Making the Balloon Camera


Kids Crafts with Maker Dad


Lesson Info

Making the Balloon Camera

Today's siri's of segments is all about going up in the air when one way or the other, and this first one is going to be really fun. It's it's balloon videography have you ever wondered what your neighborhood looks like from a bird's eye view? We're gonna be able to take a bird's eye view of the ground below us using a large balloon that's going to carry a lot a lot, a rig that has a video camera in it now you could, you could easily just attach a small video camera to a balloon and send it up in the air. But there's a problem with that? The video camera is gonna wobble all around because the balloon is going to be kind of buffered it around by the wind, and if you have this camera dangling on a string it's going to spin around and it's going to cause all sorts of problems and you're you're going tio get dizzy just watching the video. So what we're going to do, really, that the bulk of this project is going to be spent building this rig right here is called a peak of a there's somethin...

g that's a couple of hundred years old and was actually invented for balloon aerial photography. Even before world war ii, people were sending cameras aloft in balloons to take aerial photography of the landscape. And so the cool thing about this is imagine that this red straw here is the string and so typically when you have a balloon on the string it's going to be at an angle it's not gonna be straight up, so this is attached to various points on the string. And no matter what the angle of the string is, you can see that this contraption below stays more or less parallel to the surface of the ground, which is really cool that it does. This is kind of a self correcting mechanism, and, uh, I will admit I don't understand how it works. I followed instructions for making it is very popular for kite aerial photography. You can see that the strings air sliding, but it just has a natural tendency to want to stay parallel to the earth is really a pretty remarkable, uh, piece of engineering, and so we're going to spend some time learning how to string these these strings through these screw lies here now what's hanging here below it looks like a key chain fob, the kind that you used to open up your car door it's meant to look like that it's actually a little spy camera you can buy these online for like ten dollars they're very inexpensive and they shoot video pretty good video, actually seven hundred twenty pixel video they also record sound some do a better job than others this particular one I have is a pretty good job of recording recording sound you can take photos with it but we're going to be taking videos with this tiny camera there about ten dollars and and will be then watching the video a little bit later on just take a look at that here and see you should have all these materials with you what we'll do now is go through the steps of building one of these things I should also mention that in addition, tio thea, the in studio participants that we have today we have a couple of new members who are joining us to building things my my great friend lux pesca bits and his dad who is also my great friend david pesca bits and that we've known each other for a long time lux is an incredible maker of things he does really good stuff and has been teaching his dad a lot so he's probably going to be helping his dad out with this one yeah, we'll see so the first step that we're going to do with the peak of a is we're going to make that the cross structure and this is this an ordinary paint stick I happen to use a used paint stick the one I have down head has paint smeared all over these are brand new ones and and luckily this paint are this wood is soft enough that we can just she's an ordinary snap played to get the pieces that we want from this so the first step that we're going to do is we're going to set our work down on our cutting board and line up the line up your rulers so that it is basically right at the point where that would start to starts to move in that handle part and you want to draw a straight line with a sharpie there and jane, I'll let you do that with your sharpie and then we want to do another line where we're going we're going to cut a line lengthwise right down the middle so you can either if you want to you can measure it and be precise it's an inch it's ah it's about an inch and a sixteenth across so if you go for a half inch mark or so that's fine or you can just eyeball it I'm going tio take a chance and just eyeball that the middle distance it doesn't have to be precise is draw your sharpie along the middle like so and you should end up with something that looks like this when you're done ok the next step is to take your your craft knife and this is something that if you're not used to using a snap blade knife I would recommend having the adults or more experienced person used the snap blade knife to use the snap light, not knife. Just click the little thing here until the knife is exposed about that much and then there's a locking mechanism. The bottom part, the bottom button here you pull down and that locks the blade in that's important to do so it doesn't slip or come out. It just keeps things steady and stable. Okay, so what I'm going to do now is take this ruler and lay it across that the shorter line that we drew and just gently start to score the wood with the knife and it might take a few times to do it and just keep on going and it will just get deeper and deeper and you're you're doing this on yourself healing, cutting pad, so don't worry about it scratching that pad that's what they're meant to dio ok, just keep on