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Old Apr 28, 2013, 08:49 PM
'FPV'er...not a "LOS'er
Vantasstic's Avatar
Las Vegas, NV
Joined Sep 2003
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The BoxCopter...a Different sort of aquaquad

I ran across a link to the BoxCopter elsewhere on RCG. This was the brain child of Jake Wells (on DIY Drones). It's such a simple and effective flier for in/around water.

The build:
1ea rectangle cupcake/cake from WalMart $4-$6
1ea 24" long square towel bar from the local hardware store (cut to two 10.75" lengths)
2ea 5/8" square wood dowels trimmed down to 9/16" square to fit inside the towel rack bars.
4ea motors
4ea ESCs
1ea Flight Controller of choice
I used spare electronics on hand, so the overall cost was pretty minimal. Currently my battery is mounted inside the box. I'll be moving it to the top of the box later on...makes powering on/off much easier. I've attached some pictures of my setup. It's pretty much self explanatory. It'd be easier to just mount the arms on the top of the box lid vs through the lid...easier to seal against water intrusion too.

edit:

1. I picked up on 24" square aluminum towel rack bar from the local hardware store <$5. I cut it into two 10.75" lengths. The ID of the tube is 9/16".
2. I got two 36" lengths of 5/8" square wood dowels from the same store <$3 each. I cut the dowels down to 9/16" square on my little table saw so they would fit snugly into the towel rack bars. I cut four arm 10.75" long out of the trimmed down square dowels.
3. I finished out the build with four NTM 2830-750kv motors on 4S with 10" props, four HobbyKing Blue 20A ESCs flashed with SimonK firmware, and a Multiwii flight controller (will be changing it over to a ArduFlyer controller for RTH, Position hold, Altitude Hole, Waypoint, etc capability. All this hardware I already had on hand, so the entire build ran me ~$20 in new purchases.

Assembly:
1. Everything is mounted in the lid. The easiest way of mounting the arms is to secure the aluminum tube to the top of the lid. I don't like making things easy, so I cut access openings in the lid for the aluminum arms to fit in to and secured them to the bottom surface of the lid with two 10-20 nylon screws per arm. The screws are ~4" in from the ends of the tubes. I sealed the arm/lid joint with silicone to help waterproof it.

The ESCs are zip tied to the bottom of the aluminum arms with the idea the arms would act as a heat sink and help the ESCs from getting overly warm. Probably not really needed, but it doesn't hurt either. I drilled holes in the lid for the motor bullet connectors to fit through and secured them in place with plenty of hot glue for holding and water proofing.

I mounted the motors on the ends of the arm and ran motor lead extensions to reach the ESC bullet connectors. The motors are mount on X-mounts and screwed to the arms with a couple of zip ties securing the motor leads to the arms. The wood arms are inserted into the aluminum tube until the touch the nylon screws securing the aluminum arms to the lid. This gives me ~1/2" clearance between the prop tip and the outer edge of the box. I drilled and used 8-32 nylon screws and wing nuts to secure the wood arms and aluminum tubes together. You could make the arms shorter if you use smaller props. The idea is to not have the prop tips over any part of the box.

The flight controller is centered on the lid and mounted in place with 4-40 nylon screws. Done. Oh, you can removed the carrying handles from the box and discard them. I decided to use them, so drilled additional holes in the aluminum arms to allow the handle hinge pins to fit through the lid and into the arms.

Although it took me about a week to assemble mine, it can easily be done in a day. I just took my time and did one step a night.

I stuck a GoPro mount to the bottom of the box for the camera. No jello at all with this setup.

My maiden ground and water flights were uneventful. I need some PID tuning, but that's about it. Oh...the cake carrier BoxCopter IS NOT water sealed. I did get some water in the box by splashing down and dragging the camera across the surface of the water. I think the splash and wake made it up and over the lid/box joint. Normally landings in the water and slow 'troweling' don't get water inside the box.

My AUW w/o camera is ~1520g, with camera mounted is ~1720g. I'll be adding FPV gear later on.

Here's a video from the second flying day with it:
Boxcopter Day 2 (3 min 59 sec)

And Jakes blog: http://diydrones.com/profiles/blogs/...opter-weekly-2
Jake has also started a web site for these things. TheBoxcopter.com . Hope to see more of these put together, sharing of ideas, and lots of fun videos.
And a couple of my favorite videos from Jake:
Madison - The BoxCopter Weekly #1 (4 min 36 sec)

Salt and Light - Salt Water testing (3 min 43 sec)


And now my pics:
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Last edited by Vantasstic; May 01, 2013 at 08:36 PM.
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Old Apr 29, 2013, 01:38 AM
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Joined Aug 2012
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Love it. Good on you mate, I like it!

