Doug Conner attended Maker Faire in San Mateo, Calif., and was impressed by a compressed-air rocket demonstration. These are not actual rockets -- they're projectiles -- but he was sufficiently inspired to go home and make his own PVC-based rocket and launcher. He started sending rockets 200 to 300 feet high from his backyard. Then a brainstorm hit. What if you could watch the flight from the rocket's point of view?
Conner decided to strap a video camera on to the rocket. This required calculations to accommodate the additional weight of the camera. He increased the body diameter and length of the rocket and sent it up with a live camera shot of the trip.
Doug Conner calculated that he could achieve approximately the same flight with the extra weight of a camera if he increased the body diameter and length.
Doug uses a launch pressure of 45psi for the flights, which typically last 7.1-7.4 seconds.
Dconner, if you are able to fix it with a 360 degree camera and sending the captured images at real time scenario with the help of small wifi transmitters are interesting. Then the project resembles like a miniature of NASA's Mars mission curiosity.
I like the use of an air cannon instead of rockets. I built a similar device, though mine is more of a giant tube. Also, how can you determine launch speed, and can you do so using a camera not mounted on the rocket itself? I want to see how fast the one I built shoots nerf darts. All I know now is that they can punch through an aluminum can like nothing. Anyway, I also like the idea of putting a camera on the rocket, as I've only seen that with commercial rockets that use solid fuel rockets to fly, not something like this.
The 360 degree video technique you linked to would make an interesting image of the flight area. If I had a camera with higher resolution it would be more practical. With the camera I have the resolution seems barely adequate for the field of view that I'm using.
Rocket Boys is one of my favorite movies because it makes a young, aspiring engineer look like a normal child instead of socially-awkward geek. Also...the video from this article appears to be taken in an area much like Coalwood in the movie.
For starters, the pressure drop across that valve, as shown, is quite a lot. Substituting a ball valve will improve the range quite a bit, and also save quite a few dollars, in addition to making the system independant of external power.
I built a system that used a discarded carbon-dioxide fire extinguisher tank, rated for 1800 PSI, which provided me with a better safety factor. I use a similar bicycle tire pump, which can provide over 120PSI air pressure. This allows things to fly much higher, and makes the flights much longer.
For aerial views this is an affordable alternative to Hexakopters -- just without the GPS control and RC.
For safety we could consider fiberglass and resin shield loosely placed around the launcher. And one could wrap 20 or 30 turns of fiberglass string helically around the rocket body in both directions and secure it with glue or resin.
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