3D Printed & Carbon Fiber QuadCopter - My own design!

Hey guys!

I’ve been working on a 3D printed drone project for the last 5 or 6 months, and I’ve finally got it finished enough to publish a nice build log. Check it out on Instructables! http://goo.gl/wD0f3K (I’m also entered in their flying things design contest and you can vote for my project if you like it)

I designed 12 different 3D printed parts to mount motors and electronics to carbon fiber arrow shafts. All of the plastic to carbon interfaces float on rubber o-rings to reduce vibration transfer.

I also designed a 3D printed mold to create my own silicone vibration isolators.

The isolators mount in a triangle and are angled in so that each one is 90 degrees apart from the other two, like the corner of a cube. The idea is to absorb vibration equally in all directions. This reduces the amount of background noise that the accelerometers and gyros see and helps the craft fly more stable and controlled.

Next I’m designing a camera gimbal for FPV racing (you wear video goggles and race on an obstacle course).

It’s a work in progress, and I’ll continue to add to it and change it, but I wanted to share it with you in case anybody else wants to build one. The design files and step by step instructions are posted on Instructables for download.

Happy printing!

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Thats cool. Do you know the weight of the frame parts? The 3d printed center column looks reasonably heavy. The arrows look nice and light and using 2 for each arm should solve the problem of motors slipping around a round bar. Either you’ve linked us to the silicone mold thing before or I’ve come across it elsewhere. Very cool. That KK board is great value and works so well for these little RC helis. Connecting the battery and setting up the low voltage warning is pretty simple with that board. You might have to do some trial and error to get it set to a useful value for your batteries (some of the cheaper batteries drop voltage very quickly towards the end so the difference might be 30 seconds warning to 5 seconds warning with the same value set on the KK). I found that while adding a second battery did increase the flight time, it was only about 50% longer and the added weight changed the flight characteristics enough that most of the time I don’t bother.

Can’t wait to see some FPV video from it when you add the gimbal. What camera are you going to use for that?

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Thanks, Maz!

The whole machine weighs in at 678g without a battery. I think it’s around 940 with the 3,000 mAh LiPo’s that I’ve been using. I hadn’t weighed the plastic pieces yet, but now you’ve made me curious. The 5 parts that stack to make the central frame each weigh between 6 and 9 grams. I’ll have to print a spare set of everything and weigh all of it to determine what could be lighter in the next revision. That’s actually one of the next steps that I forgot to list.

I’ll probably wire the voltage monitor later this week. I’ve got to add a second BEC to power the servos for the gimbal, so I’ll add in a few JSTs while I’m at it. In your experience, should I chop off (or desolder) the leads going to my ESC and connect everything to the aircraft, or should I just build a harness that plugs between the battery and ESC that has accessory connections? My FPV camera and transmitter plug into the battery’s balance connector. That’s a nice way to do it. Maybe I can find/make a harness to branch out the accessory and monitor power from there.

I will definitely be able to upload FPV video! The 32ch receiver that I bought has a DVR built in and records straight to an SD card. I tested that at the MakerHive on Thursday. It’s the Aomway unit. My only complaint so far is that it requires an antenna with a male connector so it doesn’t match my helix antenna set. It would be nice if it auto-scanned, but that’s easy enough to work around, it’s not a terrible inconvenience.

Personally I split accessory leads off a harness that connects to the battery. The only real risk with this is that you have more weight in connectors and you need to make sure to use good plugs that wont come apart. it does make it easier to add and remove various accessories as you get time to put them on. My little balsa quad has a set of LED’s that i added at the end by just connecting it into my wiring harness. Same with the fpv setup. I can disconnect it when i’ve broken it and am waiting for parts or whenever i dont need it if i want to save weight.

The reason i asked about weight was because when i design heli parts, they always start very complicated and over-engineered and later i go back and remove stuff. Last year I removed almost 500g of weight from my 2.2kg hexacopter. All of the parts were designed to make it less fragile for a hard landing, but in the end, the extra weight made it just as fragile and reduced the flight time. My new plan is lightness above everything and then change how i fly. Not very good for racing of course but good for longer flight times.

what frequency is the FPV streamed over? I had issues with various tx/rx being so close to the ESC’s. We have less frequencies allowed in Aus, and you cant put it on 2.4ghz if you’re using that for your controller.

Still. Looks like a lot of fun and you’ve definitely given me some good ideas for my next build. Nicely done.

I’ve got a 2.4G radio and a 5.8G FPV setup. The FPV setup broadcasts at 200mW, although they sell a 600mW version. I think I’m going to upgrade the radio to FrSky modules soon. Especially since I’ve got the TelemetrEZ setup from SmartieParts in my 9X radio.

I’m also thinking about increasing my 2.4G range with a WiFi booster like this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HJ1NQLS although I’m not sure how well that would work with a 2-way telemetry setup.

Considering that a popular, off the shelf 450 frame can weigh 270g by itself ( http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__49725__Q450_V3_Glass_Fiber_Quadcopter_Frame_450mm_Integrated_PCB_Version.html ) I think I’m doing alright.

I actually have the 5.8G 600mW video transmitter from immersion RC on my hex at the moment. I’m actually having a dumb problem with a Max7456 based OSD hooked to the video receiver not putting the overlay on if the feed comes from the uno5800, but hooking the gopro to the OSD directly works fine. Not sure what the problem is there and not sure how to even work it out.

I’ve never tried a 2.4G range booster on an RC controller. What kind of range are you getting at the moment and what do you need? does the 5.8G tx out-range the 2.4G controller? if you were doing 2-way on the 2.4G you’d need a range booster at each end? Or maybe you could get away with a range booster and high db gain antenna both on the controller side? I’m currently using a 433mhz oplink 2-way modem at 100mW for control and telemetry and it has a much higher range than the 5.8G video tx.

I have seen that frame before (and 3d printed ones of it) and it is heavy. My whole 450mm quad with everything but the battery weighs about that much. 678g is good but any weight you can trim helps with flight time and reducing the forces involved in a crash. Just my experience.

I’m approaching 7500 views! Thank you all for your support. We’ll see what happens in about 24 hours when the voting closes.