When I was a kid I could never find a high enough point to launch my toy parachute without having it hit a wall or have it get caught in a tree. At best I'd only get a 3-4 sec parachute free-fall, then I'd have to walk down any number of stairs and back up again to do another launch. I've had a quadcopter for while now and I thought how cool would it be to be able to launch a toy parachute from it at altitude. Providing it's a claim day with little wind, you can get plenty of height for a great toy parachute jump with this setup. Keep in mind you'll need to be responsible and stick to the rules regarding the operation of RC/Unmanned aircraft in you state or territory.
Step 1: Background
The video above shows the toy parachute connected to the quadcopter in flight.
I have a DJI Phantom 2 Vision with a built-in camera and First Person View (FPV) through an iPhone or iPad app. The on-board camera on the quad has a tilt adjustment that can be controlled remotely, so I was working at designing a simple mechanism to release the toy parachute using part of the existing tilt mechanism; I could add a remote servo but I wanted to avoid the additional electronics. I also wanted to be able to film the release of the toy parachute, so I needed to attach my GoPro to the quad, as the built-in camera wouldn't shot footage straight down. I put a post on the Instructable forum asking for some ideas, and thanks to all those users that provided me with some great ideas.
Step 2: How It Works
I actually came across the release method purely by accident. I thought I'd start by fitting the GoPro mount to the quad to see if it would fly with the additional weight, and by chance when I alined the GoPro mount right at the back of the in-built camera, I could see the built-in camera plug made contact with the GoPro mount, I used this to form the 'closed position'. If I was to tilt the built-in camera in flight, this would break the contact between the GoPro mount and inbuilt camera, creating a space and what I could use for an 'open/release position'. See images above. So all I needed to do was add a small keyring to the top fabric of the parachute, to tidy up the release of the parachute and it was good to go.
Step 3: In Action
Here's a short video of the extreme toy parachute in action. I climbed to approx 300ft before releasing it and it had about a 15 sec free-fall.