Budget folding frame for quadcopter

Just saw this online: https://www.goodluckbuy.com/mh-h4-700mm-aluminum-arm-fiberglass-folding-4-axis-quadcopter-frame-kit.html

Beginner to this but wish to have a fully portable drone setup. There are no reviews online and I was hoping if anyone here can recommend a budget foldable quadcopter frame if this doesn't make the cut.

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  • Thanks for suggesting this post. If I ever will build one I shall refer to your post,

    Murray Spoelstra said:

    Budget folding frame for quadcopter
    Just saw this online: https://www.goodluckbuy.com/mh-h4-700mm-aluminum-arm-fiberglass-folding-4-axis-quadcopter-frame-kit.html Beginner to this but w…
  • Thank you Steve for sharing your experiences. My reason for not building my own DIY foldable frame is actually because of the lack of tools and materials I have (I am a 16 year old student). Perhaps once I do get some experience I may try.

    For the camera mentioned in your next post, where did you find it? I'm still not sure of the best places to purchase these items.
    Steve said:

    I've just remembered that your very first words were "beginner to all this"...

    If you are a newbie to this sport (which I have been doing not too well for five years now), maybe it would be appropropriate to tell you a few of the "gotchas" that have happened to me?

    I got into this in 2014 when I realised I was unlikely to ever afford to make regular use of my full size pilot licence, due to lack of money. Since in addition to my pilot licence I've spent a few years working as an aircraft engineer, I decided to buy 1 decent quadcopter in a poor condition, and fix it up. I chose a spidex V2 which is quite a substantial machine and set to fixing its problems. (worn motor bearings causing vibrations that upset the accelerometers in the F.C.)  As soon as I started to fly it, I realised that the energy contained in those carbon fibre blades posed a considerable danger in my inexperienced hands, and that I wanted a smaller lighter less lethal machine to practice with, so I bought the X525. It wasn't very long before I realised that machine was also quite dangerous in my hands, and I was finding it difficult here in England to find a decent local space to fly it, so for quite a while I did more building than flying, and when I did go flying, because of the size and investment in my fairly substantial copters, the flying part simply was not much fun for me, and because for those reasons I wasn't doing much actual flying, I didn't grow the skills very fast at all.

    In short, either I am unusually lacking in talent, or this is not as easy a hobby as many people make out.

    I only really started to develop the flying skills properly when I bought a small copter to practice with. (A hubsan H107D)

    For quite a while I focussed on flying the smaller "toy" copters, and let the bigger ones sit on the shelf.

    Essentially: I have learned the following.

    1. It is very hard for the DIY quad builder to build as good a machine a a team of blokes with degrees and a large factory can. (And it gets MUCH harder when you want a stabilised and tiltable camera system!)

    2. Different pilots require different capabilties from their copters, in my case I've always wanted to do aerial photography with an FPV feed. Getting all that to work as well as DJI manage has proven MUCH harder than I expected.

    3. If you have "privacy" concerns, it rules out DJI, as their software only seems to work properly with an internet connection where (I am told) it uploads details of where you fly and when etc back to the factory! Their machinery is also VERY difficult to repair, and did I mention expensive? BUT they do make the best overall package for the casual user, until that user crashes or loses it.

    4. It is suprisingly easy to get into trouble for many reasons, I lost one copter when I misjudged the slant angle and got it stuck at the very top of the tallest tree that I could find. I lost a second small copter due to a strong wind existing at altitude which I was unaware of on the ground until it was too late. And I've lost a hubsan whilst attempting FPV, and my "spotter" and I failed to communicate effectively.

    5. GPS cannot be trusted! Admittedly we get rubbish quality GPS around here, so mine fails more often than many people report, but if you cannot quickly switch to a mode where you have 100% control, and fly the thing yourself manually, I believe you are setting yourself up for an expensive lesson. 

    If I had my time again, or was training my own child, I would buy the following copters:

    Firstly, a BWHOOP style craft making sure it has a barometer, (some do some don't). Altitude hold makes it much easier to not crash. The smallness of the craft and cheapness of the battery means you can take it anywhere and fly it anywhere, and get that important practice INDOORS.

    Secondly, a larger toy style craft to get used to outdoor flying, and introduce the user to GPS modes. The hubsan H501 style craft get rave reviews, but since I was already firmly committed to the APM/Pixhawk style controllers, I chose a Skyviper 2450GPS. Apart from the brushed motors requiring fairly regular replacement, they last MUCH longer if you never have those tiny engines trying to turn the props against resistance, I.E get the power off if a crash or bad landing happens. Neverthless, I still change a set of motors every few months, but I got nearly 200 flights out of my last set...

    By that point you will know MUCH more about the practical side of the flying, and hopefully not broken or lost any expensive and large hardware.

    BUT, that's just me. Your capabilties and inclinations will be different, and I wouldn't be arrogant enough to expect you to follow my example or recommendations, but there MIGHT be some useful or money saving information to be gleaned from my story.

