Isolated frame Octa will soon be ready.


Following on from the very successful H quad with vibration isolated arms I decided to build something that would lift a DSLR or larger.

Is seems a hex has marginal chances of surviving a single drive failure so I opted for an octa. The H8 was quite an attractive layout but the loss of efficiency and lift was too much so I decided to build a flat 8. It also had to fold down to less than 35cm wide if possible. I wanted to keep a vibration isolation system but the method used on the quad was not suitable. I opted for a separate frame which carries all the heavy and vibration sensitive items like controller and camera, all suspended on silicone ‘O’ rings. Rings can be added or tightened to ‘tune’ the system. Provision is in place for z axis O rings if required but with 6 rings it each corner it is already very stiff in all axis.

I was part way through the build and struggling to get the folding arm system working nicely when my son ordered a 3d printer. I was very sceptical despite their popularity on this site.

After the first few printed items came off I wondered how I ever managed without one and my poor son didn’t get a look in – sorry Leo.

Once all the plastic parts are printed it doesn’t take very long to cut the carbon to length and assemble it.

eCalc suggests it will have a max TOW of 8kg (inc 3.3 kg payload) and hover time of 11 mins at that weight. More realistically, with a DSLR and 4 x 5AH 4s is should be about 5.3kg and 22 mins. (This is using MT4008-12 with 14x4.7 props)

I am considering a production run of these frames once this one is proven.




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  • Hugues. Did you see my blog on the gimbal build?

    There was still some lateral (y axis) shake on the camera so I changed the mount plate from the white solid one to a damped one. If you enlarge the picture of the underside of the copter (above) you can see the new black mount suspended on orange o rings. There are also some sorbothane pads between the moving parts to dampen movement. You can also see the new ‘cam, shaped zoom wheel.

    I used a HCMI converter like this, and trimmed it down to the essentials. It’s the thing wrapped in green tape above.


    The NEX cable is this one.


    Sorry I don’t know my Alexmos settings. It will take a while to connect up the board and check.


  • MR60

    I am impressed with the vibration free video. To understand how your gimbal is attached to your frame and with which vibration isolation, do you have pictures or schematics?

    What are your alexmls PID and power parameters for roll and tilt?

    What cable do you use to output live monitoring from the nex5 without too much rigidity?

  •   That is really cool that you share info.

  • very nice Vince...

  • Will consider that but the frame is not so easy to make in its current form. Perhaps with the new printer I will make clip together corners for the frame. Trouble is, I keep refining Mk1. Mk2, Mk3. I should just make some to sell. People are also queuing up for my new printer which I never expected.

  •    Asome to say the least.

    Are you going to offer those file's so other's can print some out.

  • Testing the NEX and ginbal.

  • The Octa has recently been producing some nice video and stills but there were a few little jobs that needed completing.

    I had intended to 3D print a cover for the electronics but the current machine is not big enough so I had to resort to my pre-printer construction technique, carbon and vacuum bag. Fairly pleased with the results. looks Ok and only weighs 40g.

    3692886545?profile=originalIt can be folded in various ways without disconnecting ANY wires.

    This is the 5 minute fold.3692886620?profile=originalAnd the 15 minute fold.

    3692886557?profile=originalUnfortunately during the re-wiring I smoked a minimOSD by getting the connector one pin out.

    The video from the Sony NEX is converted by a HDMI/AV (the thing in green tape) and there is a video switch where I can select NEX or FPV HAD2 (with OSD). The NEX has remote zoom and remote IR stills/video switch.

    It all adds up to a lot of wires.

    3692886638?profile=originalI have also added more vibration isolation for the gimbal using yet more O rings and sorbothane pads.

    Ready to go (except its dark outside)

    3692886677?profile=originalI have found the little 3D printer so useful I have designed a big one which is almost finished.


  • I like this forum. We all have different requirements, theories and preferences which makes it interesting...ME TOO...its not about going fast,its about surface wind hits(props are also big surface disk)..also i always been told copter arms should not bend(one of example is autotune wont work)...but u are right about crash time,with strong arms you wreck other parts(motor wires) more expensive than arm itself...and dont get me wrong,i like what u did with your octa but things can always be better...x8 and y6 can fold much smaller and be more portable wich is for me essential when u do video somewhere in nature far from roads....

  • I like this forum. We all have different requirements, theories and preferences which makes it interesting.

    When I built the Octa I wanted heavy lift, efficiency, reliability and low camera vibration. I didn't need it to go anywhere fast, especially during filming. Its now working very well with rock steady video at 55mm zoom.

    For 'chase' video I use the quad with gopro and have just done some film for a TV cycling documentary in windy conditions.

    There may be a time when a X8 etc seems the best answer but that efficiency hit is a problem for me.

    Expensive carbon arms? Yes I have always wondered why other copter builders use such fat expensive arrns. My 12mm ones will take about 8x more bending force than the motor can give and should snap in a crash instead of wrecking other parts. They also flex a bit (see above video) and absorb vibs.

    I dont know if one big motor and ESC  is 2x the price of 2 smaller motors for the same lift. Perhaps someone else has the time to figure it out.

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