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Mr.RC-Cam

Lightweight Pan and Tilt Mechanism

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Mar-22-2007 Update: Important Rev-C kit Information: <Click Me>

Mar-21-2007 Update: The Rev-C Pandora Kit is now available.

Now available from www.dpcav.com.

Instruction manuals:

REV B Kit: <Click Me!>

REV C Kit: <Click Me!>

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Original Jan-01-2007 Post:

Recently someone had emailed me about my Pan and Tilt project that I casually mention a couple weeks ago. At this point there's not much to tell about it, but at least I can describe what I have done over the Holidays.

The goal was to create the mechanics for a pan and tilt mechanism that was very lightweight and easy to build. And, it needed to look good since I just don't have the heart to plop one of my usual ugly attempts on a nice looking model. I've got two models that needed a pan & tilt: One requires a top side P&T mount, and the other a bottom side mount. So, I needed to be able to flip it over and still have it work without much fuss (not as slam-dunk as it sounds).

I mostly use Panasonic CX-151 board cameras, so it needed to accommodate them. However, since those are obsolete, I also made sure it would easily allow a KX-131 camera too. For strength and low weight, I decided to build it out of fiberglass. I went through a couple dozen paper doll designs, then created the necessary CAD files for the final concept. I got it mostly right and the prototype design was a joy to build. What I learned from this will certainly go into a new version soon.

Directly below is a recent version. But below it are several photos that show the evolution of the pan & tilt design. Enjoy the show!

post-5-1174545617_thumb.jpg

Edited by Mr.RC-Cam

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When the fiberglass parts arrived, this is what I got. There are ten machined parts to the P&T. Total weight is about 0.29 ounces.

post-5-1167685842_thumb.jpg

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Seven of the pieces are used to build the main chassis. Although I could have used epoxy cement, this quickly goes together with solder! It went from bits and pieces, to completed chassis, in about five minutes (faster than epoxy glue can dry). To keep weight low, I did not pile the solder on (just simple sweated joints). The chassis's strength is very impressive.

post-5-1167685990_thumb.jpg

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The camera mounting panel has PCB traces for a 5V linear voltage regulator. This will be used to power my 5V cameras. With a 2 cell LiPO, the heat is not bad at all since there is a bit of ground plane there to help with that. Air cooling will do the rest.

You can also see the Hitec HS-81 servo that is used for panning. The tilt servo and its linkage will be installed next. I get about +/- 60 degrees swing, which is what I wanted.

post-5-1167686264_thumb.jpg

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Here it is fully assembled. This of course is the bottom mount version. BTW, the top mount version looks much different, even thought it uses the same chassis. I'll post photos of it when I have the time.

The tilt servo is a generic 9-gram type with 22 oz torque; I don't recall which Hitec model that would be. With that huge aluminum arm, the camera can smoothly swing fully forward, to straight down. BTW, the camera shown here is the cased KX-131. It mounts using the camera's two rear screws (they need to be a tad longer, but the originals are fine for the bench tests).

The photo makes it look huge, but keep in mind that those are mini/micro servos. So, the assembled P&T is decently compact. Weight is 2.5 ounces at this point.

post-5-1167686476_thumb.jpg

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Here the P&T is shown how it will mount on my electric Telemaster. It looks so small down there!

post-5-1167686895_thumb.jpg

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Any idea on pricing yet?

I don't have any idea at this point. Initially, my goal is to create a few low cost kits for forum members. Then it will move to a commercial site if it looks like the interest in it would justify the effort. I don't have any spare parts at this time, so it will be a few weeks before I can offer anything at all.

Here is a short wmv video of it panning and tilting:

Pan&Tilt Video <Click Me>

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Very nice piece of work there, I particularly liked how you used solder to hold it together. With FPV flying a steadily growing passtime I wonder how long it'll be before someone creates a miniature pan/tilt unit for cameras, incorporating the guts of two servos into one already assembled unit.

