Is it feasible to put a mirror in a small shroud outside the rocket so a miniature video camera facing outward sees down the airframe?

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Mach_Seven

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I have a mini "spy cam" but it's a pen-type. The lens looks out 90 degrees from the longitude of the pen. I can easily get it looking out through the body tube, but I want to see the downward view. Would a well placed mirror just outside the body tube work?
 

Mach_Seven

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I don't see why not.
Thanks. I finally found some examples of this method being successfully used. Estes used to have a rocket kit that did this very thing. I wasn't sure if the mirror being close to the lens would affect focus.
 

afadeev

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I have a mini "spy cam" but it's a pen-type. The lens looks out 90 degrees from the longitude of the pen. I can easily get it looking out through the body tube, but I want to see the downward view. Would a well placed mirror just outside the body tube work?
Yes, but you will find that using dedicated compact cameras will work better than adopting your pen-type camera to this role.
For example, this place offers convenient shrouds for Mobius, Runcam, 808-type cameras:

Estes used to have a rocket kit that did this very thing. I wasn't sure if the mirror being close to the lens would affect focus.
If you are working with small diameter airframe Estes-type rockets, you may find it all but impossible to mount a camera inside the body and build a compartment to protect it from ejection charges. There is simply not enough space for that in most low-power rockets.

In that case, consider mounting something on the outside of the body.
A simple, cheap 808 camera attached via a Velcro strip works well, and can be moved across multiple rockets.

More info here: https://www.rocketryforum.com/threads/mounting-keychain-camera.51867/
 

Steve Shannon

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I have a mini "spy cam" but it's a pen-type. The lens looks out 90 degrees from the longitude of the pen. I can easily get it looking out through the body tube, but I want to see the downward view. Would a well placed mirror just outside the body tube work?
Yes, but for ultimate clarity make sure it’s a first surface mirror.
 

rklapp

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I'm curious what pen camera and what result you got with it.
 

Mach_Seven

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I'm curious what pen camera and what result you got with it.
I think it was on Walmart.com for like $18. I didn't expect the best video quality, but it's a decent first rocket cam.
 

Stable1

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We did just that with a Wisconsin Space Grants rocket competition team. The camera was in the dart on a boosted dart rocket looking to the horizon, We used a 1/4" square mirror mounted at a 45 deg angle with a 3D printed shroud. Be sure to use a first surface mirror -- The aluminized layer is on the top on the glass. One part of the competition was to count the number of rolls the dart went thru.

 

Mach_Seven

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We did just that with a Wisconsin Space Grants rocket competition team. The camera was in the dart on a boosted dart rocket looking to the horizon, We used a 1/4" square mirror mounted at a 45 deg angle with a 3D printed shroud. Be sure to use a first surface mirror -- The aluminized layer is on the top on the glass. One part of the competition was to count the number of rolls the dart went thru.

Thanks for the input. In the test video above, I actually got the camera so it sticks straight out of the rocket and looks down the body tube. I didn’t think it would fit in there like that, but I was able to get it rigged just right.

i’m glad I came to that solution first, because I did buy some small mirrors that I was going to use and they are not a first surface as you describe. I’m glad I didn’t go through the trouble of getting a mirror sanded down to size and rigged to the rocket just right only to find out it’s the wrong kind of mirror!
 

PSLimo

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I used pen cameras pre GoPro Era in 2005 to 2009. I would mount a short piece of 1/4" pvc out the side and tap a 440 screw to hold in place. You can get the idea from this pic.
20210307_174319.jpg
 

PSLimo

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Oop's 1/2" pvc and the pen cam's fit perfectly.

The video was great at the price point back then and still is today.
 
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