Inexpensive Aluminum Bar Quadcopter Frames Build Log - RC Groups
Thread Tools
May 11, 2011, 11:21 AM
Registered User
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.

Last edited by RChelisrule; May 11, 2011 at 03:08 PM.
Sign up now
to remove ads between posts
May 11, 2011, 11:33 AM
Registered User
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.

Last edited by RChelisrule; May 11, 2011 at 11:39 AM.
May 15, 2011, 04:54 PM
Registered User
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.

May 15, 2011, 05:09 PM
Registered User
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

Jun 18, 2011, 12:13 PM
Registered User
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.

Name: DSCN2431.jpg
Views: 167
Size: 143.6 KB

Name: DSCN2432.jpg
Views: 113
Size: 279.9 KB

Name: DSCN2434.jpg
Views: 175
Size: 159.2 KB

Name: DSCN2435.jpg
Views: 120
Size: 257.8 KB

Name: DSCN2436.jpg
Views: 117
Size: 313.8 KB

Name: DSCN2437.jpg
Views: 125
Size: 291.3 KB
Jun 18, 2011, 03:04 PM
Registered User
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.

Name: DSCN2447.jpg
Views: 115
Size: 231.6 KB

Name: DSCN2448.jpg
Views: 102
Size: 239.1 KB

Name: DSCN2449.jpg
Views: 142
Size: 305.1 KB
Jun 18, 2011, 03:34 PM
Registered User
tychoc's Avatar
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.

Jun 18, 2011, 03:49 PM
Registered User
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.

Name: DSCN2427.jpg
Views: 191
Size: 152.2 KB

Name: DSCN2430.jpg
Views: 164
Size: 308.2 KB

Name: DSCN2438.jpg
Views: 155
Size: 121.6 KB

Name: DSCN2439.jpg
Views: 129
Size: 123.2 KB

Name: DSCN2440.jpg
Views: 181
Size: 94.9 KB

Name: DSCN2441.jpg
Views: 218
Size: 176.5 KB

Name: DSCN2443.jpg
Views: 224
Size: 304.8 KB

Name: DSCN2442.jpg
Views: 213
Size: 313.6 KB

Name: DSCN2446.jpg
Views: 479
Size: 313.4 KB
Last edited by RChelisrule; Jun 18, 2011 at 04:04 PM.
May 08, 2014, 06:57 AM
^Its what I do^ - FPVholic
The Flying Farmer's Avatar
Nice looking good quads. Simple and rugged. What is the weight of the aerial photography landing gear?

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Build Log ASK13 build log from Louis Kulicka plans Mike K Scale Sailplanes 111 Jan 05, 2014 01:22 PM
Build Log D&L Designs 22.5 % CAP 231EX Build Log u2builder Scale Fuel Planes 15 May 24, 2011 12:43 PM
Discussion can anyone help me find these frames for my quadcopter? huskerwr38 Multirotor Drone Talk 7 Apr 25, 2011 10:09 PM