going. Sure, james so james going to finish this up if you don't have a self healing cutting pet and hold it kind of in an angle like that? If you don't have a self healing cutting pad, I highly recommend that you get one of your doing any kind of crafting projects I've had one for about thirty years that I use at home. And it's still I've cut I've cut it so many times and I've never had a problem with wearing out or anything it's incredible how these things work I thinks like highly pressurized material that just when you win it has a cottage is just closes up now when you're cutting this material, make sure you don't have a finger in front of the blade and at a certain point you could just snap the wood apart. Let me see is that feeling when we give it a couple more? Jane is keep on going take your time, there's no rush we've got plenty of time today and give it a few one is about halfway down or so you can snap it and if it if there's x, if the material breaks off like that that's not a problem, we're fine so then once you get that part done, go for the long way in this long way should be easier because you're going with the grain. But again, I recommend that we have the, uh a senior member of the team do it because you just want to avoid this knife slipping and cutting way let me do this one jane, I just I just want to stress the safety I remember when I was in college I had a friend who is a landscape architect student and he was cutting ah blade just like this he was cutting something with a ruler and a knife and he had his fingertips sticking out and he sliced the good chunk of his finger tip off and so ever since then I've been mindful of keeping my fingers well past the edge of the the straight edge when cutting would just take your time don't rush rushing is what often leads to safety accidents will just keep on going here and eventually we will get through and here we go now I'm just going to score these uh it's kind of clean up these edges here we have screws going through them getting the exact length of these is not that important the important thing is tio just make sure they're roughly the same length as each other because there there's a balance issue involved the length and with I don't think is important but just getting each one as long as the other one groups okay? So how's everybody doing on this anybody but don't break it apart and you might want to just uh cap that ruffian we've got sandpaper ok so if you have any rough spots that might cause splinters just go ahead and stand down the edges I fixed so thanks team that's that's great okay, we should have some tape here and uh it doesn't matter if it's uh let's use let's try a little of this blue tape here and what you want to do is just wrap a little bit of blue tape around each edge between you can help me out with this one and this is this is where we're going to put the ice screws and we just want to prevent thea the wood from splitting so so wrap each end of the stick a couple of times with tape to brenda to prevent it from slipping how's everybody doing I'm glad you were all able to get these things split like this has anyone here ever put a camera into a kite or balloon? Ok one that's launched to space really that's cool. Did you do it at your school? Yeah, for a camp last year that's fun did you see the videos of it? They said it was the highest they've ever done and we got a perfect one of like the curve of the earth it was really amazing that's so cruel, lux thanks. The next thing we want to do is find the center line on these the's pieces that we conclude them together. So go ahead and take your ruler and measure the length and then just, uh draw a line across the center. So so the ones jane and I put together are eight and a half inches long, so we're going to make a market where jean um four I'm for in a quarter yes, exactly so I'll just draw a little line at the foreign a quarter market that's just a rough guide to indicate where the glue were to glue these together. So once you have your your center lines like, so go ahead and that put a little bit of glue, like a dot of glue, you don't need a lot just a little dot on one side, and I'm just going to kind of grab it with my finger to to make a tacky and then the other, the other stick do the same on the on the halfway mark, and then not we'll just wait here for a second and let the stuff get tacky, you can blow on it, wave it around in the air, just let it get kind of sticky, and then that way it'll drive more quickly once you push it together, okay, after you find the center, but a little bit of glue just a little bit on each, so I just dropping, then smeared around on the center line of each one and then kind of smeared around so this tacky and then once you do that, just dropped them on to each other so it's his square is possible, and then just pinch down on it and hold it, you want these things to stick together, right? And just you can just press on it like this for a while we'll we'll do this okay jane go ahead and press down on it give it all your weight if you have web steam jerry that's ok he had be careful don't be you can also use your grid lines on your cutting board to make sure that it's on their square okay and yeah I don't be too vigorous with pushing down just do it slowly and calmly and and you'll be ableto get it on there so we'll just hold onto this for like thirty seconds or so how are you guys doing involved and cal you're just waiting for it to get nice and tacky waiting attacking yeah ok, so once she was arrested down and giving it about thirty seconds or so, the next step is to take your pushpin everybody has a pushpin and poke and you you don't need to go all the way