The "Buck Eye" Camera

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Project by carpentrymonster posted 03-01-2010 04:42 AM 7750 views 7 times favorited 39 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Built this for my dad, it was supposed to be done by xmas but work and life got in the way. My dad lives in the northern part of Michigan where he builds custom homes and is an avid hunter. He and my step-mom have a closed circuit camera that monitors the back end of their property where the deer feed nightly. The monitor is situated next to the television in the living room and they spend more time watching the deer than prime time tv. I wanted to get him something really cool for christmas because he’s about the greatest dad a guy could hope for. I looked into buying a camera that pans and tilts remotely but the prices were astronomical. So, I decided to build one for him.

I began back in November, thinking that would give me enough time to finish by xmas. Three months and three designs later, I finished it in time to deliver it on our scheduled visit last weekend. Figuring out the guts was the hard part. first I went out and bought a remote controlled car with good remote range and completely tore it apart. That gave me two motors to work with, one for pan and one for tilt.

I purchased a standard indoor/outdoor security camera with night vision and sound capabilities.

I knew I wanted to set it up on a solar re-charge system, so i went out and found a solar battery charger. Picked up a couple of lazy susan brackets and some mdf and started to experiment.

I won’t mention all the major B.S. I got into trying to find a workable prototype, but after about two months of tinkering I finally figured out how to make the tiny electric motors turn and tilt the camera. Turns out the answer was the simplest design, the least amount of moving parts translated to the least chance for a malfunction.

The housing was pretty simple to figure out once the guts were done. Gave it a roof to keep the weather off and house the solar panel. I painted it black, made some stencils to air-brush the leaves on for a little camouflage, then I added a lot of clear finish. I put a compass in the side because the solar panel needs to be directed due south a 45 degree angle for maximum exposure at the coordinates where my dad lives. the solar panel and compass are switchable so that you have the option to point the front of the unit either due east or due west. The mounting table pans about 330 degrees and the camera has a wide enough angle to compensate for the other 30 degrees so there is no blindspot.

The lady pictured is my girlfriend, I asked her to pose with the “Buck Eye,” reluctantly she agreed. I tried to get her to do it in a bikini but she wasn’t willing to cooperate, maybe next time.

39 comments so far

View mancave's profile


114 posts in 3242 days

#1 posted 03-01-2010 04:52 AM

you lucky dog, you. was there a project here?

View JasonWagner's profile


527 posts in 3358 days

#2 posted 03-01-2010 05:12 AM

That’s a pretty wild camera your dad has there. Looks like a great job with a lot of thought put into it. Where’s the corkscrew? He’ll be able to watch those deer at any time. Looks like a nice owl population in that area too…

-- some day I hope to have enough clamps to need a clamp cart!

View parkerdude's profile


182 posts in 3629 days

#3 posted 03-01-2010 05:19 AM

Nice project description, couldn’t see many of the photo’s, most were out of focus, thanks for the first one though.

Great project, please include additional pictures…. start with the first one and get CLEARER shots 8-) !

I do like your work!


-- dust control

View carpentrymonster's profile


57 posts in 3352 days

#4 posted 03-01-2010 05:34 AM

Funny you mentioned the owls, my dad told me a story this morning about an owl that he watched disect a bunny just last week. I have actually seen them myself up there, they are beautiful.

View Dusty56's profile


11822 posts in 3866 days

#5 posted 03-01-2010 05:35 AM

275 views in only 50 minutes…...and only 5 comments including this one …LOL …..Great “project” ...Must be a lot of jocks out there wiping the drool off of their keyboards !

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View noknot's profile


548 posts in 3619 days

#6 posted 03-01-2010 05:51 AM

With a little more thought you could have produced something that could capture the deer and interogate them until they told your dad where the enemy is. I think the deer have a right to privacy but I also think they taste wonderfull . fantastic job I hope your dad enjoys it but your next one needs a turret attached to it.


View Abbott's profile


2570 posts in 3481 days

#7 posted 03-01-2010 05:55 AM

There is a nice rack on that…looks like a 4 pointer.

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View patron's profile


13635 posts in 3519 days

#8 posted 03-01-2010 05:59 AM

that sure is a nice door ,
it goes well with the table .

excellent work !

nice lamp too .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View carpentrymonster's profile


57 posts in 3352 days

#9 posted 03-01-2010 06:00 AM

To noknot, I considered the turret.

And I agree with Abbot, it really is a nice rack!

View woodworm's profile


14470 posts in 3768 days

#10 posted 03-01-2010 06:22 AM

Nice work indeed. Is it a still camera or motion one. I’m could not finish reading all your narrations, my seasoned eyes was getting blur.

...., the way you worded your comment made me giggling…LOL Luckily mom was at work.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View carpentrymonster's profile


57 posts in 3352 days

#11 posted 03-01-2010 06:25 AM

its a video camera with night vision

View Marius's profile


123 posts in 3193 days

#12 posted 03-01-2010 06:38 AM

could wire up a recorder on that as well no doubt…old vcr set to always record motion detectod turns on rcorder ….just hardwire the record button to record … motion happens——power on—-record :)

-- Marius PG_BC_CA

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3287 days

#13 posted 03-01-2010 06:44 AM

Very innovative and challenging project. I am glad you were able to get it all working.

And Dusty, you made a hilarious observation! When you look at the projects page, this has almost 500 hits while everything else is at about 100+. How many wives are asking their husbands “What are you looking at hon?” “Oh… just a woodworking project…”

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View clazman's profile


11 posts in 3187 days

#14 posted 03-01-2010 07:04 AM

Very well done and mixing electronics and mechanics with wood working!

Dad and step-mom are very proud… and yes, you too!

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 4092 days

#15 posted 03-01-2010 07:20 AM

Why do you have to watch the deer so much if you are just going to shoot them? Here in NZ we just keep them in the paddocks and you can go watch them anytime you want, without any cameras!

Seems complicated but I’m glad you got it done – maybe some day the technology can be used for something productive…like a girlfriend eye.

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

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