The PT-Cruiser - Great Homebuild AP / FPV Platform with Pan/Tilt - RC Groups
Thread Tools
Sep 19, 2009, 10:18 AM
Registered User
cvandenb's Avatar
Build Log

The PT-Cruiser - Great Homebuild AP / FPV Platform with Pan/Tilt

Hi All,

I am so excited after my maiden flight with this platform that i wanted to share this build with you.

(A big thanks to Paul for his comments, help and advice)

I've been following Paul Thompson's (pthompson24) builds and great videos and wanted something similar. At the time, no plans were available so i went for Mike's (power) "Solution". Its a great platform and i shot some great HD videos with this plane. But, i wanted something more manoeuvrable and something I could stabilise using gyros.

When Paul published some of the dimensions in one of his videos, i was off, straight to the store to get some foamboard. What great material foamboard, so easy to work with, you can mould your every idea to perfection. It it very strong, but yet light.

After quite a few hours, only cos i wanted to get it perfect,i managed to finish this platform ready for its maiden. At this time, i have not completed and fitted the Pan & Tilt, but that will be coming soon.

I took the plane out for its maiden yesterday, and man is it a great platform. It flew straight off, with No trimming required. It looked so stable up there. Off course we will only be able to tell once there is onboard video It flies really well, so calm and steady, yet, you can throw it around if you need to. For landings, you can bring it in really nice and slow and it just floats in.

So the plan here is to add my HD cam to this plane with a Pan&Tilt as well as a CCD cam with 2.4 downlink for FPV. I fly with this equipment already by using the EagleTree eLogger with OSD Pro, GPS and almost everything else.

Some stats,
Wing - 11in cord X 60 inches
AUW - 74oz - at this time... this will increase as i add more components.
Motor- AXI 2820-14
Prop - APC 14X7e
Batts - 2 X Flightpower 2100 (4200mAh total)

!!! FREE PLANS NOW AVAILABLE !!! - Updated 09 Jan 2010
PayPal DONATION ($5 if you think its worth it )

You can find the complete build history in photos at this link,
My Foamboard AP Platform - Build Photo Link

You can find more flight ground videos at this link
Maiden Flight Videos

Link to Paul's awesome flight videos,
Paul's AP Videos

Here is the Maiden ground Flight video,
Maiden Flight
Last edited by cvandenb; Jan 08, 2010 at 07:57 PM.
Sign up now
to remove ads between posts
Sep 19, 2009, 10:56 AM
Registered User
quailbird's Avatar
Very nice looking plane! Way to go.
Sep 20, 2009, 03:14 AM
Registered User
cvandenb's Avatar
I went out for a second flight in the evening, and did some low and close fly-by's. There are some great shots of it low flying if you pause it during the flyby..
Second Flight - Low & Slow
Sep 20, 2009, 11:42 AM
Registered User
cvandenb's Avatar
The weather was calm and sunny this morning, so had to nip out quickly to go and get a flight. As with all new airframes, you have to get a few flights in and tweak it a little. I did add on the HD camera today, just as a test and to see what the video is like with no gyros. Considering the wind had come up by this point, it hadnt done bad.

Unfortuntely, not captured in this video, but i had the most perfect landing. A very slight headwind, with the motor just turning over, i glided in so gently and slow you wont believe with the most perfect and soft landing...awesome.

This video was captured by my wife just following me taking off and flying round the field. Its less than a minute,so its captures the necessary only

The next tasks now are to,
- Complete the Pan & Tilt unit and fit it to the platform
- Transfer all FPV equipment to this platform


Cruising roundn the field followed by the Camera
Sep 20, 2009, 12:07 PM
Registered User
Please post some pictures when you have some.
Sep 20, 2009, 05:49 PM
Registered User
cvandenb's Avatar
Hi ChillyCanuck,

Thank you for the interest. I didnt really want to double post the pics as i have them on another site, with the link in text above, but then again, not everyone may spot this link, so i have added all the pics to date into this thread.

Hope they are of interest any comments or improvement techniques most welcome.
Sep 25, 2009, 06:51 PM
Registered User
cvandenb's Avatar
Here i have built a temporary Camera pod to host my CCD cam, its battery and 2.4 video TX. The plan is to use this pod & cam to set up and test the plane, video, OSD, Gyro's, etc, then i will build another pod to host my HD cam & CCD cam.
Sep 28, 2009, 02:27 PM
Registered User
cvandenb's Avatar
I know this isnt very exciting , but it can safe you some money and its just another great way to use foamboard

I generally balance my props very well, but i came across this magnet balancer the other day and thought, wow, that will just balance it perfectly. However, the price was over 20.

