All Blog Posts (13,314)

Back in the air - for about 10 seconds

The flight

My new parts arrived on Friday. Included in the order was a new RC plane (Firebird Phantom) as well - it turned out that it was cheaper to add the complete model to the order rather than ordering each of the parts separately. So, on Saturday morning, I took my new bird out for another spin.

The winds were much closer to ideal this time, and I imagine they were well within the tolerance of the UAV to maintain control - given a reasonably competent… Continue

Added by Pierre McCann on October 21, 2007 at 11:59am — 5 Comments

Parallax Propeller as an Autopilot - Bench test

I've been working on and off toward creating an autopilot using the Parallax Propeller microprocessor and finally have something to show for it. My autopilot has the following features:

  • Return to starting point when pilot looses the plane
OK. It's not a very large feature set yet, but it is both a personally… Continue

Added by paul hubner on October 16, 2007 at 9:02am — 6 Comments

3D Robotics
My labs incident makes the local paper

"Wired editor flies into security kerfuffle" reads the front-page article in the Contra Costa Times. Here's an excerpt:

"Not even the bucolic Berkeley hills are immune to security concerns in a post-Sept. 11 world, as the editor in chief of Wired magazine has discovered.

Chris Anderson, a 45-year-old Berkeley resident and aerial-reconnaissance enthusiast, sparked a minor security scare Sunday…


Added by Chris Anderson on October 12, 2007 at 10:59pm — No Comments

3D Robotics
Lesson: Don't fly planes over secure National Labs!

I had the wackiest near-catastrophe this weekend. My kids and I were running aerial mapping patterns over the Lawrence Berkeley Labs cyclotron (which is very distinctive from the air) and testing some ISO settings on the Pentax A30. Because we were over a built-up area and had to hand launch and recover from a hillside, we…


Added by Chris Anderson on October 12, 2007 at 12:20pm — 8 Comments

Pylon Mount for my engine.

I've just made something that I have meant too for ages. A pylon mount for my electric engine.

Why you ask why.

Well it frees up the nose of the aircraft so it can carry a camera that does not see a propeller.

I made it so my battery pack fitted into the base. That has freed up an awful lot of fuselage space for whatever. It also lends some weight to the base to counter act the torque that… Continue

Added by Gary Mortimer on October 9, 2007 at 2:59pm — 2 Comments

Hello to DIY Drones

Where I came from, and what I'm doing:

I just joined DIY Drones today, after having known about the site for two weeks now. I came to it, in directly, via John Robb's Global Guerillas blog (, and I am intensely interested in building my own UAV.

I've already taken the first step: Order the Firebird Phantom beginner RC airframe, and learn to fly RC planes. I suppose I've already taken the first step of learning to fly as well: a fuselage… Continue

Added by Pierre McCann on October 8, 2007 at 7:52am — 7 Comments

3D Robotics
How it's done: Australian UAV winner tells all

Check out this great post from the winners of the Australian amateur UAV contest--the guys at Dionysus Designs, a Chico, CA-based team who focus on advanced RC technology,…


Added by Chris Anderson on October 5, 2007 at 7:09pm — 2 Comments


Helicopter- Why the EFlite Blade CX

It is small, light weight, modifiable, and parts are cheap and readily available at the local hobby shop or on eBay. The Blade CX is considered

an indoor outdoor, meaning I can test the helicopter indoors during inclement

weather, and a Ready To Fly (RTF) helicopter, so limited set up is

necessary. It is…


Added by Genesis Factor on October 1, 2007 at 8:00am — No Comments

3D Robotics
Awesome quadcopter drones, now with GSM communications

They're not amateurs (their quadcopter systems cost around $60,000) but the Microdrones guys do amazing work. In this video: hand-motion control, GSM communications and… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on September 28, 2007 at 7:36am — 2 Comments

Australian UAV Competition This Week (Sep 24-27 '07)

A few months back, this got some play on the UAV websaite, but I have not heard much since the initial conversations. Is anyone planning a visit or in the area to report? As of today, only four teams qualified for the outback challenge and three highschool teams for the target drop event.

