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KAP rig 2


KAP rig 2I upgraded my KAP camera to a Pentax WG-1, which does not fit in my original KAP rig. So I had to build me a new one.

The new rig is a mix of various materials that I wanted to experiment with: it uses aluminium for the camera cradle and one of the side supports and mounting beams, carbon rods for the other side support and the two longerons on top and plastic. Most of the structure is glued together - aluminium and carbon fiber bond really well with super glue.

The mini-servos used on KAP rig 1 were a little too delicate to my liking, especially since the new rig is heavier and larger than the previous one. So I decided to go with 'regular' size RC servos. The pan servo is a HITEC HS-322HD which can easily be modified for 360 degrees rotation. The tilt servo is a Futaba S3115, it is more compact than the HITEC (but it cannot be modified for 360 degrees rotation).


I looked everywhere for plastic gears that were a little less bulky than the ones I used before (they're from Conrad) but the only retail supplier I could find is in the US and their shipping costs more than the handful of gears I wanted to have. So I went with the bulky ones after all.


The Pentax has an infrared remote control feature which can be made to work with Arduino. So I did not have to modify the camera like I did with the poor Canon IXUS. Neato.

The Arduino software that controls the rig was modified slightly to deal with the different servo characteristics and the fact that no mechanical shutter action had to emulated ('half depressed', 'fully depressed'). Instead it uses Sebastian Setz's Multi Camera IR Control library. The IR LED that triggers the camera to take a picture can be seen on the picture above, sticking out in front of the camera. At the time of writing this I hadn't flown the rig yet so maybe I will find out that the LED and/or the IR sensor must be covered with something when they are in full sunlight. I expect they may, in which case a piece of tape should work.

IR led and tilt servo KAP rig 2 in its box

The narrow band that goes over the right side of the camera is velcro: the tripod connection of this camera is on the far side of the body. This means that the camera would tilt forward when the rig is tilted down. The velcro keeps it place and allows for easy install and removal.

To protect the rig during transport I made a plywood box. This box also holds the picavet, spare batteries, some tools et cetera.

For more pictures please visit the KAP gallery.

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