So having started with a Turnigy micro quad and finding that I crash an awful lot and spent more time fixing it than flying, I started building my own frames. Starting with an oversized overweight H-quad (pine wood booms). I simply didn't fly. Really my inexperience of building lightweight flying machines there.

So I rebuilt into a x-quad and drilled the arms out to save some weight. Now I was flying again and I must say, it was pretty good. More robust than the turnigy, but still crashing too much / changing too many props for it to be useful.

I decided that my problem was one of scale. These micro quads are very twitchy, they react faster than your eye can detect and my responses were always to overcompensate until I hit the ground.

So the next build was a balsa boomed x-quad which was dimensionally 1.7 times the size of the pine wood x-quad, for the same weight. I started having more flying time before the crash. But the first crash broke a boom square off. Balsa just doesn't have the strength needed.

Here's a picture of the balsa x-quad with the KK1 controller and without it's fibreglass landing gear (which ended up being very good if a little heavy). You can see the scale difference between the models, despite the same hardware.

Up front is the HK Wing Cam HD (piece of crap) which is sans battery and wrapped in electrical tape to keep it intact. 



Somewhere around here, due to flying a bit with a simulator, I realised that my KK Flight Controller was in rate mode. It's the older KK1 board where there's a fixed firmware. Not sure if it came with rate mode, or whether the previous owner had changed the firmware. But now I understood why I was having such trouble learning to fly when others were flying much more stably. Duh! In hindsight, I'm glad I started with rate mode. I have learnt an awful lot about building strong and light flying machines, which I probably wouldn't have been driven to develop if I could fly 'out of the box'.

Finally I was ready to tackle APM and autonomous flight for the first time. So being on a tight budget, I went for the entry level rip-off of the HK megapirateNG AIO board. I realise that this is wrong on so many levels. It being a rip-off of the Crius AIO board which is essentially a rip-off of the APM2 board. But for $70 including GPS, how can you complain. It's also damn small and light. And I must say it works a treat. 

On my second flight, I got it to loiter! Given it was quite windy and I was flying on a relatively steep slope. Funny story being that. This area is around the Kindergarden at the end of my street. It's by far not the best place to fly, but I only get time off to fly if I can take the twins (3yo) somewhere. 

So you can see in the following video how I have it in loiter then brick-it when I realise the boys have run off down the street whilst I was distracted. Sorry for any intermittent Swiss-German too.

Here's a picture of the final x-quad on the right. After getting it to loiter for the first time, I decided to retire it and build up the micro x-hexa on the left of the picture.



This is the frame. Stiff balsa base plate with carbon spars (12x10) which are definitely oversized but were cheap and the right size and the same weight as the balsa. the split x form of the booms was derived from the want to have H-style straight booms passing through (like the middle boom) but it not fitting with the base plate and the props. So I angled the front and rear booms at about 45°. It's a good compromise between H simplicity and saving weight compared to the standard hex form, and when we get to the landing gear, has a useful benefit.




So after a couple of nights working til late, this is more or less (sans landing gear) the more-or-less hexa. I just made that up based on the boom configuration looking like >|< (programming in joke I guess...).




Interesting Specs:

Distance between motors ~400mm which is rather mini scale on micro equipment

HK MegapirateNG flight controller with APM 2.7 w/ UBLOX NEO-6M

T1811 outrunners with 6030 GWS props run off plush 6A ESCs giving around 160g thrust at full throttle (total 960g)

5.8GHz FPV transmitter with 180mAh 3s LiPo

HK wing cam HD for FPV (but I will be ditching this when my next HK delivery comes).

1.3Ah 2s LiPo with voltage indicator (not in picture).. hmmm must be somewhere in a box still.

The total weight of this kit is 490g. So around 1/2 throttle. Not bad.


I added the helicopter training landing gear... let's see how that performs. Bit on the heavy side at about 20g (mostly due to the heavy foam balls). But as you can see, fits in neatly with the >|< configuration.





Next steps are getting it back in the air - loiter and finally waypoint following. Then get the FPV gear working.

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  • MR60

    Very nice experiment and progress.

    An idea you can try (I've tested that succesfully) : on top and bottom of your balsa plate, coat some epoxy with a layer of cotton fabric (very strong and light fibers, omnidirectional). You will get a "Hugues' plate", as solid as more expensive materials but very cheap.

  • Thanks Doug. I could have / should have written a bit more coherently. Glad the message got across anyway.

  • Ah, a builder after my own heart!

    A+ for your experimentation!


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