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Good idea to use PCB to make servo mount. Nice job.

Edited by Vrflyer

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I wonder how long it'll be before someone creates a miniature pan/tilt unit for cameras...

Probably soon, especially now that I have gone to all the trouble on this. But, there is satisfaction in building these sort of things; that is what keeps me going. :)

To all, thanks for the kind words. A future version/revision will look more polished than this one, so hang tight!

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As promised, here is a photo of the top mount P&T with a Panasonic CX-151 board camera.

I call this my "tall-boy" design. It uses the same parts as the bottom mount version, but it just goes together a bit differently. The idea was to get the camera as high as possible so that I could see over the top of the fuselage and cowl. It is also designed to appeal to robotic platforms, where camera height is often helpful.

Also, here is a video of it (with the camera trying to act like a curious puppy).

<Click Me!>

post-5-1167780179_thumb.jpg

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This may be of interest, a mount I found at superdroid robots:-

That is an interesting find. Thanks for the link.

I made some changes to the P&T design and have placed an order for ten sets. If it works out, I will offer some of these as evaluation kits to registered forum members. Price is not known just yet, but it will be fair. Assuming the design survives my tests, I expect the eval kits will be available mid-Feb. So keep checking back if you are interested.

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Neat job Mr RC_Cam.

Besides that, the mount has the 5v regulator for the camera too !

Very creative design.

Edited by wilson

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I really like this design, I don’t have any micro servos to play with yet so ill ask you about what I have been pondering.

Would it be possible to take the pan servo and flip it upside down where it lies next to the tilt servo, drill a hole for the servo head and anchor the pan servo to the main camera box and then archer the head it to the installation plate, you might have to reverse its direction on the radio, but if it would work, it seems like a possible way to avoid cutting a servo size hole in your airplane, and it may make it more compact overall.

But since it’s not in front of me my logic may be all off on this one.

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With my design, there is no room inside the chassis/cage for two servos, so the relocated pan servo would have to mount outside of it. The pan motion would arc rather than rotate, which would not look very natural.

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nice design mr rc-cam i would like to be considered for one of your sets when they come in since im in need of a good quality p&t system now that i have my go gles. thanks :blink::blink::blink:

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I have new machined parts and I'm happy with the results. I have a few spare sets and I plan to offer them to forum members in good standing. I haven't calculated my costs yet, so I don't have a firm price. But, I am aiming for $29 USD + shipping. You have to add two servos and the camera. I'll announce more details in a day or so.

OK, I know you can make your own P&T from a small scrap piece of aluminum or balsa. The web is full of such things and even I have done that. But, my goal was to create something much more interesting looking than those efforts. The design will accept the popular "cased" KX-131 camera or the uncased CX-161. Other cameras may work, but YMMV.

Here is what the new version looks like. The red finish gives it a nice overall appearance. Motion range is smooth. The parts can be arranged to create a bottom or top camera mount. The P&T shown here was built up as a bottom mount:

post-5-1169682324_thumb.jpg

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Despite all the parts, the P&T quickly goes together. However, if you are all thumbs then this project will probably not be your cup of tea.

Here is what I will include in the kit. You will need to add one HS-81 servo for pan, one HS-65HB (or generic 9-gram) servo for tilt, and one Du-Bro micro E-Z pushrod connector. Other than that, all the fun little parts will be provided. Here's is what I plan to supply:

post-5-1169694065_thumb.jpg

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I also created an optional 5V VReg board that attaches to the chassis in the place of the top stringer. The nice thing about getting the camera's VReg close to it is that the DC power will be nice and clean.

Here is how the optional VReg board will mount on the P&T chassis (see bottom of photo):

post-5-1169683921_thumb.jpg

Edited by Mr.RC-Cam

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*very* sexy. I much prefer this to your first version. I'd love to get one even just for the coolness factor of it when you release them.

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Looks great, I'd like to have one or two. When do you plan to make the kit available?

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