First Flight of 3D Printed Firefly Mark One Quadcopter Frame

Firefly Mark One Flies in TREX Configuration.  It's like a Space Odyssey!

As you can see above the 3D printed frame project has advanced one more step.  I have fitted the 3D printed hub with 4 cut down TREX 450 (12mm) tail booms.  It's being flow in Stability Mode.  Just a note on cutting the aluminium tail booms, the easiest way I found was using a plumbers copper pipe cutter.

PID Settings:

For those who are curious, I am flying Arducopter v2.22b4, the latest version served up by Mission Planner.  I dialed back the default P values for yaw, roll, pitch and throttle to 80%.  The default values are too aggressive for such a small frame.  I think I could dial it back even further to 75% or 70% still be responsive.  I initially used 50% of default, and it was stable, but response was to slow.

Frame with the APM mounted, and RC receiver tucked under.  Very compact.

All connected up with cool 3 bladed props 8x4",  Unfortunately on it's first lift off took a dump and lost one of the blades on a prop, and I had no spares.  Now I have to run with the 9" 2 blade props. ;-(

Next Step

The next step is to fly with the integrate micro 10g motors, using the integrated arms:

Unfortunately, I was testing one of the motors, while holding it in my hands and it slipped out, and ripped itself apart.  Lesson learned, "Don't underestimate the torque of these little 10g motors".  Now I have to wait for another round of HK delivery.  Anyone know how to rewind these little motors?

Recommended Parts List

4 x Common Trex 450 tail booms (12mm)   $4.95 for 5 booms on ebay
2 x Bags of M3x20mm hex bolts $1.99 each
1 x Bag of M3 nuts $1.76

Power Distribution Board
Although I build my power bus by soldering a bunch of wires together you can order one from DiYDrones for $8. Quad Power Distribution Board

Support for APM1, APM2, and KKMulticopter

The Firefly frame has a mounting plate that will fit APM1,APM2, and even KKmulticopter controller boards.  The KKmulticopter is a good controller for those on a budget for as low as $19 on ebay.

Fully Interchangeable and Replacable Parts

Check out my shop on Shapeways for Firefly frame parts, and look out for the fully integrated frame to be put on sale, as soon as I validate that it's a good flyer, which of course, I have no doubt.

Notice that the integrated arms will have interchangeable motor mounts to custom fit various motor mount sizes.




Firefly Mark One with TREX 405 Tail Boom(12 mm) Motor Mounts:

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Comment by Anish on January 23, 2012 at 11:59pm
Definitely looks interesting, 3d printing has definitely become cool and accessible

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Comment by UnmannedTechShop.co.uk on January 24, 2012 at 3:07am

Well done!  Nice to see a video of your flight!

Comment by Ellison Chan on January 24, 2012 at 8:02am

Just took in my first order last night.  Well, I did nothing really.  Order was done through Shapeways.

Get them while inventory lasts!

Um, actually there's unlimited inventory.  They're printed on demand.  Hmm, the whole business model is being changed by this manufacturing on demand.  I have more goodies in design for the APM community, rolling around. 

Comment by Ellison Chan on January 24, 2012 at 1:55pm

For those who are replacing their APM1 with APM2, and don't want to have to create a new mounting plate.  Here's a 3D printed mounting plate that has both the APM1 hole pattern and APM2 pattern.  It's basically the Firefly mounting plate without all the tabs for mounting on to the Firefly frame.  Save some time, no drilling, no measuring, and it's perfectly centred!

Comment by R. D. Starwalt on April 16, 2012 at 10:31am

Did you ever get your motor rewired?

It only looks like you need to reconnect the main leads.

Depending on how difficult the disassembly is, this is moderately trivial compared to building the quad.

Comment by Ellison Chan on April 16, 2012 at 10:35am

No, I ordered new ones instead.  I did get the 3D arms flying, but having to use 6" props for these 2000Kv motors just doesn't generate enough power to have stable flight.  I'm actually in the process of converting it into Y6 configuration for more power with the 6" props.  Still waiting for the prop adapters to arrive in the mail.  Should be here this week.

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