I'm a new member in the DIYDrones family, and this is my first blog post sharing some of the monocopters that I've built as a hobby project.
I started making my own monocopters back in 2011 after watching the inspiring work on monocopters from University of Maryland, Lockheed Martin and ERAU. I was fascinated with the way the monocopter flies without a fixed heading and yet controllable. So I started trying to make one out of some small and cheap parts I could find at that time, using the UMD design as a reference.
I was kind of surprised at that time that it managed to take off. Here's a video that I took:
Excited with the result, I immediately began to work on the control. With great help from the 2008 MIT paper "Fly-by-wire Control of a Monocopter" by James Houghton and Woody Hoburg, I tried to implement the equations presented in the paper into Arduino code.
The microcontroller chosen was Teensy 2.0 for its relatively small size. MicroMag 2 was used as the sensor for heading reference and a LPY5150AL was used for RPM sensing. Here are some photos of the board I made to house the electronics:
The motor used was Turnigy 1400 Brushless Indoor Motor 4500kv paired with a small 6 Amp ESC. Props used is GWS EP-3030 and battery is 2S 450mAH LiPo. Receiver used was FrSky D4R-II with PPM output and MKS DS480 was chosen for its speed.
The construction of the frame was improved by utilizing Carbon Fibre sheets, built in a way very similar to the UMD prototype. Electronic components are mostly secured with heat shrink tubes and the motor is mounted on a square aluminium tube which is secured to the carbon fibre frame with screws. Some photos of the final build:
Here's a video of the first successful controlled flight indoor:
Here's another video of indoor flight:
The prototype weighs 90 grams and hovers for around 5-7 minutes.
After the first successful prototype I wanted to add more sensors but was limited by the lack of space for more electronics. So this time I tried to make another prototype with Lockheed Martin's design.
A 3D model of the wing and body of the new prototype was created with SolidWorks and subsequently printed using the SLS 3D Printer, Formiga P100 in the Fabrication Lab in SUTD. Here's a SolidWorks render and some photos of the assembled prototype:
A RGB LED Module that I got from a friend is included in this prototype for some POV coolness.
Here's a video of the second prototype:
As of now a monocopter, except for its cool factor, has not much of a use.
However I hope my post will be helpful for those looking to make one of this fascinating little fliers :)