When flying smaller balloons like in the #mini-balloon-kit, a common issue is that due to the lower lift of these (say, one to three 36 inch mylar balloons) they are more sensitive to light winds blowing them down.
What happens is that the whole setup flies at a lower angle, rather than straight up.
Are there ways to add fins, tape or glue the balloons into some pattern, or otherwise stabilize the balloons so that they aren't as sensitive to wind? Perhaps to even generate lift, like a kite-balloon-hybrid (there's a LOT on that page!)?
Any ideas welcome!
(first two images by folks at UNI and Morflex in Lima Peru, last by @hudonnoodles)
Warren, we have just completed some full-scale testing. Currently we are refining and collecting data before we make any claims. We will definitely make a step-by-step activity guide, but we want to prove the concept to the best of our ability first. This should be completed by Dec. 12th, which is our Senior Design Showcase on Tufts Campus. You are welcome to come and see our design in person as well as several technologies developed by other groups that solve a wide range of problems. I will make sure you get an invite. Until then please check out the video I posted below on my Youtube account of our first full-scale test outside.
Reply to this comment...
We are currently working on building a model that can be flight tested. Hopefully we will be able to post a video by next week and we will make instructions for how build the model as we go.
Would love to see this if it is posted yet!
We came across a lot of design challenges and setbacks, but my team and I have just conducted some full scale tests and we are very happy with the results. At this point we do not want to say that the design is totally successful until we collect more quantitive data and have time to formally analyze our findings. I will post a video below of our very first test outside below. Since that test we made some improvements on how to mount the string to the balloons, which greatly increased performance. Also we did not have our camera attached to the setup out of fear of losing it on an untested system. I should be mentioned that it is able to easily lift the 40 gram Mobius action camera recommended by Public Lab.
I apologize in advance for the filming! This was our very first test and data we are now collecting is of a much higher quality.
Great! We'd love to see more photos and a video -- you can post it as an activity (you should be seeing a prompt to do this below your posts here) -- happy to help with YouTube embedding when you post! Thanks!
We are working on another design in parallel to the magnus effect design described above. We are using principles of the Allsopp Helikites, but adding two balloons on top of each other to increase the lift from helium. We fabricated a kite out of ripstop nylon, and used rigid, lightweight hollow carbon fiber tubes for the keel spine and vertical spar. After hemming all of the edges, and sewing on pockets for the spar, we assembled the sail and keel and attached to the 36" mylar balloon with white vinyl tape. Test results with one balloon were so-so, and we determined that the addition of another helium balloon could add enough lift to stabilize support the camera. After experimenting with horizontal attachment of the two balloons, we decided that there was not enough surface area to attach the two balloons together effectively in that orientation.
The additional drag of placing the second balloon on top of the first was a big concern, but it was the only method that could safely hold the two balloons together and to the kite. We then taped the two balloon faces to one another with the same vinyl tape and Saran Wrapped around the two for additional security. After taping the sail to the bottom ballon and attaching a plastic bag kite tail, we began full-scale testing. The next steps are to create a step-by-step DIY, and continue testing with an anemometer for wind speed, and taking measurements for height and angle of the assembly. In the future, a design with a pre-made, cheap kite should be tried, but it should be noted that all of the materials for the design were purchased for under $50. Gluing to mylar is currently not an option unless materials are purchased from the UK, and while the tape is not the most aesthetically pleasing, it has withstood many outdoor tests so far and seems the most effective and lightweight option. We are beginning that step-by-step guide today, and will be posting more test results soon. For now, here are two videos; the first is of our first attempt with one balloon, and the second shows the two-balloon assembly in the snowy weather last evening.