Small Model Rocket Video Camera

To remove the pocket clip just bend the clip back and then work it back and forth until you can work it out. Be careful, the microphone is just behind this opening.

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There are several places on the web where you can find USB Video recording writing pens. Low resolution pens can be found as cheap as $6 while HD video pens go for over $100. I found a standard 640x480 pixel 25 frame per second version for $40 and converted it to a model rocket video camera with very little effort. Be warned that these are not high quality video machines. This one has a lot of noise in the video image and I was never able to get the internal clock to set as the instructions describe, but for only $35 I think it is a decent deal. I did fine a way to set the time, see bottom of page. Furthermore it is small enough to fit in BT-20 sized tube and is only 18.6 grams, small enough to be launched with a B motor.

The first thing I did was discard the writing pen end. Then find two model rocket motor thrust rings and peel out a few of the inner wraps of paper until they just fit over the camera section of the pen.

This photo shows you the teeth on the pocket clip, so you have an idea how to wiggle it out of the pen.

Use a fie or sand paper to rough up the top plastic cover. It looks metal, but it is only chromed plastic. Be careful not to damage the push button. This is done so when you glue a small block of spruce or birch, the glue has something to grab on to. Glue a small block of spruce or birch, about 0.125” square, to the roughed up area to act both as a handle and as a protector from the nose cone starting or stopping video recording.

Now you must build the payload section to hold the camera. This will just be a nose cone (almost any nose cone that fits BT-20 will do) a bulkhead, and a tube. The length of bulkhead and model of nose cone will affect the length of tube you need, mine was about 4 7/16” long. You can use a paper hole punch to make a hole for the camera to look out through your body tube.


Visit my other pages:

Engineering Links for softwareLinks.html
Developing Mac ApplicationsDesktopProgLinks.html
Links to altitude tracking toolsRocketAltitudeTrack.html

I had trouble setting the time on my writing pen camera. I finally found out how, with some help from YouTube at this link. The YouTube video didn’t tell the whole story, I guess there are several versions of software in these pens. I had to name my file time.txt, like in the video, but my file had to look like this:

2012-11-09 19:51:00 Y one of the commenters suggested.

Aerospace EngineeringAerospace1.html

The picture above shows the way I rigged a bridle so the camera was looking straight down on the parachute. The black wrap on the nose cone was carbon fiber ‘tape’ that was epoxied to the nose cone to prevent the internal music wire from pulling out of the nose cone.

The photo on the right was the last I ever saw of the USB camera rocket. I thought “how high can a camera rocket go on a C6-5”....... Well, at LDRS-33 it can go out of sight, and this rocket was too small for any of my trackers to see. If anybody ever finds it, I would like to have the video, you can keep the camera.