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Public Lab Research note

The Aerobee Rig

by cfastie | July 05, 2016 17:43 05 Jul 17:43 | #13261 | #13261

The Aerobee Rig is a departure for KAPtery camera rigs because it's frame is not 3D printed. There are plenty of 3D printed parts on the Aerobee Rig, but the main supporting structure is aluminum. The goal of this design was to find the easiest way to securely attach a camera to a pendulum suspension. But I also wanted it to be adaptable enough to work with lots of different cameras, allow the camera to be well protected, allow oblique or nadir photography, and allow landscape or portrait orientation of the camera. It does all those things and more.

Above: The Aerobee Rig is intended to be suspended from a pendulum, and the JerkPan escapement works best with a pendulum, but a KAPtery Picavet also clips in easily and works great for normal aerial photography.

A limitation of simple KAP rigs is that they keep taking photos of the same thing. This is good if you are making a map and the camera is always pointed down and you are walking around with the end of the flying line. When the camera is angled for oblique photography, it's usually good to have the rig rotate so different views can be captured or a wider view can be captured in a stitched panorama. The design of the Aerobee Rig lent itself to the addition of a simple escapement mechanism which allows the rig to rotate when the flying line is jerked. So the JerkPan was born. The video below shows the JerkPan in action.

Like all KAPtery things, the Aerobee is open hardware. The design files for the Aerobee are all available at Thingiverse. This includes a 2D CAD file for the aluminum parts and stl files for the 3D printed parts.

The first test flight of the JerkPan produced lots of oblique photos with the camera in portrait mode. Four of them were stitched together to capture the full extent of the building complex we were flying near.

Above: These are four of the 27 photos taken during 1.3 minutes during which the camera was taking photos every four seconds and I was jerking the kite line every 10 seconds or so.

Above: Microsoft ICE stitched the four photos into this panorama.

Above: This is the cropped version of a panorama stitched from five photos (there were fewer stitching anomalies in the version with five photos).

This week the Aerobee Rig Kit is on sale at the KAPtery for $37.00 delivered (US shipping only). That special package includes kits to build the Aerobee and a pendulum suspension. In fact, all rig kits at the KAPtery are on sale this week for at least 20% off the regular price, and all prices include US shipping. Kite line is also on sale for 20% off so this week you can't find a better deal anywhere on quality braided kite line.

This week only, all rig kits and all kite line are on sale at the KAPtery for at least 20% off.

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This is a fantastic design!

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Thanks Ecta64. It's also really easy and fun. A great way to get photos for aerial panoramas.

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I can't wait to get mine flying. I assembled it a few weeks ago and really love the design too.

Chris, I have some notes on the assembly instructions I owe you.

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I'd love to see your assembly notes. I just updated the assembly guide and parts list ( I can easily incorporate your experience.

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