Project PANOPTES


 

Camera Box Assembly Instructions

Table of Contents

Introduction

The aim is to assemble the head unit of PANOPTES, which should look like this when complete. A specific parts list as advised by the PANOPTES team can be found above including the tools needed for the build. These are the parts that have been determined to work well for the purposes of this project. However, modifications or swaps for other components are fine, but will not be supported by the PANOPTES team. Feedback on the parts/instructions is welcomed and encouraged.

A blown up view of the PANOPTES head-unit is shown above.  This shows the order in which to assemble the prepared parts. The instructions below need to be followed in conjunction to the technical drawings provided for each part. A blown up view of the PANOPTES head-unit is shown above.  This shows the order in which to assemble the prepared parts. The instructions below need to be followed in conjunction to the technical drawings provided for each part.
A blown up view of the PANOPTES head-unit is shown above. This shows the order in which to assemble the prepared parts. The instructions below need to be followed in conjunction to the technical drawings provided for each part.

Tools

  • Cordless drill
  • Set of drill bits
  • Hacksaw
  • Vice
  • M6 tap and tapping tool
  • Deburring tool
  • File, small round and larger rectangle
  • Ruler
  • Marker/scriber
  • Rags
  • Duct tape

Technical drawings

Dovetail rail

  • For this part please refer to the technical drawing for the dovetail, PAN001.
  • Mount the dovetail rail upside down in the vice (use rags so that the rail does not get scratched).
  • Put a 7 mm drill bit in the cordless drill. Carefully drill out the central hole. Note, you need to place a strong force on the drill, hold it tightly and be careful as it may get stuck. If you have access to a drill press use it.
  • Slowly step up the drill bit size until the central hole is 15 mm in diameter.
Left: Dovetail railing before drilling. Right: Dovetail rail after being attached to the camera box. Notice the drilled out 15 mm central hole. Left: Dovetail railing before drilling. Right: Dovetail rail after being attached to the camera box. Notice the drilled out 15 mm central hole.
Left: Dovetail railing before drilling. Right: Dovetail rail after being attached to the camera box. Notice the drilled out 15 mm central hole.
  • From the dovetail technical drawing, it can be seen that there are two counter bored holes at 35.5 mm and 185.5 mm from the end of the rail.
  • First drill through the rail with a 7.0 mm drill bit. Then use an 11.0 mm drill bit to create the counter-bore. Drill it down to 7 mm below the surface of the rail.
  • Use a deburring tool or a file to remove sharp edges.
  • Remove from vice and set aside.

Bottom mounting plate

Left: Lay out and measure hole locations before drilling. Right: Image showing all three mounting plates that will be created according to the instructions below. From bottom to top: bottom mounting plate, top mounting plate, camera mounting plate. Left: Lay out and measure hole locations before drilling. Right: Image showing all three mounting plates that will be created according to the instructions below. From bottom to top: bottom mounting plate, top mounting plate, camera mounting plate.
Left: Lay out and measure hole locations before drilling. Right: Image showing all three mounting plates that will be created according to the instructions below. From bottom to top: bottom mounting plate, top mounting plate, camera mounting plate.
  • For this part refer to the technical drawing for the bottom mounting plate, PAN003.
  • Take one (1) of the 12” long aluminum plates, mark a line 200 mm from one end of the plate.
  • Mount it in the vice with the line facing up. Make sure the line is positioned outside the vice but within a few centimeters (an inch) of the edge of the vice.
  • Use a hacksaw to cut off the short end. If you have a bandsaw use it.
  • Once cut, use a large flat file to flatten the end and clean up the edges.
  • Remove the plate from the vice.
  • Mark all seven (7) hole positions as per the technical drawing. Make sure the marks are clearly seen and accurate to 0.5 mm.
  • Place the plate back in the vice with marked side facing up.
  • To drill out the central hole, start with a 6 mm drill bit and drill through the plate. Then step up the drill bit size to 10 mm and finally 15 mm. Deburr the edges of the hole with a deburring tool or small round file.
  • For the other six (6) holes, use a 5.3 mm drill bit to drill through the plates.
  • Use an M6 tap and tap the 5.3 mm diameter holes. Go slow, apply pressure, keep the tap perpendicular to the plates and use some lubrication if you have some.
  • Check that the holes are ok by gently screwing an M6 bolt into each.
  • Remove plate from vice and set aside.

