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Old May 11, 2011, 10:21 AM
Registered User
Birmingham AL
Joined Jul 2010
627 Posts
Build Log
Inexpensive Aluminum Bar Quadcopter Frames Build Log

I have a MK 1.35 and needed a frame for it. Although I LOVE my VIC 480 frame I decided I would make a frame or 2.
The main components of a multi-rotor frame would be the arms and center plates. Arms can be the cheap towel holder bars from Home Depot, or an other light weight tubes. I like square so I don't have to have special blocks and motor mounts like with round ones.
I decided to make 3 frames so I am trying 2 types of aluminum bars plus some pultruded carbon fiber bars.

First Frame is using my Friend Chucks composit materials he makes himself, and they are great. The 2 center plates I will sandwich the bars with are a very sturdy fiberglass/epoxy product. I'll use the matching Carbon Fiber plate for a really nice looking protection cap or 3rd tier for FPV gear.
I am using 1/2 inch Aluminum hollow square tubes with 5/8" furnture plugs on each arm end. I will mount the motors to the bar directly using the + mounts that come with the motors. Today I will drill press the appropriate holes in the plates and arms for 2 through bolts in each arm going through both plates.

The bars are cut to 12 inches and mounted in the center plates pretty deep that still makes a very BIG 640mm motor to motor. I may cut another inch off of each bar to bring it down to a 590mm or so size or even smaller. I know I will make this one at least 500mm- 550mm though.










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Old May 11, 2011, 10:33 AM
Registered User
Birmingham AL
Joined Jul 2010
627 Posts
Now for build #2 another friend of mine VIC20OWNER send me a stack of G10 center plates to use. So I will be using 2 330x upgrade plates modified for HUGE 3/4" heavy Duty aluminum bars. These are also cut to 12" and have plastic inserts in each end. I will have to check the weight on this when finished but it should be almost unbreakable with the arms.
I will most likely be cutting these arms down 2.5 inches each or so to bring this down to about a 500mm unless I decide to use a beefier seup then I may keep it at the current 650mm.
This one I will use a plastic container or a cd container for the FC board to mount on and protection lid I think.






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Last edited by RChelisrule; May 11, 2011 at 10:39 AM.
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Old May 15, 2011, 03:54 PM
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Birmingham AL
Joined Jul 2010
627 Posts
Ok, Since I am doing this build log on 2 frames I decided to make 1 for sport fling and the other for Aerials videos and FPV. I decided to make the larger bar frame into the sport quad since it is almost indestructible. and the thinner bar frame is slightly Larger to carry a camera.

Here is frame #2 screwed and ready for landing gear. As far as motor mounts are concerned I am goint to use the + shaped metal mounts that come with motors.

For landing gear I wanted something VERY sturdy to go with this almost indestructible frame. So I am using Flexible plastic strips like on the old X600. You could also use the huge zip ties cut as well. I used the screws that hold the frame together to hold one end of the landing gear and a self tapping short metal screw to hold the other side. I haven't deciced exactly what height to make it so I am not sure where I want the second screws. I tried close to the end here but I am going to move it closer in so it is a bit higher I think.








I have also been trying out ideas for a canopy, I was trying out tupperware type things like these or Chuck , the friend of mine who makes the composite materials also does vacume forming so I may get him to make me a cool clear dome.





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Old May 15, 2011, 04:09 PM
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Birmingham AL
Joined Jul 2010
627 Posts
OK, now for the more difficult build. The aerial quad or multi rotor will require a lot more ground clearance. There are a lot simpler and cheaper ways to do this but since I have a very talented friend, Chuck, Who makes this Carbon Fiber material and also designed and fabricated this landing gear for me. It is very light and strong and provides a ton of clearance for any type of camera and camera mount from a Go-Pro to an SLR.
The spacers ans skids are made with an Aluminum Arrow painted black . I still have to cut the skids. I am thinking 9-12 inches each and attach them with the Kevlar yarn and CA. And to attach the gear to the frame. I am planning on extending the main screws and mounting it with those screws through a base plate on top. I will detail and illustrate as I continue the build









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Old Jun 18, 2011, 11:13 AM
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Birmingham AL
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OK, I FINALLY have the next small step on this frame complete.

I used a cheap aluminum Arrow from the sporting goods store painted black, and cut 2x 12" rods out of it for the skids.

I used Kevlar Yarn (VERY strong) and CA to attach them to the bottom,
First I used my dremel mini drum sander to curve the bottom of each leg to male more surfacr area for the skids to attach.
Then I wrapped them in the Kevlar Yarn and applied CA. I would paint black if they were going to be exposed but I plan on some sort of shock absorbing material to cover.

OK I got a cheap stick of pipe insulator for $1 , it is made for 5/8" pipe not a tiny arrow so I had to cut it to make it smaller. I also painted the ends BRIGHT ORANGE for orientation which as we all know can be an issue at long ranges and is worth doing even if you think it's ugly.

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Old Jun 18, 2011, 02:04 PM
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Birmingham AL
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ok, AFTER MASKING AND ADDING A SECOND COAT i ZIP TIED THEM TO MY ALUMINUM SKIDS, AS i DO THIS i Notice that the paint is chipping off. So I will most likely replace it with a bright colored tape
But for now it looks fine and should help a lot with orientation.

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Old Jun 18, 2011, 02:34 PM
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Austin, TX
Joined Feb 2006
1,118 Posts
Looking good. I'm trying to see what others have done before I'm building my first quad, so this is interesting reading for me.

-tychoc
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Old Jun 18, 2011, 02:49 PM
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Birmingham AL
Joined Jul 2010
627 Posts
OK, I don't want to make this blog confusing by adding this 3rd frame build but I don't want a bunch of frame blogs either so I am putting it here.

I am building a new frame originally it was going to be about 15" motor to motor but I bought some motor mounts here and now it's at about 17" or 430mm. A bit bigger than I had intended but that would be fine, I haven't decided whether to use them or not due to there excessive weight. unfortunatly the maker used steel instead of aluminum so they are very heavy. in fact the 4 motor mount weigh more than the rest of the frame combined. the frame was about 110 grams befor and now its over twice that. I also had to wrap rubber aroung the ends of the arms to fit snuggly in them which adds 4 grams per arm, no big deal but it adds up. so question is do I want a 15" 110g frame or a 222gram 17" frame with these heavy duty motor mounts.

OK, to the build at hand. I used 10mm carbon fiber square spars. They were super light but I was worried they would snap in a crash and possibly twist slightly, so I reinforced them woth a wooden dowel and epoxied it inside the spar. Now it's solid and still pretty light (7.25" arm weighs 15grams) Next I am using G10 center plates, they weigh 16.5 grams each and are very sturdy. These are made by Vic20 and work great for his or any other frame.
Like I said earlier I am (or May) use motor mounts I bought here last week. They are steel and VERY heavy but would work well if weight isnt an issue.

Here are some pics of the start.

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Last edited by RChelisrule; Jun 18, 2011 at 03:04 PM.
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