Just an update on my 3D printed quad project.  I have just published my quadcopter v2 to Thingiverse.com.  I've flown my first 3D printed quad for over a 100 hours and although it worked really well there were nagging issues with the design that needed to be addressed.  

The biggest issues were with the arms.  The legs, although lightweight, proved to be very brittle.  I must have superglued the legs back on 10-15 times.  So I went ahead and beefed them up a bit.  The are now wider and have extra support added in weaker areas.  They are still very light and although they could still break off they are MUCH more forgiving of a brisk landing or lateral loading.  I also got tired of taking the whole quad apart if I wanted to get between the top and bottom plate to work on something so I designed the new arms to have M3 lock nuts press fit into them.  This makes it similar to a dji arm where you can remove just the top or bottom plate without having the arms fall off.  Lastly I have added mounting patterns for motors with a triangular pattern as well as the more standard 16x19mm.

Because I have been flying with the APM now for a while and thoroughly enjoy it I thought I had better design v2 around it.  The new top plate has 50mm mounting holes for standard flight controllers like the kk2.1 and kk blackboard.  They can be mounted orthogonally (kk2.1) or at a 45 deg angle (blackboard).  The APM however mounts with vibration dampening bushings from hobby king.  I stuffed earplugs inside to make them a little more rigid and the results were good.  When vibrations were measured, without any prop balancing, the vibrations were half of the limits that 3DR prescribes.  Extra holes have been added to help with weight and make it easier to route wires and the top plate has an added area for the APM's GPS/Compass module.

I slightly retouched the gimbal as well.  I added a GoPro 3 case on top of making the gimbal arms easier to assemble, again using M3 locknuts.  

All in all it is very similar to my original design but I feel that that one was the test bed and this one has a much more professional feel to it.  I hope to see more of them printed and flying.  I can't say how much I have enjoyed designing this and bouncing ideas off other people who have printed and are flying it.

My 3D Printed Quad

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Comment by Trung Nguyen on January 27, 2014 at 5:56pm
I would love to try this, but my print bed is pretty small. What are the max dimensions of the longest part?
Comment by Marius van Rijnsoever on January 27, 2014 at 6:28pm

Looks awesome!

Thinking about ordering the flashforge creator to start 3d printing my quads as well. How much would the weight be of the quad without components and total weight (so I can preplan if I need to get new motors/ ESC)

Thanks, Marius

Comment by Mike Bristol on January 27, 2014 at 7:52pm

Trung, the arms are about 8 3/4 inches long, some people with smaller beds have been able to print them diagonally.

Comment by Mike Bristol on January 27, 2014 at 7:58pm

Marius, unfortunately I am a bad builder.  I don't have a scale.  I should probably go out and get one.  I can tell you though that the arms are significantly less than the dji arms, the frame as well.  All in all it is very light.

Comment by Daniel Allen on January 27, 2014 at 11:01pm

I love it! Almost completely 3D printed. Question what motor/prop/escs are you using?

Comment by Joshua Johnson on January 27, 2014 at 11:06pm

Amazing Machine!  I'd love to know more about your designs!

Comment by Mike Machado on January 27, 2014 at 11:59pm

Very cool! What 3D printer were these printed on? How much post-print work (if any) went into the parts?

Comment by אריאל דרטץ on January 28, 2014 at 4:20am
Please share the beatiful machine bom.
I have replicator 2 3dprinter, can i use it for this purpose?
Comment by R. D. Starwalt on January 28, 2014 at 5:36am

Excellent work, bravo!

Build (or 3D print) on!


Comment by Paul on January 28, 2014 at 5:55am

Nice Work. Congrats.


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