The Happy Hacker Quad build


The "Happy Hacker Quad" :)

Frame - FR4, Aluminum arms, Carbon motor mounts

Motors - Turnigy 2217's

ESC - Trunigy 18A Plush

Battery - 3000/4000Mah 3S Packs

Arms - 450mm Motor to Motor

Weight - 1020g w/o battery



Test fitting of the carbon CNC motor mounts.My "Happy Hacker" Quadcopter build.

3689445562?profile=originalAlmost all painted ;)

3689445488?profile=originalQuick FPV gear flight.

- Frame inspired by some designs seen online. All components are designed in Solid Works, CNC cut, and painted.

Some flight videos and completed pictures (w/o fpv gear) coming soon...

Feb. 19 - 2012

Completed the HH-Quad, FPV quad in the background.


12 Minute flights on a 4A pack, 17:06 on a 5A Zippy pack.

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  • WOW! I didn't expect to get so much great advice, thank you! One of the biggest problems I have had is finding stuff that is in stock, especially at HobbyKing. I guess this is a popular hobby right now, and most of the good parts I find are out of stock. I would love to buy the Turnigy 9X radio, and many other things from HobbyKing, but they are out of stock. I have an arduino mega that I'm going to use for my "flight controller". Thank you so much for all of your helpful advice, and I will post my build as soon as things start arriving (which may be several weeks considering most of it is coming from China).

  • Everything you picked out should work to build a multicopter, a few suggestions just to make maybe the first time building one a bit easier.

    -Frame -> looks good, fiberglass plates and aluminum arms make for a very durable frame!

    -Motor ESC. I would change these up. You don't need more than 12A ESC's on a 550 sized Quad. Unless you plan to do a heavy lift Quad or highly aerobatic quad. FPV and sport flying, 1000/1500g Quad -> 12A ESC.

    The motors in that combo I have not used, but are < 1000kv and should be OK.

    - Radio looks very cheap, I would spring for a Turnigy 9X, just to have a radio you can upgrade and use for more aircraft, put in decent RF modules, etc. The price is about $20/30 more to do that and you will get a much more capable radio  and still be very low cost.

    - Battery looks good, but you may want to grab a 3A or 4A pack for longer flights. The 2A are better for lighter 300/350 sized quads under 1000g.

    - Props look good, never used those so can't comment. I use APC props which are very good, and I know others who use GemFam's with good results.

    - Acel/Gyro, I used the Nintendo parts, although you should be able to make those work. Check the MultiiWii forums and multiiwii software and check for support of that module.

    - Power dist, those work, although I think its easier to just wire up your own harness for a Quad, with that board you need to also put bullet ends on your ESC power leads so don't forget to buy those also.

    - The charger is very small, your going to be waiting for hours and hours for a pack to charge, try find one with a 2+ or better yet 5A charge rating.

    Just an overall suggestion, if your going to be ordering form HobbyKing you might as well just get the motor's and ESC's and perhaps TX/RX from them. The Plush series ESC's can be flashed for high freqency multirotor use and should work much better than those listed. You can also get a "KK" flight board for $15. This last item I would highly highly recommend getting, this lets you get your quad going right away, tests all motors, esc's and radio gear, and then you can start to build up and tune your own flight computer. Otherwise you don't have a working starting point with anything and this can lead to chasing down issues for a long time/frustrations etc.

    Overall looks good, best of luck on your build, please do a build blog or post your Quad when you get it all together!

  • I have done more research, and changed my game plan a little bit. Here are a bunch of links to all the parts I want to purchase. I already have an arduino mega. Let me know what you think!


    motor/esc combo

    radio Tx/Rx



    accel/gyro IMU

    power distribution

    battery charger

    let me know if those links don't work.

    Thank you so much!

  • @Zach, Your on the right track that reducing vibrations is a good thing on a multicopter, however if this is your first quad I would just mount the motors directly to the booms. Springs on their own, and most foam, make for poor vibration isolation.... Vibration comes from the motor, prop, and components spinning and being off balance, buy a high quality prop balancer (not HK), blance the prop, the balance the motor, and finally get a good quality prop adapter. If you have the tools check for runout of the prop shaft. If you do this you may find "shock mounting" your motor will not be needed. If your not doing video or FPV you won't notice slight or even moderate vibration. Also as M.A. pointed out neoprene or some type of harder compound is required for mounting your motor.

  • This is my first quadcopter build, and I would like your opinion on something. I read somewhere that reducing the vibration from the motors will improve performance of the accelerometer and gyro. To what extent should I worry about vibration? My initial design just included mounting the motors on foam grommets. However, I also came up with a nifty design that holds the motors suspended in springs (see rendering). Is this totally overkill and unnecessary? I appreciate your input.


  • The nylon bolts I had, not sure where they came from. The motors/esc's are Turnigy/HK.

  • That is a great design! I just finished the SolidWorks design for my quadcopter. Out of curiosity where did you source all of your parts? (ie. motors, esc's). Also where did you source the nylon bolts? Thanks for your help!

  • Everything is rounded with a 2mm fillet, and all the holes/slots are 3mm, so for almost everything I used a 2mm & 3mm spiral endmill. The "happy hacker" Defcon logo is done with a combination set down to 1mm for the detail. I would aim to use the largest endmill wherever possible for better tool life. Good luck with your build, hope to see a post when your done. (or along the way...)

  • Looks good. I'm still in the process of designing with solidworks and then CNC cutting it myself. Can you comment on the end-mill/bit sizes you used to cut (especially the slots)? I'm still learning how to do CNC.
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