40mm retractable camera turret

I think that we need to restart the blog on this. 

This guy built a 40 mm ball turret that would work great in small UAS's. He said that he would not sell it but i think having him post details of how he built would be nice.

Here is a video of tit working.

If anyone has other turret systems to share of Pan and tilt systems please post... I am looking for a good design to integrate into my UAS...

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  • This is the sony cam I have on order for my set up.


  • do u have a link for the sony cam

  • @rick

    Check this out https://www.adafruit.com/products/736

    I just got this thing. Very nice slip ring. I haven't tested it on anything yet, but hope to put it through it's paces soon. I'm curious to see how well this little thing does.

  • $30 sounds even better..... I will also take a stab at making my own.

    I red something small and my system will not need the retractable portion. my plane has landing gear. 

    I can't wait to see what people come up with.

  • I found a source in Canada that sells a 1/4” Sony Super HAD CCD Sony Block cam for $149 with a 36x zoom, digital zoom, 0.1 Lux operation, Auto Focus and Bus control.  I am going to buy it eventually, when I do I will let you cats know how everything turns out.  My issue is I need to source a 6 - 9 circuit slip ring to make this all work.  Cheers,


  • Moderator

    I do not think that $150-200 is an open source product really. When you really look at the raw parts of the chassis, its no more than a single 12"x12" or 8"x8" sheet of G10. Max, $30 for the chassis. To me, the design should be freely available, get it cut however you like most likely 1/8" G10, add your own servo's etc. Maybe DIYDrones could stock a hardware kit of 'random' parts that, when combined, form the hardware component of a 'rotatable camera unit'.

  • 100KM

    To me, it's a no-brainer. There isn't a commercially (realistically priced) gimball available. We need it. Let's make it.

  • We should keep it simple. Start with a very simple retracting turret for a specific camera size and scale up from there. We just need to have an idea that everyone can play around with and innovate off of or poke holes at.

  • I am all for the block cam... but my airframe will not carry it. can we make up a low cost version that will work with a 1/3in sony pcb cam. Thats what I have coming in the mail. I am glad i started the blog to get the juices flowing...

    I am hoping that the smaller less expensive version will go for 150.00-200.00. I think that would be a fair price.

    Thanks guys.

  • Moderator

    I think that before anyone really goes ahead with making anything commercially related to this '40mm turret', there needs to be a critical examination of the patents which are available, and the descriptions which are provided to describe the parts. If it is something like, "a camera that can be concealed, spins on two axis and has closeable doors", you are pretty much SOL I would think as it encompasses so much.

    People like the idea of fighting back against 'the man' and an open source community could be a way to develop it's own products to do so. But I would be interested to see how many people actually start utilizing such a product on their airframe. It has a cool factor, but there are pan/tilt fpv systems that already exist for a small ccd camera. And larger 3-axis gimbals for anything larger.

    Like anything, the hardest parts to source are the gears, chains, pulleys, etc. When trying to develop a diy camera gimbal, that was the hardest part.  i.e., a small shaft which is strong enough to support the mass of a camera, that uses a smooth circular bearing which can be mounted with screws, to provide smooth movement on that axis... Those are the parts that need to be identified on a website in order to produce a 'rotatable camera unit' reliably.

    If it does come to fruition, utilizing a service like ponoko.com to cut the parts would be ideal. An individual can just scroll the website, look for the drawings and then have them cut on whatever material they wish.

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