Top mounting plate

  • For this part refer to the technical drawing for the top mounting plate, PAN004.
  • Take another 12” long aluminum plate, mark a line 200 mm from one end of the plate.
  • Mount it in the vice with the line facing up. Make sure the line is positioned outside the vice but within a few centimeters (an inch) of the edge of the vice.
  • Use a hacksaw to cut of the short end. If you have a bandsaw use it.
  • Once cut, use a large flat file to flatten the end and clean up the edges.
  • Remove the plate from the vice.
  • Mark all seven (7) hole positions as per the technical drawing. Make sure the marks are clearly seen and accurate to 0.5 mm.
  • Place the plate back in the vice with marked side facing up.
  • To drill out the central hole, start with a 6 mm drill bit and drill through the plate. Then step up the drill bit size to 10 mm and finally 15 mm. Deburr the edges of the hole with a deburring tool or small round file.
  • The four (4) outside holes are counter-bored for M6 socket head screws. Start by drilling out a 7 mm hole all the way through. Once this is complete, widen the hole to an 11 mm diameter down to a depth of 7 mm.
  • The remaining three (3) holes are all M6 tapped holes. Drill out a 5.3 mm hole for each. Then tap with an M6 tap as above.
  • Check that the holes are ok by gently screwing in an M6 bolt into each.

Camera mounting plate

  • For this part refer to the technical drawing for the camera mounting plate, PAN002.
  • Take another 12” long aluminum plate, mark a line 200 mm from one end of the plate.
  • Mount it in the vice with the line facing up. Make sure the line is positioned outside the vice but within a few centimeters (an inch) of the edge of the vice.
  • Use a hacksaw to cut of the short end. If you have a bandsaw use it.
  • Once cut, use a large flat file to flatten the end and clean up the edges.
  • Remove the plate from the vice.
  • Mark the position of the three (3) counter-bored holes on the top surface (These are the lower three (3) holes in the top view) and a central hole.
  • Place the plate back in the vice with marked side facing up.
  • To drill out the central hole, start with a 6 mm drill bit and drill through the plate. Then step up the drill bit size to 10 mm and finally 15 mm. Deburr the edges of the hole with a deburring tool or small round file.
  • The three (3) counter bored holes are for M6 socket head screws. Start by drilling out a 7 mm hole all the way through. Once this is complete, widen the hole to an 11 mm diameter down to a depth of 7 mm.
  • Remove the plate from the vice and turn over. Mark the position of the two (2) counter-bored holes that go on the bottom side (lower two holes in the bottom view image). Make sure to use the same reference surface when measuring the plate on the bottom side, it’s easy to make a mistake when the plate is flipped.
  • Place the plate back in the vice with marked side facing up.
  • Start by drilling out a 7 mm hole all the way through. Once this is complete, widen the hole to an 11 mm diameter down to a depth of 7 mm.
  • Remove the plate form the vice. Turn the plate up so that the top surface is up once again. Mark two straight lines perpendicular to the top edge of the plate that are tangential with the central hole (as per the top view of the drawing).
  • Place the plate back in the vice so that the two marked lines are not between the vice clamps. Make sure the side of the plate with the lines is furthest away from you.
  • Use a hacksaw and cut along the two lines until you reach the central hole.
  • Once the two lines are cut and the block of aluminum has been removed, use a large flat file to smooth the surfaces and edges.
  • Remove from vice and set aside.

