Clear view, roll/tilt, waterproof GoPro


Getting this thing dialed in. Some slop in the roll due to the cheap servos, I should be able to eliminate that.
I've invested only $75 in this thing ; ) Working really well overall.
I'll take a maiden flight tomorrow and get some footage.
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Wow really nice. Would love to see the rig. That would make small rigs a lot more usable in tight spaces!


I aborted my maiden flight due to it being cold as f... out! So I'd rather sit in front of the computer with a beer and describe this contraption a bit, then spend some time fine tuning the PIDs on the test stand.
What you're seeing is just a rough sketch, so please don't pick it apart. There are lot's of details to refine still, but it works as I had hoped at least!
View attachment 8730
All the props are pushers in this pic, couldn't find the tractors until after I shot the photo : /
This spindly landing gear is just a fill in for the time being, I'm working on a really sweet version that is not ready for photography yet.
My goal for this project-
Clear view, no props in the shot even at gimbal extremes
Utilize the waterproof GoPro housing as the tilt structure, for crash protection and to simplify and shrink the system
Camera coplanar with motor mounts
Ease of use, adjustment, and repair
Maintain live video out
Access to camera battery and sd card without removing the housing from gimbal
(edit: Forgot to mention, must look like a Klingon Bird of Prey)
View attachment 8731
The basic concept is very simple- An axle shaft with tilt yoke mounted on one end, this axle rides on nylon bushings located with cross-members supported by parallel rails on either side of it. These rails make up the main structure of the airframe. I will make these pieces from larger diameter woven tubing next time(most likely). I prototyped some accessories that attach directly to the gp waterproof housing (when I get my 3d printer up and running, I will make proper parts). Tilt is currently controlled with a pull/pull set up, this will be modified somewhat in the next version- maintaining the kevlar thread running up the axle, but then to a capstan on a small shaft running perpendicular and finally driving the tilt with either gears or belt. Roll is currently driven with a pull/pull as well, next version I will explore driving this axle through a small gear reduction. In this version I was able to group and place the servos remotely to help with weight balance and packaging .
View attachment 8732View attachment 8733View attachment 8734
Obviously the tilt yoke can be stiffened and lightened, along with most of the other assemblies on the craft!
View attachment 8735
I'm using APM 2.0 for flight control and camera control. I have the tilt axis set up for auto with manual/head tracking override, roll is auto only.

View attachment 8736View attachment 8737
I made a VERY low profile 2.5mm av plug for video out from the waterproof gp housing. Sorry for any confusion in the post title, the entire craft is not waterproof, although water resistant would not be terribly hard using this setup.

For MkII I plan on building a different frame style around the basic parallel rails and central rotating axle shaft. A folding H, more specifically a Roman five shape, "V" with horizontal bars across the top and bottom. The hub and spoke style is really hard to pack everything into.
View attachment 8738
The gimbal itself is very light, constructed with 16mm pultruded carbon tubes and g10 sheet. Balance is perfect with a 5.6Ah 4s and adjustability designed into everything.

My end use is single operator camera piloting for long following and tracking shots past LOS, mountain bike films etc. I don't want to fly heavy cameras and glass. Ideally I'd want a Gopro "pro" model with some different lens choices, maybe a scaled down Black Magic, I'd like to keep my whole system small and just keep improving endurance.

Thanks Guys


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Thanks, SMP!
I'm really stoked to get this up in the air and see how the footage looks. I'll definitely post it up.


Aerial DP
see how your video antenna is laying down next to and parralel with the landing gear, that's gonna make a shaddow in the video transmission when that LG gets between it and you


Thanks kloner,
That's a good point. I'll see how it works while I'm doing a bunch of short range testing getting everything flying right. I had the idea that the shadowing might actually be useful to prevent interference with the other radios on board(2.4ghz Rx, GPS Rx, and 900mhz data/telem TRx). If it's a problem then I can flip the antenna up in use, either way I like to keep it down when I'm working on the rig so I can lay it upside down. For actual use I have some better antennas, but for close in testing this little guy is easier to deal with. Also, this whole rig is just a rough draft, the next version is going to be a different configuration including the landing gear. I want to spread all these components out a bit, and make use of the big empty space on the rear behind the battery. For this one I needed to put the Tx and TRx on the sides for balance. I would like to get rid of at least one of these frequencies soon, it's like a flying ham shack.
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Here's some footage of the first test flight. Mostly a bust due to a small oversight on my part, I left a loose component on part of the gimbal assembly after doing some adjustments late the night before : /
I also tested a head cam rig with one of my old GoPros, this ends up being the main point of the video. I wanted to go through the process of capturing and compiling a test without the benefit of a camera operator on the ground. Sorry for the small amount of actual flight video.
The gimbal is working pretty well. Fast transitions really highlight the small amount of slop in the roll, should be easy to remedy however.The quad is flying well, always room for more tuning, and I definitely need to get the real landing gear on her soon!
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jello aside it seemed the gimble was performing nicely. not that it will get you in good with the ladies, but, i drilled a hole thru a baseball caps bill and used gopro tipod mount. Works pretty good. Look forward to seeing some more results.


Thanks hjls3,
Next video will be a more real world application for this rig- 3 meters high and 25 kph following a mountain bike. Sorry this one was so dull, I just needed to keep my momentum going and get something in the can : )
I'll be back with more video soon!

The cap mount is a good idea.


20F today and all my fasteners are tight! Plenty of room for improvement, but $75 and a bunch of work gave me the gimbal I've been looking for. 960p wide shows a hint of the left prop, I'll have to make a small adjustment.
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Thanks hexa. I'm excited to really get it dialed in with MkII and use the hell out of it when the weather warms up!


Crash report.
From ~15m up, 20kph at impact.
No major damage, two broken arms, all the props, one of the tilt sockets and control horns came off of the waterproof housing but it protected the gopro. Going through the logs now trying to figure what the hell happened. Oh well, time to rebuild everything better ; )
It seems to be a very strange day for electronics, Iphoto keeps crashing when I try to get pictures of the damage off of my dslr, I've never had that problem before.
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Nice video, but right before she hits the ground major Jello ;)

Jokes aside, really nice setup! My check is in the mail!