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Inspire "The Pond Skater"

Discussion in 'Inspire 1 Discussion' started by Dobmatt, Dec 24, 2015.

  1. Dobmatt

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    pond skater 01.jpg

    Easy to mount/dismount conversion of my Inspire 1 Pro into a floatable device is of paramount importance. In most photo/video missions the machine will take-off from boat deck, do the job and land on water nearby to be picked up or to move slowly around in controlled manner. The modification I've just sketched in CAD software employs 7" diameter foam balls, carbon fibre tubing and customized tube clamping devices, adding approx. 500 G of extra payload and providing 5900 G of replacement with half-submerged floats. The idea is to move floats away from down-thrusting props, provide enough clearance for X5 camera above surface and good stability on less than perfectly calm water. Of course such mod will render rather clumsy flying apparatus with significantly taxed range, but that's no issue here. No acrobatics or high altitude/elaborate flying routines will be involved with floats attached.

    That's the theory ... It'll take most of this winter to develop such system before final testing on remote mountain lakes of British Columbia. For now, however, I'd love to hear some words of advice and comments from seasoned Inspire pilots.

    And, oh, Merry Christmas and happy flying to everyone!

    pond skater 02.jpg
     
  2. Talon Six

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    Good for you - it takes some balls to propose such a product! :D
     
  3. lake_flyer

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    I like this idea. Been thinking about it for a while with all the water I have around.

    Would like to know much more about the clamps.

    And have a great christmas too.
     
  4. Dobmatt

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    Hold your horses, my friend. This design must be build and tested first before we jump into. The clamp design, however, is based on widely available tube clamping devices (i.e. Hobby King catalogue). The only custom piece is 45 deg. bracing plate, presumably water-jet or laser cut from 3mm aluminum raw material and formed. The picture below don't show bolts and nuts holding everything together, and I don't know why (it's late evening, and I'm trying to dissolve a significant amount of vodka right now). The bottom line: wait until I progress with development and confirm the validity of my idea. When this happen I'll be more than happy to share my experience and - perhaps - supply you with all vital parts for this mod.

    Happy and crash-free New Year!
     

    Attached Files:

    #4 Dobmatt, Dec 25, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016
  5. lake_flyer

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    Thanks! That looks promising.
     
  6. howard a griffin jr

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    Had to read your post a couple of times. Final testing explains the I1 prototype picture with the internal electronics removed and plastic disc for props. I made a modification adding lights to the I1. I purposely positioned the lights on the landing gear arm and as close as possible to the transition arm for weight and balance. Did a hover check, indoors mind you, in ATTI mode and experienced no more drift corrections than I normally would. Looking at the positions of the balls, they are outside the downwash of the props, so there may be minimal affect on hovering characteristics.

    Now at speed. flight characteristics my change. Round balls shouldn't create lift, however, will create drag and airflow. Airflow OFF the forward balls may effect the airflow AROUND the aft balls. There may be a combination of drag and bad airflow affecting the aft balls at higher speeds. Just thinking out loud. To bad you don't have a wind tunnel. Hope this makes sense cause my brain is hurting after writing this post.:confused:
     

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  7. Meta4

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    Flying over water, I prefer my drone isn't encumbered by any unnecessary weight or windage.
    Even if it flies in an acceptable way, there's no way I'd land an expensive camera so close to the water's surface.
    That just looks like asking for trouble.
     
  8. Dobmatt

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    Funny, even after multiple reading of my post you didn't noticed that the pics are faked, rendered in 3D modeling software after some simplified reverse engineering. Just take a look at the poor resemblance of Inspire StarWars'ish body! Another words what you see on illustrations doesn't exist, it's is just a computer simulated idea, although as close to real thing as humanly possible. Also, I've stated clearly that I'm expecting significant limitations in terms of speed and range. No one with common sense would push the Inspire modified this way to it's performance limits. Again, the machine should lift the X5 camera and attached floats to a desired attitude, do the job shooting stills or video around in a gentle manner, and be landed on water nearby. Therefore air turbulences created by floats, possibly involved in fast flying, should be avoided. This is, however, to be confirmed yet ...

    Another (perhaps "hidden") benefit of this mod is a chance to retrieve the machine after an unfortunate death in the mid air and helpless dive. A nightmare for everyone flying over water ...

    pond skater 03.jpg
     
  9. howard a griffin jr

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    My next comment in no way implies how you fly, but you would think common sense would play in pushing a modified I1. Have you seen some of the I1 crash compilations under normal conditions on youtube? Talk about common sense taking a walk on some of them. Wouldn't put it past a couple of daredevils to try and skim the mod across the top of the water at high speeds just because. Great Idea. Can't wait to see the final product in flight.

    Happy Holidays. Safe flying
     
  10. Christian Wiggers

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    The idea is great, but I think you will experience. The aerodynamics will change dramatically with 4 large styrofoam balls.

    I am currently working with safety parachute and it measures around 1 x 3 x4 inch
    IMG_8471.jpg

    At speed over 10 m/s you will start feel the change aerodynamics, and that is when there is no wind at all. Your 4 styrofoam balls placed considerably away from the center off the craft will have a lot of drag. The weight off 500 g extra payload will however not be a problem.

