As a DIY enthusiast I'm puzzled why 3DR has drastically scaled back the replacement parts it sells for its vehicles. Usually in a crash parts like the motors, props, arms, etc are damaged and 3DR continues to sell those parts. But occasionally other parts break, currently I have a fully functional 2013 Y6 with a cracked bottom plate. This and many other parts are not for sale and the feedback I've gotten from 3DR support states that they don't sell parts to older models (cause 2013 is pretty old). I was even willing to use a 2014 Y6 bottom plate but was then told that 3DR doesn't sell that part and was directed to buy a new Y6 frame kit. This seems very wasteful and not consumer friendly. I used to be able to buy even screw, nut, and washer that made up each kit. Do we need to start looking at other manufacturers for frames?
Garrick, while I don't own a 3DR copter (just the APM and other electronics), the lack of replacement parts or the ease of quickly obtaining replacement parts from other kits has driven me to search out solutions that I can find and make with locally-obtained parts. I've decided to build a frame using carbon fiber plates and aluminum or carbon fiber arms that I can get locally and cut and drill manually or "machine" with a ShapeOko 2 (http://www.shapeoko.com), a small DIY CNC system which I JUST got working last night. If enough people have the same need as you maybe someone with the right tools could be a third-party provider of replacement parts. I'm not in that position yet, but once I get some more experience with my ShapeOko, I'm going to start fabricating some of my own designs but would also be interested in trying to duplicate existing designs. It may be a month or two before I have enough time to get everything working well but if you are interested in letting me try to duplicate an existing bottom plate, I'd be up for giving it a shot.
I have been a customer for many years and it is extremely disappointing and frustrating to have such and expensive machine and not being able to obtain replacement parts. It's apparent we have been dumped for production toys and no more up keep on the mechanical parts for the developer. I am very mad about how we just got dumped without even a bit of advice on what to do for parts. 3DR you are telling me that the thousands I have spent will just have to sit only after 2 years of use?!!!!
My take is that 3DR puts most of its effort into it's current main products like now the Solo.
And they have a very fast termination time for support for previous products.
Now with the Solo the Iris is undoubtedly facing a reduction in support as well.
And the Iris uses a lot of truly custom made and custom molded parts so Iris owners are going to be even less happy.
However, in fairness, 3DR is by no means alone in this practice and there main emphasis has always been developing the most innovative new product they could, not necessarily the most stable product.
With the Solo they are actually transitioning to a product with more real commercial use pretensions, so hopefully with that at least their support level will improve also.
As for your older "conventional" model frames, reality is that there isn't anything you cant make for yourself with a bit of work.
While milling carbon fiber is beyond most home DIY'rs cutting a piece of fiberglass plate to fit and drilling it appropriately is within reason or, even easier a piece of aluminum T6 sheet.
I agree you shouldn't have too, but I have a lot of frames from a lot of manufacturers and when I break something I often have to cobble together my own (fix), this has always been true for the RC world as well.
Even in the case of a Phantom, if you break a frame arm, you need to buy an entire replacement frame/body.
Or you can go direct to a competent carbon fiber or fiberglass frame for which you can get parts and simply install all of your components in that frame.
The Horizon Blade 200 QX is a great example of this, a very high performance little 200 sized quadcopter that has spawned a whole batch of 3rd party carbon fiber frame manufacturers.
Because of the growing popularity and serious uses, the time is coming when multicopters will be available with a reasonable level of support but we aren't quite there yet including 3DR and everybody else.
I personally would look at your Y6 as an organ doner and just go get a good carbon fiber quadcopter frame like the Turnigy Talon V2 from Hobbyking and stick all your parts in it (you'd still have 2 spare motors and ESCs.
I do have a Talon V2 and it is very well made and they have all the replacement parts for it available on line.
My response to that is, they still sell the complete Y6, X4 and X8 so do other vendors like B&H and BestBuy among many others. These are sold not as "conventional" but as a full package to include customer support (wish they have been good with) and parts. So any person can purchase any of their products but be S.O.L. when needing parts.
