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Old Sep 23, 2012, 02:46 PM
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United States, WA, Longview
Joined Sep 2011
42 Posts
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A simple poor mans vector thrust unit

Hello all
Here's what I call a poor mans vector power unit that anyone can make with just a few hand tools. I myself can't afford a couple of hundred dollars for one of the pre-made units from Premier RC that use the fancy two axis, single point, gimble with the ball linkage. I'm sure that there are others out there in the same boat also. I tried to find other units to buy but everything I found at other places was also made by Permier, so I decided to build one of my own. Maybe not quite as smooth, elequent and efficient as Premier's but super simple to build, fully functional, and affordable for anyone.
I have to buy almost everthing off internet sites bec ause there are not any local stores in my area to get things like gimbles, ball linkage, esc's, servos, etc., so my goal was to build a 2 axis unit that didn't require any thing other than what is commonly available. All it uses is some material that is easy to acquire or that most people have laying around. To hold everything together I used nylon spacers (any kind of spacers will work) and some small machine screws and lock nuts. The tilt unit servo is mounted on the pan unit so that when it is rotated, the servo rotates with it and regular ordinary simple linkage can be use without it binding. The pan unit also uses regular simple linkage. When putting it together just make sure that the parts move fairly freely with as little slop as possible.
I built this power unit out of 6 pieces of flat material and one small cube of wood (the two pivot points) that I cut from a 1/2 inch square dowel. I have built two units and on one I used 1/4" and 1/8" plywood and on other I used 1/16" and 1/8" x 1/2 " aluminum flat bar I got at Lowe's. The one in the pictures is the plywood unit.
I used small machine screws and lock nuts with nylon spacers to hold everything together and zip ties to hold the servos. The control linkage horns I made out of an old expired plastic gift card. This whole unit weighs in at 54 grams, minus the motor, servos and esc. With 2 servos, an ESC, and a Rx it comes to 117 grams. As I said, it may not be as smooth as one with ball linkage and a gimble but it is functional.
The other picture is a layout of how it is put together. I left off the dimensions because you can use whatever you want to make whatever size you want depending on what servos, motors, esc's, Rx, etc. you have. I made mine out of 1/2 inch wide plywood and aluminum and I have a 66 gram KDA 2028 hacker style motor with a ten inch prop mounted on it
I hope that this is of some help to anyone trying to get vector power unit but can't afford a lot of money to spend. As I said, I built two of these, one plywood and one aluminum for less than $5.00 with enough material left over to build several more.
I have a video of it in operation if I can figure out how to get it uploaded so people can find it.
Let me know what your thoughts are, good or bad, as that is how we learn.
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Old Sep 23, 2012, 07:07 PM
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USA, TN, Collierville
Joined Jun 2010
13 Posts
Well done!

Hopefully, in the not TOO distant future I will share my version of a "Poor Man's" vector thrust unit. Mine won't be quite as economical as yours because I used some ball & sockets for pivots but the PVC pipe gimbal is dirt cheap!

Geoff S.
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Old Oct 03, 2012, 03:27 PM
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USA, NY, Chester
Joined Apr 2008
2,428 Posts
Love the poor mans vt
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Old Oct 04, 2012, 12:59 PM
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United States, WA, Longview
Joined Sep 2011
42 Posts
I think that I figured out how to add the video of this unit in operation. We'll see. One note, the video as loaded is twice as long as the one I made. I don't know why the upload doubled the length.
Plywood Vector Thrust unit (2 min 58 sec)
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Old Oct 19, 2012, 02:43 PM
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Tomas Dunker's Avatar
Sweden
Joined Mar 2006
151 Posts
Vector control (0 min 39 sec)
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Old Oct 21, 2012, 09:18 AM
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rpm3's Avatar
Pleasanton, California
Joined Nov 2000
710 Posts
I just flew a setup that incorporates a servo city pan/tilt piece of hardware...

A screw came out of the mechanism...at the end of the flight...but the flight was encouraging...and the design seems like it might be "robust" enough for this application....time will tell.....

Thrust Vector Test Flight 10/20/12 (2 min 5 sec)
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