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Old 01-10-2012, 01:38 AM #1
highyield
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I want a drone

So I have had this idea for a couple years now, I want a drone for paintball. Before someone stops reading because that statement is a bit outrageous hear me out. Now I'm not talking about busting out a drone for the regular open play weekend at the local field, but when a game like D-day rolls around how useful would a drone broadcasting real time footage to a player or a tank on the ground.

First off let me type out this disclaimer, in no way will this drone shoot any thing. It's only payload will be a camera, and controlling units.

So here is the plan:

The Drone
The platform is centered around a foam RChttp://www.hobby-lobby.com/easystar_rtf.htm, it's light weight & small size allow the drone to be hand launched. Upgrading of the drive train will be required to allow the drone to achive altitude and maintain heading in medium wind sheer. During launch the drone is handled by a standard RC plane control unit, after achieving it's programmed altitude the an internal GPS system will engage taking control of the drone. As it stands right now I have the plane that is as far as I have gotten thanks to funding issues. The internal are made up of an autopilot unithttp://www.sparkfun.com/search/resul...&what=products, a few sensors, a GPS Chiphttp://www.sparkfun.com/products/465, and a means to communicate with the network. ( I will talk more about this later). The Payload is simple a board camera, on a 360 degree mount. Board cameras are cheap, for a little over 90 dollars you get a very light camera, that can see near the IR spectrumhttp://www.amazon.com/Clover-Electro...ies/B0031M9SXE. That really all the drone is made up of, other then transimitting the video the whole drone part is rather easy.

The Network
In today's world it's common place to go to a camp ground and have really good wireless coverage over the entire grounds. They use large wireless routers that are made for the outdoor environment. This is the back bone of the drone network, and opens the door to other digital warfarehttps://www.google.com/#pq=board+camera&hl=en&ds=pr&cp=19&gs_id=2a&xhr=t& q=outdoor+wireless+router&tok=wasq-Dix57PD6SSsHr0s8w&pf=p&sclient=psy-ab&fhp=1&tbm=shop&source=hp&pbx=1&oq=outdoor+wirel ess+ro&aq=0&aqi=g3&aql=&gs_sm=&gs_upl=&bav=on.2,or .r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.,cf.osb&fp=3f49a67768d031b4&biw=10 24&bih=634. This router mounted on a paintball tank would give you good coverage. The drone transmits it's video signal to the tanks router, the router funnels it into a laptop. The laptop runs the automated drone program, and can also control the drone. From there the tank can transmit that footage to people on the ground with a smartphone or a Ipod touch. My idea has always been to build a communication/supply tank for D-day. One that can manage radio communication, the Drone system, Supplies for German Units (Air & and Unit or team storage), maybe even adding the ability to have a text based communication system. The end game would be having all this in App form that could be used by any German player on field.

The reason I'm writing this, first off I'm looking for any Ok-dday commander that might be interested in getting involved either with funding or with technical knowledge. Also I just wanted to see what people thought of my idea, any holes in my plan, or people that have done this or something similar to this. I also have other ideas that could spin off of this.
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Old 01-13-2012, 02:04 PM #2
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I've been working on the same idea for about 5 years now. For paintball, the best platform I've seen is actually an RC Blimp or a teathered balloon with a camera set up on it. The ability for those platforms to loiter is far superior to that of anything that has to make multiple passes. I've hit the same brick wall every time I sit down to work this problem out. It's hella expensive. Even if you buy a few of the 9' weather balloons to teather together and anchor to a trailer-hitch winch. If you go totally RC, you're looking at at least $4000 for the blimp alone without a gondola. Then you need to look at the gondola that can operate in up to 20mph wind conditions and at the range this thing will be loitering from. Then you move into the video equipment. How large of a lense are you putting on your camera? Adjustable zoom? Pan/tilt/rotate? Wireless feed? Stuff adds up real quick.

