MakerBot challenge: a video from a multicopter with 3D-printed parts

Inspired by avh's Thingverse 3D files for a replacement ArduCopter frame (shown above), the MakerBot blog has offered a challenge:

9000 internet points and bragging rights to the person who can get me an on-board flight video from any kind of ‘copter sporting any number of printed parts.

I'm not sure what the current conversion rate is between internet points and dollars, but this is worth doing for the bragging rights alone.

Views: 1409

Comment by Sam Kelly on December 28, 2011 at 2:07pm

I have a feeling Alan will get right on this as soon as we're back at 3DR. Just hope using a Fortus machine doesn't count as cheating, which it probably is.

3D Robotics
Comment by Alan Sanchez on December 28, 2011 at 2:28pm

Game on! My girlfiriend is flying my mouse to RI (not the only reason shes coming haha) , Ill start cranking out designs.

Comment by Jack Crossfire on December 28, 2011 at 2:53pm

Can't wait for the carbon fiber makerbot.

Comment by Michael Colton on December 28, 2011 at 3:35pm

I made this video a few months ago. The frame is entirely 3D printed except for the carbon rods. Enjoy the video, I'll post pics of the quad in about an hour.

I win!

Joseph Smith Memorial Building - Aerial Video

Comment by BoBo Flight on December 28, 2011 at 3:48pm
I was starting to draft designs for the whole thing but still undecided on where to send my files to get done and what rapid prototyping material/process (polyjet, etc.) to use. While I have some cool ideas on designs, I question the affordability/sense based on those outstanding questions. For example, does it even make sense to have custom arms made when the aluminum squares or even carbon circular tubes may be cheaper? Any ideas from people on materials available and respective strength in these applications as well as where to get it done/experiences/cost?
Comment by Michael Colton on December 28, 2011 at 5:15pm

As promised. The frame, camera mounts, battery tray, motor mounts, etc. are all 3D printed.

@BoBo: Where the 3D printed stuff shines is trying new designs out. I built my own 3D printer (it's a reprap prusa with some mods) i was able to kick out ideas, fly, fix, try again. Development that may have taken months took days. I don't think the benefits would be as dramatic if I was sending away to a prototyping service.

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on December 28, 2011 at 5:39pm

3D printing is 20.11% off at Shapeways until the end of the year. 

Comment by BoBo Flight on December 28, 2011 at 6:46pm

@Michael -- Wow.  That is fantastic.  Even when I looked at the picture, I didn't realize that the whole thing was 3d printed.  That is great.  Are you using ABS or PLA or something else for material?  I have not worked with these 3d printed materials for this kind of frame before -- your rods look fairly thin (not a bad thing necessarily) -- do you find that there is any or a lot of flex when the motors ramp up to full speed?  What amount of maximum force are you getting out of each motor/prop?  How long are your rods?  What motor/prop?


I COMPLETELY AGREE about getting my own 3D printer :) ... I have been leaning that direction for a while now ... and it keeps coming up.  I am jealous that you already have that step taken care of!  :)  I just don't have that much experience with the somewhat limited materials that are available via DIY 3D printing (mainly PLA and ABS, right???) and in these types of particular applications -- this lack of specific experience leads me to have a lack in confidence that I would be happy with what I could make out of the 3D printer (a design can't always make up for the inherent faults of a material).  Also, it seems like there are TONS of printers popping up all the time and everywhere -- it is almost a bit of mass option overload (good thing in its own way) to me as to which direction to go.


@ Chris -- Thanks.  I was looking at Shapeways but did not know if people had personal experiences with them (good/bad) or if other places were found to be better/affordable.  I also did not know about the discount until the end of the year.  I was aware of their bulk volume discount.  Unfortunately, I don't think that I will finish my designs before year end (holiday stuff).  My priorities are probably in the wrong place :) ...


Thank you ALL!  Definately some cool movements going on right now (with Arduino in 2012, 3D Printing, etc.)

Comment by Roberto Navoni on December 29, 2011 at 8:01am

Dear Friends,

this is result of FOXTEAM frame design i recived today the frame and now start to put on the ACopter32 HW

This is the first video :

You can buy it after some test .

Comment by on December 29, 2011 at 10:31am

I definitely agree with Michael about the advantages of using 3d printers to try new designs out. Esp if you have your own.

@Robots, looks cool.  How much does it weigh and does the main body open up to access electronics?


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