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Copter Frames Aura 2-Axis Brushless Gimbal Review

A Nice Package for DSLR Sized Cameras

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Introduction

Inner width: 185mm
Inner depth: 115mm
Outer height: 220mm - 260mm
Weight: 830gr with motors
Camera Size: DSLR
Price: $640.00

The Aura 2 Axis Brushless Gimbal from Copter Frames looks like a solid well built camera gimbal designed for DSLR cameras. I've used a Copter Frames gimbal for smaller cameras and that before brushless technology was available so I was excited when they offered to send me the Aura for review. I was curious to see how it compares to some of the other brushless systems I've used before.

What's Included

The Aura comes complete with G10 fiberglass plates, carbon fiber tubes, plastic boom clamps and more hardware than you'll actually use. I'd rather get more hardware for spares than not enough so I applaud Copter Frames for this level of completeness. The carbon fiber tubes are 25mm OD and look to be excellent quality. In fact, all the parts looked great. It even included two iFlight 4114 brushless gimbal motors. I was worried about the fit and finish of the parts as my first gimbal years ago required a lot of modification to get things to fit and work correctly. I'm happy to report that the fit and finish on the Aura is top notch. I didn't have to ream any holes or modify any parts during the assembly. Well done! Just add your gimbal control board, battery, camera and attach it to your multirotor helicopter of choice and you're off and running.

Assembly

I wanted to do this build as any user would and use the information provided. There was no manual included, but there is an assembly guide located on the Copter Frames website. The instructions there are minimal so if you've never built a gimbal before, you may have a tough time, but I was able to follow along just fine and didn't come across anything that confused me. Some of the drawings in the instruction guide are rendered drawings and may not represent the actual part. I also noted that a few parts are different than the guide and are likely design changes made to the parts after the guide was made. I initially assembled the gimbal based on the guide, which puts the pitch motor on the right hand side. I later switched that arm to the left because most cameras have their battery pack on the right side and that weight helps to counter the motor weight and makes it easier to balance the roll axis. I also moved my Alexmos flight board to the back of the roll motor plate after the first assembly. I prefer this location to the side arm mount shown in the guide.

The first thing was to assembly the boom clamps and plates that make the two 90 degree angles at the left and right side of the gimbal. The guide was easy to follow here and I liked that it showed which size bolts to use. The hardware bags are not labeled so you will need a ruler to measure the screws so you can make sure to use the correct ones.

Going down the assembly guide everything was perfect until I got to the tilt axis bearing block. It's not a big deal, but in the guide it shows two spacers, a 30mm one and a 5mm one. In the kit you get one 35mm spacer which is better, but if you are trying to follow the guide to a T, then this would throw you off, so now you know what to look for. The only other section that was different was the camera mounting plate, but that one is pretty obvious. You can use the photos below to aid in building yours.

Adjustability, Balance and Control Board

Depending on which camera you use, you are going to need some adjustments to be able to balance the camera on the gimbal. The Aura tilt bars have slots in them that allow the camera mounting tube to slide up and down with roughly 22mm of travel allowing you to easily adjust the pitch axis. You can slide the camera mount plate left or right or even slide the whole assembly at the roll motor to achieve roll balance. In some cases you might need to add lead weight to get it to balance.

Balancing a brushless gimbal is critical to good performance. I chose to move the tilt motor to the left side to make it easier to balance the roll axis. Balancing the gimbal is not too difficult, but there is a common misconception that when you move an axis, it should return to level. That would mean the gimbal is bottom heavy in that axis and it is leveling out like a plum line would. Opposite that would be the axis would go hard over one way or the other indicating it is top heavy. When you get it just right you can position the roll or tilt virtually anywhere and it will remain in that position. I prefer to use Alexmos gimbal control boards, but you could also use a Martinez board. Follow your boards instructions for setup and tuning.

Mounting

Mounting the Aura to a Cinestar style landing gear set is easy and requires no additional hardware. Simply slide the boom clamps onto the rear landing gear tube and adjust forwards and backwards to achieve proper center of gravity for the copter. Alternatively, if you have an S800/Droidworks/FY680 style mount, Copter Frames offers a mounting adaptor (sold separately) to attach the gimbal to those frames.

