Weekend Project Instructions – Make A Kite Aerial Photography Rig

Weekend Project Instructions – Make A Kite Aerial Photography Rig

This weekend I explore the world of photography from a kite’s point of view. My inspiration was the instructions from Make Volume 1 available in both the print and digital magazines. You can download these instructions as a PDF right here.

I had a vex robotics kit and so I used it. It turned out to be too heavy and so if you decide to go this route you either need heavier winds, a bigger kite, or a lot of helium balloons!

Here is my first version, you can see all the steel and the blue case full of heavy AA batteries!


It’s got a lot of extra weight on it. The great thing is that I was able to mock this up with the VEX kit without having to buy anything. Functional, but heavy.

And so it was back to the drawing board. I scoured the internet and found two great websites that went into details about their KAP rigs. Scott Haefner has a great page showing his carbon fiber rig and Charles Benton shows his progression of rigs as he improved his designs. For my next rig, I’m going to find a model airplane setup and use carbon fiber to make it even lighter!


The picavet suspension allows the rig to stay stable with the kite at any angle. It’s all one string and it slips pretty easily through key rings. In the future, I hope to get little pulleys that are used in miniature sailboats instead of the rings.


Here you can see the button pressing servo. Ideally, I would have used servo modules all around, but the kit came with three motor modules and one servo. The downside of this is that with servos, I could tell which direction the camera is facing. With motors, they spin without bounds.


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The rig actually took some great shots. The windspeed, according to sailflow, was 6 knots, which turns out is really on the low end of windspeed, I can’t wait to take it out again in more wind!


Kat was on hand to take some photos of the action. In her picture here, you can see the Sutton Flowform 30 that I bought to keep the rig up! I’ve made kites on the sewing machine before, but that’s another project!

If you have an improvement, ideas, or feedback, put a note in the comments or drop me a line at bre@makezine.com

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