I only recently learned that brushless motors are indeed water proof (or at least resistant) to some degree. Has your box quad been fully submerged yet? I'd like to know how resilient this quad of yours is.
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Old Apr 29, 2013, 04:23 AM
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Israel
Joined Mar 2012
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Great build great video! Good job!
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Old Apr 29, 2013, 08:31 AM
'FPV'er...not a "LOS'er
Vantasstic's Avatar
Las Vegas, NV
Joined Sep 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AeroRoo View Post
Love it. Good on you mate, I like it!

I only recently learned that brushless motors are indeed water proof (or at least resistant) to some degree. Has your box quad been fully submerged yet? I'd like to know how resilient this quad of yours is.
Well it's only had two flying sessions so far. No, it hasn't been fully submerged...it'd actually be pretty hard to do that...it's way to floaty. For durability, I'm sure that sliding across concrete would eventually wear through the bottom plastic. Since everything is (or will be) mounted to the lid the bottom could actually fall off and it'd still fly. It is also not a sealed, waterproof container. Landing/floating on rough water could result in some water getting in the box. I'm sure it could be made fully waterproof if you wanted to take the time to seal it all up. What I liked the most about Jake's idea is simplicity (it's just a platic cake carrier box), expense (it's just a cheap, plastic cake carrier box), and roomy (it's a larger, plastic cake carrier box).
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Old Apr 29, 2013, 09:43 AM
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Joined Sep 2012
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very cool idea !
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Old Apr 29, 2013, 01:24 PM
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Next!

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Old Apr 29, 2013, 01:48 PM
Will fly for food
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United States, CA, Carlsbad
Joined May 2011
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Cool!
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Old Apr 29, 2013, 02:41 PM
Misfit Multirotor Monkey
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United States, NC, Garner
Joined Mar 2011
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Jake is quite popular over at Flitetest.com for these box copter videos. He has really come along in the last few months from a crude H-copters made of Dollar Tree foam with video riddled with jello . . .to these liquid smooth, professionally edited, and well conducted aerial videos.

Good on you Jake!
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Old Apr 29, 2013, 03:07 PM
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that is a great idea. wish i would have seen this before SEFF
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Old Apr 29, 2013, 04:59 PM
'FPV'er...not a "LOS'er
Vantasstic's Avatar
Las Vegas, NV
Joined Sep 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyberdactyl View Post
Jake is quite popular over at Flitetest.com for these box copter videos. He has really come along in the last few months from a crude H-copters made of Dollar Tree foam with video riddled with jello . . .to these liquid smooth, professionally edited, and well conducted aerial videos.

Good on you Jake!
Agreed...Jakes editing is really inspiring. The music, well, let's just call it a generation gap thing for me, but still enjoyable.

The cake box does a great job as a vibration dampener for the camera. I did nothing on mine but stick the GoPro mount to the bottom of the 'box' and go... I need to tune out the twitching, but no jello at all.
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Old Apr 29, 2013, 05:01 PM
'FPV'er...not a "LOS'er
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Joined Sep 2003
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Jake's started a web site for the BoxCopter. Give it a visit: www.TheBoxcopter.com
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Old Apr 30, 2013, 01:28 AM
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I made mine from a Pelican style case, HoverFly Sport and Avroto 2814 motors. It carries a GoPro on an iso mount and is ocean tested. I used a plumbing adhesive to attach CF booms to the box and the rest fell into place. The ESCs get very warm but have not thermally failed yet. Totally waterproof and even worked as a rescue buoy once. :-)

I'll see if I can dig up more pics.
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Old Apr 30, 2013, 08:32 AM
'FPV'er...not a "LOS'er
Vantasstic's Avatar
Las Vegas, NV
Joined Sep 2003
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That's cool. What's the all up weight? More pictures please. My cupcake Boxcopter (short of VTx) came in ~1700g +/- fully loaded and flight ready. My 28mm motors seem to do okay. I wonder if larger 35mm motors would handle the extra weight a little easier. Jake uses the larger motors. I had th 28mm ones on hand so used what I had.
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Old Apr 30, 2013, 10:30 AM
Autopilot no control
United States, FL, Fort Lauderdale
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Next step: arms that can fold/remove/collapse and fit INSIDE the box when transporting!
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Old Apr 30, 2013, 03:41 PM
'FPV'er...not a "LOS'er
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Las Vegas, NV
Joined Sep 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Highly Grounded View Post
Next step: arms that can fold/remove/collapse and fit INSIDE the box when transporting!
Who was this address to? The Pelican Boxcopter? The cupcake Boxcopter arms do come out and store inside the box.
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