A year of research - From absolute noob to my first aerial video.

Hello fellow droners.

(I believe) I am a fast learning noob. It all started a year and a half ago when I was watching videos of monowheel vehicles and I saw this strange looking flying machines in one of the suggested. That was it. First time I saw a flying quad I fell in love and decided that this was the interest/job I had been looking for.

At the time I owned a wholesale/retail deli and wine shop in Greece and things didn't look out amazing. I worked 7 days a week and god knows how many hours a day doing deliveries to other shops and parties.

In the beginning I was watching videos of the draganflyer drones like crazy and saving money to buy one. Then I found out about the microdrones models and decided it was better, but when I found out about the cost of the later and the terrible customer service of the first, I started leaning towards the idea of making my own for a fraction of the cost.

That was how I found out about Mikrokopters. I spent months researching their (and other) site. By then I had closed my shop to avoid going into debt (this is sooo easy to happen if you're doing busines in Greece), and I had moved to the UK which I believe can give me more business as it had a much more developed film, real estate etc. industry.

So I started work as stage crew and in the meanwhile ordered an oktoxl. At first I felt useless in front of the amount of things I had to learn, but then I put it all in order, organised myself and managed to build it.

I was really pleased with myself because it worked like a clock first time! Then I decided I wanted an on/off switch for it and bought one from Maplin that fit snuggly between my centerplates. I thought everthing was fine, training my flying skills on manual flight, until I decided it was time to install the MK-Nav and MK-GPS.

As soon as I tuned GPS Hold on, the okto started spiraling out of control while rising fast. Being a noob, I didn't have the reflexes to switch te GPS off anf land safely. The okto started moving towards a road full of cars and my reaction was to crash land it to avoid causing an accident. It landed on the side, battery flew off and one of the riggers was heavily bent (strangely one of the shorter ones).

I thought that was it but I was amazed to find out only that 1 rigger, 1 bit of landing gear an a couple of propellers were broken!

When I tried to investigate what had happened, I entered the world of magnetic interference...

To cut a long story short, using a small compass, I went over all of my circuits as the were running (no props on!) and found out the compass was always pointing towards that stupid maplin power switch I had installed.

Removed that instantly but didn't stop at that. I decided that since I came this far I would try to eliminate as much interference as I possibly could, so I de-soldered all cables from my powerboard and re-soldered them so as to point away from the MK-tower where all the sensors are. I also installed bullet connectors to make future works and disassembly easier.

Next test flight I was extatic! My GPS hold in combination with altitude hold worked perfect and for the first time I could fly more relaxed.

A few days later I added my gimbal and camera (a canon eos d600) and got my first aerial videos. Had some trouble focusing and a lot of vibrations causing shaky video. So I added the camera triger so now I can focus during flight, but the vibrations are still a problem.

I eliminated some vibrations by adding elastic spacers to hold the camera gimbal but still, I'm having some issues.

I believe this is caused by two factors

 a)because my frame after the crash landing is not 100% straight

 b)because the propellers are not stiff enough

I have made a very short video with some of my better shots.

OktoXL Fun (Same video as above)

Please enjoy

***any tips and/or critique is very appreciated***

Views: 588

Comment by Pablo Torres Carreira on July 7, 2012 at 6:27am

Congratulations, that's a nice video.

Comment by George on July 7, 2012 at 2:32pm

That was actually the first video I've ever edited

Thanks Pablo.

Comment by YureZzZ on July 8, 2012 at 6:09am

Great story of success and good video!

Comment by Mr N. on July 9, 2012 at 12:38am

Hello Geroge

Great story...I too have a similar story to tell. Now I have a successful AP business using the same oktoxl you have with AV200 360 camera mount. 

I have some suggestions as to what you need to do to get rid of vibrations on your okto. Since you are flying canon 600d along with 10 000mah bateries , you will need to have stiff enough props that will not bend under the load. The black epp ones you got with the okto are rubish and you cant even balance them right. My suggestion is to get apc props.

Also the booms are too wobbly under that load. I know this bc I carry a canon 550d with the same weight batteries as you are. I noticed the booms wobbling during flight which gave a lot of vibrations. There are two things you should do . Stiffen the center plate to get rid of wobble down at the base of the booms and also try and connect the booms with some kind of a square frame. I knw this adds added weight but if you use 10mm square aluminum profiles it will do wonders to the stabilty of your video. something like this  http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/311678_3860095134576...   

Regards

Nikola

airworx.rs

Comment by Raversspesh on July 9, 2012 at 1:32am

Great story! It's amazing how someone can go from 0 knowledge in a subject to taking aerial videos in such a short time.

Comment by George on July 9, 2012 at 4:21am

Hi Nikola.

I'm very glad you can confirm that I'm thinking in the right direction about the vibrations I get.

It is funny you should mention that about the frame.

I have already tried using plastic strips (the ones sold by MK as landing gear for their smaller models). I just cut the right size and screwed them in the remaining 2 holes under my motors (you can see them in the 1st scenes of the video).

I haven't found a way to reinforce my centerplates but I have been thinking of using an additional plate with longer screws.

At the moment I have taken off the reinforcing strips because they were too tight (about 1,5 cm stretched altogether), and I noticed that the tension was pushing all my motors upwards. As this was causing too much pressure on the centerplates I figured it wasn't safe enough.

Now I've heard your story I know I'm on the right track (thanks a load!), I'm going to try my plastic strips with slightly longer length to apply less inward tension and double centerplates.

I also want to try your solution with aluminum rods because they are a very good support for the propeller protectors I want to design.

I'm planning on covering live concerts, flying over a crowd, therefore I need to do everything possible to ensure health and safety (that's of course after I get my license). Protectors around the propellers are a MUST for me. I'm also trying to built a suspension mechanism with a safety wire which in case of failure will stop the drone above the crowd.

Anyway, enough of my ranting :)

Thanks a lot for that very useful comment - much appreciated 

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