Check this out: http://www.aerialproducts.com/

But what you're looking for is a carrier for a camera, a high quality camera, a transmitter, an adjustable turret for the camera, a receiver, a router and a wireless device that can rebroadcast the signal. Correct? Take a look at this option. You'll still need the carrier, camera and adjustable turret for the camera. But look into a camera that can broadcast on wifi. Most often Wifi is well within the range capability of what you're looking at. A good programmer can set up the wifi camera to stream live feed to a website online, that you can set the security settings to allow for only certain IP addresses to view or password protect the feed to limit access. From there, all you really need is a mobile wifi hotspot that can be mounted on top of a tank. Or hell, strap a smart phone to the carrier with the camera that has hotspot enabled. Don't know too many people who would volunteer their $$$ smart phone up for such an adventure if the carrier is RC.
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Old 01-21-2012, 01:02 PM #3
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i would be very exited to see this become something! subscribed!
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Old 01-22-2012, 08:53 PM #4
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I have thought about a blimp, there are several draw back not including price. First on being any thing that high up, might cause problems with the FAA. Second the blimp can have major blind spots, and take time to get in the air, and get out of the air.

I think you have over looked the hobby R/C-Drone industry, I have a spread sheet that does not include the wireless network that would be on a tank. I have estimated that this could be built for under 1000 dollars. Being Thrifty about it you could get it done even cheaper.
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Old 01-24-2012, 05:44 PM #5
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I'm sure you could do it for 1k. Someone with a hundred dollars is just as capable of building a jammer that would render your control and video feqs useless. You laugh at the idea but I sure don't want someone to have an advantage like that over me on the battlefield. I'd get some 100lbs brain engineering nerd to whip something up. I'm going to do everything in my power to render your "game changer" a waste of resources. Thatís why modern military drones have advanced systems to beat jamming and preprogrammed routes to render them immune to a large extent. This is not a unreasonable idea, just one that requires the capital to make happen. You then must also consider the support structure required to operate a "drone" in a "combat" environment. A secure place to launch and recover. The parts and trained persons to make timely repairs. (Just because you spent a boatload of cash to build this, don't expect a freebie when it comes to operating it. If your on the field your a viable target and I intend on denying you the ability to get your bird in the air. ) You must also have a pilot trained in the operation of the aircraft in a hostile environment, particularly a rotary winged aircraft. Just going up to "see what you can see" will likely not be good enough. If anyone can meet those wickets then by all means, bring the bird out I'd love to see her. (And let the DOD know what you've come up with, they might want it too.) Otherwise, stick to paintballs, NERF footballs and canvas bags full of "C4" and lets just have some fun.
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Old 01-24-2012, 11:15 PM #6
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Someone with a hundred dollars is just as capable of building a jammer that would render your control and video feqs useless.
This is about the only constructive thing I got out of that. you show me a jammer that can put out that juice, and cost 100 dollars, and is legal. Problem with a jammer, your 100 dollar jammer will not cover a large scenario field. Second I already have a way around a jammer, if the drone operated in a place with cell phone coverage you could simply plug a 4g wireless card in. Jam that Freq. it a federal offense.

Quote:
game changer
I never said anything about a game changer, surveillance is not a game changer, artillery is.

Quote:
You then must also consider the support structure required to operate a "drone" in a "combat" environment. A secure place to launch and recover.
My drone can be launched by hand, can glide to land in any field, and could be launch from a tank on a rail system in any clearing.

This is the frame work of my drone.

Quote:
The parts and trained persons to make timely repairs.
That would be me.

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If your on the field your a viable target and I intend on denying you the ability to get your bird in the air.
You won't even know when it comes up or goes down.

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You must also have a pilot trained in the operation of the aircraft in a hostile environment,
I think you missed the point, it's a drone, it has it's own autopilot system, the links are above. it goes up it does it's thing, it comes down.

