Public Lab Research note

Another low-fi pendulum rig

by tonyc | January 09, 2016 01:22 09 Jan 01:22 | #12573 | #12573

What I want to do

fly a point and shoot safely, on a $1 budget.

My attempt and results

I just put this thing together, and so far it looks like it would survive rough landing in any angle, protecting the lens on a hard fall, and dragging around on impact.



The connection between the rig and the dowel suspension is stronger than you'd imagine, relying mostly on the rubber bands, but the stopper provides a stop-gap. A stopper gap?

Questions and next steps

I would insist on a rigid, non-rubber-band connection to prevent camera from falling on someone's head. This could simply be a lanyard connection up to the kite string.

Why I'm interested

Want to provide options for a DIY rig kit.


I came up with this while at a sushi restaurant, and saw some kid using the "kid's chopsticks," where they rubber-banded them together at one end. #funfact #themoreyouknow

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slight revision: cut out a portion of the box that included a crease, and left a bit of that in place for reinforcement along horizontal axis. I more rigid platform, such as wood or laser cut plastic would eliminate need for this, but just a flat piece of cardboard is a bit flimsy without the corner piece.


But with this one addition, the carboard can be reused after multiple crash landings. Without it it bows. With it it remains rigid.

OTher note: I cut the lens hole exactly the diameter of the actual lens. On the S100, that mean the function ring, not the lens, itself. In the event of a landing along one of the sides, this should protect the camera from forcefully being dropped into the ground.


My next version of this will involve using the folded portion of the platform to lock secure the camera in place by foling in back like this: /___________\ if that makes any sense. Anywho, the rubber bands around the legs are what slow the impact. I'll take a slomo video later today and put it up so you can see what I'm talking about

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Okay, here is the " /___________\ " configuration I was talking about:


fun fact: all these images so far are with a mobius with the 6mm lens. You can get really close up and it looks great.

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I've had an idea of a rig made from a chinese togo container and chopsticks for a while. I made one, but the container was not robust enough at the base, and the legs ripped through too easily. but the container did make a nice cradle for the camera in the cardboard rig above.

I just tucked the camera into the box, then finessed it into the rig. It really held the camera in a great way, protecting it on all its edges, but keeping it firmly in place. You could still peek into the top to inspect the screen and make sure things were happening, such as your CHDK script running, etc. Alhtough you would have to pull it out of the harness tofuss with it.

But all in all, the chopsticks worked, although they would break for sure with drops like this. But they come at the exact length and are super-readily available.

Here's another test, with a little flavor context shot, captured on a Mobius with 6mm lens, btw.

I know, the lens isn't protruding, but was testing before exposing the camera to damage. Thoughts?

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Here you can see the addition of some zip ties to provide a stop-gap to the things sliding down too far. These are put on same way as with the mobius pendulum rig: snug up the zip tie as far as you can with fingers, slide off, take it one more "click" then ooompf it back into position.

Call it the Kung-PowerShot?

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You can't really see it all in one shot, so here's this gratuitous closeup vid:

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The combination of the cardboard with both creases and the to-go container looks pretty protective. I like the fact that the splay of the four legs tends to prevent the cardboard from sliding down because the legs get farther apart. It looks like you replaced the rubber bands holding the four legs at the top with a single black rubber O-ring which looks nice and strong. That's tidy.

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I like the fresh ideas in these setups. Thanks.

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