I know nothing about Quadrocopters or AP, but I'm going to build one. - RC Groups
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Nov 20, 2009, 12:52 PM
My name is Tom
Tommygunn's Avatar

I know nothing about Quadrocopters or AP, but I'm going to build one.

I stumbled across this category of aircraft the other day and immediately got hooked. I also spoke to my mate who is into photography and video work 'ala terra' and he too thought it was very cool.

So, I'm going to build a quad. I have no real idea what I'm doing but as is my way I go headlong into a project all guns blazing and tackle whatever needs to be tackled.

I'm having a little trouble locating basic information on build and electronics. I've seen various websites(e.g. MK, here, Paperazzi etc) but the information is all one step ahead of me, so bear with me if some of my questions are somewhat basic in their content.

I suppose my first question should be, do I build a Quad or would I be better off with a Tricopter? At the end of the day I want to build a vehicle that is capable of a substantial load, something between .5 and 2kgs i.e. SLR or small professional video camera.

Weight is obviously a big factor, so what sort of diameter should I go for? Would there be more advantage, stability wise, in a 60cm over a 40cm diam vehicle?

Since this is a scratch build I'm thinking of using aluminium square section(about 15 x 15mm) for the arms and for the main centre decking, top and bottom, plywood (5-10mm). Beyond that, such as sub decking I will use whatever is lightest or most appropriate, aluminium, ply or carbon fibre.

I'm going to start this weekend after a visit to the DIY centre so some good advise before I go would be great.

I will get onto electronics later as I'm a little bemused by all the talk of circuit boards, multiple gyros etc etc.

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Nov 20, 2009, 02:23 PM
They call me Maj. Sink!
stoked6.0's Avatar
Have a look at signguys' thread, shows how to build a tri at a low cost. Lots of great info there. https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show....php?t=1142429
Nov 20, 2009, 02:25 PM
FPV Freak :)
diem's Avatar
I think you should go with mikrokopter - octo for that payload. MK is most advanced and have great support in here. Its a long jurney - keep reading &reading &reading mikrokopter thread and mk wiki.

I wont tell you about frame size, make sure it can handle 12" props. 10x10x1 alu is much more lighter then 15x15x2.

good luck to you
Nov 20, 2009, 02:37 PM
Registered User
Tommy, I really hope you are successful, but I have seen SO MANY posts asking the same questions on this and other threads - Well???
Many people would like to send a camera up in the air, turn it round , see what you are seeing on the ground and bring it down safely after taking the photos but the problem is IT ISN'T EASY (AND USUALLY EXPENSIVE!)
Of the "cheaper" methods (WHICH ARE PROVEN) the MK or mikrokopter
GPS assisted aerial video (Mikrokopter) (2 min 42 sec)

All the best
Nov 20, 2009, 02:59 PM
My name is Tom
Tommygunn's Avatar
Yep, I've been looking over Signguy's threads trying to glean all info I can, good stuff.

I'm on a budget and since I'm mechanically inclined I'd prefer to home build my own airframe than pay for it. Concerning the electronics then they would be one of the vendors to consider, but electrics will come a bit later. Totally lacking in knowledge on the brain part of the aircraft.

I will definately go for the smaller gauge ally section as my aim is to shave as much weight as possible in all areas.

I'm not daunted easily, I'm going to give it a go.
Nice vid by the way.

So, would a four prop be more advantageous over a three prop?
Nov 20, 2009, 03:53 PM
FPV Freak :)
diem's Avatar
Originally Posted by Tommygunn

So, would a four prop be more advantageous over a three prop?

As i said... go for 8 with payload you want to achieve. Seriously.
I'm building right now hexa (6 props) for 700g payload.
Nov 20, 2009, 04:41 PM
My name is Tom
Tommygunn's Avatar
Oh ok. That's a lot of motors and kit.

If I go with eight props can I mount two motors on the same boom i.e. one on top and one below, to save on airframe weight?
Will there be any problems with airflow or downforce whether the props are directly above or below one another or if one prop is at the furthest point and one further inboard?
Nov 20, 2009, 05:17 PM
FPV Freak :)
diem's Avatar
Answering all your questions: check Alex's setup, watch his all movies. Its great example how to go profi. I think that you should make small steps. Make quadro MK with small cam, understand how does it work, learn to fly fpv etc. etc.
Decide after some practice which setup is best for you. It takes some time, im trying to do all those steps and i'm happy with it.

