Homemade Hexacopter Powered by Arducopter

I thought i would share my hexacopter build with the world, it's not finished as of yet but it is getting there.

This is my second multicopter build; the first being a quadcopter which i may make a build log about as well but basically it was to see if my choice of building materials etc would hold up with the hexacopter project.

 

Components I am using:

- NTM Prop Drive 35-36A series (1800k/v @ 875W)

- HobbyKing Redbrick 80amp esc

- Ardupilot Mega board

          - Megnetometer

          - Xbee Pro Telemetry

          - GPS Module

- Spektrum DX8 tx/rx

- 10x4.5 props

- Carbon Fibre square tube 6mm

- Carbon Fibre sheets 300x300mm

- M3 nuts,bolts etc

- 3Amps @ 5v Micro UBEC

- Turnigy 5Ah 3cell (11.1V) LiPo (x2) (havent purchased yet)

- Assortment of silicon wire (24awg, 14awg, 10awg, 4awg)

- Assortment of plugs etc

 

Thought i'd better edit the post and add some of the first pictures i had taken...

 

Now only if i had access to a laser cutting or CNC machine... one can dream i guess. Main chassis plates:

 

 

Motor "mounts". Yes you may say i did a poor job of the mounts (not very well designed) but i wanted a light mount (so i could keep frame weight to a minimum) and something nice looking. I didn't go the modular approach with any of the frame design as i didnt see the point in my circumstance. to change the motor incase one breaks there are 4 phillips head screws i can undo to get it off. The roughly cut x-brace under the motor was to see how well it would work with a brace there. The gap between the 'shafts' on the arms is taller now and the x-brace is nicer to look at ;)

 

Getting ready for the assembly of the frame :)

Bog roll there was to wipe off excess locktight and i was sick at that stage and we had run out of tissues...

 

 

A third of the way there... thinking this thing is going to be huge. Always looks bigger off paper

 

 

Mainframe assembly complete. motors attached and escs placed where i think they should go.

 

Comparison next to my quadcopter:

 

 

Power distribution looms:

 

I will upload more pictures as i make progress. i will receive a new esc next week as well as the rest of the components i'm waiting on.

 

To do:

- Battery tray (another sheet of carbon fibre (hexagonal in shape) that will be suspended underneath the mainframe centre)

- Landing gear (not sure on how to tackle this yet)

- Connect electronics

- Find a method to mount the Arducopter Mega in between main frame CF sheets (throught the hole in the top sheet)

- Make up some brackets to mount GPS, Xbee Pro, Rx onto

- Probably numerous other small things

 

I would put down weights and stuff but as i havent finished the build it is a bit hard to say, but weights so far and projected weights are:

- Mainframe with escs, motors and all heavy wiring = 2100 grams

- Mainframe by itself = 600 grams

- Battery weight = 860 grams (10Ah)

 

So total flying weight im hopeing for is 3000 grams but i've given myself a worst case senario of 3500 grams.

Total lift with 10x4.5 props = 17.4kg (i was hopeing for more but because they are such high rpm motors the best props i wasn't able to find in both puller and pusher)

So worst case senario power:weight is around 5:1 so i could get around a 10kg maximum payload i guess (still gives me a 2:1 power to weight); I would have to wait and see about that though.

 

I tested power consumption of the motors with around 3.5kg of weight and i calculated i will have around 15 to 20 minutes flight time without a payload and i have made enough room for 20Ah of batteries if i want that bit extra flight time.

 

So far im happy with the frame and its strength. it takes considerable force to even move the arms and bend it.

 

If you want any pictures taken of it and uploaded i'm happy to do so and any feedback would be greatly appreciated and if you have any questions i will do my best to answer them as soon as i can.

 

Regards,

Jamie Good

 

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UPDATE:

 

So after a couple days of work and study i have had a part day to work on the hexacopter. Today i had my first flight (didn't go above 1 metre from the ground). There will be a couple hours of PID 'tuning' to do to get it to fly nicely. At the moment hover is at about 35% throttle (thats with a linear throttle curve). My hover power consumption estimations were a bit out as in hover the maximum i recorded was 54 amps (instead of my initial prediction of 40 or so amps) so my flight time with 10Ah of batteries wont be what i predicted.

The main components adding greatly to the weight I still have to make/install are landing gear which i hope to do as lightly as possible and i need to add another CF 'layer' to hold the batteries (unless i figure out another nice,clean way to hold batteries). so im hoping i will only have to add another 300 grams or so... fingers crossed.

I was wanting a video to post now but as my partner wasn't home and i dont have a proper camcoder etc (have to use our phones) i will need to wait for her to get home. Hopefully my batteries will be charged and it will still be light by that time so im hoping i can upload one tonight.

 

If anyone knows of an easy way to tune the PID values could you please let me know? as of now i am flying, landing, adjusting (up or down as needed) which is very time consuming and annoying.

 

Thankyou,

Jamie

 

 

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UPDATE:

 

Second ever flight. I changed the PID values a little to make for a 'smoother' flight... but they are a long way off from where they should be. Again if anyone knows an easy way to tune them it would be awesome if you share them.

Hopefully i can get these settings calibrated and frame finished so i can upload a proper flight video for everyone. Can;t wait to get a camera on it!

 

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UPDATE:

 

Took the copter out again today to show a couple mates. Still haven't touched the PID values but i plan on doing some tonight after learning that i can adjust each value via channel 6 (the pot) on my Tx, which should make things easier. All components are still sitting ontop of the chassis which isn't ideal as the IMU isn't level with the copter but i can just compensate with the controls :P.

 

Nice windy day at the beach :).

 

 

"Can it land on the table?"

"I Guess..."

 

 

Flying in a Garage... dont you just love Prop wash?

 

 

Also here are some pictures taken from the day. Please excuse the mess sitting ontop of the chassis :)

 

 

After a couple minutes of tidying the electronics i have a couple things where they should be...

 

Also while i'm thinking about it, i need a way to tell the orientation of the thing while its up in the air... i was thinking maybe some fluro orange tape or paint and make an arrow or line underneath a couple of the arms... any ideas?

Views: 16559

Comment by Nick on October 8, 2011 at 9:41pm

That's really nice, did you make the other one too? How much did each one cost without the APM?

Comment by jpknobel on October 8, 2011 at 9:49pm

Thanks Nick. Yeah i made the quadcopter as well, it was my first multicopter and it was good fun.

The Quadcopter cost me around $150. that includes everything except for chargers, apm, rc controller.

The Hexacopter has cost me around $520. but i estimate total costs to be $600 including batteries, doesn't include APM or rc controller. I would also LOVE to get a GoPro HD and learn FPV.

Comment by Don Cramer on October 8, 2011 at 9:55pm

What kind of props are you planning on running on this? KV being twice what we normally run on multirotors  it seems you will have to prop it differently (less pitch).

 

Excellent looking built!

Comment by Don Cramer on October 8, 2011 at 9:57pm

duuh.. you mention 10x4.5 in your post. Disregard my last comment :)

Comment by jpknobel on October 8, 2011 at 9:58pm

Thanks Don. At the moment i am running 10x4.5 props on it which i get around 2900 grams lift per motor. i was hoping for a 10x3 prop which i could have got around 3500 grams from which would have been 21kg total thrust... but i couldn't find both pusher and puller props so i am stuck with the 10x4.5s for now

Comment by nubli hashim on October 8, 2011 at 11:56pm

nice build.. following your build enthusiastically. my attempt on Y6 frame was somehow success, so trying to build hexa next.. currently stucked with quad

 

 

Comment by jpknobel on October 9, 2011 at 12:01am

Thanks mate. I contemplated building a Y6 frame but due to the inefficiencies of the coaxial motor design (albeit a small amount) and the fact that a standard hexa will be twice as stable as a Y6 configuration i decided with the standard hexa. The Y6 configuration looks cool/better though. Hopefully i'll add extra to the build log within a week. 

Comment by ErickMendes-BR on October 9, 2011 at 12:01am

Very nice setup, finaly i know what to do with my two NTM Prop Drive 35-36A series (1800k/v @ 875W) (useless untyl now - going to buy plus four), I'm going to copy your project if you don't mind, maybe change the arms to tubes (gonna raise arms costs from U$ 102,00 to U$ 40,00).

But first I wish to know where you bought the 300x300 CF sheets, cause in HobbieKing is selling onlu 300X100 sheets, second doubt o'mine is how did u managed to cut the sheets of CF so nice....(CNC codes?)

And third but also important, can u take a pic of the motors mount?

Tanx, and if you wish to come to Brazil, (we have the most beautiful women of the world) u could stay in my place Ok... See ya...

 

Comment by jpknobel on October 9, 2011 at 12:12am

Cheers Erick... no worries, if you need any help etc let me know. The CF sheets i purchased were from an Aussie seller on eBay, they were AUD$49 a sheet. if you wish i can find a link to his eBay Store but im not sure if he ships overseas... i'm guessing you could ask. I cut the CF sheets with a dremel (rotary tool) with a cutting disc on it and finished it needle pliers. haha i don't plan on going to Brazil anytime soon (sucks being a student out of home :)), but i believe my partner and i want to head over there sometime this lifetime as it looks absolutely beautiful (should go over as a single guy). anyway... give me a couple days and i'll upload a pic of the "motor mounts".
I was going to use CF tubing for the arms but could not find the hardware i wanted to mount stuff to them. i also think the 6mm tubing in the configuration i have used would be stronger than any 600+ size heli tail boom (if thats what your using).
The NTM Prop Drives would be awesome with a 10x3 prop (i only have 10x4.5) so if you find some (both puller and pusher) let me know :D.

Cheers,

Jamie Good

Comment by Alexander on October 9, 2011 at 6:45am
Nice design!

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