Public Lab Research note


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Rubber band and PET bottle camera rig

by mathew |

This activity replaces the PET Bottle Rig wiki page.

The PET bottle rig has two components-- the modified bottle and a rubber band harness for the inside. Small construction details differ for phones, small cameras, and large cameras, but the basic design features are shared. Watch this video (by @ann):

Floating version

Eustatic has a modification using a faucet cover to replace the PET bottle. It is lighter weight and provides flotation in water landing scenarios:

foam rig

Picking a Bottle For Your Camera

Find and crinkle a PET bottle-- how thick or thin is the material? thin bottles are fine for very light cameras and phones, but heavier cameras deserve a heavier bottle. If you're at a store, remember that carbonated beverages pressurize their bottles and will appear extra hard.

Hold your camera up to the bottle sideways to see if it will fit inside, then flip the bottle upside down and look at how the camera matches up to the base of the bottle. Usually the base and the body of the bottle are the same dimensions. Look for any types of indentations or decorative shapes towards the spout of the bottle that might either hold onto or impede the camera's placement inside. 64oz containers and 2 Liter bottles work well for most small cameras. Large cameras and phones require bigger bottles, usually 96oz-1 gallon containers. With the camera phone, pay attention to the distance between the camera (usually in the corner) and the edge of the bottle-- the farther the better. With large cameras, look especially for thick plastic.

Why PET Bottles?

PET (#1) bottles make great camera protectors because PET is exceptionally resilient across a wide variety of temperature conditions. PET is very strong for its weight, and is abraision and impact resistant. All soda and most juice bottles are PET. Most other plastic bottles are HDPE (#2), which fatigues easily and can shatter, especially at low temperatures. PET bottles come in a wide variety of shapes and can be easily identified not just by the #1 recycling symbol, but also by their clarity PET is always transparent, even when colored green or blue. HDPE is not transparent (think milk and detergent bottles), and has a slightly waxy feel to the touch.


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balloon-mapping kite-mapping photo-rig balloon-mapping-kit 1

difficulty:easy category:build time:1h status:complete activity:photo-rig

2 Comments

I watched your video - very useful. I didnt know how one will click the pictures ones it is up in the air


Hi, @nageshborse, for triggering, please check out #camera-triggering!


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