Are there any kits for micro-multirotor drones (less than 12.5 cm across)?

I am sure you're all familiar with the Hubsan H107 series of quads.  What I am looking for are kits that would let me assemble not only quads, but drones with more propellors in different geometries (e.g. X6 vs Y6).  I am just beginning to learn about these things, and I figure it is better for me to progress beyond where I am now by working on suitable kits.  Further, I am more interested in a) learning to fly better, and b) programming these things to do more interesting things, than I am in innovating with the hardware.

I have been impressed by the quality in the Hubsan H107 C units I have, and the H107D I will soon have, especially their bodies (both attractive and durable).  Now, I can buy all the parts used in an H107C or H107D, and make my own drone; and in fact I will probably do that, just to develop my skills in using a soldering iron and really tiny screwdrivers; but it isn't enough.  That said, I can buy the parts for, and build, lots of such drones for the cost of a single kit from DJI or 3DR.  I want to be able to do things like provide support for larger batteries, or multiple batteries in parallel (for longer flight times), add proximity sensors (whenever such things become available and reliable), networking (so multiple drones can talk to each other and collectively construct a 3D VR model of their environment, and with that and proximity sensors, navigate through their environment withut crashing into each other or into objects in the environment (such as birds).  I also want to see what impact the number and geometry of the rotors has on the ease with which these things can be flown, as well as how the payload that can be supported for what time scales relative to the number and geometry of the rotors and the properties of the motors and batteries.

Is there something that will be sufficient for my purposes and let me focus largely on the programming ide of things?  If so, where can I find it (and can the supplier ship to Canada)?  If not, what would you suggest (in addition to practicing with my Hubsan quads and reading as much as I can?

Thanks

Ted

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I think you might struggle with getting small enough custom electronics, though the KK2 Mini board from Hobbyking is quite small and you could customise the firmware.

As for multiple batteries, etc, that's just a case of having enough space on the frame, so maybe look into custom 3d Printed frames if you have access to a 3d Printer.  There are various custom Hubsan frames on thingiverse like this one (shameless plug for my own design) http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:453236 and also this http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:232527 for a Hubsan x8, though I don't know if anyone has put any electronics in that particular frame.

Thanks for this Rob. 

I do not even know what a 3D printer is, let alone where I'd find one, let alone how to use one.

Your frame looks good, as a start, but I'd be wanting a body or canopy that is as sturdy as the Hubsan's body, or the WL V252 Skylark's body (which is a nice little quad).  What would be ideal is a light, strong body that would protect the guts of the drone (not necessarily water tight, but water resistant at least).  But, I'd be wanting a body that is strong and durable, rather than the cheesy, flimsy thing provided on the WL V202 Scorpion (in my experience, it never stays in place and is thus always throwing off the trim, making it hard to control).

How small are the smallest of the Arduino microcontroller products, capable of running Ardupilot? I am beginning my studies of robotics by studying the arduino line of products and working on several robotics projects that use them.  If they have something small enough, that would be great.  But, while I have found sources for them, including on amazon.ca, I have yet to see anything about their size!  If they are not quite small enough, are there competing products of top quality that would be, and that can run Ardupilot (or is there other open source software that would serve).
Are you familiar with techject products at www.techject.com? They have made a dragonfly robot, about the size of a human finger, which they say is the next big thing, better than both planes and multirotor copters (but I think their comparison is at least a little overstated - but regardless, I want one).  The point, though, is that they have a micro-controller that ought to fit (at least a longer but narrower body than that on the Hubsan H107 series or quads), and they provide an SDK, which means I would not have far to look to get all I need for doing the programming I want to do.  And, if there is any truth in what they say the dragonfly robot can already do, there isn't much programming to do , if any, to use it to make a multirotor copter fly; which means I can focus on extending it. One of the first things I'd be looking for, that I doubt I'll find any time soon, is a proximity sensor small enough to allow several to be used on a copter and yet reliable enough that it would allow the copter to build a decent 3D VR model, through which it can navigate.

It seems there is little activity involving really tiny multicopters, even though companies like Hubsan, WL and Walkera seem to sell a decent quantity of them.  Or maybe those that frequent this forum are more interested in larger multirotor copters.  I have yet top find anyone in North America that carries the really tiny ones (as I am in Canada, I'd prefer a Canadian source).

Let me ask this question. 

Has anyone cobbled together multicopters by mixing and matching parts from the different tiny copters? 

For example, I have WL's V202 Scorpion, a mediocre quad (better as a second quad than a first - the Wl V252 Skylark is a better first quad, about as good as Hubsan's H107C or H107D).  Now, I have all the parts I'd need to make a souped up Hubsan H107C, having bought the upgraded, more powerful motors, and forgone the camera).  I will use that to develop my soldering and assemblying skills.  But, I have a Walkera Y6 Scorpion. a hexacopter about the same size as the Hubsan, give or take a little (same geometry as 3DR's Y6) coming (it will be shipped from China, so it will be the end of the month before I see it).  What I am wondering is if the motor mounts used on the Walkera Scorpion could be used on the WL Scorpion's arms, and if so, could one then turn the WL Scorpion into an octocopter?  Or, could extra arms be obtained for either, to turn them into multirotor copters sporting 12 or 16 rotors.  And, if so, could one attach an extra compartment or two to each to hold an extra battery or two (or larger batteries), both to be adequate to power the motors and to provide longer flight times?  Are there better electronics that can replace the existing ones, to allow me, e.g. to run Ardupilot (so I can try my hand at customizing the programming a little)

Cheers

Ted

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