Then the other night i was thinking of how to build it and from what, and then i thought... foamboard... took me less than 30 minutes and its just perfect. Clearly because there is no friction and this allows you to perfectly balance your props. I did find that the one i was running, i thought was perfect before, was in fact not and after using this tool, is now balanced perfect.

I simply used some foamboard and some canopy magnets. I already had the shaft and cones from the balancer i had.

Happy building
Last edited by cvandenb; Sep 28, 2009 at 05:16 PM.
Sep 28, 2009, 04:43 PM
Registered User
Charl, that's a great little solution - I'm on the lookout for some magnets now!
Sep 28, 2009, 05:03 PM
Registered User
cvandenb's Avatar
Hey Ricky,


I bought mine from ebay. I've just looked the same guy is still selling some. I bought some round and some square (as in the pics). They are both as strong as each other, just different shape.
Dunne where you're from, but maybe this will give you an idea what your looking for

Good Luck...
Sep 28, 2009, 06:26 PM
Registered User
MorrisM's Avatar has cheap magnets

Any ideas on where to get a shaft and a pair of cones?
Sep 29, 2009, 04:47 AM
Registered User
cvandenb's Avatar
Hi MorrisM,

Now dont laugh, but ill tell you what i did for the shaft. So before all this started, i had the shaft and cones that i bought, but only after i built it all, i found the shaft not to be steel, as it was not magnetic, even though it looked like perfect steel.

As i was not going to give up on the work i had just done, i went into the shed for a look round, and found a small screwdriver to have the perfect diameter and length, so out came the saw and in no time, did i have a new shaft from steel that is fully magnetic

Yes, i did "cheat" as i had the cones dunno where you can get those from.

However, i have heard of some where you simply use a bolt of the correct diameter for your prop with nuts, tighten it up and balance. You will need to grind / sand down the tips into sharp tips, and very important, the sharp tip needs to be in the centre of the shaft.

Hope it helps and let us know how you get on
Sep 30, 2009, 08:08 PM
Registered User
cvandenb's Avatar

Prop Balancing Tip

Many of you may already do this, and its so obvious, but i only saw this the other day and thought, why did i never think of that

So, you have a new prop, and after checkin its balance, its out and needs adjusting. So what do you do.... start chopping away at the blade to balance it...

there's a better way...

I had a can of clear spray paint. All you do is spray a bit of paint on the light half of the blade. Only do a bit at a time and re-check your balance. you will loose a little bit of weight as the paint dries, but you can add a little more at the end if needed.
If you applied a little too much, then you can lightly sand it off again, without altering the blade shape itself.

Hope this is usefull, so obvious, but not always apparent
Sep 30, 2009, 08:18 PM
Registered User
cvandenb's Avatar
So i've been building the second Cam pod for my PT-Cruiser. The first is to house the CCD Cam, TX and Batt for just general flying around and FPV.

The Second is to house my HD Cam for when I want to go and get some HD footage. I will be making a space in the back of this pod to house the Video TX and Batt as i can feed the HD video through the TX whilst it is recoding in HD, best of both worlds. I will still be adding a servo to tilt the cam, hence the swing design of the camera holder.

I will be overlaying my OSD data onto the video feed from either camera to aid in navigation and FPV.

I added a little colour to the pods, should look quite cool when its fitted on the fuse. I wanted to get a pics tonight, but its getting too late
Last edited by cvandenb; Sep 30, 2009 at 08:53 PM.
Oct 01, 2009, 07:16 PM
Registered User
cvandenb's Avatar
I received my new prop today. It looks and feels great. Cant wait to get it in the air.

I came across this high spec wooden prop in the same size as my APC. The APC works very well, but they reckon this one is even better, even more efficient, quieter and High strength and stiffness reducing cavitations. This is another 14X7.

So here is the final balance, absolutely perfect. Perfect magnet balancing.. awesome!

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Discussion Sony Webbie / Bloggie for FPV - with pan tilt head - and vs any other camera rant renatoa FPV Equipment 452 Aug 20, 2013 02:45 AM
Build Log E-Flight Apprentice AP/FPV - Now with HD video! chancesAU Aerial Photography 27 Mar 26, 2009 08:39 PM
Link Selling - Askman .50 Size AP LG with Pan/Tilt HD Gimbles Aobid Aerial Photography 0 Feb 03, 2009 09:55 AM
New Product 6 rotor coaxial fpv platform with vr goggles - look! Hal_The_Hacker Coaxial Helicopters 2 Aug 30, 2008 05:57 AM
Rave At Last !!!!! Airbone VIDEO with pan/tilt AcePilot Aerial Photography 4 Feb 19, 2004 08:31 PM