Tuesday, November 26, 2013

QUADframe Boscam Mount

hexacopter camera mount

The hexacopter I am building will feature a Boscam FPV camera and pan/tilt mechanism.  The camera unit needed a solid yet lightweight mount for stability.  There was no room on the frame plates so I decided to mount the camera between two of the arms.  The carbon fiber tubes will provide a solid mounting platform and will also offer some protection for the camera system.

honeycomb carbon fiber

I needed a mounting plate to reach across two arms of the hexacopter.  It will be mounted to a boom block on each arm.  We had ordered some carbon fiber honeycomb sheet to play around with.  It is light and very stiff, perfect for the camera mount.  I made some rough measurements and got to work.

cut carbon fiber plate
If you do a web search on how to cut carbon fiber it is easy to get overwhelmed.  It is either as easy as cutting plywood or harder than herding cats and bad for your health to boot!  Turns out, it is super easy to get clean cuts in carbon fiber.  I had a cheap wet tile saw that I picked up for another project with a diamond blade.  I taped the cut line on the carbon fiber and cut it wet.  The tape prevents the carbon fibers from fraying.  The water keeps the cut cool so the resin doesn't melt and suppresses any dust that is bad to breathe and can short electronics.

I cut the plate to size on the tile saw.  The plates came out looking like factory cuts.  I laid out the boom blocks and mounting plate and carefully measured for the mounting holes.  I drilled the holes according to the blueprint below.  I finished the mount by rounding the sharp corners.


finished mounting plate

One of the biggest complaints about the Boscam camera are the mounts.  Using anything other than the factory pan/tilt mount can be problematic.  Since I opted for the factory unit, mounting was easy.  I just used the pan/tilt as a template, centered it on the mount, and marked the holes.

Boscam pan/tilt mechanism

attached to frame

The final mount weighs just 28 grams, not including camera and pan/tilt mechanism.  It is rock solid, no flex or vibration.  The edges of the honeycomb plate look a little shaggy.  I need to dress them with some tape or glue to give it a more finished look.  Other than that, it almost looks like a factory piece.

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