So this is my first actual build log on DIY Drones as I didn't want to be constantly updating the main page with little nitty gritty things. When things get quiet on a build log, you can assume people are busily working on their projects! I wanted to give a shout out to everyone that has made the APM purchase and setup a fairly easy process (with lots of reading, research and preparation).


I had started researching multicopters last December after I had sold a HK-600 after not liking the quality of it, and sick of trex-450 sized helicopters needing to be fixed constantly. Once I found the rcgroups discussion board and started my own build thread. See that for the specifics of what I have been doing for the past 8 months. We essentially started with an open source concept for a frame and camera gimbal but it never came to fruition. We drew everything up in Adobe Illustrator.


I knew I wanted to have functionality and immediately chose to go with the APM flight controller.


So over the past week I have managed to do all of my wiring up, mount the esc's, ensure they are calibrated correctly, mount the GPS, mount the APM, took off the 3.5mm bullets and put 4mm connectors on each motor lead, add deans to each motor wire to connect to the main harness and then removed them and wired it in directly, loaded the newest firmware and manage to reliably get three mores out of my dx6i without too much arsing around. I have it start in stabilize and can go into position hold or RTL. I can set it up do a mission of waypoints (AUTO) but it will not be often I will do that as it stands right now. Once I get the multicopter trimmed out I plan to attach a camera gimbal to it for aerial photo/video.

In terms of wiring, I wired two separate loops with seven wires coming from them each. I mounted them below the booms in the middle layer and above the booms in the middle layer. It fits in there quite nicely. From building it, I can already see that my next setup have the wiring going down the inside of the booms to make it cleaner looking.

I still need to balance the props but I wanted to spool it up for a brief proof of concept that it all works after 8 months of shagging around reading rc-groups, diy-drones and anything else that I could in relation to it. It was nice to see it working all at once. I have to equate the sound  to about roughly the same as a trex 450, if not slightly louder.

I am hoping to tighten down a battery and do a maiden flight sometime in the next two evenings. I noticed that I was only going about a 1/4 throttle still when things started to get light. I quickly realized my roll and cyclic channels need to be reversed in the APM setup. I still have a problem with putting something on the hexacopter for orientation. I bought some ping pong balls but have no idea how to mount them yet without adding added turbulence and inherent vibration as a result. It is setup in 'X' mode for AP use. Any suggestions would be much welcome.I still also need to solder in a LIPO monitor or two and also install the telemetry modules I have ordered. A video FPV system needs to be selected and purchased which will be suitable for my needs and already purchased hardware.

The above is a very short test of my work so far.




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Comment by Kirill on August 30, 2011 at 9:51pm

Good work and nice build log!

Comment by Brad Carter on August 30, 2011 at 10:05pm

Wow, way past my bedtime reading your thread over at rcgroups.  Congratulations on the build.  I really wanted to build my first one from scratch like you did but finally decided to order a frame to get started.  I was getting frustrated with all the options out there and the only flying I've done is with a Blade MSR heli so I don't have much experience.  I figured I'll take my time building my own while having fun flying the quad I ordered.


I also want to do aerial photography and have a friend who is a filemaker dying to see what kind of shots I can get.  I didn't get far enough in your thread at rcgroups, how's the camera mount coming along?

Comment by Grips on August 31, 2011 at 3:21am

I purchased one of the x468 medium size camera mounts to test out. Its alright but I would not be using it for anything larger than a go-pro. With that we also had a skid design, which in essence is fairly simply to design but the problem is having the material cut in G10 or CF. By the time you get a price and ship it to yourself, your almost paying the cost of one of the pre-made solutions, Droid, X468, Rusty's (significantly cheaper although) I'm honestly hoping to pickup a Photoshipone MKtr mount to use with an SLR as it has been proven over and over to work reliably. Unfortunately, with the slew of people designing their own mount and landing gear, nothing has been tested as rigorously as the PS1 products and/or Droidworx.


Thanks for the comments :)


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