The Camera module’s new look


Painted to match

Taking advantage of the crummy weather, I decided to paint the camera module to match my plane. ¬†I didn’t just do it for the aesthetics, no really, I swear. ūüôā ¬†Actually, the real reason I painted it was to prevent stray light from making annoying reflections on the inside of the window.

Masking the window

The first thing I had to do was get an idea of the size and shape of the opening that would be needed.  I was able to measure it by looking at the video output and marking with a sharpie just outside of the camera view.  Once I had all the sharpie marks, I tried to make the shame smooth and symmetrical.  Since I had to mount the camera low in the module, as discussed in this post, the opening is low, and very parabolic.  I then covered the whole top of the window with masking tape and by shining a light through the bottom traced the sharpie line with a hobby knife.  Removing the excess tape left a nice mask for the opening.

Prepped for painting

With the opening masked, I sanded the window to give the paint the best chance at adhering.  It is apparently a little hard to find plastic spray paint (like Krylon fusion) in silver, so I had to use some general purpose kind.

Outside paint

I think the paint on the outside of the window turned out O.K.  There is a little dust and lint marring the finish, but it turned out not to matter much.  I also wanted to paint the inside with a matte black finish to minimize the chance of reflections from light that is still able to get in through the smaller opening.  I used a similar approach to the technique for the outside.  I placed masking tape on the inside of the window and shined light in from the other side.  I again traced the outline with a hobby knife.

Inside painted

For some reason, I really like the way this turned out. ¬†It’s all pretty dark in there, and should minimize reflections. ¬†I also painted the base of the module to match.

Camera module base painted

I think everything came together nicely. ¬†I really like the finished look, even though I was pretty sure that it was going to look weird. ¬†As I mentioned earlier, the lint on the outside paint didn’t matter. ¬†I put masking tape on the front of the window to protect it while I painted the inside, and it lifted part of the paint when I removed it. ¬†This gave it a strange effect, and I’m not sure whether I like it or hate it. ¬†Katie says it looks cool, so I’m leaving it for now.

There should be good (enough) weather this Saturday, so hopefully I’ll have some video to post!

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