Foldable frame for camera-quadrocopter (for travels)


I'd like to built a foldable quadrocopter which I can take with me on a round-the-world trip. When folded it should be small enough to be carried in a backpack, so I can take it with me on (shorter) trekking tours.

What I ultimately want is a quadrocopter with 3D gimbal and a decent camera (GoPro class or lightweight digital camera), and - if possible - gps features such as come home and waypoints (maybe a PixHawk controller?).

Anyway, first I need a frame, so I started searching.

Frames I found so far:

- HobbyKing Predator 650 Folding Quad-Copter Carbon Fiber (Size 650 mm, 646 g)
- HobbyKing Alien 560 Folding Quad-Copter Carbon Fiber (Size 560 mm, 520 g)
- Quanum XJ470 CF Folding Sports Quadcopter Frame (Size 470 mm, 410 g)
- Black Snapper L PRO (Size 665 mm, 490 g)
- Black Snapper XS V2.0 (Size 360 mm, 125 g)

These frames differ widely in size.

I have little experience with construction drones so far, and can't really judge which frame size would be best. The larger ones are probably to big for a "backpack-drone", while the smallest one is probably a little bit to small for carrying a gimbal + camera and resist wind?

I would really appreciate some recommendations! :-)

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  • @Emin - that would be great if the frames and useable are available at a sensible price.  It looks like a nice frame.

  • Fnoop said:

    Where can I buy just the frame for the mavic?

    As soon as things with Mavic settle down parts will be available...every decent DJI distributor have all DJI parts...some,have them listed...Mavic in parts,EU shop,take a look

  • Frankly for a traveling camera drone, for personal use, the Zerotech Dobby blows the Mavic away. It is tiny. It has a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, GPS, follow-me, orbit mode etc in a package as small as my smartphone. I can take it with me anywhere in my pocket. It shoots surprisingly good video, especially with a couple of simple mods to improve it.

    I have a lot of camera drones but even my little Xugong feels huge compared to the Dobby.

  • Where can I buy just the frame for the mavic?

  • You are right...DJI is killing DIY for sure,not just with mavic and small but also big birds too..but that is bcs people are CAN buy the DJI hardware alone...ESC, motors,propellers,FC..somethimes even better and cheaper than elsewhere..everything,including separate parts of M600,Inspire,and Phantom...but you will pay less if you buy their complete product...

    Only thing you CAN'T do it is to control DJI gimbal with HD link without proper FC..DJI FC

    And DJI gimbal  is the ONLY thing why i would ever use DJI FC...

  • Shame if the likes of the mavic kills any community around building drones.  Ironic that people are coming onto a DIY site and say forget DIY buy an off the shelf product instead.

    Mavic is really cool - I'd love one if I had the spare cash and time - but it's a dead end as far as the drone community goes because it's a completely closed, proprietary ecosystem.  It only does for you what DJI want it to do for you, and it only furthers DJIs knowledge, not the community as a whole.  If you could buy the hardware alone like they used to do with the flamewheel etc, great, but you can't.

    Ardupilot is coming on leaps and bounds and is a really awesome flight controller system, and there's plenty of hardware to run it on.  Frames/gimbals side of things has stagnated somewhat unless you're into racing and needs to catch up.

  • The problem is when the gimbal gets that small and light even cables make it hard to tune. The off the shelf components are just not there it seems. 

  • I've considered the XuGong at one point, but I have since built a few quanum Trifecta foldable pocket tricopters initially for faster flying, not quite racing but possibly having similar amount of mobility, using a micro-APM.  I've now come to a conclusion that the pocket tricopter could easily carry a Mavic sized gimbal if one was available, and it would be able to get video shots no 500-size quadcopter can think of simply because of the agility, speed.  The problem here is the gimbal.  I've ordered a micro-STorM32 set (4 gram), a Mobius 2 camera (27 gram including battery -- the battery can be easily moved off the gimbal head since you'll need cabling for the gimbal IMU anyway) (other light-weight camera offerings are popping up too) and a set of 24-gram-each gimbal motors.  The motors are certainly too big for this setup but there's little choice right now, perhaps spare Mavic gimbal motors will become available at some point.

    I've travelled a lot with a big gimbal-equipped folding tricopter and it has been a good platform, only too big.

    It's true that Mavic has mostly killed the competition in this area, especially with the HD FPV support and the range.  Still if you already own a long-range UHF system you can probably build a DIY kinda-competitor for 1/3rd the cost of the Mavic.

  • Hi Philipp, One of the most overlooked folding quads is the XuGong V2 Pro from ImmersionRC.  It's a near-brilliant design that offers great vibration isolation and folds neatly into a backpack or carry-on sized bag (I took mine to France over the summer).

    My build is posted here if you're interested:

    A DJI product like a Phantom 3 or Mavic may be less expensive but if your goal is to build your own camera platform then the XuGong is worth a serious look.  Cheers!

  • Mavic is available on DJI official website and everyone could get the mavic in 5-7 business days.!!!!!!

    I have bought one and it looks fantastic and fly very stable.

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