Camera enclosure box

  • For this part refer to the technical drawing for the camera enclosure, PAN005.
  • Open the lid to the enclosure and mark the position of the five (5) holes on the bottom surface.
  • By either placing it in a vice or having a colleague hold the box tightly, slowly drill out 8 mm diameter holes in the location of the four (4) outer marks.
  • Start with a 5 mm pilot hole and slowly step up drill bit size until you have drilled out a 15 mm hole for the central hole. If you use a vice, make sure to use rags to not damage the box.
A sequence of images showing the drilling out of the center 15 mm hole by stepping up the drill bit size from 5 mm. A sequence of images showing the drilling out of the center 15 mm hole by stepping up the drill bit size from 5 mm.
A sequence of images showing the drilling out of the center 15 mm hole by stepping up the drill bit size from 5 mm.
  • Next mark the position of the two (2) large holes on the front surface of the box. To get the best results, push the left edge of the box (as per the bottom figure in the technical drawing) against a flat vertical surface. Mark the holes in the horizontal direction by using the vertical surface as a reference.
  • Drill out two pilot holes with a 5 mm drill bit.
  • Once again either mount the box in a vice or get a friend to hold it very tightly before you drill out the two large holes. Note the plastic is quiet soft and the drill goes through easily.
  • Put the hole saw and associated drill bit into your cordless drill. While the box is being held, proceed to drill out the two large holes in the front panel. Best results are achieved when the drill is kept perpendicular to the surface and pressure is put on the drill while it is cutting. The plastic box is relatively soft and the hole saw goes through with minimal effort.
  • Use a small round file or deburring tool and clean up the edges of the two large holes.
  • Finally, the latches for the lid will get in the way of the lens holes. Close the lid, and lock the latches. Observe how much they overlap with the hole and mark a straight line on the latches to reflect this.
  • Use a hacksaw and carefully cut off a section of the latches to avoid vignetting the lens holes.

Assembly

Assemble the parts according to the picture and the instructions below.
Assemble the parts according to the picture and the instructions below.
  • Place the bottom mounting plate on top of the dovetail rail. Use two (2) M6 socket head screws to secure the rail to the bottom mounting plate from the bottom.
  • Place the top mounting plate inside the enclosure. Use 4 M6 socket head screws to secure the top plate to the bottom plate. Do not over tighten.
  • Make sure you have prepared your cameras before mounting. See Preparing the Camera for instructions.
  • Screw cameras to camera mounting plate by using 1/4” -20 socket head screws from beneath the plate. They should be 3/8”-3/4” long.
  • Screw the camera mounting plate to the top mounting plate with three (3) M6 socket head screws.
  • Place lenses on cameras.
  • Place dust shields on the lenses.

Bugs and leaf litter protection

  • In order to prevent bugs or leaf litter getting into the box, it is important to fill the small gap around the lenses and the case. This will be done by installing a meshing in the case which surrounds the lenses. Please see the image below for a guide of what you will be building.
  • Remove the Rokinon lenses from the cameras.
  • Take a sheet of either aluminum screen or fly screen material and cut a sheet to a size of 265 x 100 mm (so that it is ~20 mm smaller than the front face of the head unit box i.e. the front face is the one you drilled the two large holes in).
  • Place the sheet of meshing inside the box up against the front face and center it on that side of the box. Mark the position of the center each lens hole on the sheet. Also, mark the edge of the holes on the sheet.
  • Remove the sheet and cut out a small circle 10-15 mm in diameter centered on the central mark you made.
  • From the central hole, cut straight lines outwards towards the outer circle you marked. Make sure that the cuts stop about 10 mm from the outer circle mark. Make about 10-12 cuts which are evenly spaced.
  • Insert the mesh into the box. Use duct tape or some other strong type of tape to stick the meshing to the inside of the front face of the box (face with the two large holes).
  • Push the lenses into the enclosure from the outside through the two pre-cut holes in the mesh and attach them to the cameras. Verify that the mesh is not too tight around the lenses but there are no gaps for insects or debris to enter the box.

Once complete the unit should look as shown in the images below.

Inside the camera box. Note the wire meshing in the image on the right. Inside the camera box. Note the wire meshing in the image on the right.
Inside the camera box. Note the wire meshing in the image on the right.

Next Steps

Ready to assemble the electronics for the head unit? See the Camera Box Electronics instrunctions next!.

Or how about weatherproofing? See the Weatherproofing page!.