Kent Coast - from above and beyond (4 min 16 sec)
Nov 20, 2009, 07:02 PM
Registered User
signguy's Avatar
Hey Tommygun

That is a lot of payload you want to haul around. My tricopter would not lift that. I have lifted 24 oz or 696 grams as a payload not including the flight battery. I think you could scale my design up with motors capable of 3-500 watts each, but it would be an experiment, not proven.
The other thing to consider. I have enough problem seeing which way a tricopter is pointed. I can't understand how a quad pilot keeps track of the direction the "nose" is pointed.

Is there a reason you need to lift that much? And do you fly helis now?

I would love to try a mikrocopter, just don't have the funds to spend......
Bob D
Nov 20, 2009, 07:06 PM
Registered User
Such a burst of enthousiasm sounds like love at first sight. Results can be the same: costly and disappointing. Best step back, take some distance, have a good look without the rosey glasses on and maybe see that she isn't a centerfold. If you then still like wat you see, maybe go for a careful first date...

Or put differently: don't go spending your bucks before you've read a bit more and determined clearly what you want and how much you are willing to spend on that first date. If you don't have any experiences yet with multikopters, maybe aim a bit lower than a 500-1000g payload capacity monstercopter, spend a bit less, stay a bit more within what is already available.

Determine also how much you are willing to learn along the way, e.g. electronics, soldering, programming, tweaking paramters. If you want to learn some basics stick with a reasonably evolved project like UAVX or MK. Start with the "standard" which will give you probably 250-350 payload capacity --enough for a good compact or small HDTV cam-- and only go to higher power once you are comfortable under all conditions with the standard.

If you want to know everything there is to know about the technology and all aspects of building then maybe go with a project which isn't as far along yet, e.g. the AeroQuad project, read a lot, play a lot but don't expect to get to the higher lift capacity as quickly.

Until you've made up your mind what exactly your route and platform is going to be towards your longer term goal of big-lifter, keep you credit card safely locked away and read more, a lot more. Not only here in the AP forum but also under Multirotor helis where there are several threads on multikopters.
Nov 22, 2009, 03:12 PM
My name is Tom
Tommygunn's Avatar
I will certainly check out his info.

I do fly helis, yes, a 450. Mind you I'm pretty green to that too.

I'm very much the sort of person that when I get into something then I go the whole hog. I like to know everything about my hobby/project of the moment, however, I'm more a mechanical than an electrical so the brain part of the quad, and all that programming jargon, might take a bit more thinking.

Anyway, I've made the basic airframe.
I have built the cruciform to be of a 60cm span, actual dimension 64cm and I've decided to reduce my payload aspirations.
The booms are 10x10mm alloy while the decking is plywood with the lower deck of 6mm and the upper of 5mm (4.8mm). I purposely made the decks oversized so that it gives me plenty of options to position the electronics before I take a saw to them and literally start cutting corners, and holes.
I still need to true the edges of one of the decks and then I'll varnish and paint.

Nov 22, 2009, 03:50 PM
FPV Freak :)
diem's Avatar
Tommy frame is easiest part of it, takes few days. Proper configurantion of ready to go quad can take months.
Nov 22, 2009, 03:55 PM
My name is Tom
Tommygunn's Avatar
Anyone would think that you are trying to put me off

Can you link me to Alex's profile as I don't know which Alex your talking about.
Nov 22, 2009, 04:27 PM
Registered User
ddrake's Avatar
if you want you may chime in in the italian forum:

do remain on RCGroups as well though! as there are tons of info on quads over here.

I would suggest also to listen to Arthur's words too. He is THE man.
There is a whole load of info necessary to build up a quad from scratch. Mathematical modeling, electronics knowledge, programming experience, loads of time and money to invest in.
For starters you could check what the main projects are, take a look here:
and then at Gibon's site in general.
Also take a look at:
Titta's site.
Mikrokopter is the most widespread project because it offers a lot both as performance and expandibility. The code is Open Source so you can study how things work. Take a look at the source and you will understand the amount of work those guys put into it.
Once you have an overview on all projects you will be able to make an informed decision.

Take care

P,s, video
Easter 2009 - MKs in the sky (3 min 23 sec)
Dec 09, 2009, 08:10 AM
My name is Tom
Tommygunn's Avatar
Ok, I've not done much recently but now I'm ready to re-begin especially as I've bought more materials and all my bits and bobs are coming in.

First of all a list of items I have bought some of which are still in the postal system:
1) MikroKopter chassis plates
2) Props; EPP1045 & EPP1245
3) QuadPowered control board (www.quadpowered.com)
4) KDA 20-22L motors x4
5) Towerpro w18A Speedos x4
6) Kite carbon rod and frame fittings
7) Plus odds and sods to complete the build

The main thing that I have changed is to ditch the wood and replace it with MikroKopter chassis plates and reduce the motor point to point distance from 60cm to 50cm.
Here is how it looks at present, carbon rod landing gear to follow.

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