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Old Sep 23, 2012, 05:28 AM
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Build Log
Quad Building Tutorial for Beginners with Videos

Alright so a few people have asked if I could put together some instructional videos on how to build a quad. I thought "why not." So here it is... Below I will post some relevant information with a series of videos that will show you, step by step, how to build your own quad. The instructions are based on using a KK2 flight controller as I believe it is the easiest flight controller to setup for beginners.

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First, let's make a list of what you will need to build your own quad.

1- Frame: There are many frames to choose from that are easy to assemble. Prices, sizes, and quality varies. The motors are ESCs you will choose for your build will depend on what frame you choose to use. And of course, you can build your own frame, too! This will be discussed in the first video shown below.

2- Flight controller: In this tutorial, I am going to show you how to setup the KK2 board. Much of the information shown in the videos are standard and apply to most flight controllers, but you will find specific instructions pertaining to the KK2 flight controller in this thread and in the videos shown below.

3- Brushless Motors: There are tons of motors to choose from out there. They start as cheap as 6$ per motor all the way to over 100$ per motor. The cheap ones work well. You can get decent Turnigy motors from HobbyKing.com or equivalent low priced RCX motors from myrcmart.com and the price is more or less 10$ per motor. Note that you need to choose motors that have the right specifications to fit a purchased frame. The motors also need to have specification suitable for the weight of your frame and the size of battery you wish to use. If unsure, post your questions in this thread and myself or someone else will chime in to point you in the right direction.

4- Electronic speed controllers (ESCs): The ESCs you choose have to be a good match for the size quad you are building. In other words, they have to be the right ones to run your motors. Not all ESCs are suitable for quadcopters. I recommend using HobbyWing Skywalkers ESCs or HobbyWing Flyfub ESCs as they work really well and you won't need to flash a firmware on them to have nice flying characteristics. You may read the terms "SimonK" ESCs quite often when reading about ESCs used on quadcopters. These are basically ESCs that have been flashed with a modified firmware to optimize the performance. They are the best ESCs you can use for a quadcopter and they are now sold by several online hobby stores. That said, the difference between the SimonK ESCs and the HobbyWing ESCs is minimal. Again, if you are unsure what ESCs to buy, post your questions in this thread and we will try to point you in the right directions. And of course, other users are free to post their recommendations.

5- Propellers: Sizes vary. If unsure, tell us what you plan to build and we can offer suggestions. As a beginner, do stay away from expensive or from carbon fiber props, though. These are too hard and you'll end up bending motor shafts.

6- Propellers adapters: Most brushless motors that are suitable for quadcopters come with props adapters. They can also be purchased separately.

7- Bullet connectors: 3.5mm bullet connectors are most commonly used on quads that are between 250 to 600mm from motor to motor. If you are planning to build a very small quad with12 amps ESCs or less, then 2mm bullet connectors will be a better choice.

8- Heatshrink tubing: You will need to use heatshing tubing to insulate the bullet connectors and also to insulate other connections on your power grid. This will be briefly discussed in the videos below. Stay away from using electrical tape as the stuff tends to come apart when you least need it to. Heatshring is inexpensive so get some and do this right.

9- Connectors: These will be used on a power harness (optional) and you will also need one on your power grid to connect your batteries to the quad. Choosing connectors will depend on the size of your quad and personal preferences. You'll also need connectors to connect your receiver to the flight controller. This is shown in the videos below. Post your questions if you're unsure.

10- Batteries: Most quads use Lipo batteries. Choosing the right batteries for your setup is important if you want to have decent performance and flight time. Post your questions if you're unsure.

11- Battery strap (Velcro). Sizes vary. This is self explanatory.

12- Plastic ties: These are often used to secure the ESCs to the quadcopter's arms and to secure wires where needed.

13- Charger: Most hobby grade quads use batteries with multiple cells so using a proper balanced charger is highly recommended.

