The Brief

Co-founder and director of Intion Stuart Cupit, also keen photographer and kite-flyer, decided to set himself a challenge to build a rig capable of taking panoramic aeriel photos from his parafoil kite. The rig needed moving parts, had to be light-weight but strong enough to hold servos and a digital camera and withstand the odd crash landing.


Stuart designed the rig using 3D Studio Max and included 5 independent moveable stages, a complete gear system, fittings for 4 servos, a microcontroller, batteries and, most importantly, a digital camera.

The final design was printed out in one go (yes, no assembly!) using our Invision-XT 3D printer. The various joints and gears were designed in place with the 0.1mm clearance between any two parts required to  allow them to move independently. The VisiJet SR200 build material used is strong enough to be for functional finished products.

The gears, axels and sleeves freely revolve and the fleixble nature of the material, when printed in thin sections, allowed the servos to be held in place by sprung hinged latches. The servos follow a pre-recorded set of moves using a Milinst Wizard board.


Picavet suspension allowed the camera rig to self-level and prevents twisting. A geared mechanism reduced the speed of one of the servos by 20 to 1 to allow the rig to be rotated. The gears were printed in place and once support material is removed just work with no assembly!

The Flight: The whole rig was attached to a Sutton Flowform 16 kite using a pair wire hangups on 200m of cord. The kite needed a 25mph wind to get the 1kg rig into the air. Flown from Hamstead Heath, the rig took 50 blurry photos the first time! The second flight got some great shots looking south across London, and some bemused looks from on-lookers!

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About our ‘Future of 3D’ series

The ‘Future of 3D’ series is about exploring the boundaries of future 3D technology through non-commercial creative projects. Supporting this type of work is core to Inition’s core values of developing new uses of 3D technology, supporting creativity and nurturing the passion of it’s staff and collaborators. If you have an idea for a ‘Future of 3D’ project, we’d love to hear from you.