Skycam Setup Is a Beautiful Drone Alternative

Drones with cameras attached can produce amazing aerial footage at very reasonable prices. On the other hand, these can be inappropriate or…

Jeremy S. Cook
2 years ago

Drones with cameras attached can produce amazing aerial footage at very reasonable prices. On the other hand, these can be inappropriate or even unsafe in some venues, and if they fail above a crowd this could mean injury for those below. So what’s one to do in these situations?

If you’re aerial video hacker TizzDoggo, you ‘simply’ build your own semi-autonomous cable cam system! This device uses a series of two freewheels to hold up the camera — or cameras — while at the same time pulling the cord down on a wheel driven by an automatic screwdriver motor.

The system is controlled by two PICAXE microcontrollers, and an H-bridge to make it roll forward, backward, or hold the position. A pair of switches on either end of the rig let it sense when it’s reached, literally, the end of its rope, and an initialization routine that times how long it takes to go from one end to another. From this data position can be calculated, enabling semi-automatic camera travel.

The rig — as shown in the video below — is extremly well made, using 3D printing, laser cutting, and PCB manufacturing, plus vinyl cutting to add beautiful text. The control box looks amazing as well, featuring its own microcontroller and RF transmitter, along with a hard plastic case that should survive even the harshest filming locations.

Jeremy S. Cook
Engineer, maker of random contraptions, love learning about tech. Write for various publications, including Hackster!
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