Stable Video

Below is a video edited for time and has been colored for fun, but with absolutely no post stabilization added in. This is how it looks right out of the camera. I used a Panasonic GH3 with a custom OctoCopter and the winds were 10-15MPH.

Conclusion

The Aura 2-Axis brushless gimbal is nicely made and well designed. I was impressed with the fit and finish of the parts and the 4114 motors make it suitable for DSLR cameras. Ultimately, stability is a function of how well you balance the camera and tune the control board. The Aura gimbal mechanics work in such a way to make that job easy. It is perfect for a single operator and if you add an FPV system you can achieve even better footage by seeing what you are filming in real time. If you'd rather have a setup for dual operators then I would recommend the Aura 3DEE 3 Axis Gimbal which comes with pan axis stabilization and landing gear legs. Learn more about the Aura and other gimbals at CopterFrames.

Discussion

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Old Oct 31, 2013, 06:06 PM
bacon and eggs
remvideo's Avatar
United States, FL, West Palm Beach
Joined May 2013
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how much does that pig weigh
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Old Oct 31, 2013, 07:39 PM
KK6MQJ
Bajora's Avatar
Joined Sep 2004
13,616 Posts
Quote:
how much does that pig weigh
From Jason's "Specifications Sheet" box Above:

Weight: 830gr with motors

Nicely put together review Jason. Did I miss it or did you not mention the price?
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Old Nov 01, 2013, 09:48 AM
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Jason Cole's Avatar
United States, TN, Nashville
Joined Oct 2003
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Thanks. It's $640. I'll add that in up top.
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Old Nov 06, 2013, 02:21 AM
Musician-Designer
ozanozkok's Avatar
Türkiye, Istanbul
Joined Mar 2011
463 Posts
Thanks Jason,
we have some videos from users.
Aura & Blackmagic PC test video,Thanks to Javier:
BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera Aerial Video Test - helicamworx.com (3 min 6 sec)
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Old Nov 07, 2013, 08:42 AM
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Joined Aug 2006
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Nice review Jason. looks like a decent gimbal!
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Old Nov 12, 2013, 02:48 AM
Musician-Designer
ozanozkok's Avatar
Türkiye, Istanbul
Joined Mar 2011
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New user video,thanks to Javier,Helicamworx:

DistritoCuatro - Escazú, Costa Rica (helicamworx.com) (2 min 9 sec)
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Old Nov 19, 2013, 06:16 AM
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New user video,thanks to Javier,Helicamworx:

Condominios Vista al Valle - helicamworx.com (6 min 28 sec)
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Old Nov 21, 2013, 03:09 PM
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New user video,thanks to Javier,Helicamworx:

BlackMagic Pocket Camera raw video test (3 min 42 sec)
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Old Dec 20, 2013, 03:21 AM
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New user video,taken with variety of our gimbals :
Helivizyon 2013 Showreel (3 min 52 sec)


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Old Jan 06, 2014, 10:20 AM
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Joined Mar 2011
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AURA has 3. axis,now. Please check it at CopterFrames


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Old Mar 02, 2014, 03:17 AM
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New user video from Helicamworx,Thanks Javier:

Azul Ocean Club - by HelicamWorx (12 min 9 sec)
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Old Mar 06, 2014, 08:21 AM
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New user video from Helicamworx,Thanks Javier:

Beautiful house for sale, Santa Ana - helicamworx.com (4 min 0 sec)
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Old Jul 15, 2014, 02:23 AM
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Joined Mar 2013
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Hai ozanozkok … ur New Aura 3d Gimbals Can get unlimited 360 yaw /pan Rotation /without Hutrs wire ??? does it Cut wire ???
Also Built In damping / anti vibration Dampings ??/
U will Make Plug n Play ???
Thnks

ur video Seen its Awesome //
Does this Video frm ur 3 axis one or 2 axis ????
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