Open Source UAV Airframe

Hi the idea here is to come up with a new UAV specific airframe design for the DIY community. Seeing that the AP's are rapidly improving and are cost effective for DIY we have no Airframe to match. We need something with Ailerons to start with, its the only way to fly properly and prevent nasties. A Pod design may be the most flexible as they can be interchanged, also if positioned at the CG it will help to keep the airframe light and reduce CG problems with differing Pods/Payloads.We need some new standards for form factor for the AP and Payload to ease the pain of design and prevent the issues with adapting other designs. To start the ball rolling a few ideas below:UAV specific design, long term platformCost effective, not cheapAirframe with Rx, AP, BattPod for payload/AP (Interchangeable for different missions/payloads) with own powerPod design to form factor & Volume (maybe different Pod designs for same Airframe)New AP form factor (standardization) for mounting and space utilizationRequirements:Max PayloadMax weight to conform to legislation, also max speedDuration, batt size & motorAirframe weight (lower means more payload)SturdinessCGStabilityPod vibration isolationSensor vibration isolationSensor mounting points on airframe with wire pathways to ease installation & attachmentPod electrical connector or means to electrically connect to AirframePitot tube and/or AoA sensor build in, baro sensor positionWheeled or notLand and stall speedGimball for camera and other sensorsRgrdsSarel

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  • Hi all, Iv'e watched this thread grow, by now there should be loads of actual drawings to put up for a vote. Someone suggested a competition earlier, I guess that would do well, best design wins an Ardupilot!

    So how about a rotary engine as prime mover? Perhaps even a hybrid option can be considered for the category3 design and aim for an overall average of about 7kg dry weight. Endurance should be paramount(4 litter tank?) just as all weather flying too.

    Cheers all.

  • As I think about search and rescue or any other type of 'urgent' small UAV application, I am concerned about rain and high winds.  Where I live it's been raining and high winds for all but one day out of the last 3 weeks.  Sure would be nice to tell a prospective client that my sUAV's can be flown in wet weather and in winds up to 20Mph.  Foam would be great but do you really want to fly an electric motor in the rain?  Glow would be terrific but do you really want to fly balsa wood in the rain?  Looking for practical options.

  • I'm working on the documentation and prototype for a UAV platform and had the idea to start an Open Hardware project with it.  And then I stumbled on this thread.  I realised a few things by reading this post and the comments, particularly there will be a need for many different designs since other people's ideas of an ideal airframe are different than mine and it really depends on the application and requirements you have. 

    My thoughts were that an open source platform should be easily constructable by avg. joe with intermediate building skills and hand tools but should also be designed to be cheap/easy to manufacture on a larger scale (so you could buy one cheap). 

    Does anyone here have any experience developing for and managing an open hardware project?  I'd like to know what tools they've used to help them do this.   For example, in the open source software world, there are free services like sourceforge that will host wikis, files and forums which helps the project developers organise the community and documentation.  I'm not sure there is such a service for open hardware yet (though some are in the works).  If an open hardware project were to start today, we'd need to have these tools today.   Maybe google code, or sourceforge would host such a project?

    There's also the question of license for the documentation, I've read the CERN and TAPR licenses, and have read up on open hardware licenses in general.  I have not seen a ideal license yet, nothing as perfect as the GPL is for software.  I think careful attention should be given to choose an effective copyleft license.  Arduino uses a creative commons license, I need to put some thought into that license.

    What file formats and design tools are best to collaborate on a mechanical design like this.  Ideally, a file format that jives well with a version control software would be ideal, though I'm not sure such a CAD tool exists.  If everyone worked with their .dwg compatible tool of choice, perhaps that would be best?  If anyone has experience collaborating on an open hardware projects I'd love to hear what CAD tools were used for the mechanical designs, and their thoughts on the file format's interaction with version control.


  • Very Cool Sarel !

  • It looks like this project has stalled. However, perhaps everyone will be interested to note that an Open Source Airframe has just been released by the OpenRelief project.

    Here is an overview of the specs:  
    * Length 1.4 meters
    * Wing span 1.8 meters
    * Chord 30cm
    * Uses counter-rotating motors (redundancy, speed, balance, no torque)
    * Uses remote servos (wing flaperons, the tail surface) for more storage and ease of repair
    * Empty weight 3kg
    * Thrust is 12kgs
    * Max load 12kg (lift at 100mph/160kph is approx 12kg)
    * Endurance is between 1 to 4 hours with existing specifications
    * Wings can be repositioned to change CoG for large payloads
    * Stringers located on the fuselage to carry the wing, landing gear and other items (modules)
    * These channels also hold internal items like the motor via bulkhead rings, for quick changes
    * Fuselage can carry liquids (same diameter as 2L bottle of cola)
    * Can be launched by rail and use parachute recovery
    * Can be fitted with front wheels for conventional landing in rough fields

    You can find out more here:

  • Hello,,Iam new in this forum and i have a problem with IMU for generating pitch angle ,
    I am using the Y-Gyro for short range BUT i must make another sensor (accelometre ) along with Y-Gyro for long range correction using adaptive filtring tecq- ,,which accelometre should i pick for this problem,,I am thinking of the X-accelometre but it will be effected by the UAV motion,,so iam thinking of using Z-accolmeter ??? so please help me on this and thanks in advance
  • Sarel,
    what's the status of the project?
  • Hello again

    Exams are almost done... Calculus tomorrow and electronics next friday!

    I would just like a recomendation on the motor side of things. Need to get a plane flying after the exams...

    Plane AUW1.7- 2.3kg. Would the 3015-07 tower pro motor have enough power? it is rated at 470W and 1000kv, will be using a 3s 2500mah or 3700mah batt... And any estimates on the flight times?

  • we would buy a few of these!
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