assist then user in removing them. Once an end-cap is removed, any rescue item(s) (small enough and light enough) may be stored inside one of four separate storage compartments.

To close the capsule; simply twist on the end-cap(s) to secure the much needed supplies inside. Once closed, MATILDA is ready to take flight and deliver her payload. Ideally the capsule would deliver a satellite telephone or a GPS tracking device to track and/or establish a line of communication with the missing, trapped or injured individual(s) wherever they may be.

To attach MATILDA to a Phantom 2, 3 or 4 Drone, simply hover the drone a few feet off the ground, then hook each of the candy-cane shaped arms over and onto each leg from beneath the drone. When attaching MATILDA to the drone, the user should hold the device by both candy-cane shaped arms with the arms spread wide open.
Then with a closing scissors motion, bring the arms together towards each of the drone legs where the hooked portion of each candy-cane shaped arm should be dropped over the top of each horizontal leg section allowing MATILDA to hang between the legs of the hovering drone.

MATILDA is light and compact, easily loaded and unloaded, is easily attached and can be easily flown to any reasonable location within range of either the Phantom 2, 3 & 4 Drone.

This device can carry any number of precious items as part of any rescue mission including first aid supplies, medication, rescue instructions and more. When MATILDA reaches her destination, the drone will descend to the ground.

Once MATILDA touches the ground, the drone (still off the ground) will drop a bit lower which will cause both arms to spread outward, unhook and release from the drone above. The arms will simply fall away thereby releasing the capsule on the ground. With the precious cargo delivered to those in need, the drone is free to fly away without ever touching the ground.

When the capsule is recovered by those in need, the capsule is easily opened and the contents are easily tipped out and removed.

MATILDA is brightly colored (Red and White) so it is easily seen by those in need. It is also possible to equip the drone with LED lights so that it will give off much needed light that could help with retrieval in a low light environment.

MATILDA stands ready to assist first responders and their Phantom 2, 3 or 4 Drones to improve response times when assisting missing, trapped or injured people wherever they may be.

A drone operator could load MATILDA with almost anything (cell phone, satellite phone, GPS Locator, maps, food, water, first aid or medical supplies, medication, silver mylar emergency thermal blanket, rain poncho, miniature flashlight, inflatable life jacket or anything someone may need) and drop it almost anywhere for any purpose.

Additional "Anchor Holes" have been provided inside each end of the capsule so that first responders may tie and deliver one end of a strong string through the air to a trapped or stranded individual during a flood.

Once the strong string is tied to the inside of the capsule, the end-cap should be threaded into place where it will further secure the string for delivery. After securing the strong string to MATILDA, it is ready to be flown over to the trapped individual(s). If an individual catches MATILDA, the capsule will self-release in their hands so that the rescue drone is free to fly away.

Once the victim has the strong string in hand, first responders can secure a thicker rope to their end of the strong string so that it may be fed out to them victim as well. Additional rescue items could also be tied to the thicker rope and be fed out to the victim like a life vest or body harness, whatever might help to stabilize the victim or better prepare them for survival or rescue.

A Phantom 2, 3 or 4 Drone owner/hobbyist could use the MATILDA for rescue, entertainment or leisure purposes. For example; A GPS locator could be dropped off in a remote location for the purposes of geocaching.

The uses for MATILDA are only limited by the type of adventure you seek.

The addition of grooves and "O" rings would make the capsule watertight so that it will float as well.

MATILDA could even have strategic or tactical value in a military environment. The uses are endless.

Step 1: 3D Printing the Plastic Parts

The following 3D Printed parts are required to complete the MATILDA - Search and Rescue Delivery System (originally designed for DJI Phantom Series Drones);
Part 1 - Capsule (one required)
Part 2 - End Cap (two required)
Part 3 - Candy Cane Shaped Arm Section (two required)

Step 2: Painting the Raised Letters on the Capsule and Caps

The painting will be done using two colors; white and red. I recommend using Acrylic paints as they are made to easily adhere to most plastics without the need for a primer coat.

