Travel In Style On An Electric Air Sled

What do you do during the winter months in Ohio? Sledding of course! Sledding normally takes place on hills, but [Peter Sripol] is no slave to the terrain. He’s built an air sled to conquer the barren wastelands of unplowed parking lots. Air sleds aren’t as outlandish as you might think — the Soviet Union had decades of success with them.

The project starts with toboggan style plastic sled. [Peter] built a frame into the plastic using an aluminum square. The frame is used to support a motor pod at the back of the sled. The motor, of course, comes from his DIY electric plane project. Don’t worry — [Peter] didn’t cannibalize his plane. The plane’s motors are being upgraded, and this is one of the originals.

The motor itself is quite a beast. It’s a 150cc equivalent brushless outrunner motor from HobbyKing. It’s not cheap either at around $450 USD.  The motor is controlled by an equally beefy brushless controller wired into a standard R/C car receiver. A pistol grip transmitter makes a great wireless throttle for the system.

Steering is a much more mechanical affair. The sled’s rudder is controlled much like that of an airplane. A steel cable pull-pull system is connected to a stick mounted in front of the pilot. The unreinforced styrofoam rudder turned out to be a weak point in the build — check out the video after the break to see the full story.

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For Vacation On Hoth: Snow Speeder Sleds

Next time you’re taking a vacation anywhere that resembles the planet Hoth, you might want to take the time to build a snow speeder sled before you go. As you can see in the video above (at around the 1:00 mark), the sled looks great, even as it “flies” down the slopes. We were fairly surprised to find it was made entirely out of cardboard. We were also fairly surprised at how large the person was that unfolded from the cockpit when it stopped!

You can see pictures of the build process over at Dvice.

Sliding Camera Mount Is Good Enough For Amateur Photography

[Unihopper] built this sliding camera mount to add some motion to his freestyle unicycle videos. It’s extremely simple, but still pulls off a pretty nice effect as you can see in the clip after the break.

The image above shows the mount without a camera attached.  You can see the threaded peg on the block in the foreground which is used for that purpose. Felt has been wrapped around the base of the block, which rides in a wooden channel. The string, which connects to an eye hook in the wood block, is attached to a spool on the far end of the plank. A K’nex motor drives that spool, slowly sliding the camera toward it.

Unlike other toy-based sleds, the use of a track system helps to maintain proper orientation of the camera. Obviously this isn’t going to achieve the perfectly smooth and precise motion you’d get out of a sled system like this rail and linear bearing version. But honestly, most of us don’t have cameras of the quality to warrant that type of high-end system. Continue reading “Sliding Camera Mount Is Good Enough For Amateur Photography”

Motorized Camera Mount Unexpectedly Popular For CNC-aimed Hardware

Here’s a camera mount that moves smoothly along a motorized sled. [Bart Dring] created the system and was surprised by it’s popularity, having received several sales requests from photographers. He originally designed the linear bearing system, called the MakerSlide as an inexpensive alternative to other CNC machine solutions. Allowing a computer to map out timed movements for video shots wasn’t on his radar then, but as you can see in the clip after the break, the MakerSlide does an amazing job at it.

The modular track system makes it easy to attach to a base. In this case, a couple of pieces of acrylic let him support both ends of the track on standard camera tripods. [Bart] mentions the knowledge gap between people who work with CNC milling hardware and photographers as an issue in deciding how to control the system. Since photographers aren’t likely to be proficient in EMC2, he designed a control application with an Arduino. It uses a stepper motor controller shield, and does some fancy math to make sure there is smooth acceleration, etc.

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