H-Frame Quad for $10, weight 1Kg with all components, including LiPo and GoPro w/case

My DIY frame for a H-frame quad I did it from balsa wood which costs me $10. There is 3 layers of balsa wood for body and 3 layers for arms. Layers are glued with carpenter glue. The weight is 1Kg with all included as motors/props, ESC, APM2, telemetry (XRF), GoPro w/case, 2200 3S Lipo.

No vibration (comparing to aluminum), no radio interference (comparing to carbon fiber), no weight (comparing to fiber glass).

The size is 19inch x 19inch.

Arms can be removed for transport. Each arm is fix to body with 2 screw/bold and velcro straps.

ESC are mounted under the airflow from each props for cooling.

GoPro cam is on the front and you can not see the props. The CG is under the APM2, since GoPro has the same weight with Lipo.

It is flying pretty stable and I do have like 9 min hovering with this setup.

I would remove the GoPro case (100g) and find a light case for lens only and add a gimbal for GoPro (+2 servos). All weight will be less than 1.2 Kg.

Adding the FPV gear (500 mW Video TX, OSD Remzibi, V-dipol DIY antenna and microphone) would add a few grams more.

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Very glad you are running now. Excellent!

One of our members is using Turnigy Plush ESCs but is having trouble with erratic front/back liftoff then crash.

What did you do to set the ESC up for use with your APM2?


I did the "manual" setup for each ESC (one by one), as described on APM2 documentation for ArduCopter. The "auto" ESC setup did not work for me. Also I did connect all 4 ESC to APM2 with only one +5V from 1st motor and let the other 3 red wires from ESC unconnected, as described also on ArduCopter documentation.

I remember I did have a similar issue "erratic front/back liftoff". On my case I did reverse the pitch server (on DX6i TX) and this solve my problem.

hows it flying can you share your param's / tuning tips?

It is flying well, stable, I need to adjust some NAV_P for loitering, I did use the default parameters from MP Quad and then I did adjust some params. See attach file. I do not use sonar or optical flow.


H-Frames really work well, excellent job on the build - its Great to see building of frames rather than buying off the shelf. Really nice work!!!! 

Also as criro said, can you share base params with the community :)

Indeed, I prefer to go to my local hobby store or artisan store next day and buy a $2-3 balsa stick if one arm is broken, instead of waiting 2 weeks and buy a new frame for more bucks. And it is better to broke a $2 wood arm, instead of damaging the motor, if you have a stronger arm (alum or carbon). Today I did more test with my H-Frame balsa and fly really nice and keep good loiter even in wind. Also I did test myself some hard landing and that pool foam noddles (green and yellow for front and back) used for landing, did a very good amortization. I will post soon a video with some test.

very nice would love too see that. 3rd person view from the go prowould be cool.

what kind of electronics are you running?

I do not use GoPro for FPV, many people suggest is not the best things.

When I do FPV (with my helicopter, not yet with Quad, see other links on vimeo for criro1999), I am using a separate camera 420 lines. My Gopro is just recording locally. Even if you try to use your GoPro as FPV camera you will get the resolution from your Video TX which is 420 or 480TVL. Some people said there is a ~1 sec delay on a GoPro video out, which one sec in FPV means a lot of time...

First "Auto" mode test with this XQuad H_Frame.

It was windy. Flight at 15 m altitude. There were 2 different flights at 20 min difference, same pattern.

not too shabby!

Very nice.  I use the same motors and ESC's with 9"SF props in my H-Quad.  16.25" motor shaft to motor shaft.  Thinking about bumping up to 10" props  Getting 10 min of flight time out of a 3000 3s.  I wish I had a scale to weigh it.  Made all out of Basswood from Hobby Lobby for $20.  Camera is a Liquid Image Ego (74 grams).  Last test made 1.64 Miles in AUTO with varying heights from 10m to 75m.  Here's my parameter file if your interested.  Running 2.8.1.


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