|Jan 08, 2014, 10:29 PM|
Joined May 2013
ONE INCH PVC Quadcopter build
My very first quadcopter was complete all but a few days ago... A brand new DJI F450 clone from RCTimer.com. On its second voyage it broke an arm (but not a prop, what?) after falling from the suicidal altitude of... four feet. It also broke an arm on the first flight so that meant I was out of spare arms! What to do what to do?
Rather than order some more arms and wait for them to arrive on a slow boat from China I decided to peruse RCGroups multirotor threads and immediately got inspired by the "Show us your scratch build PVC multirotor" thread! "Wow" I thought, "I should try that!"
And so I did:
I haven't named him yet but I am very satisfied so far. Who knew what you could do with $5 worth of PVC from Lowes? Wow!
Below is a build log of sorts...
How much is this thing going to weigh?
I read about many 1/2in and 3/4in PVC frames in the aforementioned thread but that sounded like it would be a bit wobbly and/or heavy depending on how much material was used. So I had a thought: Why not use that 1.5in stuff that goes under your sink? It's really hard and super light weight.
After perusing the Plumbing section of Lowes for about half an hour I determined that there just isn't a suitable fitting in existence for that 1.5in stuff to make a cross (aka an "X") and I just don't want an H-copter (not sure why, actually). So after some flex tests in the nether regions of Plumbing I decided I'd give 1in SDR-21 (200psi) PVC a try. It seemed reasonably light-weight and man was it stiff! It was just over $2 for 10 feet of it.
I came up with a completely arbitrary arm length of 200mm and cut four. Here's how much that weighs when combined with a schedule 40 cross fitting (anyone know where I can find an SDR-21 cross fitting? =):
Wait a minute: I thought PVC frames were heavy?!? That's just 2g more than an actual F450 frame! But wait, there's more:
That's how much it weighed after bending some motor mounts (was much easier than I thought it would be BTW) and sanding the top and bottom of the cross a bit. Just ~277g! That's less than a DJI F450!
How was this possible? Will the final result weigh less than my old F450 clone? Yes, yes it will!
Caveat: That weight doesn't include my Bluetooth/GPS modules or the wacky noodle landing skids but I seriously doubt they add up to more than ~100g because that's about how much lighter this PVC frame is than my F450 clone.
The ESCs are inside the frame. I am told that because my 30A ESCs are overpowered for my 2800 3C battery and 1000kV motors heat shouldn't be a problem but I'll be carefully monitoring that.
It is precisely 410mm from motor-to-motor. Did I intend that size from the beginning? No, I did not. I merely made some creative measurements when tracing the templates for the motor mounts.
For power distribution I made some custom harnesses:
Step 1: Solder some bullet connectors by dividing a single silicon-insulated wire into four individual strands...
Step 2: Heat shrink it for insulation and so it looks nice...
Also inside the frame: A 5V UBEC and four extra JST connectors (for wiring up some LED lighting later). It's pretty tight in there but I bet I could fit even more!
I will be flying it tomorrow (I just finished putting it together and it's late). Tests indoors went very well though!
I suspect this beast will be just a bit more robust than my F450 clone. What do you guys think?
UPDATE 2014-01-12: For the first time in days and days it wasn't raining outside so I had my wife take a video of it's first flight:
Flies great! Obviously the pilot has some learning to do, haha.
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