through, but give yourself a polka polka fairly deep hole about halfway through in the middle of the tape on each of the four sides and what we're doing is we're giving a start for the ice screws they go through so how should we do it? Focus about halfway through for this one that's sticking up let me let me recommend something for the end that sticks up before you post push the tack and take your extra piece of a paint stick and put it here so that when you press you don't warp the board can you see what I'm doing here? You guys looks are lex and david do you see what I'm doing here when you press this peon in but this under so that you that you're supporting it ok go ahead, jane all right one more stars come apart okay? So once you have the four for holes punched these air your your ice screws their little screws that have a circle of metal and we're going to screw those in there's two sizes it doesn't really matter I would go with the smaller ones the smaller ones the smaller you confined the better because that will keep the wood from from splitting it might split a little bit if it does what is both? Stir it down with tape so just insert it you don't have to go all the way through the wood what I usually do with this is I put my finger underneath the tape on the bottom and then I start screwing it in applying a slight downward pressure and as soon as I feel something at the bottom that's when I stopped raging let me do this because you will play a lot of pressure and pop that right off okay that's right where I feel it and here's here's the thing notice the orientation of this one the way that it's space and you want all for to be facing the same way so that so that they they all are like facing the same direction like thiss was this face it all be looking the same way and that's really all you have to do with all four of them and if you're having trouble getting it started you can always use a needle nose pliers they give you a little more control over it did did yours popoff ok one thing that you can do is is glued on again and then lash it with fishing line in both directions and that will keep it on and so see how we have these facing the same direction here can I do sure you can start it but I want tio way don't need to put it in here actually you I realized I don't put your finger under it though I'll tell you when to stop so just screwing this in and uh ok that's good I think you got it through okay, so I'll show you what it should look like so far what you should have is your four ice kruzel facing in this direction how's that looking for everybody did you guys are you guys having a hard time having that stuff stick together? Okay, so so try gluing it on again and then uh getting your fishing line here and then doing this get about get about three feet of fishing line there's diseases and then all that so cagey and then tried lashing it and what I mean by that is go around once twice this way and that switch directions and just keep on going around like that and by lashing it like that you're going tio help help get this thing state from falling apart and then when you're done just take a piece of tape and loop it around can you cut that tape? I'll just ok and then what once you're done lashing it just attach the tape like so and that that will keep it on that's a quick way to do it just like that okay let me let me go you have about a foot of or so ok I'll get it started for you and then you just kind of follow the pattern here we'll just go once twice and then go around this way make sure you wait half in half so and then you just switch places and then once you get to the end of the string used some of the blue or this masking tape and just taped the whole thing down with that a loop around of tape so that lashing will do a good job of keeping the thing held down minute just trim off the excess here just just enough to loop around once all the way around did you lash it up really well so if you were doing this at home and had all the time in the world, what I would do is just attach a drop of glue and then get a nice would clamp and just pinch it there for a couple of hours and it will be great won't come apart this way lashing works well too all right? So for the next part what we're going to do is insert the peak of a threads and you can see there's quite a threading going around here so I'm gonna have to walk you through it so that we get this done properly because is a little it's a little confusing and if you don't do a right then this is not going to work so let's uh let's go through it step by step the first thing you need to do is get this little washer out of your cup when uh I just start by setting it down in the center of the cross and then you should have some some embroidery floss also and I find that about five feet is he is the right amount to use and so five feet for me is from my feet to my chin it might very for others but it's always a good idea to to know how much how much you measure from your feet to your chin so that's about five feet from me if you're five foot tall kid go up to the top of your head if you're less than five feet go a little of above okay, so I have five feet here about five feet is exactly the amount that you need and then we have a couple of paper clips and they are going to be at sea bottom of your glass jar or they might be in your cup I get a couple of paper clips out and then we will tell you not around the end of the paper clip like this and so the only not I know how to tie his granny knot so we'll do it. My granny not it's always worked fine for me and if you want tio trim off the access here that's fine, but at this point I'm going to cheat and I'm going to look in