Ever wondered if Father Christmas delivered gifts on a quadcopter? In this little “project” I sat Santa (a stuffed soft toy, doll) on my mini quad, and with a rear facing camera, we can capture footage of Santa flying my quadcopter!
Here is how it’s done.
- a small soft toy – I got my Santa doll from here.
- Something long and stiff to support your recording camera – I used wooden chopsticks
- Tapes, lots of tapes.
- cable ties
- A wide angle, light weight camera – I used the Runcam2.
- A quadcopter that is able to lift your toy. I used my Demon Evo250.
If you want to make the toy seems to be controlling the air craft (it moves the hands and you turn left/right), you can add:
- Extra PWM radio receiver
- A low power servo – I used a cheap 9g servo.
Install the chopsticks on the frame. I cable tied them to my tilted angled camera mount.
Figure out what position you want to be mounting your camera. Luckily the Runcam2 comes with wifi feature, so I can preview what the camera is seeing in real time, while I adjust the angle of the camera.
You want to be able to capture the whole quad as well as the toy in the frame.
Mount your additional RX somewhere convenient, and the servo just in front of the Santa doll, where the hands can reach. I had to use some sewing wires to attach the hands to the servo horn.
Because I am using PPM, that’s why I needed a PWM receiver to drive the servo. I think it’s up to use what channel you want to connect the servo to, either Yaw or Roll should do fine (I used Roll). It’s funny as you do yaw or roll, the stuffed toy’s hands also move looks like he’s piloting :)
I cable-tied the legs on the Santa to the frame, so he doesn’t fly away in the air.
Put lots of tapes around the camera.
What can be done better
- Camera booms face upward a bit more (make a larger angle) – currently almost half of the screen is blocked by the camera mount.
- User some sort of support to the back of the toy, so it doesn’t lean back too much when you are flying too fast.
- Maybe use soft toys that don’t have any beard, just in case it get caught by propellers.
My first flight didn’t end well… almost looked like Santa had too much redbull and crashed :D