14- Soldering equipment: You'll need a good solder gun or better, a decent soldering station. This is discussed in the videos below.

15- Receiver (RX/TX): You need a receiver that is compatible with your radio. Erm... And yes, you need a radio, too.

16- Silicone wires: Size will vary depending on what you're building. Post your questions if you are unsure.

17- If I forgot anything, please let me know, guys, and I will update this list.

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Ok... So now that you know what you need, you can go ahead and watch the videos below.

Have fun building your quad (and flying it!) and I hope this is helpful to you.

Best,
Chris
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Last edited by bobepine; Sep 23, 2012 at 09:21 AM.
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Old Sep 23, 2012, 05:29 AM
bobepine's Avatar
Joined Jun 2011
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Video Tutorial

First things first, here are some links to the KK2 flight controller Users Manual and Setup Guide.

Instruction Manual: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...30X7478X47.pdf

PI Tuning Guide: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1675613

Quadrocopter and Tricopter Info Mega Link Index

Here are the PI settings I recommend as a staring point for frames ranging from 250mm to 600mm. I believe these are better than the stock settings that come pre-programmed in the KK2 board:

Pitch and Roll:

-45
-100
-30
20

Yaw:

-80
-20
-70
-10


Low voltage Lipo Alarm Settings:

-2s battery: 070
-3s battery: 105
-4s battery: 140


Sticks scaling: Stock numbers are 30. If the quad is too aggressive for you, reduce the numbers. Increase if you want more stick response. DO NOT attempt flips with the stock settings. You need at least 70 on ailerons and elevator to attempt flips. Try your first flips with lots of altitude!

Please note that in the pre-flight check video (part 4) below, I forgot to mention reversing channels as needed. This is explained in video "Part 6." Essentially, if your throttle channel or yaw channel is reversed, the board will not arm for you. If your throttle trim reads more than 0% throttle, the board will not arm, either. Just go into the LCD menu on the KK2 board and scroll to "receiver test." If your channels are reverse you'll know right away. Reverse them in your radio.

Finally: DO NOT INSTALL PROPELLERS UNTIL YOU ARE FINISHED EVERYTHING SHOWN TO YOU IN THE VIDEOS BELOW.

Have fun!

Best,
Chris

Building A Quadcopter: Frame (Part 1) (13 min 22 sec)


Building A Quadcopter: Motors and ESCs (Part 2) (14 min 44 sec)


Building A Quadcopter: Receiver Connections (Part 3) (9 min 44 sec)


Building A Quadcopter: ESCs Calibration & Pre-Flight Check (part4) (12 min 31 sec)


Building A Quadcopter: Sensor Calibration & Maiden flight (part5) (3 min 40 sec)


Building A Quadcopter: Reversing Channels & Flight Demo (Part 6) (6 min 22 sec)
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Last edited by bobepine; Sep 23, 2012 at 09:19 AM.
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Old Sep 23, 2012, 05:29 AM
bobepine's Avatar
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May 25, 2013 Edit

Here's an updated tutorial. It's longer but more detailed.

Best,
Chris

www.armattanquads.com

Armattan Tutorial 1 of 8 Frame Assembly and Motor Mounts (7 min 25 sec)


Armattan Tutorial 2 of 8 Soldering Bullet Connectors and ESCs/Motors Connections (13 min 25 sec)


Armattan Tutorial 3 of 8 Power Distrinution Board (12 min 55 sec)


Armattan Tutorial 4 of 8 Mounting and Connecting the KK2 Board (11 min 7 sec)


Armattan Tutorial 5 of 8 Installing a Receiver (11 min 9 sec)


Armattan Tutorial 6 of 8 Pre-Flight Checks (8 min 49 sec)


Armattan Tutorial 7 of 8 Receiver Test and Radio Setup (15 min 59 sec)


Armattan Tutorial 8 of 8 Installing Propellers and Test Flight (7 min 36 sec)



Flight Demo:

Armattan One with 6 inch Propellers (10 min 16 sec)
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Last edited by bobepine; May 24, 2013 at 11:49 PM.
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Old Sep 23, 2012, 06:53 AM
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First class build log, thank you.
I've been researching flight controllers for a while, unable to make a final decision. The KK2 has appealed to me since I first saw it, for features and simplicity of programming compared to many others and the price is amazing. It now goes to the top of my list.
Also good to see that some esc's will work fine without reflashing.