Using a small detail brush, paint the letters on the white plastic capsule. The raised letters "Search and Rescue" and "MATILDA" will be painted red to make them stand out against the white background. Then close up the red acrylic paint and clean your brush before using another color.

Then paint the raised letters "Open" and "Closed" and the two rounded directional arrows with white acrylic paint to make them stand out. Then close up the white acrylic paint, clean your brush one last time and the painting step is complete.

Step 3: Attaching the Candy Cane Shaped Arms With Metal Pins

Each of the two Candy Cane shaped arms will need to be attached on opposite sides of the storage capsule. Each of the two straight ends of one Candy Cane shaped arm section will fit into two small recesses on the outside of the capsule where they will be secured in place using two (of the four) metal pins.

Be sure to make the curled end face upwards when securing the ends in place.

Each of the two pins is inserted separately into a small hole on opposite ends of the open capsule. The first pin will pass through the outer wall and into the recess where the first straight end is resting. Be sure to pass the pin through the small hole at the end of the straight end and push it in as far as it will go. This will temporarily secure it in place.

To permanently secure it in place, we will use a UV light-curing resin (like Bondic). Simply squeeze the resin into the open end of the hole that the pin went into, being sure to completely seal the hole. Then shine the UV light onto it to solidify the resin. Within seconds the resin will harden into solid plastic thereby securing the metal first pin in place.

Once the first straight end is secured, repeat the process with the second straight end using a metal pin and the UV light curing resin.

When both ends are secured, the first of the two Candy Cane shaped arms will be permanently attached.

Now do the same with the second arm section ro secure it in place.

When the second arm section is secured, you are ready to go to the next step in the assembly process.

Step 4: Securing the End Caps to Complete the Assembly Process

Once the MATILDA capsule and end caps have been painted, simply place the threaded male post from one of the caps into the threaded female hole in the center of one end of the capsule and spin the cap into place until it is fully seated.

Then do the same with the second end cap on the opposite end of the capsule to complete the project.

Congratulations, your "Instructables" build is complete and you now have a useful Search and Rescue tool for your Phantom series drone or similar.

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    13 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Great idea!!! If one was wanting to buy one, how much would it cost. I dont have access to a 3D printer. I do have a Phantom 3.

    3 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    The three parts that are needed to make this project may be purchased here;

    Part 1:

    Part 2

    Part 3

    I take nothing. The price is the cost for Shapeways to make it for you.


    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you, that's very cool of you!!

    The three parts required to build the MATILDA delivery capsule can be ordered separately from Shapeways. Currently there is no Markup on these items. The cost you see is the cost that Shapeways charges to make them for me too.

    The Capsule is here;

    The End Caps are here;

    The Arms are here;

    Add these items to your cart and pay for them and they'll arrive in about two weeks.

    Be sure to select PLA (as the material) if you can, it'll make the parts the cheapest possible totaling just over $200... but worth every penny in my mind!


    Reply 2 years ago

    PLA is a great material with the caveat that you never leave it in a car where the temp might get above 60c


    2 years ago

    Awe3som idea. has alot of potential to be very helpful.


    2 years ago

    Where are the .STL's? I can't make this without them.

    2 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    I'm not home this weekend, Canadian Thanksgiving. I will upload the files next week once I am back home and in my office. I'm sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.


    Reply 2 years ago

    Canadian Thanksgiving!?!? What's that? Kidding, I was born in Vancouver.


    2 years ago

    Very interesting, have you attached the .stl files here anywhere?

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    I'm not home this weekend, Canadian Thanksgiving. I will upload the files next week once I am back home and in my office. I'm sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.


    2 years ago

    This is the link to the instructional video;


    I agree! It works so well too! Anyone with a drone would find this unit fun and extremely useful! This changes the game for "Geocaching" in a big way. Drop it in remote locations using your drone would be a riot!