Custom camera fairing

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Reed Goodwin

Well-Known Member
Jan 18, 2009
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Hi all. Before TRF went down, I had a thread going about possibly making a fairing for my Boostervision camera to hold it outside my rockets during flight to get better reception from the flight. I think it's only fitting to describe how I finished the sucker.

I decided to make a foam shape and then put some fiberglass to help strengthen it. My goal was to have the camera housed outside a 2.1" airframe with a clear line of sight from the antenna to the ground. I tried a couple foams after I discovered that I didn't have any leftover 2" pink insulation board, but they all failed, so I ended up going to the store and buying some 1/2" insulation board and laminating several pieces with wood glue. Before I began carving the foam, I experimented with different ways to get the camera and battery into the most compact, space-saving shape possible and came up with this

I then began shaving the foam down with my pocket knife since I didn't have a hot wire foam cutter available. After much mess, I ended up with this

I then used some fiberglass that I had had from previous experiments to cover the foam to provide a hard covering. I think the glass is only around 1oz stuff, as I laid three layers and it was still very thin. I rotated each layer by 45 degrees to try and increase the stiffness in different directions. I also put some washers inbetween some of the layers, thinking I would use them for attachment to the airframe later. I did the lay-up on the airframe so that the extra glass would conform to the airframe.

Once the glass had cured, I removed it from the airframe with the help of the plastic wrap I had put on the airframe, and then trimmed the edges to make neat lines.

I then began to carve out a pocket in the foam for the camera in that configuration shown above. I wanted to have the pocket be fairly snug on the camera to help hold it steady. Once I had the pocket carved, I made a hole so that the camera's antenna could stick out of the fairing.

This completed the fairing's flight-worthiness and so I used it on my PML X-Calibur on a G64-7W load at a launch in late December. I ended up using masking tape to strap the fairing to the side of the rocket. Here is a picture of the rocket going up. You can see the fairing strapped to the fincan of the rocket.

Thanks for all your help on figuring out how to increase the range of the camera.

EDIT: I almost forgot, here's the video captured from the camera. It's the best footage I've captured so far:
Great job! Cool video. How high did the rocket go?

I hope to do a video someday also. I need money to spare first though.

Nicely done!!! I have been wanting to make one similar and seeing this helps a great deal.