Quadcopter Build: Update

So, several weeks later, actually, we were finally able to get back to our quadcopter project after waiting on some parts, which had been backordered.  We have been very fortunate to be working with GetFPV.com, who helped supply us with some our parts and we are documenting our Build and working in partnership with the Tampa Hackerspace, so others can follow our build and get involved.  Since we started, we’ve had a lot of people contact us with questions to start their own project.  We’ll answer some of the more FAQ about Building Your Own Quad!  Picking The Frame:  This is probably one of the least expensive parts of your quad if you are not doing a RTF quad.

Working with Tampa Hackerspace

Working with Tampa Hackerspace

We researched DOZENS of possibilities before deciding on a frame.  And that was key!  DO YOUR RESEARCH.  Don’t just order something off Hobby King, or download a model off Instructables and 3D print one without first considering what your goals are.  Is your goal Learning to Fly RC, Stunt Flying, or FPV Filming– because you have to consider size and weight of the Quadcopter, the weight of the motors, battery and any camera equipment you may be carrying.  You can make a quad frame out of PVC, Aluminum, or Wood, even LEGO!  High Quality frames are carbon fiber or a combination, because they absorb the vibration of the motors and props. How we chose our frame:  1. Our quadcopter was going to be financial investment, motors, flight controller, GPS, camera– several hundred dollars.  We thought it would be foolish to skimp on the frame when were investing a lot of time and money into what was being attached to it.  2. We wanted a quadcopter frame that could accommodate camera equipment. 3. After doing a lot of reading and talking to experts, we knew wiring was going to be our biggest challenge and we wanted to get that right, because Speed Controllers and Motors are expensive.  (Having been around FTC, everyone is sensitive to the costs and wiring of their Tetrix DC motors and Servos, so that was already ingrained in us!)  We determined using a Frame with a Power Distribution Board would be the most efficient. 4.  We selected a Quad type and frame based on our estimate that we would most likely have to replace parts.  We wanted to pair a frame with motors/speed controllers that were the most reliable and least likely to fail (also a lesson we’ve learned from robotics) and propellers that were inexpensive and readily available.  We have since already had our first successful flight!  All the advance work we put in on the project has paid off.

JD attaching the Power Distribution Board

Attaching the Power Distribution Board

All of our wiring and soldering was perfect.  We were wise to invest the time in a Power Distribution Board.  This functions exactly as described– distributing your power evenly across your motors and speed controllers.  When you build a quad, it’s all wiring, you’re wiring the ESC (Speed Controllers) to the Motors and those to the Flight controller and then to your battery and then to your camera.  If you just start soldering or plugging stuff in… ouch!  That’s a lot of time and money that can go awry pretty quick!  Our next goals are learning to fly our quadcopter without crashing it!  We also need to do more research with our Radio/Transmitter that we selected.  We know it works and Sumukh did a good job binding it to our Quad, but we need more practice with the controls and its features.  We also haven’t installed the GPS with our Naza Flight Controller yet and haven’t attached our camera.  Keep Tuning In!

Quad Build: Week One

We took inventory of all our parts.  Our (4) motors are backordered.  Our Radio Received and Transmitter also didn’t arrive because of the snow storms up North last week.  Additional items that don’t come with quad components are extra wiring and soldering materials.  We had these items from FTC, so we were okay.  We first talked about all the Lumenier parts provided by our partner www.GetFPV.com .  We are grateful that this local Distributor took interest in Brick Buddies and our Build Project. We looked at what parts of the Build we could move forward with, minus the motors. photo 2 We decided we would be able solder the Speed Controllers to the Power Distribution Board.  The QAV 250 makes a nice integrated Board as part of this small Quad. Lumenier provides some good support and assembly instructions for the Frame of the QAV 250.  No soldering instructions come with the Parts, so we searched Youtube for video, to confirm we were on the right track.  We each took turns soldering the (4) ESCs to the Board.  This was A LOT of soldering. photo 4  The QAV has also two integrated LED strips which we also completed soldering and attaching to the Board.  We will meet again when our other parts arrive.  At our next practice, we hope to attach the motors and bind the Radio to our Quad.  We think get all the wiring correct with the electronics will be the most challenging part of the Build!  We will document our Build and provide a Resource Page for people who want to get involved in the Quadcopter Hobby and buy or build their own.