Quote:
f anyone can meet those wickets
What a wickets

Quote:
(And let the DOD know what you've come up with, they might want it too.)
Really is that a threat, I have a clear disclaimer above. Not to mention I would put my security clearance against yours any day. And Second **** the DOD, all the **** I know they better be watching me, or my tax dollars are not doing ****.
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Old 01-25-2012, 08:18 PM #7
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As I said, if you find a way to reliably control in a threat environment then good on you. It seems you have done that. Accurate, timely Intel is as much a weapon as a battery of 155mm tubes. You posses the engineering and technical expertise to build and maintain the system, alrighty then. The craft has its own autopilot system, ok. Is it reprogrammable on the fly? Can the unit be retasked after launch? Is the sensor package robust, real-time, and controllable? Most drone still have a human operator in the loop for critical stages of flight, (T/O, landing, dynamic maneuvers)

Its no threat, its an honest statement. I'm sure they would love to have something low cost and reliable to field and use it to save lives.

Issues I foresee:
Rules- How, when, and where could this be used? It would clearly have limits and ways to preclude it being used. Maybe something as simple as the other team buying a "SAM" which ment you couldn't fly it for a fixed time all the way up to and including actively engaging the drone with some form of weapon. Although all things considered it likely wouldn't survive the encounter without catastrophic damage.

Airframe limitations: It looks to be fairly small and lightweight. It may not have the power/mass to deal with anything other then light winds. Just upping the horsepower may not do the trick and adversely effect your weight and balance. Another possible issue is adverse weather. Water, blowing sand, and other things could cause controllability problems or degrade your missions systems prematurely.

Tactics and doctrine: Integration into active play. This is only a matter of training and time to remedy though.

Its not impossible, look at Firescout, Reaper and the likes... just costs a pretty penny. Keep up the good work.

As for security clearances this is not the place to discuss anything related to such matters.
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Old 01-26-2012, 12:54 AM #8
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Now were brainstorming, sorry about being defensive.

Quote:
Is it reprogrammable on the fly? Can the unit be retasked after launch? Is the sensor package robust, real-time, and controllable
The autopilot system, called the ardu or something like that, launches with a pre-programmed flight plan, with a software program that uses google earth you can send new flight plans while the drone is up. The program also allow the plane to circle one or several GPS way points.

Quote:
Its no threat, its an honest statement. I'm sure they would love to have something low cost and reliable to field and use it to save lives.
I thought you were saying uncle sam would have beef with my little project. Theres a Navy commercial were this same set up is shown being launched by hand out of a hummer. I'm sure the seals have them already.

Quote:
Rules- How, when, and where could this be used? It would clearly have limits and ways to preclude it being used. Maybe something as simple as the other team buying a "SAM" which ment you couldn't fly it for a fixed time all the way up to and including actively engaging the drone with some form of weapon. Although all things considered it likely wouldn't survive the encounter without catastrophic damage.
this is a issue I had not really thought of much, the SAM idea is good, also maybe if the game promoter was to require, it could be used by both side on pre-determined missions. I would bet good money that this thing would have no problem flying out of the range of any PB gun on the ground. I'm guessing anything else would be dangerous.

Quote:
It looks to be fairly small and lightweight.
It is, this air frame seemed to be a good starting point. there are plenty of video on youtube of this plane doing every thing above. Considering anything larger would limit your ability to launch and land the thing. This is as far as I will go with a plane platform. In the future I would like to build a Quad-rotor that tracks a GPS chip embedded in a vest or something like that.
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Old 01-26-2012, 07:39 PM #9
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It may be able to fly out of engagement range of markers, but at those heights even a couple of hundred feet the dynamics of flight can change drastically. Downdrafts, updrafts, wind sheer and all ruin your day. Its a trade off you'll have to find balance in.

That auto pilot is a good point to point kind of thing but I'd highly recommend having some kind of real time manual override to get the aircraft out of sticky situations. (GPS can and does often crap out in certain areas.) Which means you'd have to go inertial. And it can't compensate for a tricky gust of wind or a suddenly fouled landing area.

