Time to try Hexacopters


Was getting annoyed by the stupidly heavy frame of the Scorpion Y650 which is made of thick fibreglass sheets (available from Hobbyking).  With the GoPro sitting on the camera gimbal and a 4S 3000mAh battery I was only getting 6-7 min flying time.  

Had a look at the price of CF sheets and CF 450 size heli tail booms and it looked like an affordable project to design and build a hexacopter from scratch.  Above is the basic design and below is the frame plates assembled with the CF booms and aluminium boom holders.


www.multiwiicopter.comin Queensland sell a clear dome with a 100mm diameter which will fit nicely over the electronics.


3689475686?profile=originalJust this portion of the frame is incredibly light.  I'm quite hopeful that I will get much longer flight times than the Y6 with this design.  Sheered one of the bolts in the process so will need to pull it all apart and try to get the remaining bolt out.


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  • and where's the best place to buy CF tubing?

  • Could you tell me what you searched for when you bought the blue aluminium boom mounts? I can't find anything on eBay that resembles those. They look like good quality too...

  • Nice Build !!

  • Also designing tall retracts for the hex as this is a must with this setup.  Arms will be shorter than my initial design as the center hub is larger.  780kv T-Motors as well since they look sexy (good reason to use a motor).

    With any luck the perfectly balance vertical rod won't put any strain on the gimbal motors.  Bearings are use either side of the CNC machined 6061-T6 Aluminium gimbal.

    Why do this?  Well if you look at current gimbal designs they do not remove pendulum motions as the center of rotation of a multicopter is within the center of the craft, not where the gimbal motors are.  By moving the gimbal motors to the point of rotation, the camera at the end of the rod does not move with attitude changes.  All that is left is the lateral/yaw movements of the multicopter, which are the intentional movements you want when you are filming.

    Of course, if you are not interested in aerial videos then this is not going to be your cup of tea as you practically need to fly in stable mode to fit in with the limits of travel of the gimbal.  

  • And now for something completely different ...

    3692778531?profile=originalThis is my mid-sized Hex design with a brushless gimbal located directly in the center.  GPS pod sits on the top of the rod followed closely by a battery then the gimbal IMU.  Below the hub at the end of the rod there will be a mount for a GoPro and an option for servo tilt.  This design allows for up to 45deg tilt of the hexacopter before the rod touches the opening in the hub.  FC IMU will sit inside the hub as close as possible to the front of the gimbal.  In a later design I will use either optical encoders or hall effect sensors to measure the gimbal angles and feed this to the FC, negating the need for a separate IMU to get the attitude.  It would be great if the code in the gimbal controller had the ability to work out the angles however I believe it just corrects for any variances measure by its own IMU when it drifts from level, so it most likely does not keep a track of the final angle applied by the gimbal motors.  Might need to chat to the developers about that.  Does not seem right that you need two IMU's on board.

  • Cheers Bill!

    If you get time please check out www.grousehousetechnologies.com.  Building an online store to sell refined versions of my hexacopter and camera gimbal.  Aiming for 1st of August to start getting stock in.

  • Very Nice Build

  • Have pulled the Paris board out and put in a Naze32 STM32 based controller with the Baseflight 32bit implementation of the MultiWii code.  The Paris board was already doing a fine job of keeping the hex stable in the air but this thing is rock solid.  Funny thing is that the only way to get it to fly smoothly is to set the loop time to 3000 (via CLI) which I'm assuming make the code run more like the speed of a normal Arduino chip.  Eh, works for me!

    With all the sensors that the Naze32 R4 board came with you would expect to pay over $100 but this thing was about $50.  Will connect up a u-blox gps to it on the weekend and give that a go with pos hold.

  • I have to say the SimonK firmware is really quite something. The motors are now whisper quiet and it actually feels like there are less vibrations. The hexacopter is now incredibly solid in the air.
  • I snipped off the motor wire bullet connectors and soldered them directly the the ESC.  The wires are just tucked back into the hub out of the way.  ESC's are the OPTO versions without BEC's.  At a guess these drain less amps and I always use an external BEC.  Also now use a separate 12V BEC for the 5.8GHz video Tx.

    PWM wires will be split to a 6 pin header.

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