    The second thing that comes to my mind is that your camera will be limited in the work area on unless you don't mind getting your styrofoam balls in the picture.

    The third thing I was thinking about, was in what way will you use it. If it is just to be able to land on water it will work.


    But if it is at safety measure I doubt it will work. I will perhaps work if the inspire 1 land on the surface with all 4 styrofoam balls at the same time. But if you loss a prop or a motor stop working in midt air your inspire 1 will probably tumble through the air. What if it hits the surface up side down ? Well it will not sink but it will be very wet.

    If it is a questions to prevent the Inspire 1 in sinking this product vil do the job, and will not make problems with camera view or change aerodynamics.

    DJI Inspire 1 selbstauslösende MINIBOJE "Waterbuoy" Schwimmweste Boje
     
  11. Dobmatt

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    If I'll have to judge the mankind by YouTube publications only, than I'll committed suicide long time ago:D. Anyway, glad you finally get the idea...
     
    howard a griffin jr likes this.
  12. Dobmatt

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    Thank you for your comments. Yes, I've seen this simple modification on YouTube, posted by some brave Chinese "weekend warriors". It actually prompted me to improve the idea. I've noticed poor stability on relatively calm water, due to a small footprint of their design and center of gravity located way above water surface. Also, balls mounted directly below props must create significant force down. These two factors pushed me to spread the floats further away.

    Of course "... the aerodynamics will change dramatically with 4 large balls ...", no doubt. That's why I clearly see the limitations of such mod, applied only to perform very specific tasks. Simply I do not expect to execute any fast flying or sudden movements. As a safety device during crash landing on water (bonus feature) ... I don't believe that any device (other than force field:D) will perform well enough to avoid damage to the vessel itself. But at least one may be able to retrieve the wreck, recycle some parts and investigate the possible cause of such unfortunate event. To my understanding your parachute apparatus should perform a different job: minimizing the result of impact, but over the land. When over the water, you're pretty much on the mercy of nearest diving club members and a beacon (hey, isn't a great idea?)...

    Good luck with your device!
     
  13. howard a griffin jr

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    That's funny brother!!!
     
  14. howard a griffin jr

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    Watching the video, I can imagine the wake of a 54" off shore powerboat taking the drone out............ powerboat people can be like that...... The old get the drone with the rooster tail game.....
     
    #14 howard a griffin jr, Dec 27, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2015
  15. Christian Wiggers

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    My point with my safety parachute was that I feel the drag effect at about 10 m/s and the point was that your system with 4 styrofoam balls the drag effect will be much bigger.

    I think your right about both the down force on styrofoam balls under props and that you will achieve better stability - but due to your design you vil also get drag from the tube that hold the 4 styrofoam balls. You must also have in mind that if your inspire is flying 5 m/s in a 5 m/s headwind it will equals 10 m/s flying speed with no wind. So unless you plan your flying speed to 2-3 m/s with no wind at all, my guess is that drag will be a challenge.

    If it is only to prevent sinking then I think the watherbuoy is much better solution, and I have bought them my self, and use the a couple of times - fortunately without having to find out if they work or not.
    But if it is not to provide any safety, why will you then fly with your styrofoam balls system ? I have a hard time figuring out for what purpose you have to land on water - Is it just for the fun of it ?

    I am fully aware that my safety parachute has absolutely no positive effekt over water, and therefor I don´t use it if I plan a mission over mostly water.

    I don´t think the watherbuoy system will "save" my inspire 1 if it crashed in water. Most electronics don't do well with water, and especially salt water which is the primary water I am flying over. But I might have a chance to get it back, and maybe I can save the video and the parts that doesn't get destroyed in water.
     
  16. sparkfist

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    looks like the video will be ruined by having giant white foam balls in all of the shots.
     
  17. Dobmatt

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    Don't forget that the balls will be lifted up along with landing gear as usual, but yes, they may be visible when panning. 2B determined...
     
  18. sparkfist

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    I guess I misunderstood the goal. As the name suggested I thought you planned to have the I1 skate across a pond in landing mode while capturing some water level video.
     
  19. Dobmatt

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    woodmag_lores 02.jpg
    Having fun was the last thing in my mind when I decided to slap 6K for my Inspire 1 PRO. Again and again, I do not intent to use this mod in less than perfect weather conditions, nor to perform fast flying. Perhaps this photo will explain better what I'm trying to achieve.

    The machine will be controlled from front deck of the boat, and this is one man operation (my grandson is 4 :D). As you can see there's not much space for safe take-off , having 3' high railing around. Landing on this seems much more challenging even for the best of us. Consider difficulties with maintaining stable Home position, unreliable over water sonar and vision positioning system etc., and you will see some benefits of being able to land manually on water.

    As for self-deployable buoy systems ... by far none of them is developed for drones exclusively. They're merely capable of marking the position of sunken fishing rod on very limited depths, and their reliability is questionable, to put it politely.
     
    #19 Dobmatt, Dec 28, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2015
  20. m00se

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    if that front deck was cleared and non metallic you could land it on there without much problem.....