Public Lab Wiki documentation

Soda Bottle Rig

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This design has been retired in favor of the PET Bottle and Rubber Band Rig

A cut-off soda bottle can be used as a cheap camera mounting because the camera sits snugly against the inside of the bottle. The camera is also effectively protected from impacts - a disadvantage of the Picavet suspension.

Making a rubber band harness for the soda bottle rig:

Fitting and flying a camera in a soda bottle rig:

Simplified Soda bottle rig:

Build a Soda Bottle Rig

here, we go !

You can also follow this visual step by step instructions below:

Tools you'll need

minimum tool set to build the aerial photography camera mount

Drill the bottom of the bottle

drill the bottom

Cut the bottom of the bottle :

pinch to cut

cut the bottom of the bottle just above the mold marks

Insert the bottom of the bottle you just cut in the bottle itself until the head :

take the cut bottom, reverse it, push it in

Push it in !

Cut a large strip of the bottle, leaving enough on the bottle head side to host a camera :

Leave enough on the head side to contain the camera

Cut the large stripe :

Ok, that's the center part. This will become the wings of the camera mount

Cut the large stripe in the length :

cut this large strip in 2 narrow ones

Now you have 2 narrow stripes :

a large strip becomes 2 narrow strips

Fold them in 2 in the length :

The strip roll by themselves, but if you fold them, they stay in place strong

Both of them :

Now you have 2 separated wings and a big body

Cut the end of each of the narrow stripes in a "pig feet" :

open the long strip as a "pig foot"

If you have a welder, you can make the "pig feet" more durable by "welding" the end of the cut :

if you can "weld" the hole, it is much stronger than simple cut.

Put "feet to feet" the folded stripes :

Now you have 2 long strips - I call these "wings"

Duct tape one side of the "feet nails" :

tapped together!

Mark where you want to insert the feets :

check out how big of a hole you need to pass these wings in the body

With a blade - ideally with the soldering iron, make a cut the width of the stripe :

prepare a little hole on the overlap, to pass the wings

Insert the "wings" :)

Get the wings through the body

Tape the wings in :

attaching the 2 loose pieces to the support

Almost there, nice! Taking shape!

I use a piece of duct tape to mark the axe

Pass the long thin rope through the nozzle :

pull the end of your thread through the head and perforated bottom

Make 2 loops (4 threads) with the thread :

one thread turned into 2 loops

Adjust the tension of the 2 loops :

the threads will hold like that, you will  put duct tape to set up the camera.

A simple knot with the 4 threads in :

simple knot with 4 threads coming into 2 loops

Fix the threads with string tape to camera (real strong, if you use bad tape your camera may fall from 500ft in the water / in the sand / on the rocks :_(

Fix the camera threads tension to have a well-balanced positioning

Pull the rope back in the body :

Pull the camera up ...

Pull stronger till the camera doesn't move much anymore:

Adjust the camera in the mount

Screw the cap in, with the threads forced (and probably twisted while you screw in):

Good! Fixed!

The screw cap with hold the 4 threads securely, it easier to adjust, and also be easy to remove :

the cap is holding the rope and adjusting the tension

Test the balance of your devicem ideally with a fan, your camera mount should swing gently in the wind and follow the wind like a weather vane :)

here, we go !

To avoid having of the mount with the pictures you take, you can crop the extra plastic :

I recommend to remove a bit of the plastic in order to avoid having the edge of the bottle in every single shot :)

If you want to avoid turbulence and aggravate wind drag you can make fringes at the end of each wings :

I cut little fringes to add drag in the air

You are ready to fly !

Grassroots mapping camera mount

pointing at the floor


Get out of here, inflate a balloon:

Mademoiselle Ballon ****

or a kite :

Launching the kite

Attach your camera mount to the kite, and walk on the beach / or sail !

Boat for oil spill mapping More infos here :

Watch a video by Pat Coyle about the origins of the soda bottle rig here: