Former DJI CEO Joins 3D Robotics

Well the big news of this week, this month and possibly this year is that Colin Guinn is back in the multicopter business and this time with 3D Robotics, his employment was confirmed this afternoon.


Colin Guinn was the global face of DJI on YouTube, known for his tutorials on using the Phantom, he specifically credited his team for DJI’s 27,000 Facebook likes and 30,000 YouTube subscribers and millions of views in the injunction against DJI that was filed on 22nd of January 2014.

The fact 3D Robotics is a US company and Guinn has experience building up a multicopter brand in America makes for an interesting combination.

The multicopter masses had a love hate relationship with Colin Guinn, his tutorials on the Phantom were universally well received but there was frustration that problems such as fly-aways were never really addressed except on one video by Mitch Bergsma, which DJI recently tried to have taken down but appeared to relent after a social media outcry, even this video presented fly-aways as a preventable user error which isn’t a fair analysis.

If Colin Guinn enters the social media limelight for 3D Robotics, it would be welcomed if this time around there’s a more open and honest appraisal of the benefits along with the risks of using multicopters.

Colin Guinn clearly is successful at marketing but new users of multicopters such as those from professional photography backgrounds expect excellent customer service such as that offered by Canon, so marketing spin alone isn’t enough.  3D Robotics has to date offered, especially to IRIS users, very good customer service, that is a focus it cannot afford to lose.

In the injunction against DJI, the marketing achievements of Colin Guinn were cited:

3D Robotics is playing catch up, whilst its newest quadcopter the IRIS has a loyal following and has a lot of power features, it clearly wasn’t designed for video photography and the offering of the Tarot gimbal really isn’t inspiring.  With Colin Guinn on board, could his passion for creating video with multicopters help 3D Robotics redefine its product offerings?

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  • Developer


    A stable tune will return to level in stabilize when you jerk the stick suddenly in roll or pitch. 

    I start with a Stab_P of something conservative like the default 4.5.

    Then a conservative Rate_D of .005

    Try a rate_P of .1 and increase to give it more responsiveness. You may be able to go up quite high, but the goal is to  get it to respond well, not perfect.

    Once it flies OK and returns to level without feeling out of control, try Auto-tune. 

    The reason you want it to be somewhat tuned before starting is the gains are swapped with every set point change. If your gains aren't in the ballpark, it won't return to level under control. Or you may have issues when you bring it back to you after it has drifted away due to wind. 


  • Jason Short How exactly do you start with a stable tune?  My ESCs are rated far higher than the motors I'm using anyway, it's a Vulcan quad (with reduced sized arms so smaller than an F550) and a Vulcan quad with long arms, in the region of an S800 in size.

  • Developer

    And BTW, Colin has been terrific to work with and I'm really excited he's here at 3DR!


  • Developer


    I spent some time with Leonard last week testing and reviewing Auto-tune. What I learned was Auto-tune won't crash your copter if you start with a stable tune, but it will crash a copter that isn't properly spec'd. 

    Large copters can easily overpower and burnout ESCs or loose sync when doing these 20° step changes in angle. This is not really the fault of the auto-tune algorithm or Pixhawk. If something goes wrong during the test, it was bound to happen eventually in flight. I would avoid SimonK ESC's in any motor than can draw a lot of current. When you have a large moment arm on a copter, the added speed of SimonK is useless anyway. Better to stick with well filtered traditional ESCs.



  • On no Rob_Lefebvre that's not good !  Up until the IRIS I've always had DJI, but my background is in software testing (video-photography is a second job and a passion) so I soon picked up on a pattern of poor testing, I wouldn't be surprised if earlier firmware went out without any testing whatsoever.  In any industry poor testing is unacceptable, but in the multicopter industry where the copters can cause serious harm and potentially death it's utterly unforgivable.  With that in mind I've already started removing DJI gear from my copters which I'm shortly going to put on eBay, the recent problems with the A2 made my mind up, because if DJI won't ensure quality on its most expensive flight controller then what hope is there for all the users on the Naza?

    My concern using the Pixhawk is the autotune looks a little bit scary to use on an expensive rig, but I guess I'll have to try it and see.

  • I'd love to see DJI try and pass an ISO audit.

    Unfortunately, I'm sure they could pass an ISO audit just fine. The thing about ISO, is it's not about "quality" in the sense that most people assume.  It's just about "do what you document, document what you do".  So if you document that you put out crap quality, that's totally fine.  If one of your core operating methods is "Never ever admit to bugs, ever." then that is totally fine too.

  • On that point I hope the DJI trend of "competitions" where they give only a few winners then use every piece of content submitted doesn't happen either as it comes across as intellectual theft via small print.

  • Oh,does this mean 3dr will be offering "sponsorships" where in exchange for a one-time gift of their low-end non-professional product line, you must commit just a few days a month to doing a few professional shoots, every month, indefinitely, with no compensation, not even travel expenses. Oh, but he did say that one of the benefits would be that you could call for support if you had a problem on your shoot, unlike their CUSTOMERS. The fact that Colin and DJI made this proposition, with a straight face, makes him another corporate sociopath in my book. If you think about it, that proposition is just shy of indentured servitude. Maybe that's how they do it in China.
  • One of the UAV Hive boys asked Colin Guinn just this week if he was interested in a role in RoboQuad 2, he's not replied yet, he's probably too afraid but if he declines we can find a role for you Chris. ;-)

  • Developer

    Thanks Andy but of course, i'm kidding.

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