While it’s been cold this winter, I’ve been busy designing and building a new KAP rig. I have used an R/C rig one time before, almost a year ago, with my Canon Powershot S100 camera. Unfortunately, I had a mishap and lost the entire rig the next time out, so I didn’t get to use it much. I eventually replaced that camera with the Sony RX0, which I am still using now, and an AutoKAP rig, which I used for the rest of 2021. While I like the simplicity of an AutoKAP rig, at times I wished I could manually compose and choose when to take my pictures, so I decided to build a new R/C rig around the Sony RX0.
The design was done using the free, open-source 3D CAD modeler, FreeCAD. It is very similar to my previous rig. The main design goals were:
- Pan, tilt, and shutter control
- Video downlink via a smaller, secondary FPV (first-person view) camera
- Capability to remotely switch the video transmitter off to save battery
- Under 400g total flying mass
- Ability to rotate the lower section of the frame between landscape and portrait orientation
After completing the design, I had the wood parts laser-cut out of 3mm plywood. Building it was fairly simple, and everything functioned as intended. Once I got a nice enough day, I took it to St. Mary’s College for flight testing, which is a relatively scenic location with a large field that makes a great KAP test location. (This is actually the same location of the one and only successful flight of my first R/C KAP rig. Hopefully this one will not meet such an early demise.) I made a video detailing the build and testing process, which can be viewed below.
Here are a few of the aerial photos from the KAP session. Not exactly “portfolio pieces,” but nice enough anyway. I look forward to my next flight with this new KAP rig!