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Hey everyone,

It's my first post here and I'm a total newbie

I've been wanting to build a small take off/landing platform for my drone (DJI Phantom 4, so quite compact). The platform will be suspended on the balcony rail. I'd be very grateful if you could help me figure out the best (and inexpensive) material to use for this project.
I've figured I'll need some strong clasp for the balcony rail, a roughly 50 cm long pole of some sort, and a platform around 50x50cm (preferably square, but can be round). It's got to be able to withstand a 1,3kg load. And something to connect both ends of the pole to the platform and the clasp.

Now some of you might be wondering why don't I simply take off and land on the balcony floor. Well unfortunately there's heavy metal support right beneath the wooden floor, and the balcony rail is metal as well which confuse the onboard compass, and I'd rather not risk taking off without having all my systems properly calibrated.

Hopefully I can find everything I need at my local B&Q. Any help with choosing the right material is greatly appreciated!

Paul




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I presume you are in the UK from your B&Q reference.

With a camera equipped drone (classed as a small unmanned surveillance aircraft) the aircraft must not be flown:

over or within 150 metres of any congested area;
over or within 150 metres of an organised open-air assembly of more than 1,000 persons;
within 50 metres of any vessel, vehicle or structure which is not under the control of the person in charge of the aircraft;
within 50 metres of any person during flight;
within 30 metres of any person (except for the person in charge of the aircraft) during take-off or landing.

It's hard for me to imagine a set of circumstances where you would want to fly off of a balcony and would be able to do it in compliance with the CAA regulations.
 

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Usually Confused
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You do not indicate if this is a dwelling you own or an apartment - it sounds like an apartment. if it is something you own you can install off-hanging structures, drill holes, etc. to your heart's content. If not, you would want to check with the owner/landlord to see if it is even allowed. You also should consider noise and privacy issues if other tenants/residents are affected, local bylaws along with any flight restrictions that may exist in your jurisdiction (contrary to popular belief they are not toys and if people keep using them like toys and p***ing people off they are going to be more heavily legislated). I'm not that familiar with drone operation but the idea of taking off and landing in close proximity to a structure may be problematic.

The issue of a platform to support a 3 lb load seems to be the easy part: a part sheet of plywood/mdf, etc., brackets or hinges to attach to the railing (or if you don't want to drill, a couple of automotive gear clamps) and a pole from the outer edge down to base of the railing as a tripod.
 

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Another word of caution.

In my area it is legal to shoot down those little buggers, if they are over your property, or harassing you or your livestock.

Not sure about your area, but here if you are violating anyone's privacy you lose.

I would use some type of spring clamps to mount the structure to the handrail, And a lightweight aluminum frame, with a 1/4 inch melamine sheet as the pad.

ED
 

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I would use some type of spring clamps to mount the structure to the handrail, And a lightweight aluminum frame, with a 1/4 inch melamine sheet as the pad.
I was thinking along the same lines except I was thinking of using Lexan instead of the melamine. It's probably stronger and deafly more water resistant. If you use the spring clamps the entire platform could be easily removed when you weren't using it to fly the drone from.
 
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