Tilting ‘L’

Socket 4 on clickPanPro (cPP) is for tilt. The L rig is proving robust and I’m now confident in it’s capacity as a panoramic capture device- they work:

120 deg pano 2

The direct to servo suspension has proved much tougher than expected and I have begun to trust it on progressively longer flights. Of the 6 built 2 of them are driven by cPP and it bothers me I’m not making full use of all the functions cPP has. It gives me the advantage of greater pan & shoot speed than the simple clickPan but it also has control for tilt too.

With autoKAP I always want more when I hit review and see what I’ve gathered from the heavens.  By adding tilt to the mix there is increased satisfaction in seeing a bigger variety of shots on the card when it’s all safely returned to earth.

Now the last of the rigs is set up, tested and packed ready for use I ponder the pile of spares I have: maybe I can put the bits to use …

The 2 design options.  I’m not doing anything that hasn’t been done before so there should be no surprises once a survey of the KAP rigs flickr group shows there are 2 possible methods of introducing tilt. The options are the classic double ‘U’ pivot frame or a single pivot cantilever.

Brooxes Classic RigBrooxes classic (Brooxes DeLux KAP Kit-BDKK) pan and tilt frame uses a servo to take half of the load on the tilt axis. It’s a great design and each component is adaptable and can be set up for a huge variety of cameras and control methods. These are well worth the money as Brooks Leffler has really done all the thinking for you!

The ‘deep thought’ stage gets a grip on the problem;

Sketchd-1The budget shed approach has thrown up the ‘one legged’ L rig as a cheap and easy to make panning rig. It is not as flexible as the BDKK but saves on weight, size and is portrait aspect is good for stitching aerial panoramas.

The first option is well developed by Brooks Leffler and suits the landscape aspect well. Having committed to the ‘half frame’ approach I’m left with the tougher single pivot option for tilt. By having only one piece to work with there is no room for error in positioning the servos and little scope for balance adjustments once metal’s been cut. Having made a pile of Ls I’m forced to take the ‘cut and hope’ route. Never a good thing. On the plus side it’s surprising just how much load these things can take, I had expected all manner of bending once they’ve been flung into the sky but they are taking the stick well. I may be pushing my luck but I reckon the L can take a tilt movement thus:

LT_01which is just about ok for a lightweight like the Ixus (175g) but is never going to safely take the weight of anything serious. LT_02
As luck would have it the TowerPro 9gMG0S has an M2.5 thread on the drive shaft so a longer replacement bolt can be found and a lock nut fitted. All too often servos have mad threads on the business ends. So far I have found the TowerPro MG servos all have M threads.

Power is by a trusty 3.7v mobile ‘phone battery, I expect the current draw to be an issue now it has to power the unbalanced tilt servo.

ClickPanPro path. The pre-set best suited is path E as the vertical cover of the portrait aspect covers a big horizon to ground sector, it should add nadir shots to the mix.

Gentles clickPan Pro path settingsCRW_0060all too often shots of trees taken from a kite are ruined by the action of the very wind the kite needs to fly, with a light air the finest filaments are revealed.

CRW_0058At 230g this is a light wind option…

Wx 20112014…and so it proved to be, launching the big rok in 3mph took some effort but once in the clean flow the rig was suspended perfectly in the near still air to fill a 1Gb card with 80 shots in about 10 minutes…well before my local train rumbled by!

Flying the Jones rok in a light air is a wonderful experience, the feedback of the motion is smooth and the lift steady, holding the line the sensation of being ‘at one’ with the sky is complete.

First tests with the Ixus 7.1 are encouraging, the nadir picked up colours I couldn’t see from the ground. As a light-weight pan and tilt auto I don’t think I can do better unless I look at alternative methods of power. I had hoped the tilting L would exploit the lightweight A2300 but tests have shown it’s resolution is just not up to the job. Improving capture quality at the minimum weight is tough but I may be able to get the rig to support a Canon S95 provided I can balance its COG on the tilt servo centre.

Other methods of transferring the motion without relying on the servo alone to support the camera spring to mind: rack and pinion, fusée, snail cam, geared drive are all possible …it’s just a matter of putting in the shed time.


About billboyheritagesurvey

Heritage worker
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