I decided to embark on the scratch build journey after putting together a DJI f450 kit. I love that quadcopter, but it was time to do my own thing.

My purpose on this journey was to design something of my own, a design I could call my own and I wanted it to be a hexacopter. I mainly fly with the purpose of taking videos/photos and the hexa seemed like the perfect platform. As I looked around scratch-build posts, I saw lots of interesting stuff on quads and tris, but nothing much on hexas. I sat down with Sketchup, and after a couple of days I came up with the following design.

It is loosely inspired by H-quads, but the frame is much stiffer! The prop2prop distance is 55cm (I got this from the DJI F550, so it made sense to me at the time), and the grey discs represent what 10" props would look like on it. You will have noticed that the props are on the bottom, so this picture is missing the landing gear. Also, on the left side you can see the tray where the cameras will be located.

From there I started ordering the parts:

Bullet connectors http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__9283__HXT_4mm_Gold_Conne... 4.12
AWG wire for battery joining http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__9672__Turnigy_Pure_Silic... 15
For motors and ESC connection http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__11852__Turnigy_Pure_Sili... 5
Props http://www.studiotent.com/GemFans-1045-Props-Carbon-Reinforced-CW-C... 30
Moongel http://www.456music.com/p-392-rtom-mg004-moongel-damper-pads.aspx 6
Motors and adapters http://rcrotorpro.com/tiger-motor-mt-multirotor-series/
T-Motors http://www.hobbypartz.com/02p-motor-376-ms2216-kv900.html 209
Ardupilot mega 2.5 http://store.3drobotics.com/products/apm-2-5-kit 306
MinimOSD http://store.3drobotics.com/products/apm-minimosd-rev-1-1 50
Camera interface cable 3
ftdi cable1 http://store.3drobotics.com/products/ftdi-cable-3-3v 17.95
Shipping 14.97
8 to 5 adaptors http://www.electronicarc.com/catalogo/advanced_search_result.php?ke... 10
EZUHF http://www.readymaderc.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&a... 315
Camera http://www.readymaderc.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&a... 99.99
Transmitter http://www.readymaderc.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&a... 69
Ftdi cable http://store.jdrones.com/SearchResults.asp?Search=Ftdi&Submit=S... 17.6
Cables for connecting receiver to APM http://www.pololu.com/catalog/product/2166 $30.75

This was the list I came up with. With is missing from here... are the bullet connectors to solder onto the ESCs (more on this later), and most of the FPV equipment (except for the MinimOSD). From the list, I still don't have the moongel, and I am still missing the landing skid, they will be coming soon hopefully :).

Anyways, since the frame was going to be made out of wood, I needed to buy the wood, and have the tools for the job. Before doing anything, I made a small mockup, practically 1:1 scale to check that the cables reached, and that I hadn't missed anything obvious and to start thinking how things will be arranged.

Finally, last weekend I drove up to Cobourg to see my aunt and Larry. Larry has the tools (and skills and knew where to get what I needed) for cutting the wood into the shapes that I wanted.

So we started with some cutting large 3/4" slabs 70cm (this will be a mixture of metric and imperial... c'est la vie...)

Then we proceeded to further slice this into 1/2" slices:

And then it was time for sanding

At this point is when I started panicking because I noticed I was missing the bullet connectors for the ESCs, so 5 trips to the mall later and about 10 phone calls, I end up with this temporary solution:

These were used to nicely hug the ESCs cables, and the same was done for connecting the motors to the ESCs. This is not ideal, but I really wanted to fly to show my aunt and uncle what we had achieved.

By then, we had glued the frame together, and started thinking on how to get things connected. It got pretty late, so we had dinner and went to sleep.

Next morning, bright and early I started attaching things... this is version 0.1 BETA :)

You will notice that the motors are on top, which is not the final design, and of course it is missing the landing gear. The PCB is attached under the APM, but I will move it and I already have all the plans for better routing all the cables. Also, I really don't like using zip ties to hold the motors. Do you guys know where I can get square mounts?! The arms are 1/2" by 3/4" most of the ones I find online are round :(

Anyways, here is a video of the maiden, it needs PID tuning of course... but it freaking flew! I couldn't believe it!


I would like to thank my aunt and Larry that made this possible, and all of you guys that are always posting good information

P.S. If someone has built a hexa like this before... sorry!

Views: 653

Comment by Acorn on August 21, 2013 at 1:33pm

To mount your motors, you could just use two machine screws and lock nuts drilled through the wood fram (not necessary to secure all four points). Most people with narrow wood frames do this. I also have a wood frame (Quad, Oak).

Comment by Acorn on August 21, 2013 at 1:34pm

. . . and I like the design.

Comment by Luca Passone on August 21, 2013 at 2:40pm

Thanks for the info Acorn! I wasn't sure if the wood was going to split or not. I should have mention, this frame is pine!

Thanks for the compliment too! :)

Comment by Acorn on August 21, 2013 at 6:25pm
Drill a small pilot hole first. Then drill the actual size hole you need


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