3DR was monetarily backed by the developers. They made their money from us geeks who like to program and build. We made them popular. As a customer I will not make ANY excuses for a company that sold me something only to leave me hanging when I still need from them. And it is not only me, but all customers that are still being sold the "conventional" complete copters not knowing that they will have to search for hours looking for hex stand offs, length, tread and so on.
I wasn't defending them, just stating the obvious and apparently from other posts,the Solo has some pretty serious problems too.
Some great videos of them hovering happily then completely failing and tumbling to the ground.
I still think over dependence on GPS and advocating it as a cure is a big problem, but this latest batch of failures are obviously a hardware problem.
The fact is none of the companies handle this stuff very well, either reliability or repair or parts availability.
Like they used to say about the Cell phone companies, it is the Wild West out there.
But also it is true that with most of the consumer grade commercially available multicopters, if you break a significant frame part, the standard cure is to sell you a new frame.
This is not unlike current methodology in our other consumer appliances, you used to be able to buy replacement bits, now you can only get new often multi hundred dollar "modules".
If a pulley goes out on my BMW's electric window mechanism my only option is to buy a whole new window mechanism.
I suppose I should be happy I don't have to buy the whole door.
I understood your point, I wasn't firing back at you. I have been purchasing parts from them since very early when they started and all of the sudden it stopped. Even their product descriptions and what is included has worsen. For example Tarot has every possible part for sale, not the whole assembly, like an arm with motor and hardware. They will sell you just the hardware if that is all you would need. 3DR use to be that way also. I hate that they don't even have the X4 frame in stock. I have seen less and less in their inventory, I wish they would announce what is it that they are doing.
Absolutely not. The original post was from May of 2014, I'm not sure if Garrick was able to find a part or not. But if you have a current need for a part, I can help find it for you.
It's even worse if you live outside the US as the distribution network is very patchy to say the least. I've had real problems getting replacement parts in the past and the cost of buying direct from 3dr internationally is ridiculous, apart from the fact you can apparently wait months for an order - if it ever turns up. As much as I'd like to support them, there's no way I'd buy anything 3DR again other than a pixhawk. I find I get a far better, quicker and cheaper result by buying Tarot or similar vendors either from local resellers or direct from china.
I hope they sort this out for the future, as I like the look of the solo when it reaches non-beta status, and would like to support 3dr.
I have requested 3dr help for Aero spare parts, but they haven't been able to answer for a whole month. I did send them a reminder right now. I can spend $1000 or more on Aero spare parts, so it should be quite easy.
After a crash last weekend, I got replacement tarot frame parts in 2 days from China.
Ordered some pixhawk cables from 3dr last Monday, and am still waiting, a week later....
How hard is it to put a few cables in an envelope?
I think the issue is an American company trying to compete in a world market, while its employees are earning American wages.. It's not possible.. the ball has to be dropped somewhere..
As much as I want to support the local economy, when you've got a business to run, or a flying addiction, time matters!!!
From what I read I thought the State of California required manufacturer's/retailers to provide spare parts for a period of 7 years from the date of discontinuance of a product over $100, regardless of the length of the warranty.
I know I've had the experience with an APM 2.5 where I had a bad board and was initially told the only way to get a new board was to buy the whole package including the Power Module/GPS. In the end I got "lucky" because there was a defect with the board (I don't remember what) that required a repair/replacement.
Many manufacture's look at the law and do what's necessary for compliance and no more, but in the end that's just bad business. If I invest $1000 in a product you sell, I EXPECT YOU to make it possible for me to keep using my product for a certain period of time. I believe that is the manufacturer's responsibility.
If a manufacturer fails in that obligation they can't expect me to invest in their product again. I've been a supporter since the legacy board back in 09', and my personal experience has been good so far, but I am disturbed by the repeated/continuing reports of failed support by 3DR. I know there are claims that bogus and aren't the fault of 3DR or it's hardware, but parts are parts and I think 3DR needs to stand up and commit officially to parts support for at least a period of 5 years from the date a product is discontinued.
Are you listening Vu?