A quick question has come to mind, when building your own frame, do you follow the "normal" sizing layout (250, 330, 450 etc) ?
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Last edited by mono; Sep 23, 2012 at 07:16 AM.
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Old Sep 23, 2012, 08:09 AM
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Old Sep 23, 2012, 08:12 AM
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Thanks for a great tutorial Chris.

When you were flying out side was that with the same settings that you set the KK2 board with in the previous video or did you use different settings?

Thanks

Wayne
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Old Sep 23, 2012, 09:06 AM
Tri-Quad-Hexa-Octo-copters!!
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Nice beginner build info Chris. Link added to the Beginner/Noob Info Threads section in the Quadrocopter and Tricopter Info Mega Link Index
Cheers,
Jim
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Old Sep 23, 2012, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jesolins View Post
Nice beginner build info Chris. Link added to the Beginner/Noob Info Threads section in the Quadrocopter and Tricopter Info Mega Link Index
Cheers,
Jim
Ah... Thanks Jim. And nice to hear from you here. I should have added this link to this thread as it contains a wealth of useful information.

Best,
Chris
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Old Sep 23, 2012, 09:38 AM
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Quote:
A quick question has come to mind, when building your own frame, do you follow the "normal" sizing layout (250, 330, 450 etc) ?
I try to stay away from common sizes just for the sake of building something unique and original. I name my frames according to the distance from motor to motor. So the Armattan 362 frame shown in the above video is 362mm from motor to motor. Other frames I built are also odd sizes in an effort to stray away from the common conventions. As such, my frames are unique and I like it that way.

Quote:
When you were flying out side was that with the same settings that you set the KK2 board with in the previous video or did you use different settings?
Yes, same settings. I later followed KK2 tuning procedures and I ended with the same settings except I raised the P gain to 90 from 45. That's because I'm using simonK ESCs and they can handle higher numbers on P. That said, the flying characteristics differences are hardly noticeable. I did not actually need to go through with PI tuning. The numbers I gave in the video are just fine.

Best,
Chris
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Last edited by bobepine; Sep 23, 2012 at 11:37 AM.
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Old Sep 23, 2012, 11:24 AM
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Excellent thread, good work mate.
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Old Sep 23, 2012, 01:33 PM
Get Airborne
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Thank you for the nice tutorial, and for answering questions from newbies.

Will now build my own hobbygrade quad.
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Old Sep 23, 2012, 01:40 PM
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Thanks, Aero.

Stenkry, you're welcome and don't hesitate to come back if you have questions.

Best,
Chris
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Old Sep 23, 2012, 04:16 PM
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Subscribed! Awesome Chris. Thank you so much for this. A wealth of knowledge and now full confidence I can build a quad copter from the ground up.
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Old Sep 23, 2012, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by jlcamp7 View Post
Subscribed! Awesome Chris. Thank you so much for this. A wealth of knowledge and now full confidence I can build a quad copter from the ground up.

Awesome! Good to hear.

Best,
Chris
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Old Sep 23, 2012, 10:51 PM
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New Zealand, Otago, Queenstown
Joined Sep 2012
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hi bob, i have an RX701 with the long antennae like the 802, I keep reading different things about having them at 90 degrees as far apart as possible etc. I notice you have yours together in heat shrink. i was watching the build vids hoping to see what you did with the ends of the wires as im about to fit mine and want to get the best reception possible. great quad by the way, looks solid
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