    Budget folding frame for quadcopter
    Just saw this online: https://www.goodluckbuy.com/mh-h4-700mm-aluminum-arm-fiberglass-folding-4-axis-quadcopter-frame-kit.html Beginner to this but w…
  • Thanks Steve, I found that size is able to deal well with typical wind conditions and allows for the large silent props. Still fits in smallish toolbox with controller etc.

    Selling kits not on my agenda. Would be cheap kits and need large orders to justify the effort.

  • That's a very neat design you got there Murray. Have you thought about making up kits and selling them?

    It's a bit big and heavy for my tastes, but I am sure a smaller lighter variant could be made. There seem to be plenty of people out there with laser cutters, and it seems very cheap to get parts made by such people nowadays particularly if you can give them a CAD file..

    Thanks for sharing, If I ever have a go at a completely DIY foldable frame, (which I might, now that I have found a super lightweight and fairly capable FPV/gimballed camera with inbuilt DVR for less than 100$ and around 70 grammes all up weight) I will be incorporating some of your design features, that's for sure.

    Murray Spoelstra said:

    Budget folding frame for quadcopter
    Just saw this online: https://www.goodluckbuy.com/mh-h4-700mm-aluminum-arm-fiberglass-folding-4-axis-quadcopter-frame-kit.html Beginner to this but w…
  • I've just remembered that your very first words were "beginner to all this"...

    If you are a newbie to this sport (which I have been doing not too well for five years now), maybe it would be appropropriate to tell you a few of the "gotchas" that have happened to me?

    I got into this in 2014 when I realised I was unlikely to ever afford to make regular use of my full size pilot licence, due to lack of money. Since in addition to my pilot licence I've spent a few years working as an aircraft engineer, I decided to buy 1 decent quadcopter in a poor condition, and fix it up. I chose a spidex V2 which is quite a substantial machine and set to fixing its problems. (worn motor bearings causing vibrations that upset the accelerometers in the F.C.)  As soon as I started to fly it, I realised that the energy contained in those carbon fibre blades posed a considerable danger in my inexperienced hands, and that I wanted a smaller lighter less lethal machine to practice with, so I bought the X525. It wasn't very long before I realised that machine was also quite dangerous in my hands, and I was finding it difficult here in England to find a decent local space to fly it, so for quite a while I did more building than flying, and when I did go flying, because of the size and investment in my fairly substantial copters, the flying part simply was not much fun for me, and because for those reasons I wasn't doing much actual flying, I didn't grow the skills very fast at all.

    In short, either I am unusually lacking in talent, or this is not as easy a hobby as many people make out.

    I only really started to develop the flying skills properly when I bought a small copter to practice with. (A hubsan H107D)

    For quite a while I focussed on flying the smaller "toy" copters, and let the bigger ones sit on the shelf.

    Essentially: I have learned the following.

    1. It is very hard for the DIY quad builder to build as good a machine a a team of blokes with degrees and a large factory can. (And it gets MUCH harder when you want a stabilised and tiltable camera system!)

    2. Different pilots require different capabilties from their copters, in my case I've always wanted to do aerial photography with an FPV feed. Getting all that to work as well as DJI manage has proven MUCH harder than I expected.

    3. If you have "privacy" concerns, it rules out DJI, as their software only seems to work properly with an internet connection where (I am told) it uploads details of where you fly and when etc back to the factory! Their machinery is also VERY difficult to repair, and did I mention expensive? BUT they do make the best overall package for the casual user, until that user crashes or loses it.

    4. It is suprisingly easy to get into trouble for many reasons, I lost one copter when I misjudged the slant angle and got it stuck at the very top of the tallest tree that I could find. I lost a second small copter due to a strong wind existing at altitude which I was unaware of on the ground until it was too late. And I've lost a hubsan whilst attempting FPV, and my "spotter" and I failed to communicate effectively.

    5. GPS cannot be trusted! Admittedly we get rubbish quality GPS around here, so mine fails more often than many people report, but if you cannot quickly switch to a mode where you have 100% control, and fly the thing yourself manually, I believe you are setting yourself up for an expensive lesson. 

    If I had my time again, or was training my own child, I would buy the following copters:

    Firstly, a BWHOOP style craft making sure it has a barometer, (some do some don't). Altitude hold makes it much easier to not crash. The smallness of the craft and cheapness of the battery means you can take it anywhere and fly it anywhere, and get that important practice INDOORS.

    Secondly, a larger toy style craft to get used to outdoor flying, and introduce the user to GPS modes. The hubsan H501 style craft get rave reviews, but since I was already firmly committed to the APM/Pixhawk style controllers, I chose a Skyviper 2450GPS. Apart from the brushed motors requiring fairly regular replacement, they last MUCH longer if you never have those tiny engines trying to turn the props against resistance, I.E get the power off if a crash or bad landing happens. Neverthless, I still change a set of motors every few months, but I got nearly 200 flights out of my last set...

    By that point you will know MUCH more about the practical side of the flying, and hopefully not broken or lost any expensive and large hardware.

    BUT, that's just me. Your capabilties and inclinations will be different, and I wouldn't be arrogant enough to expect you to follow my example or recommendations, but there MIGHT be some useful or money saving information to be gleaned from my story.

