Intro: Rocket Drone
I will take you through the steps to make quite possibly the worst drone in history.
Step 1: Model Rocket Preperations
With all the kits offered by Estes, there are too many options to list. I would recommend a medium sized rocket, 12-18". If you are handy and enjoy building models, you should pick up a kit online or at your local hobby store. Estes offers kits that include a launch pad, controller and the rocket. I've opted for a model that has a built in cargo compartment, but its not entirely necessary. It was a blast to build and finish my rocket
Step 2: Camera Preperation
As with the rocket, their are way too many options to list for cameras. I order a really cheap camera off ebay for less than $20 shipped to Canada. It charges off a AA Battery and uses a mini SD card for storage.
I charged the camera, loaded a 4GB mini SD card in it and tested it to ensure it would do what I needed it to do. The video quality is not the greatest but its so tiny, what do you expect.
Step 3: Combining the Two
I test fit the camera into the clear plastic tube. It fit in the tube like i had hoped, I just needed to fabricate a small mount to hold it steady in the middle of the tube. I attached the camera to the piece of wood with small piece of two sided tape.
I mentioned earlier that you don't need a cargo tube to pull this off. If the camera you are using is small enough, it can be attached to the outside with a little bit of tape. My camera points out the side, but if you attach your camera to the outside you can have it pointing down, out or up. Just keep the weight of the camera in mind. Counter weight should be added to the opposite side of the camera to keep the rocket flying up and away from you, instead of at you...
Step 4: Rocket Preperation Part 2
So we've bought and built our rockets, test fit and secured our cameras, its now time to take care of any pressing issues and prep the rocket for launch. I had a few issues to deal with on my Loadstar II.
I first had to seal up the cargo area so it wouldn't be effected by the "report" of the rocket. To do this I super glued one of the rocket plug into the hole of the plastic rocket body pieces.
My second problem was that my rocket, being a two stage rocket, needed to be modified for lower flight (in interest of rocket/camera recovery). I used one of the cardboard tubes, that is included with the build kit, as a blank filler removing the second stage.
I taped all the seams together to prevent and mid air disasters.
Step 5: Wait for the Perfect Day.
Its like watching paint dry...
Step 6: Launch!
Launch day happened to fall on mothers day, we had a very enjoyable day at the park.
Video 1. I had the rocket prepped with the second stage blanked out. I used a B 6-4 Estes engine and it just wasn't enough power. Truthfully, its what i was hoping for. It was the first time launching the rocket, there was a breeze and I wanted to make sure I got the camera back. It was a short flight and when it landed it broke one of the fins off the booster stage.
Video 2. I did a few field modifications to the main body of the rocket and got it ready for a second flight. For this flight, I decided to throw a C 6-5 Estes engine in it. To summarize, less weight with no booster stage attached and double the power. This flight also ended with broken fins and put an end to our fun. I ran across the field and missed catching it by 2 feet... sad.
My entire setup cost lest than $75 and everything that was wrecked was easily repaired. Hope you enjoyed following along.