Look what showed up in my Google ads! The APM-ready Scout UAV carbon fiber quadcopter frame is now available.


$360 complete with ESCs, motors and props seems like a very good deal.




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Comment by Simone Chiaretta on September 14, 2011 at 6:47am

Really good deal...

I think you guys need to start changing your pricing now that many other companies are coming out with compatible frames:

  • Arducopter (frame + ESC, motor, props) costs 326USD but it's plastic and not carbon.
  • Arducopter kit with electronic costs 534+60 (594USD) while the Scout 3 ARF Quadcopter Kit costs 580 and electronics are even already soldered 



3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on September 14, 2011 at 6:56am

Simone, I think you're confusing two different things. The Scout ARF kit with electronics is just a RC quad, not an autonomous UAV like ArduCopter. It comes with Arduino mini board, not APM.  They don't offer a RTF version with APM yet.

Comment by Simone Chiaretta on September 14, 2011 at 7:02am

Yes, missed the fact that it's a Arduino Mini (even if it could become a UAV just by changing that part)

Looking at the frame only, Carbon vs plastic is much more than 30USD IMHO

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on September 14, 2011 at 7:07am

If you don't like polycarbonate, ArduCopter is also available in a carbon fiber/aluminum version for $170. A version with motors/ESC/props included is coming soon.




Comment by Simone Chiaretta on September 14, 2011 at 7:14am

Don't get me wrong.. I already have an arducopter in polycarbonate (even if I still have to sit down and assemble it).

Mine was just a consideration based on what I'm seeing in the market

Comment by Russell - ScoutUAV.com on September 14, 2011 at 10:39am

Hey Chris, Thanks for the mention!  I had quite a few people asking me about selling a kit and so I am.  Thanks!   

Comment by Michael Pursifull on September 14, 2011 at 10:52am

For anyone who does not have one, I can offer some quick figures from my new 3DR frame (I'm sure the figures are also available in the DIY Drones store, these are taken from my own build.) Figures are for frame and PDB only, no motors, ESCs, or electronics. 


Cost is $170 (compared to the Scout's list price of $225) so the 3DR is $55 cheaper (ignoring the $25 discount for the scout frame listed at the moment) 


Box-mesured dimensions are 18.5" x 18.5" x 7 1/8th", longest dimension (along arm axis) diagonal 25.5" with 24.5" diagonal from motor shaft to shaft. I tend to pay more attention to the diagonal distance, so I give them both here. It tells me more about clearance to the center, with props, for electronics. 


So it is a little bit larger than the Scout dimensions listed of 17.75" x 17.75" x 4.5" if those are box dimensions, or quite a bit larger if the Scout dimensions are diagonal. 


My build weight (varies depending on how much solder you use on the PDB) is 441.5g. Please note that the 3DR frame has 2cm or 3/4" square aluminum tube arms, so they are a lot more study than some of the smaller aluminum arms you may have seen. The very wide landing gear on the 3DR give 11" of clearance at the frame and they widen to 17" at the ground (diagonal distance, gear to gear) or 9" x 11" in a box measurement (squared)


This puts the 3DR at over twice the weight of the Scout, at 190g. It is not clear if the scout weight includes the "power distribution cable" that comes with it. The 3DR weight does include the PDB, which combines a power harness for the ESCs with distribution of the ESC BEC power and signal cables. 


I haven't flown this yet, and it is my first purchased frame. It is the heaviest frame I have, the previous three are all custom frames, but it is also the most sturdy and I expect it will tolerate crashes w/o damage better. I hope to write up something on my experiences with it when I have more to share. I only have the photos to go on with the Scout frame, but I suspect that the CF frame arms will be less tolerant of crashes than the 3DR arms, given that they consist of sandwiched flat sections of CF joined with what looks like spacers. This might allow for flex/cracking under the force of a hard landing on the arm. I have put one in my cart twice since this article was posted, as I am eager to try it, but I have too many projects in my queue right now and haven't followed through with the purchase. 


I still have an unflown Bixler, a new custom quad frame to tune, a design for an octo to complete, and this 3DR to complete, not to mention two more aircraft in boxes, an unflown APM/IMU, and three payload prototypes to finish and fly. :) It really is a serious illness. 

Comment by Mike on September 14, 2011 at 12:07pm

Quad frames do seem rather expensive when you compare them with other airframes - helis and planks seem way cheaper for a lot more engineering...

Comment by Michael Pursifull on September 14, 2011 at 12:35pm

Quads in general are more expensive, I think, considering:

*Lower volume of sales overall 

*Four or more times the cost in motors and ESCs

*Cannot fly them with just receivers, servos, and ESCs; need gyros/controller boards


Of course collective heli's will be expensive, but you get get coaxial units for under $100 as toys and some of the others are not much more. 


But most of all, I think the quad frame cost issue is just a simple matter of volume. A lot of them are manufactured in small quantities by experienced fliers-turned-sellers, and are not mass produced.

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on September 14, 2011 at 12:40pm

You can buy a quadcopter frame from HobbyKing for $15. As the owner of one, I suggest you buy three or four. You'll need them ;-)


With quadcopters, like much in life, you get what you pay for.



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