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Oct 14, 2017, 07:17 AM
George Hawkins
gchawkins's Avatar

What premium large body frames are there? TBS Discovery...?

Are there name-brand alternatives to the F450 for people who still want a large frame?

I have a DJI F450 build - at around US$25 the F450 frame is hardly very expensive - but it's good quality and well built.

So premium is probably the wrong word - I mean non-knock-off frames.

There are no end of no name knock-offs - and you invariably hear that something or other is wrong with any given one, brittle legs, poor PDB etc.

And none of the big sites seem to have done a bake-off between these knock-offs - the best I could find with something from a site called RDG - "Best 450 quadcopter frame" - where they briefly look at models from Diatone, RipaFire, Usmile and YoCoo.

After a lot of searching I really couldn't find anything much beyond the TBS Discovery.

And this actually uses F450 arms! So it's really an alternative top and bottom plate.

Maybe you think I'm being unfair on what I've referred to as knock-offs? If you think some F450 look-a-like is just as good then please say.

I could find various expensive models - where the expense was a result of including fancy landing gear or a camera gimbal or similar.

But what I'm really looking for is something similar to the F450, i.e. simple and well built, leaving it up to you to add on whatever extras you want.

I guess the F450 harks back to a more DIY time in DJIs life and now they'd rather be selling much higher margin Phantoms etc.

The F450 frame has been around for a long time and I hope that continues to be the case but it seems to be increasingly difficult to find and in many markets it no longer seems to be sold except when bundled with motors etc. as an ARF kit.

There are lots of great frames out there - but nearly all effort seems to be going into much smaller race frames.

So do you know of quality F450 alternatives for those of us who are more into filming or using our quadcopters as experimental platforms rather than for racing?


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Oct 14, 2017, 08:06 AM
The QuadFather
propflux01's Avatar
Build your own. You would be surprised at how easily you can do it, and it's YOURS.
Latest blog entry: Infraction list
Oct 14, 2017, 09:30 AM
Registered User
ariaAQ's Avatar
Originally Posted by propflux01
Build your own. You would be surprised at how easily you can do it, and it's YOURS.
+1 build your own.. use aluminum or carbon arms, more rigid than f450 arms.
and use your imagination..

One of my quad:
Oct 14, 2017, 06:41 PM
Forward ever, backward never!
Brainstorm's Avatar
George: If you're willing to build your own frame, check out this Mini Tubular Quad thread. All the techniques discussed in that thread would apply to a 450mm quad. 12 or 15mm OD CF tubing would make a super strong and light 450 class frame.

If you would rather not build from scratch, I would consider using DJI or clone center plates, but replacing the plastic arms with aluminum arms from Aimdroix. RMRC had them on closeout sale for a long time. But I just checked, and unfortunately they no longer carry them. However, Aimdroix themselves appear to be selling directly to consumers.

Finally, if you like the Discovery, TBS offers 3rd party CF tube arms as an upgrade. They are stronger and a vast improvement over the original DJI plastic arms as well. Of course, the Disco and carbon arms will cost you an arm and a leg, as anything from TBS.
Last edited by Brainstorm; Oct 14, 2017 at 06:47 PM.
Oct 18, 2017, 08:09 AM
George Hawkins
gchawkins's Avatar
Thanks propflux01, ariaAQ and particularly Brainstorm.

I guess people come to drone building from lots of different backgrounds - some more techy and some more DIY. I'd say I have more a techy background - so while I'm extremely comfortable poking around at the behavior of the flight controller I'm much less inclined towards DIY (cutting aluminium tubing and such like). I admit the idea sounds cool but it would be a substantial project for someone like me (at the simplest level I would have to acquire even the most basic tools involved first).

So at the moment I'm most likely to go down the route suggested by Brainstorm and either upgrade an F450 setup or look at the Discovery upgrade idea. I wasn't aware that that TBS offered alternative arms - anyone else who's interested can find them here:

HobbyKing also offer a different set of upgrade arms that are foldable - they're branded TBS (but I can't find any reference to them on the actual TBS site):


The second version of the arms above come with longer standoffs to give you more space between the top and bottom plate.

For anyone else who's interested here are further large body frames that I came across in my searching:

* Tarot IRONMAN 650 -
* Lumenier QAV400 (and larger QAV500) -

Many sites mentioned frames from Hoverthings, like the Flip 360, but Hoverthings seem to have gotten out of frame manufacture - their website now just seems to feature frames from other suppliers - things like this Armattan frame:

* (oddly no dimensions are included on this page).

I like the dirty frame / clean frame idea of the QAV400 (the dirty frame is the main structure taking the motors etc., while the clean frame is the central body that's mounted via vibration dampers on the dirty frame).
Oct 18, 2017, 07:54 PM
Registered User
Scratchbuildrc's Avatar
QAV 400-500 are great frames. Heavy, but nice quality. Checkout the s500 from hobbyking. There is already a nice thread which I am a part of that is really helpful. Its a great frame -- super light, strong, dihedral arms for stability, and gimbal and battery mounting rails. Also 19 bucks too which is a plus. Only gripe is the landing gears. They are those crab ones which are horrible, but there are plenty of alternatives you can get for cheap on the market.
Oct 22, 2017, 12:24 PM
George Hawkins
gchawkins's Avatar
That's a cool thread for the HobbyKing S500 - thanks for pointing me towards it Scratchbuildrc, lots of interesting photos and build details
Oct 31, 2017, 05:21 PM
Registered User
Im happy to get one of these nearly indestructable 450 sized frames.
Nov 01, 2017, 04:38 PM
Registered User
i'm starting to think home made is the way to go, most big frames just don't have enough room on the deck to place electronics and misc stuff...

the hobby king isnt much of an upgrade from a f450
Nov 12, 2017, 09:19 PM
Registered User
Im going to be designing one soon. Lightweight, aero, modular, stiff, and uses tube or vertical arms. It might not be any good, but ill give it a try

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