Building the Quadrocam

Quadrocopters have exploded into popularity and are now a common buzzword in many robotics and AV hobbyist forums. There are plenty of people who have built their own as well as many commercially available quadrocopters on the market. Prices for these devices can range anywhere from several to several hundred dollars. I purchased a Syma X1 4 Channel 2.4G RC Quad Copter on Amazon for $36.60 and I have been impressed with its performance.

The Syma Quad Copter has exceeded all my expectations. Despite the spelling and grammar errors written in choppy english in the manual, the device performs great. The description given by the manufacturer estimates ten minutes of flight time. I get well into fifteen to twenty minutes of continuous flight.

I mounted a small digital camera on the bottom of the quadrocopter to take some aerial shots. The camera, a Hd Digital Video Camera Mini Dv DVR, also complete with a grammatically amusing instruction guide, takes picturesque five megapixel photos and video.

The mount I made for the camera is just a small piece of sheet metal screwed to the back of the camera. I removed the plastic housing from the camera before drilling it to prevent the drill from damaging the internal parts of the camera. The metal strip is cut to the width of the battery plug so it just slides under the plastic bracket. This makes it so that I can easily remove the camera from the quadrocopter when I'm not recording. I have posted an additional video recorded by the quadrocopter here.

Author's note: I rarely ever read the manual that comes with anything whether it be an assembly guide or operational instructions. This has recently changed as I have discovered a whole new world of cheap products that come with delights such as fingerprints on the CDs and amusingly written manuals.


  1. I have seen some people use keychain camera for their quadrocopters. The camera I'm using is a Mini Hd Digital Video Camera that I got on for $12.96 (Free Shipping). The camera takes good photos on its own but the vibration from the propellers is the biggest factor in the clarity of the video.

  2. Morgan Andrews9/14/2013

    Could you make a gimbal?

  3. I could, but i'm not sure that would solve the problem. The gimbal would keep the camera level but the vibration would still get translated over. I'm wondering about using a small vibration dampener which may have a better result.

    1. What material do you plan on using?

  4. Its pretty much just going to be a metal weight with a rubber spacer separating it from the camera body.