News… Continue

Added by paul hubner on September 25, 2007 at 8:43am — 1 Comment

3D Robotics
Testing two GPS loggers: thumbs up and thumbs down

If you're planning to turn your UAVs (or just R/C planes) into aerial mapping machines, you're going to want a GPS data logger. What they do is give position information that you can match with each of your shots, so you can properly align them into a mosaic and place it on Google Maps. Companies such as Pict'Earth can take a GPS log file and a zip file of a few hundred shots and turn them into a beautiful orthorectified Google Earth overlay like… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on September 24, 2007 at 12:16pm — 8 Comments

3D Robotics
Red tape grounds military UAVs, too

Noah Schachtman at Wired's Danger Room blog reports from his recent trip to Iraq. Turns out that we're not the only ones having trouble with airspace regulators:

"The Defense Department's unmanned air force has…


Added by Chris Anderson on September 22, 2007 at 9:10am — 1 Comment

3D Robotics
100,000 page views!

It took us three months to get our first 50,000 page views. It took us just a month to get the second 50,000. This site passed 100,000 page views earlier this week. How long till we get a million?

Added by Chris Anderson on September 21, 2007 at 3:10pm — No Comments

Just playing around

Work has actively kept me away from doing stuff I would really like to get into.

The main problem being a move to cover for somebody that is ill to Scotland. Initially for two weeks but thats turned into 2 months. The point, all my gear was down south.

I went and picked it all up last week so can start again.

The weather will be the problem now!!

Anyhow I will post a video from a Pentax Optio T10, taken from a hill, East Lomand just to the north of… Continue

Added by Gary Mortimer on September 20, 2007 at 11:44am — 3 Comments

3D Robotics
Turning an EasyStar into a proper camera platform

Multiplex EasyStars are one of the most popular aerial photography aircraft for a good reason: they're cheap, stable, tough and easy to modify. In an earlier post, I described how to upgrade one for better performance. In this post, I'll show you how to install a camera for great Google Earth mapping, producing high-resolution,… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on September 17, 2007 at 9:37pm — 15 Comments

3D Robotics
Warning: Spread Spectrum R/C and 2.4 GhZ video downlinks don't mix!

In a comment on a thread at right, David Albert makes an important point about frequency clashes between spread specturm radios and 2.4 Ghz video downlink systems, such as the RangeVideo and Black Widow AV setups that we use. If you haven't been following the chatter on aerial photography newsgroups, you might have missed this (as I did). This info may save your…


Added by Chris Anderson on September 11, 2007 at 4:02pm — No Comments

Micro UAVs may be better terror-preventers...

I hope we can all contribute to the Anti-Terror war, by building UAVs, sending them into the DOD and having them take consumer research and make it into something that will protect us in return forn our troubles...

I certainly will donate some of my butterflies...

Added by Nathan Guannan Zhang on September 11, 2007 at 9:30am — No Comments

3D Robotics
Is this the miracle chipset that's going to make DIY drones easy?

Analog Devices is about to start selling a very cool-looking device: a small box that combines three-axis gyros with three-axis accelerometers, along with an embedded processor to massage all that data and deal with calibration and drift issues. Called the ADIS16355, it will retail for about $300, which isn't cheap, but when you consider what it would cost you in time and money to duplicate that… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on September 10, 2007 at 10:38pm — 6 Comments

3D Robotics
Modding the Nitro Models 4-channel Predator

As I mentioned, I totaled the first Predator UAV, due to the combination of an underpowered motor and the marginal controllability of that design's V-tail-only steering. I spent last weekend… Continue

Added by Chris Anderson on September 10, 2007 at 11:26am — 5 Comments

MY UAV project

Hi everyone, I am running a student satellite project in Pakistan. . Now I want to start a student UAV project. My aim is to develop an agriculture UAV which can monitor SALIN water in Rahim Yar Khan which is major issue for the farmers in the region. Can anyone help me with documentation for the projeect.

Added by Ahmad Usman on September 8, 2007 at 8:39pm — 1 Comment

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