3D Printed Quad Copter


I finally received my Makerbot Replicator (makerbot.com) and I am VERY impressed. After printing a handful of objects off of Thingiverse and dialing in my printer I promptly began work on my version of 3D printed quadcopter. I had a fair bit of practice using Google Sketchup from time is spent designing a handful of tricopters so naturally I started there. Sketchup is a very powerful program for being free and is very easy to learn, however there are some shortcomings to the program when it comes to 3D printing. I'll cover this in later posts but for now I would just like to show you my progress up until now. The incredible thing about 3D printing is how quickly you can prototype a concept. Sketchup is great for visualizing and object but it can never beat actually being able to hold it in your hand and inspect it. You get the feel of it. The weight of it. You can flex it and bend it. To flimsy? Add more material there. Overbuilt? Remove material here. It is simply incredible, a couple of late nights after work and I pretty much have the arms the way I want them.


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  • I will definitely put this on Thingiverse, I just want to make sure I have a good, printable thing before I do :) Stefan, I think that the arms will probably break at the attachment point.  The landing gear area is pretty beefy.  I think the gear leg would probably break first in any event because it is thinner.  As far as different motors go that should be pretty easy.  Right now these are the pretty standard 16mm X 19mm but it is very easy to add an .stl arm for other motor dimensions.  Thats the great thing about 3D printing, someone could just select the components they need then hit print.  It's all very customizable.

  • Nice..

    Mike if you can upload the STL file to Thingiverse I would love to print with my Replicator :-)

  • I think the weakest point is where you snap in you landing gear.
    Better the arm breaks on the inside to the centerframe where it is mounted.
    Also some long holes (dont know the english word) form,ounting different motors would be nice.
  • Yes, I plan on sharing the sketchup/.stl files once I have all the bugs worked out and I have a solid "Mark 1" prototype ready.  Hopefully there are some other people out there with 3D printers that would like to give me some feedback.

  • Very nice! Are you going to share the sketchup files?
  • Thanks!  I have not finished the whole frame yet but a single arm weighs 27g.  That is on 2 shells and 10% infill.  However I don't know if it needs to be any sturdier.  There is some flex but the arm feels very strong.  I also think that the flex will help dampen vibration and cause a sort of dihedral effect at higher thrust effectively making the quad more stable... This is all just a theory of course :)

  • Moderator

    Great work Mike! what is the total weight of the frame?

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