http://www.engadget.com/2010/05/25/parrot-ar-drone-to-get-official-...

Engadget article on the Parrot.AR "Drone" - launching at E3, an interesting venue choice; especially considering they now have an Android client that they showed off at Goole I//O. Clicking the picture above will take you to the Slashgear article.

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3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on May 26, 2010 at 1:26pm
That's not quite right. They're going to *announce* the launch date and price at E3. The actual launch date will be later in the year. (I know the date and price, but I'm NDA's. Let's just say that they're good ;-)
Comment by Scott Plunkett on May 26, 2010 at 1:49pm
Good sounds, well..good - all I can say is "Daddy want!" (and of course my son is in the background grinning from ear to ear because he knows what that means) Would anyone want a shroud like this for the ArduCopter quad? It sure makes for a polished finished product.

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on May 26, 2010 at 2:31pm
Scott, good point on the shroud. We don't have one in the initial design, but we should make one available. Any thoughts on how best to make a cheap manufacturerable one? I don't think we'll have the volume to justify making a foam mold (but maybe they're cheaper than I think?)
Comment by Scott Plunkett on May 27, 2010 at 10:37am
This got me thinking about shrouds and molds and airframes, etc - then I remembered a friend of mine who lives in Dongguan City (outside of Shenzen.) She just moved there to become a manager at a plant that does vacuum forming and builds foam pallets and shipping foam components for TV manufacturers (you know, all that foam that came tightly packed around your most recent HDTV purchase.) Anyway I sent her an IM last night and we talked on the phone briefly. The molds are CNC machined from billet aluminum, and coated in teflon, and we could conceivably get an entire fixed wing airframe and all wing components along with whatever shroud component we come up with all on one mold - NOW WE"RE TALKING!! I sent her some pics of various airframes and parts etc. and she is going to have one of her engineers spend a little time and give me a quote for JUST the tooling - then we can at least know what it costs!

Moderator
Comment by Gary Mortimer on May 27, 2010 at 10:46am
NOW you are talking Scott, way to go. Make it a big wing
Comment by Jeshua Lacock on May 28, 2010 at 8:03pm
I think that tooling alone is going to be quite expensive, and likely prohibitive without some pretty serious capital.

I have a rather large CNC machine (usable 4x4x2 feet) that I would happy to use for the "cause". I plan on building a couple quad copters in the near future myself.

I think there are a couple options for cost effectively creating the foam pieces. One option would be to mill the foam per order (milling foam is like milling butter) - not ideal but for small volume could be the most cost effective.

Another option would be to mill the original, and cast cement molds of it that could be used to expand the polystyrene. This would be much less expensive than milling billet aluminum.

Yet another option would be to mill the mold out of foam and then cast it into aluminum using the lost foam process. I have a capable foundry and experience to cast it.

Attached is a picture of my mill.


3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on May 28, 2010 at 9:39pm
Nice setup! We're designing the ArduCopter chassis now. We haven't thought much about an optional foam ring, but I can send you a prototype of the body when we've got it done if you'd like so you can consider ring options.
Comment by Jeshua Lacock on May 28, 2010 at 9:44pm
Thanks Chris! It took me about 6 months to build in my spare time, and $$$$$. :)

Sounds good. My understanding is that ducted blades can provide more stable flight with a bonus of additional saftey. Since I am primarily interested in flying a DSLR and other instruments, the more stable the better.

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on May 28, 2010 at 10:01pm
Would be interesting to test. We're working on a 1,000Hz custom I2C ESC for maximum stability for photo applications. Probably for version 2...
Comment by Jeshua Lacock on May 28, 2010 at 10:02pm
Wow! How many hertz is version 1 going to be? Do you think version one will be reasonably upgradable?

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