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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  • @Jeb Bailey, those are the reason I decided to use a block camera, my issue was those were too expensive for the relatively low performance.  I have found cameras like those that cost half the price and do Auto Focus with 36x zoom.  Those do have an IR Cut function which is handy to have.  I would love to hear how that works out for you.  Cheers,


  • Just got one of THESE.  Haven't tested it yet though.  I'll let you know how it turns out.

  • I don't think I follow on some parts of the design. What pivots the ball about the horizontal axis? I see how the vertical axis works and I can see how the retract mech. could work...

    What is the wedge for? Where does the second servo go?

  • I think it makes sense. As long as the guy building it understands. 

    Neat idea... I Like it

  • I have the logitech 3d I have flight modes and controls working I was wanting to use tophat switch on top to control camera but I cant find any thing on setup for that switch is yours working? 

  • http://www.servocity.com/html/spt200_pan___tilt_system.html

    I am thinking of adding this to the underbelly of my plane . I don't need it to retract since I have landing gear on my plane. I will add a 180-180 rotation servo to the pan and a normal rotation on the tilt. This will allow me to have a 360 deg view of the lower horizon to the ground. 

    It looks of high quality and should last a while. The next trick for me is getting the ardu pilot to pan and tilt it with out going thru the R/C receiver. Any thoughts on this. My plan is to use a logitech joystick to control the pan and tilt of the cam only.I would want to have it to use 2 buttons as well to stow (point to the tail) to protect the lens for take off, and Pilot View (look straight forward) for in route as well as rotation with the movement of the stick when i need to look at the ground targets. can someone produce a detailed video of how to accomplish this?


  • what about store bought pan & tilt with somthing like a ping pong ball, 180 servo that whould leave us 3,950$ if u want retact Im shure someone can add that later maybe a micro servo, wire and a hinge all Im thinking is start out simple then u can add on



  • The slip ring doesn't (shouldn't have to) bear the the weight of the pod, it should just sit within an existing bushing or bearing.

    Also if the rotation is is not continuous, the wire bundle could come through the bushing and be slightly coiled in a twist inside the pod so the rotation would not stress the conductors.  This method may have service-life issues if delicate wire is used though.

    Some car steering wheels have a 6 turn commutator the uses a flat ribbon cable the slides in a cartridge that is disc shaped stuffing box .  A flat wire that is like the flexible circuit board material (laminated copper foil) may work here.

  • I made a simple retractable 2 axis gimble for a buddies build.  Used a cheap hobby king servo retract and cut it down to length.  mounted the $13 2 axis gimble on the end.  Wasn't exactly pretty to look at when it was down, plus it produced a small amount of drag,  but it worked surprisingly well.  Used the BEV RC nano cam and two micro servos.  Used a cheap servo speed regulator to slow the retract servo down.  Made for a really light, but cheap system.  Sounds like an excellent project for the community though.  What grips said could be an issue, but then again there is more than one way to skin a cat! This is a very creative community.      

  • @ andrew

    Will this slip ring support video as well?

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