The Penguin: It Has Traveled Far, But It Has Never Flown
David Hunt August 1, 2001
Total Weight - 1.27# (576g)
(Bird Not Included) The Penguin is a bird that is known to travel long distances but does not fly. The Penguin KAP rig has these same distinguishing characteristics. I built this rig to take with me to Europe this last June. I did not have enough room in my baggage to bring one of my RC rigs and I could not see going without any KAP equipment. I settled on building a manual rig for my Fuji MX 2700 digital camera and stuffing a Flow Form 30 with a spool of line into a corner of my baggage. During my two weeks in the Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovakia circumstances kept me from getting the, then unnamed, Penguin into the air. I have not flown the rig here at home either. [The Penguin Finally Flies - See Pictures]
The Penguin is a manually operated rig that uses the Texas DT timer to trip the shutter. This is also the first pendulum suspension I have used. The frame is constructed of 1/16 inch aluminum and some 1.5 inch poplar I found in the specialty woods section at Home Depot (a large hardware, lumber, home improvement chain). The pendulum uses aluminum channel. A axile bolt was used to attach the two parts of the pendulum. To keep the legs of the upper frame as short as possible, the camera was mounted upside down. The nylon bolts are at the point of balance for the tilt movement. In my haste I did not take into account the clearance between the large thumb bolt used to attach the camera to the cradle and the wing nut used to attach the cradle to the pendulum. Luckily if the wing nut is turned properly the cradle can be easily moved to its most upright position.
Shutter Release Close Up In the close up of the shutter release system you can see the nylon fishing line that runs from the shutter lever, around a nylon thumb bolt mounted on the frame, and ending tied to a small washer which is hooked over the Texas DT release mechanism. Just below the washer you can see a small piece of wood that was glued to the release lever to keep the washer from sliding down too far on the lever. Without this small piece of wood the shutter would sometimes fail to trip. A nylon bolt was attached to the wooden shutter depression lever using two nylon nuts. The same size nylon bolt was attached to the horizontal frame member and a compression spring was slid over the ends of the bolts. The metal nut is used to adjust the amount of tension on the spring.
Tilt Axis Hardware Close Up The Tilt axis hardware can be seen in the picture to the right. It consists of a 1/4 inch nylon bolt, a Tee Nut, and a Wing Nut. Once the Tee Nut is tightened a small hole is drilled through the flange and the wooden frame member to allow a miniature nut and bolt to be attached. The miniature nut and bolt keep the Tee Nut from working loose. Tee Nuts are made in several different styles. I was able to find Tee Nuts at a local hardware store that already had four holes drilled through the flange of the Nut. I use a similar system on the Tilt axis of my RC rigs. Instead of the Wing Nut I use another Tee Nut mounted to the outer frame member and a longer nylon bolt.
The upper left picture shows a close up of the method used to attach the pendulum to the kite line. A piece of coat hanger was bolted to the upper frame of the pendulum with approximately 3 inches extending past each end. The end of the coat hanger is then bent back as shown in the picture. The kite line is then wrapped around the extended portion of the coat hanger 5-7 turns. This is a variation of the "Line Tree" (lower left) that I use to attach my picavet rig to the line. Line Trees
Used with Picavet Line Attachment Detail [The Penguin Finally Flies - See Pictures]