Indoor fun with a tiny ArduCopter quadcopter

Do you have an Ardupilot Mega and shield and want some fun for little money? check this tiny quad... my last drone in family...

Some specs:
- Size : 26.5cm (10.4 inches) from motor to motor
- Motors : 18-11 200kv 10 gram motors
- Props : 4x2.5 (standard CCW props)
- ESCs : Turnigy 6A
- Battery : 3S610 (or 3S800)
- Sonar : Maxbotics LV-EZ0 [optional]

The nice part about this frame is that it use standard kite parts, so it´s very easy to construct and it´s perfect for some radical tests.
Itried to find a bit different design that also make the quad less simmetrical (it´s very easy to loss the orientation with a quad) and I wanted to do as small as posible to flight indoors...
At this size and weight it´s very safe and robust also. The props use prop savers and this help a lot in crashes...
I am not very good writing... so I took a lot of photos during the build phase and I created a build log:

This code supports a sonar for altitude hold and also has a battery alarm (2 alarms).
Thisquad works with ArduCopter code, but because how main board is mounted, actual code doesn´t work. This is the code that I used with this quad :
(as zip format: )
note that this will be integrated on main Arducopter code. Now is temporarily in a branch.
ThePID gains are different than in standard ArduCopter, so you need to Initialize EEPROM on Configurator or put this ones manually:
-Stable mode: P : 4.8 ; I : 0.12 ; P_rate (D in configurator) : 0.4 ; Yaw : (4.5 ,0.15 ,2.8 )
-Acrobatic mode : P : 0.75 ; I : 0.1 ; D : 0 ; Yaw : (2.4 ,0.2 ,0 )

OK, but was all so perfect like in the video? I don´t believe that...
Yes, you are right, but fortunately this design is very crash resistance... and this part is also fun...

After all this battles I only needed a few drops of ciano in the crash with the lamppost :-)

What´s the real size?

On center, standard arducopter frame, on left, old ArduIMU quadcopter part III, on right-top this project.

And what about the automatic aerobatics on video?
I am starting to test a new function to do automatic aerobatics (Automatic Aerobatic Procedure). The idea is that you enable this function with a switch in the Tx to make an automatic predefined aerobatic and then automatically recover to a stable mode.
Thisis actually a proof of concept but works very nice. One limit here is the maximun rate of the gyros, in our case 500deg/s. If we exceed this, the IMU get confused...
An interesting point to note is that the IMU doesn´t loose the orientation in this hard movements...
Thestory is that I have never feel too much confidence doing flips manually with quads. Then I start thinking that with an automatic code we can get a precise timing and controled movement so maybe this could help to do better aerobatics. I started testing this function outdoor, on an open field but I was improving the code and got more tightly maneuvers, so tight, that I ended up doing flips with a quad inside my room!!!

Here is the code I was testing : (AAP function:
AAP.txt )
I implemented this functionality as a state machine where there are three kind of states:
- fixed commands for a limited period of time. (example : Apply a throttle command)
- fixed commands until we reach some IMU state (example : roll until we reach a certain angle)
- And a mix between this categories and a control (example : Throttle command + stable mode on roll, pitch, yaw)
There are many things to test and improve here but the basic concept works very nice...

If I can get a bit of help from a friend, I will probably made a carbon fuselage for this prototype...

Enjoy this “Science & Fun” mix...

Jose Julio.
Arducopter Team
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  • Sorry, manufacturing is out of the question, I simply don't have the time.

    I don't have access to a CNC machine. The two sets of mounts I made for my own quads I fabricated by controlling a mill by hand. That is super time intensive and would not be feasible to do if I wanted to sell them.

    I'll be glad to send you the files, that's all I can do! Sorry!

  • Also, I have CAD files for motor mounts that will fit these particular HobbyKing 1811 motors and 4mm carbon tubes. I will give them to whoever wants them. I attached them to a post in this thread a while ago, but somehow that post never was published.

    Anyway, whoever wants those drawing files, just ask

  • Jan Vervoorst would you be willing to make some sets of those motor mounts. I'd be happy to pay via paypal. Otherwise my build is at a standstill :/


  • damn. so we don't have any stateside solution for motor mounts?


    I've got nearly everything ordered already, including those APA connectors :/


  • Guys, I'm currently working on a completely redesigned frame for my small quad. The new frame will be much more modular, all parts joined together by screws so things can be replaced in case of a crash. The new frame will be slightly larger and more heavy duty, but maybe people will get some ideas on how they want to build their own version. Stay tuned for pictures, hopefully by the weekend!

  • A warning - Do not use these APA Connectors for the motor mounts.  They are definitely different than what Jose uses.  Jan was very nice and gave me the files for his motor mounts but with many projects at the same time, I have not had the time to make them.  Just so happens a friend made a small 8" M2M across the middle frame out of ply, laser cut and weighs 32gr, so I am going to go that route for a mini quad.  If you can get the actual ones that Jose uses, I am sure you will be fine, but those exact ones, nobody will send to the US.  I opted for 1mm CF (did 7cm x 7cm for a MultiWii Quad) and solid pultruded carbon rods and the frame is incredibly strong, only issue is those motor mounts that are available in the US, otherwise - excellent design.

  • Building one of these too!

  • I was surprised as I didn't make any PID changes from the 2.0.42 code. The center piece I need to redesign but it works fine and looks like a flying ice cube :) I'm using the squared off propellers because the longer non square tip was too close to the center and causing some turbulence that caused it to oclilate bad. I could just put longer arms but I'm waiting for my reverse props to arrive and then will tune it to that and maybe try different length arms.

  • Cool. It flies great! Well done.

  • Just finished my mini quad running the latest APM. Will be adding gps today to test out some of the flight modes. I have some reverse props on order but for now I'm using the twist method to hold the yaw. Works really good though. The styrofoam cage is both light and cheap :) I'm using an 800mAh 3S and getting 7 minutes of hard flight. Probably 10 just hovering. I'm going to try an 1800mAh on it and see if it can carry it and still get more time. I think it's good for simple FPV also so will try to add a 25mW transmitter and very light camera.



    Also show a little of my skywalker that i use for fpv.

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