  • You can make one quite easily. See https://diydrones.com/profiles/blogs/folding-quadcopter-for-the-hol...

    Folding Quadcopter for the holidays
    Not much space if you're going on holiday with the family in a Renault Clio. This design fits into a 52cm toolbox with transmitter and all accessorie…
  • Thank you so much for the help! Will look for opportunity to get the h4 alien frame if its below 50 sgd, sad to see that people don't sell second hand.

    Steve said:

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/4-x-Anti-Vibration-Flexible-Rubber-Silic...

    Drill holes in rim of upper and lower food trays, cut holes for arms and anything else that needs to pass though, (that takes a bit of work & thinking) spray to suit then push-fit these. I use round ones for the square copters, and rectangular ones for the longer copters. I have some small "sauce pots" that are the perfect size for making partial or full engine covers, and some small dome shaped ones that can be used as a blister on to cover the GPS puck.

    Job done! Makes it look loads better than the naked frame with all the bits on show..

    And of course in the event of a bad thing happening, these rubber fittings have a bit of impact absorbing flexibilty in them...

    I wish you the best of luck.

    Budget folding frame for quadcopter
    Just saw this online: https://www.goodluckbuy.com/mh-h4-700mm-aluminum-arm-fiberglass-folding-4-axis-quadcopter-frame-kit.html Beginner to this but w…
  • https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/4-x-Anti-Vibration-Flexible-Rubber-Silic...

    Drill holes in rim of upper and lower food trays, cut holes for arms and anything else that needs to pass though, (that takes a bit of work & thinking) spray to suit then push-fit these. I use round ones for the square copters, and rectangular ones for the longer copters. I have some small "sauce pots" that are the perfect size for making partial or full engine covers, and some small dome shaped ones that can be used as a blister on to cover the GPS puck.

    Job done! Makes it look loads better than the naked frame with all the bits on show..

    And of course in the event of a bad thing happening, these rubber fittings have a bit of impact absorbing flexibilty in them...

    I wish you the best of luck.

  • If there is some foldable frame close to the alien but cost less than half I would like to hear it out.

    Tew Jing An said:

    Hmm... I think then I should start with the f450 for now. However, mentioning true portability, this frame may be of interest to you (https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32600319271.html?spm=2114.search010...). It's too expensive for me though.

    What are the rubber PC fan mountings you are talking about though, I get the part about using plastic sprays.

    Steve said:

    I got an APM 2.8 and it's GPS to fit on the top with little trouble, and whilst I never got around to finishing this one off, I generally like to use recycled food packaging (plastic trays of various sizes and shapes, clear ones are spray painted inside) held on (or two identical ones held together) with rubber PC fan mountings to cover the electronics and make my home brew copters less of an eyesore when flying.

    An alternative strategy I've tried to get cheap "portabilty", is to recycle a CX 20 (using improved electronics) which means you can get a nice backpack to put it and all its accessories plus an aerial chart inside. The downside of the CX 20 is the stupid undercarriage and radar dome doohickey which will break as soon as you make a less than perfect landing, of course.

    I have an I-FLY 4 which theoretically folds, and the undercarriage unclips, but I find it less than easy to fold up & deploy quickly than I would like.

    True portabilty it seems, comes at a MAVIC price level. Although it occured to me that if I had got a 330 "flamewheel" style frame rather than the 450's I did get, I could have made a diy copter that fits in a standard DJI stylebackpack. 

    Budget folding frame for quadcopter
    Just saw this online: https://www.goodluckbuy.com/mh-h4-700mm-aluminum-arm-fiberglass-folding-4-axis-quadcopter-frame-kit.html Beginner to this but w…
  • Hmm... I think then I should start with the f450 for now. However, mentioning true portability, this frame may be of interest to you (https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32600319271.html?spm=2114.search010...). It's too expensive for me though.

    What are the rubber PC fan mountings you are talking about though, I get the part about using plastic sprays.

    Steve said:

    I got an APM 2.8 and it's GPS to fit on the top with little trouble, and whilst I never got around to finishing this one off, I generally like to use recycled food packaging (plastic trays of various sizes and shapes, clear ones are spray painted inside) held on (or two identical ones held together) with rubber PC fan mountings to cover the electronics and make my home brew copters less of an eyesore when flying.

    An alternative strategy I've tried to get cheap "portabilty", is to recycle a CX 20 (using improved electronics) which means you can get a nice backpack to put it and all its accessories plus an aerial chart inside. The downside of the CX 20 is the stupid undercarriage and radar dome doohickey which will break as soon as you make a less than perfect landing, of course.

    I have an I-FLY 4 which theoretically folds, and the undercarriage unclips, but I find it less than easy to fold up & deploy quickly than I would like.

    True portabilty it seems, comes at a MAVIC price level. Although it occured to me that if I had got a 330 "flamewheel" style frame rather than the 450's I did get, I could have made a diy copter that fits in a standard DJI stylebackpack. 

    US $73.01 14% OFF|DIY FPV drone quadcopter Alien H4 450 / 680 pure carbon fiber folding frame airfr…
    Smarter Shopping, Better Living! Aliexpress.com
This reply was deleted.

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