APM-powered hexacopter project on Kickstarter

Very impressive design and what looks like top-quality components. [UPDATE: It appears to be a stock Xaircraft frame that costs $160. Thanks to the commenters for catching this]. You can back the project here ($999 for the copter, $1,499 for the full deal with APM 2)

Views: 21302

Comment by Jack Smith on January 25, 2012 at 2:03pm

Ellison wrote:
  "and the project owners, can just go back to their day jobs"

Well... hate to say this... but it is more complicated than this.
The owners are Grayson and Kellie Sigler and they do not have day jobs.

They are the ones behind a company Lumenlab, which made CNC machines
called "micRo":    http://lumenlab.com

Grayson has been very sick for the past year, apparently near death at one point.
According to a recent email by Grayson, they have lost their home and are having
trouble feeding their kids.

Now their CNC business has failed and several people are owed money/machines.
The average amount paid is around $1890, with nothing delivered or refunded.
There are at least 10 people owed machines and possibly up to 142, this isn't clear.
One person who ordered in Nov 2009 still hasn't received their CNC machine.
They have stopped answering emails and phone calls.  Yet their web site is
still up and apparently you can still order their cnc machine!

Here's a thread on this:
   http://lumenlab.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=31263
(page 3 has the email from Grayson)

You can also check their facebook page and see the complaints:
   http://www.facebook.com/Lumenlab

Someone has made a form to register if you are owed something by Lumenlab:
   https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dGxUU29mcm8xQm...

There is also a yahoo group with people complaining:
   http://groups.yahoo.com/group/micRo-cnc/

Apparently their solution is to start this hexacopter kickstarter project to bring in some cash.

Sad story.

Comment by Ellison Chan on January 25, 2012 at 3:24pm

Jack that's a really sad situation, I agree.  I can also identify having recently recovered from an extended hospital stay myself.  This is all the more reason that they need to get in touch with their suppliers, as soon as possible to pre-arrange for stock to fill these orders.  They do not need the stress of more people chasing after them.  I'm sure Chris can arrange for her to get priority on the APM2s, and people community could wait a little while longer for theirs.  Maybe 3DR can even do some of the assembly and testing for them.  Although that Goodluckbuy frame  is nice, I can't see any reason that a 3DR frame cannot be used.


Developer
Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on January 25, 2012 at 3:33pm

Oh no, this is going from bad to worse....

Comment by MarcS on January 25, 2012 at 3:34pm

The whole thread led me to a more general question: How is documentation you produce and sell with a product based on GPL hard/software to be licensed?

If the company in our example here provides manuals and videos (which they will have to, to achieve the promised level of service...), is there a rule that this also has to be free, since it´s based on an open system? Just interested since this could then add value back to the community. Otherwise there is not much other then more work by more people coming and demanding help (as a service)...

Some experts in the field? Chris?


3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on January 25, 2012 at 4:11pm

Marc: Our documentation is licenced under Creative Commons BY-SA 2.0, which requires that they "share alike". So too for the PCB files. 

The code is licensed under the L-GPL. 

Neither requires that they can't charge, but they must make every derivative work as open as our own work. 

Comment by Ken on January 25, 2012 at 4:42pm

They're appealing to the photographer community that's getting into HDSLR aerial photography (i.e., people who have the money to spend on it :-)

Most people don't understand that some sort of camera stabilizer is needed that's ideally servo controlled for changing camera angle while a wireless video downlink gets sent down to a camera operator.

I'm hoping we'll see a lot of Futaba 8FG radios on sale soon, though I was hoping they'd bundle the Aurora 9 as well ;-)

On a different note, why isn't there another hexacopter that can lift as much weight as they claim?  Most seem to max out around 6lbs instead of the 12-20lbs they claimed...


Developer
Comment by Sandro Benigno on January 26, 2012 at 12:13pm

$75,962 until now. 28 days to go. 70 backers.


Developer
Comment by Sandro Benigno on January 26, 2012 at 12:22pm

@Ken, the answer is: 6x expensive motors, 6x expensive ESC's.and 1x big and expensive battery. All this on a light frame. A nice motor like Mikrokopter, Pulso or Avroto costs from $60 to $100 each one. So, you could invest $600 just with motors (excluding importing taxes, depending on the country where you live). E.g.: I live in Brazil. Here we pay 80% on taxes, so it would be $1080 just with nice motors. :S

Comment by Russell - ScoutUAV.com on January 26, 2012 at 4:04pm

Looks like funding as been cancelled.  I wonder what happened?

Comment by Ellison Chan on January 26, 2012 at 4:12pm

Well, one of the comments on the project from Justin Talbott, who in a previous comment was touting how great it is.  The regulations are the same in Canada and US, to operate commercially, many hoops must be jumped through.  As a hobby, it's simpler.

Justin Talbott about 1 hour ago 

@Jonathan: No it is actually the opposite. It is currently illegal to operate any unmanned RC aircraft commercially no matter how small or how low you fly. Commercial use is banned in the national airspace (0 feet to 90,000 feet). It is super lame because the FAA has no distinction between a toy and a fully autonomous predator like drone. The new rules to ALLOW commercial use of small UAVs like this one wont be in effect until another 2 years (roughly). This excludes doing it as a hobby.

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