my book because I have a guide on how to thread this string and we'll go over it step by step together. Okay, so this's uh everybody has thea everybody has that the string tied through their paperclip right? So step one is to go through the washer the free and goes through the washer and then put it oh, and and so then you want to put the other one through your right screw lied to screw I t you're right okay? And uh yes the other end of the three end of the string and if your string starts unravel you can just do the old trick of licking it to smooth it out so know what you should have is the string first went through the washer and then it went through the ice crew like this screw iiss great never remember which how you say but anyway like that okay that's step one okay no no just just one you're only going through one screw I so far so it's basically like this and you know that one thing that might help to keep that washer from flying all over the place is this is just temporarily pin it down to the middle of the cross like that and I just keeps things kind of neat and will prevent that washer from tangling I've done that ok so the next step is to ty are thread this free and through paper clip and you're not going to tie it through you're just going to thread it through like that okay and jane could you hold that paper clip what might be good to have someone hold that other paper clip and it's not tied through it's just threaded through okay so you we have the tide end going through the washer going through the right eye screw and going through the paper clips and there's only one not not on the paper clip that's on the left side does everybody follow me so far and it's great to have like jane holding that right paper clip that's going to come in really handy. Okay, now what we want to do is go back through the washer you're supposed to have two paper clips you need it and I know but where does it owe the other paper clip? See how james holding at this goes through the right screw eye and then you threatened three into a free and through the paper equipment david you hold the paper clip and give lux that ended this thread. Now lux and everybody else take your free and and go back through the washer and this time go through the top of the washer and you might have to remove the pin there go through the top of the washer and pull the string through the washer and once you get it through far enough go ahead and pin that um pin that uh washer down game don't do that, honey, and I'm gonna pin the washer back down just to keep things neat because this could get complicated fast. I've made these things and had to start over a lot because it's ah there's a lot going on here so you went through the washer now you take this free and that you have and you put it through the left screw eye the left one and you don't tight or not you just thread it through okay and when you're done threading that through you know that paper cup you have with a knot in it you thread it through the paper clip but you don't tell you down you just threaded through ok and then you can set that paperclip down and then you take that fri end and you put it through the back or that this crew I that's that's facing farther away from you the back one not the one that's closest you but far this one away from you the one that's looking in the direction that you yes uh you wanted to go from left to right from left to right so that from from my right to your left but I put it through here like so and that's the one that's farthest away from you okay, now you have that free end now you put this free and through the paper clip that doesn't have the knot through the end that does not have the knot and jane you wanna hang on to that again so now that paper clip that's on the right has the threat going through it twice we're almost done folks I'm glad everybody's doing really well with us then you take the free and then you put it through the very front screw I put it through the front screw eye and then you have that free end you go to that paper clip that has the not in it and you go over to that, and you put it through that paper clip and you tie another, not, and you not it up, and you're done nodded. I just keep on hanging on to it. For now, hold on to that, ok, you can take the once you're done. You can take the piano out of the out of the middle, that if you have a right, you should have it looking like this reminds me of like one of those puppets step yes, like a marionette puppet and the first time, either you might want to just orient everything. You can use your hand, hold onto both paper clips and just get everything straight. And then you can see how this thing works, and when the cameras added on it, the additional weight will help will help it correct. A little more. Also.

Class Description

Make your weekends more awesome with activities you and your kids can get their hands on. Join Make Magazine editor-in-chief Mark Frauenfelder — and his daughter Jane — for a class on cool, simple projects you can do with your kids.

In Kids Crafts with Maker Dad, you’ll get the blueprints you need to complete projects with the whole family. You’ll learn how to whip up a mixture that makes enormous bubbles, and how to get started with polymer clay — a medium you can use to create custom toys, shapes, and figurines. You’ll engage in a little trial and error learning by creating your own simple board and dice games. You’ll also learn the more advanced magic of constructing a Drawbot – a simple robot that can make abstract art all by itself.

This course will have even your most reluctant kid excited to get their hands dirty and experimenting, making, and creating, together.