Your likely quite right, anything that could reach out and touch you at those heights would pose a threat on the way back down.... unless of course someone else had the equivalent of the F-15 to your drone... I'm not saying I'd have the time and the money to do it but they DO dogfight R/C planes. (Granted they take whacks at a streamer but mindairs do happen. )

Small rotary winged platforms I think would yield more utility then a high flying fixed wing A/C when it came to usefulness, at least in our very small battlefields. But those are an entirely different ball of wax when it comes to flying.
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Old 01-26-2012, 09:10 PM #10
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It is, this air frame seemed to be a good starting point. there are plenty of video on youtube of this plane doing every thing above. Considering anything larger would limit your ability to launch and land the thing. This is as far as I will go with a plane platform. In the future I would like to build a Quad-rotor that tracks a GPS chip embedded in a vest or something like that.
You might try making a fiberglass shell and mounting the camera inside, or just barely out of the belly to where it could pivot. Just my opinion. But if you were to make this, I'd pay money to have one of my own.

in time, one might be able to mount a .43 cal or even an airsoft gun loaded with paint in the nose to create a true fighter version. though i understand your aim is to create a Recon plane, a fighter would be extremely useful as well.

Last edited by DemonWolfX : 01-27-2012 at 09:41 AM. Reason: new idea that correlated with the original post. i'm OCD that way.
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Old 01-27-2012, 11:27 AM #11
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You might try making a fiberglass shell and mounting the camera inside, or just barely out of the belly to where it could pivot. Just my opinion. But if you were to make this, I'd pay money to have one of my own.
There is 360 degree gryo-scope platform for board cameras, but that will be one of the most expensive things on the drone.


Quote:
in time, one might be able to mount a .43 cal or even an airsoft gun loaded with paint in the nose to create a true fighter version. though i understand your aim is to create a Recon plane, a fighter would be extremely useful as well.
Well for legal reasons keep that to yourself because I'm fairly sure that firing any thing from an air craft is not legal.

I am looking for an investor or partner to explore a possible product here.
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Old 01-27-2012, 11:42 AM #12
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Dropping/shooting stuff from aircraft is permitted FAR (its been a while since I worried about THEM) as long as your intention/end result is NOT connecting with someone/something and causing damage to them/it your good to go. So you can score and old SBD, strap a thousand pounder fulla cement to it and dive bomb a conex in the middle of your land for a hobby on the weekend and be totally legal. Getting an old Huey and strapping an Engler Custom M60 in the door for NJ Nam, diffrent story. Thats a very grey area since when these rule were written I doubt anyone imagined we'd be trying to do the things we can now with them. How this applies to R/C aircraft is again, open to legal debate.

FAR AIM
Sec. 91.15 — Dropping objects.
No pilot in command of a civil aircraft may allow any object to be dropped from that aircraft in flight that creates a hazard to persons or property. However, this section does not prohibit the dropping of any object if reasonable precautions are taken to avoid injury or damage to persons or property.

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Old 01-27-2012, 03:17 PM #13
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Soo... Say a paint grenade was dropped about five feet from someone. Would that be pushing it? because there's no harm done except for him needing to go back to his spawn.
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Old 01-27-2012, 03:35 PM #14
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http://www.nitroplanes.com/projet-003-rq11.html
You're looking for something like this, except with a belly mounted camera. Correct?
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Old 01-28-2012, 07:37 PM #15
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problem with dropping something from my platform is the wieght/lift ratio, while one grenade is not much, it would be a lot for this thing.

I thought about going with the plane in demonwolfx link, but the multistar had better rating in wind sheer with it's large wing design.
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Old 01-28-2012, 07:44 PM #16
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what is FAR
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Old 01-28-2012, 09:14 PM #17
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FAR = Federal Aviation Regulations

As I said this governs civil aircraft. How it applies to R/C aircraft is unkown. I can just see the lawsuit pending as soon as someone gets lit up from above. You'd ahve to get an Aviation Lawyer to get into the legal mumbo jumbo.
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Old 01-29-2012, 11:48 AM #18
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Originally Posted by highyield View Post
So I have had this idea for a couple years now, I want a drone for paintball. Before someone stops reading because that statement is a bit outrageous hear me out. Now I'm not talking about busting out a drone for the regular open play weekend at the local field, but when a game like D-day rolls around how useful would a drone broadcasting real time footage to a player or a tank on the ground.

