I asked my girlfriend what she wants for the holidays. She smiled, saying she wants something sexy, colorful, that comes in a small box, something the perfect size and shape. Naturally, I fired up a 3D editor, warmed up my awesome PolyPrinter and made a …  3DR Pixhawk mass model!

My girl is very smart, and when she figured out what I was up to, she was curious about why I'd make a mass model for her. I admitted that, of course, I have a few Pixhawk autopilots on order, but the printed mass model was something we…. errr… she could use right now. I guess she could see how excited I am about the Pixhawk because she told me I could keep it!

Which is really fortunate, since I suspect that I have the greater need for a mass model of the Pixhawk. I've got a new plane, not yet trimmed,  Given that the new autopilot release is expected very soon, I figured I would go ahead and layout the plane with the Pixhawk in mind. After all, I don't want to risk the real gear on my dodgy piloting skills in an unbalanced plane. I also don't want to complicate PID tuning with balancing and trimming at the same time. Besides using the mass model as an aide to help balance my new plane, I am already using it to help outfit and test other vehicles, including a boat, some of my new multicopter designs (strictly physical layout and balance right now) and for a rover project.

My girlfriend asked how things might unfold if I had correctly figured out what she wanted for the holidays. I reassured her by admitting that if she had really wanted the Pixhawk mass model, I probably would have simply printed another one for me. If you don't already have a 3D printer (and even if you already do) I recommend checking with the guys over at PolyPrinter. They are fellow makers, and regulars with the Dallas Makerspace, where a PolyPrinter has been precisely and quickly laying down plastic (and evolving) almost non-stop for at least long as I've been a member. 

A few minor disclosures:

- This model is based on publicly available specs and art. I don't have a Pixhawk yet, and that is another reason I made the model. When I get my hands on the actual gear, I'll update the mass model because it is still very useful for designing and testing, even when I have the real thing. 

- I'm not affiliated with 3DR, other than as a customer. So this model is not "official." I just like to share.

- I'm not affiliated with PolyPrinter, other than as a customer. I have experience with other 3D printers, and this is simply the happiest-making printer I've ever used. No DIYer or self-respecting prototyped should be without a good 3D printer, and the PolyPrinter is a great printer. 

In the spirit of sharing, I'm posting the Sketchup and STL files for this (draft) Pixhawk mass model. I recommend slicing with wall thickness of 2.5mm, 33.3% infill, circular. This produces a model that is around 40.5g. I printed at the lowest quality, but I think it still came out looking very nice. Please ignore the rough spots in the photo, even at the lowest quality, those are actually from me messing about with a dremel tool, and are not from the printer.

Once the model was printed, I shaved a bit of the plastic off to bring it down to about 39 grams. The spec reports 38 grams, but I'm going to leave it a bit heavy until I can measure it myself, with SD card and extra connectors. The servo, USB, reset, and SD slots are great places to drill out excess plastic to get the weight exactly right. I added a bit of color by hot flowing some crayon to meet the girlfriend's original requirements, and I think it really helps to bring detail for this photo.

I have the best girlfriend. And soon, I'll be swapping out my PX4s for 3DR Pixhawks, and more safely thanks to this model. Here's wishing you get a Pixhawk or two in your stockings this season!

STL Model: PixHawk-MM.stl

Google Sketchup: PixHawk-MM.skp

Views: 3178

Comment by Quadzimodo on December 11, 2013 at 6:29pm
Thanks so much for sharing. This is a great resource.

I have a scale model of the pcb and components 90% complete (built in sketchup), which I will finish up over the holidays and post. If you don't mind, I would like to integrate your case design, so to save myself the trouble (I am not that skilled at curvilinear stuff - rectilinear is my thing)!

P.S. Be sure to post an image clearly showing the size of the diamond earrings your girlfriend receives this Christmas!

Comment by Michael Pursifull on December 11, 2013 at 7:36pm

Thank you! Please do feel free to use it however you like. I made it for my purposes, and share it freely. It is pretty rough, and based on images and rough estimates, but when I get a unit in my hands, I'll hope to update it.

Comment by Gary Mortimer on December 11, 2013 at 10:18pm

V nice

Comment by Joshua Ott on December 12, 2013 at 1:10am

Good to see you around here again!

Comment by Morli on December 12, 2013 at 2:09am

Nice project, welcome back. I guess it pays to be a GF :)

Comment by Jethro Hazelhurst on December 12, 2013 at 4:07am

Very cool! I appreciate this!

Comment by Dan Neault on December 12, 2013 at 5:04am

Thanks, saved me some work :)

Comment by Mark Kellogg on December 12, 2013 at 11:09pm

Great work...and I think your girlfriend is just waiting for the real thing.  I mean who could resist a genuine Pixhawk.  After all, it's small, shiny, full of rare earth metals, and pleasant to hold.  It's probably smarter than most folks one meets in any given day, very loyal ( it will even return to home when she loses contact), stays on the straight and level, and best of all after she gets to know it for a few months she can, with a bit of time at the laptop, change it's behavior to anything she wants.  What's not to love!

Comment by Joshua Johnson on February 2, 2014 at 3:03pm

I am sorry to say but I really could care less about what your girlfriend wants and your sexual innuendos in this blog... It's very inappropriate for a website about Do it yourself Drones... 

Comment by Michael Pursifull on February 2, 2014 at 3:11pm
@JJ: one of the two of us might not know the meaning of the term "sexual innuendos." Can you help me understand to what you are referring? It's my impression that you simply are mad with me for trying to help you, and for holding the view that a blog post asking people to vote on the the winning score of a football game wasn't related to drones even if you were offering a multicopter frame for winning. But I am still interested in fixing any improper behavior in my post. But I'll need your help to understand it. Thanks!


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