i’ve been wanting to do this for over a year! KAP (kite aerial photography) was first told to me by my geekmate joe davis, who is now exploring the realms of RAP (rocket aerial photography).
the idea isn’t original, and i quickly realized there is a small community of dedicated contributors to the kap technology.
as for the cambodia project, i wanted to capture some images of overall views of the basin, the embankment, and even some images that may tell me something i don’t already know.
weight is constantly an issue. just think, your camera alone is already heavy, then work backwards from there. i purchased aluminum flat plates from home depot, all the servo equipment from servocity, and a nice kite from coastal kites. as for gears, i tore apart an old unused printer sitting under my workstation for years.
the toughest challenge i found was the rotating bearings at the connections. after scratching my head for days…and days…and days, i came up with a nut/screw system. basically, rather than sticking the screw through a carefully drilled hole which creates high rotational friction, have it thread through its own nut which is then epoxied to the frame. the tolerance is low, and friction is kept at a minimal…and oil regularly. to reinforce all ‘nut’ joints, i used a fiber sheet mixed w/ the clay epoxy for added strength. if it were to break, it’ll break at these nut joints. finally, for “arms and legs” to protect against impact, i threaded bent steel hangers through small holes drilled in the framework.
i originally intended to make a mount to just have the camera shoot straight down, but with a little more added effort, a rotating jig will better serve the unpredictable direction of the winds. this one can rotate 270 degrees, and tilt 180 degrees. the range of the transmitter/receiver is 2000 ft, although my kite’s string is only 1000’.
at times, kap’ing can be frustrating and laborious, especially in low winds, and especially when trying to utilize it for more scientific purposes. but the wow factor in photos and the fun factor in flying a kite both exceed the negative factors exponentially!
project kap: pass!
see the ewb blog!
see a bunch of aerial photos!