First off let me type out this disclaimer, in no way will this drone shoot any thing. It's only payload will be a camera, and controlling units.

So here is the plan:

The Drone
The platform is centered around a foam RChttp://www.hobby-lobby.com/easystar_rtf.htm, it's light weight & small size allow the drone to be hand launched. Upgrading of the drive train will be required to allow the drone to achive altitude and maintain heading in medium wind sheer. During launch the drone is handled by a standard RC plane control unit, after achieving it's programmed altitude the an internal GPS system will engage taking control of the drone. As it stands right now I have the plane that is as far as I have gotten thanks to funding issues. The internal are made up of an autopilot unithttp://www.sparkfun.com/search/resul...&what=products, a few sensors, a GPS Chiphttp://www.sparkfun.com/products/465, and a means to communicate with the network. ( I will talk more about this later). The Payload is simple a board camera, on a 360 degree mount. Board cameras are cheap, for a little over 90 dollars you get a very light camera, that can see near the IR spectrumhttp://www.amazon.com/Clover-Electro...ies/B0031M9SXE. That really all the drone is made up of, other then transimitting the video the whole drone part is rather easy.

The Network
In today's world it's common place to go to a camp ground and have really good wireless coverage over the entire grounds. They use large wireless routers that are made for the outdoor environment. This is the back bone of the drone network, and opens the door to other digital warfarehttps://www.google.com/#pq=board+camera&hl=en&ds=pr&cp=19&gs_id=2a&xhr=t& q=outdoor+wireless+router&tok=wasq-Dix57PD6SSsHr0s8w&pf=p&sclient=psy-ab&fhp=1&tbm=shop&source=hp&pbx=1&oq=outdoor+wirel ess+ro&aq=0&aqi=g3&aql=&gs_sm=&gs_upl=&bav=on.2,or .r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.,cf.osb&fp=3f49a67768d031b4&biw=10 24&bih=634. This router mounted on a paintball tank would give you good coverage. The drone transmits it's video signal to the tanks router, the router funnels it into a laptop. The laptop runs the automated drone program, and can also control the drone. From there the tank can transmit that footage to people on the ground with a smartphone or a Ipod touch. My idea has always been to build a communication/supply tank for D-day. One that can manage radio communication, the Drone system, Supplies for German Units (Air & and Unit or team storage), maybe even adding the ability to have a text based communication system. The end game would be having all this in App form that could be used by any German player on field.

The reason I'm writing this, first off I'm looking for any Ok-dday commander that might be interested in getting involved either with funding or with technical knowledge. Also I just wanted to see what people thought of my idea, any holes in my plan, or people that have done this or something similar to this. I also have other ideas that could spin off of this.


I dont think they had drones in Ww2. they are pretty big on realism and historical accuracy at DDAY. which is awesome
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Old 01-29-2012, 12:49 PM #19
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I dont think they had drones in Ww2. they are pretty big on realism and historical accuracy at DDAY. which is awesome
That fine, I was just using it as an example because everybody knows the name D-day, I play other games. Of course I would ask any field owner before use. I'm sure there were no M16 in WW3 but plenty of people run around with look a likes.
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Old 02-01-2012, 12:47 AM #20
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The "Drones" of WWII consisted of things like B-24s packed with HE they would fly into a target in via radio in an early version of a guided bomb. I think an R/C aircraft with a camera on it would be in keeping with a WWII theme, it would sim a RECCE bird calling in reports. As having an actual aircraft conducting recce would be both cost prohibative and impractical, this is a suitable replacement.
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Old 02-01-2012, 02:54 AM #21
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Thanks for the endorsement
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