Bits and Pieces

Use this category to describe KAPping accoutrement extant and desired. Share with us the little bits that make KAPing life easier.

A cradle for my Canon M6 Mk II

edited March 24 in Bits and Pieces

I have been flying a Canon M series mirrorless cameras as my principal kite aerial photography (KAP) gear since 2014. At last count, I had a little over 100 KAP sessions with rigs carrying the Canon M and M3 cameras (sound of Benton knocking on wood). I really like working with the smaller Canon M-series cameras. They are tough. The larger APS-C sensor is relatively smooth and the higher ISO settings are more useable.

During this strange pandemic year, I have found myself grounded for months at a time when my Special Use Permits for photography over the wetlands have been put on hold. I have used this downtime for various KAP-related projects: documenting old KAP sessions, creating a cartographic index for my Salt Pond work, and building a new radio transmitter. I also set about creating a new HoVer KAP cradle for the Canon M6 Mk Ii camera. The M6 has been my primary “on the ground” camera for a bit over a year now so the novelty has worn off and it seemed fitting that I should send it airborne.

The cradle is now finished and I have had it up for a couple of sessions at my Berkeley Waterfront proving grounds.

This cradle is the 14th I have built since starting with KAP in 1994. All of its predecessors were built principally of wood components fitting to carbon-fiber-reinforced arrow shaft rails. This time around, I decided to make the components using Autodesk Fusion 360 for design and my Prusa Mk3s 3d printer for production using PLA filament. This is also the first cradle where I made custom-length cables for all connections including servos. For this, I used the nifty Engineers PA-09 crimping pliers.

The cradle's end weights were:

Cradle empty ………………………………….…. 1 lb., 1-1/8 oz. (486 g)

Picavet and kite line attachments…………..….… 3-1/2 oz. (99 g)

Camera body with 11-22mm lens………….. 1 lb., 6-3/8 oz (636 g)

So, my all-up weight with the 11-22 mm lens is 2 lb. 11 oz. (1.22 Kg). This is about 65% of the weight of my previous Canon DSLR rig but a bit heavier than my previous M-series cradles.

More views of the rig are available in this set:

This rig uses a radio transmitter to rotate and tilt the camera. The radio can also switch the camera between portrait and landscape format (HoVer) as well as fire the shutter. For a description of the transmitter see:

I am activating the EOS M shutter using a radio-controlled switch to trigger the wired remote jack in the camera.


  • Wonderful engineering Cris. I see that your new 'chopped spectrum' transmitter, though essentially the same design as the old one, is also 3D printed. Could you show us some pictures of that too?

  • WOW, a very clean, detailed, well engineered project...
    beautiful details.... CONGRATULATIONS !
    about weight I see as it is an individual feeling; you are with this one at 1.22 kg and your remark is 65 % less than previous !
    I'm living between 0.35 and 0.5 kg with some few use of RIGs up to something less than 1 kg
    Wolfgang Bieck and Gerhard Zitzmann are dealing with solutions between 0.20 and 0.25 ...
    LIFE is beautiful in all aspects
    SMAC from Italy

  • It looks very nice! I've heard that lens is really good. Do you normally shoot with it set at 11 mm?

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