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Old Jun 11, 2012, 09:19 AM
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808 #11 #16 #18 Camera mount for Blade MQX / Parrot AR.Drone etc.

The 808 series of cameras are great for aerial photography, but the shape is a little awkward to attach to things.

I don't know how everyone else manages, but I thought I'd share my attempts to make a small mount for my 808.

I used Polymorph to make a simple hinged joint with two flat sections to attach to the camera and the aircraft. I used double-sided foam tape to give a bit of cushioning for vibration and also because it's fairly forgiving on uneven surfaces.

If you are unfamiliar with Polymorph, it's a thermoplastic that becomes completely soft at 60 degrees C (hot coffee temp) and you can mold it into any shape you like, and when it cools it sets hard. Easily available on ebay in bags of 100g and upwards. One bag will last you ages.

It is infinitely reusable and great for prototyping things and repairing odd bits you can't get elsewhere.

The other major advantage is that it sticks to itself, so no glue was used to make the hinge. All you do is dip one bit in (hot) water until it goes soft and hold it on the bit you want it to stick to and let it cool. It's as if it was always part of it. This can be a pain as well as a blessing, so think ahead when joining bits together and use card or similar to keep sections apart if necessary.

To make this hinge, or any other shape you want, I find that making flat sections then joining them together after dipping the edges in water is the easiest way. Nothing too complicated.

I warmed a heaped teaspoon of the granules in a jar of hot water, fished them out with a fork, and rolled them out on a worktop with a magic marker as a roller to make a sheet about 1mm thick and 1 inch x 2 inches (2.5cm x 5cm).

It goes clear when it is completely soft and then slowly goes white as it cools. When it went white, but was still at about 40 degrees, it was solid enough to keep its shape, but soft enough to cut with scissors. I cut a 1" square (this to attached to the underside of the Blade MQX battery compartment) and a 0.5" square (this for the top of the 808 camera).

I then took another 0.5" square and cut it down to a semi circle. Actually more like a half a rough octagon.

Then I took a strip approx 0.5" x 1" and folded it in half.

The polymorph had cooled enough for this to be quite hard to do, so I dipped it in hot water to soften it and used the back of a knife blade to fold it over with a gap of about 1mm in the centre. This was for the other section to slide in cleanly.

While it was still soft, I then put a piece of card in the gap and used scissors to cut the open sides into a rough semicircle. The card was to stop the two sides sticking to each other as the scissors cut both parts at once.

To stick the semi-circular sections to the flat parts, I took the 1" square section, dipped it in hot water briefly to make it very slightly soft, then dipped the edge of the first semi-circle until it started to go transparent, then held it across the centre of the 1" square until it set enough to let it go.

The direction it was stuck is because I fly my MQX in X mode, but you could rotate it 45 degrees if you fly in + mode, or use a slightly larger circle to allow you to attach it both ways. It doesn't really matter which way around you do it for the Parrot Ar.Drone.

To attach the U shaped section to the other flat, I warmed both parts as before, but this time it was the base of the U I warmed in hot water until it went transparent. Then, putting it back onto the knife I used the back of the blade to push it onto and slightly into the 0.5" square.

For the holes, I could have either warmed all the flat sides, and poked a drill bit through them, or what I actually did: just drilled them out.

A bolt, some washers and nuts and I had my hinge. Attached to the Blade MQX or the Parrot AR.Drone, I need to make some extra ground clearance, so some cable ties attached to the feet fixed that problem (as well as providing extra cushioning when landing generally). I can now set my camera angle to suit.

The whole thing weighs approximately 3g according to my scales which only show whole grams.

Obviously you could also attach the hinge to the bottom of the camera to top mount it etc. etc.

One caveat: When attaching to the AR.Drone, I'd suggest first putting some clear packing tape over the section where you are going to attach the camera and rub this down well. Then stick your camera/hinge on with double-sided foam to that section. The reason being that repeated removal will rip the foam to pieces, but you can peel it off the packing tape cleanly and the foam is protected.

In the front photo of the blade, you'll see my camera was a bit lopsided. No problem, I just dipped the top into a few mm of warm water so it softens the T-joint, then moved it upright and held in place until it set straight.

If you know what angle you want your camera to sit at, of course you don't need to make a hingle, just a triangular centre section would work for that.

I hope this is useful, or inspires people to come up with their own (better?) methods of attaching 808, or other cameras to things.
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Last edited by Brandigan; Jun 11, 2012 at 10:40 AM.
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Old Jun 11, 2012, 10:00 AM
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Excellent write up. Water makes it soft. Does always introducing to water conti us to
Ale soft or is it a one time thing. Read you did it a few times?

Batt holder tray is weak and broke for me. But something I look into Do you have a link to a seller?

I just runner and it but hmmm interesting idea
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Old Jun 11, 2012, 10:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishycomics View Post
Excellent write up. Water makes it soft. Does always introducing to water conti us to
Ale soft or is it a one time thing. Read you did it a few times?

Batt holder tray is weak and broke for me. But something I look into Do you have a link to a seller?

I just runner and it but hmmm interesting idea
Only water at 60+ degrees makes it soft. Below that it has (almost) no effect.

Water at say, 50 degrees would make it slightly flexible, so you could bend it a little without it being so soft it lost its shape.

I then run bits under cold water to harden them up.

In air, it almost never gets warm enough to lose it's shape. Although in very hot direct sunlight that might be an issue.

And yes, you can squash it all down and start again by putting it back in hot water.

Here's a seller has 100g bags for 1.65 + P&P. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/170701279820

I'm not saying it's the perfect solution and I do get a little vibration - maybe I could remake it a bit thicker - but it was just fun to make and really just a starting point.
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Old Jun 12, 2012, 12:07 PM
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This is great stuff. I found it available in the US thru Amazon.com by the name of InstaMorph. I ordered a 12oz jar today!

6oz
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...SIN=B004MFLU4Y

12oz
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...SIN=B003QKLJKQ
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Old Jun 12, 2012, 12:17 PM
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12oz will last you a quite a while....until you discover all the things you can do with it.

Like...putting a thin layer on the top of the 808, covering those fake buttons and making the top nice and flat and just leaving holes for the real buttons.

Then glueing that shape onto the 808 so you now have a nice big flat area to stick things to and make your camera nice and stable however you choose to mount it.

But that only adds a few grams and you've bought 340g. So be creative.
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Old Jun 12, 2012, 12:40 PM
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Thanks for the tip on this stuff, I can't stop thinking about things I can do with it!
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Old Sep 25, 2012, 12:27 PM
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