Sub 500g Ricoh GR rig

HQ Flowform 2.0 Having recently recommended it to a friend I though I’d re-acquaint myself with  Harald Prinzler‘s ‘Molar’ lifter. It’s a tough kite for tough conditions, in a blustery Bft 4 it can pull hard.


I flew it with a tail as I’m getting in the habit of keeping several good lengths on the bike for its more powerful KAPFoil cousin.  The kite bucketed about in the bluster and the lull to gust pattern was alarming, impatience got the better of me and I decided to give the new rig a go:


Parker’s Piece is a busy place, especially on a Saturday  so I tried to keep out of the way of the to-ing and fro-ing but decided the ‘Reality Checkpoint’  would work well from the modest height I am limited to fly at here- despite pilots of light aircraft being advised not to fly below 2000′ out of courtesy to the populace of the city many cannot resist the  low pass.

_R043044-2 _R043057 _R043183 _R043188

Ricoh GR autoKAP. The advantage of the light weight set up is a bit is lost in winds like this, there is plenty of lift and the violent movements tend to blur shots; a heavier rig dampens the movements.  Over 20 minutes I got about 350 shots with very few failures; the Ricoh GR auto settings proving the value of its fast AE/AF with a shot to shot interval of about 3 seconds.

The sunlight was intermittent but I still managed to surprise myself with this unexpected  pattern of lines :


Putting the rig together around the camera was something of a learning experience.  Although  much lighter and more compact than the Brooxes rig flown at Katwijk it ended up as a bit of an ugly lump.

The ‘composite’ assembly is by rivet, once drilled the fixings are not easily re-fitted:


The pan servo mount is a re-used hot shoe shutter plate:


Tilt servo and pivot angle pieces are re-used from a previous project…IMG_0217

Tilt servo is a high torque MG model, to cope with imbalance in the tilt axis. In order to keep the top piece rigid I left a deep flange which limits the camera centre: it’s not perfect but it works._DSC0017The switch plate took more fiddling to fit than any other part. A sound switch is a must to avoid fumbling at  launch and recovery: you can be waiting around for lift and quick use of the switch saves a card full of mud shots, you may be running out of hands to unhook the rig from the line and fly the kite… a kill switch saves servos and shots.   I made life difficult by re-using existing holes in the L piece to fix it in place.

The shutter release by GentWire requires an awkward offset which is balanced by the battery, switch and clickPanPro.

I’m undecided on suspension, the folding Picavet has the advantage of compactness and the slender pan axle looks vulnerable to transport damage so reducing its height seems sensible.  Depending on performance I may replace the axle with a beefier one to take (my preferred)  pendulum.

All up weight is now 448g according to the fruit and veg scales at ASDA. The camera is 245g so all the gubbins needed to automate it for KAP adds about 200g, the heaviest item, other than the framework, is the battery.



About billboyheritagesurvey

Heritage worker
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