XUAV-Talon for Aerial Surveying


Precision Aerial Surveying & Mapping


The purpose of this blog is to document a comprehensive, custom build of the XUAV-Talon for precision surveying and mapping.  Content will include build process, tips and tricks, hardware choices, 3D print modifications, CAD drawings (Sketchup), photos, software for aerial data processing and short video segments.  As I have recently attended several conferences concerning the latest FAA rules and regulations for small(under 55lbs) commercial drone operation in the United States; I will be posting my interpretation of the laws and options available to fly drones legally in the US National Airspace(NAS).


Please refer to my profile for details: http://diydrones.com/profile/RyanFuselier

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  • Thanks for the update Ryan. Very informative post with many, many hours of work invested. It is much appreciated.

    Have you flight tested the Talon with all mods complete? Have you tested the Mobius/gimbal? Do you get a reflection in the Mobius due to light reflecting on the inside of the dome? I am looking for a camera/gimbal solution for the nose of the Talon.

  • Ok, new links to my latest Talon designs and scans of Talon.  I will not put a time limit on these new links.

    Talon Full Drone Exterior Scans-STL

    Talon Modifications by Ryan-STL


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  • Sorry for the delay on post and updates to build... for good reason, there has not been any progress since last post.  I shifted gears on my spare time an energy and have been working on my Private Pilot's License.  I need this certification to meet our Section 333 Exemption requirements to fly drones commercially.  Good news is that I'm basically done and just awaiting my final "Check Ride" with the FAA scheduled for September 29, 2015.  What I can say is that it has been a great experience and I now have a newfound appreciation for drone operation.  Although the requirement to be a "Certificated Pilot" may be a little overkill, I do think that basic knowledge of the "NAS" should be a punch list item and limited time in the air flying would add a whole new perspective on what pilots face in regards to safety.  Consider what going through a pilots mind just after takeoff:

    • Whats my plan if I have an engine failure
    • Clearing the area for traffic
    • Gear up
    • Communicating with Tower: "Tower this is 6474K, I would like to request immediate frequency change to Lafayette regional for Flight Following." "Lafayette regional this is 6474K, inbound 10 miles out climbing to 2,500 feet, request flight following.  6474K barometer 29.99, winds 270deg at 20kts, squawk 0678, proceed on course report back 2miles out....
    • All the while left hand on yoke, right hand on throttle.
    • monitoring airspeed and climb rate
    • looking down at ipad for direction and profile view for obstacles...
    • listening at all time for direction from tower and other conversations by traffic that could be in your flight path
    • Tower response..."6474K... cessna at your 9 O'clock 2 miles out and Hilo crossing at 500.

    Now add swarms of drones (that you cannot see) and you can see how safety could be a slight concern for these guys and how vulnerable you might feel in their shoes... I do understand I just described a scenario with close proximity to an airport which is technically forbidden airspace for drones, but the same still applies in cross country flight as many VFR pilots cruise at or below 3000 feet, especially during summer months when heat generated clouds often create a ceiling of 1,500 to 2,500 feet.

    Before this experience, my thoughts were somewhat simple minded about issues concerning safety while in the NAS, but now that I have been there, dealing with the "information overload" that pilots must consider, adding thousands of new drones, will definitely increase anxiety of pilots in the air today.  We need to be considerate of their concerns and work with FAA to make this new and coming market as safe as possible.

  • Could you please post a new link to the Talon STL-Files?

  • Turnigy Mobius Gimbal with Tarot Controller installed but not tested.  Install went very well and it all fits nice and snug.  Clean fit.  Here are some picts of the install.




  • Just completed design for Turnigy Mobius Gimbal with Tarot Controller.  Setup is small, lightweight and perfect fit for XUAV-Talon.  I will show install pictures after I 3D print.  Glass dome is standard with Talon, however I had to redesign cowling and back plate for rear motor mount.  Notice controler mounts behind rear motor mount.  Gimbal is hard mounted while cowling and glass dome can easily be removed to access mobius.  




  • STL Files to all Talon upgrades as shown in profile build log to date.  More to come as project progresses.  Keep in mind that when 3D printing to print all parts at 101% to account for shrinkage.  

    Tip!  When printing parts with hatches, print enclosure at 101% and hatch at 100%.  This small difference will create enough gap so that it opens and closes smoothly.  Also, if your interested in printing the Nex 7 landscape mount, be sure to view my profile for more details on how it needs to be reinforced with Carbon Fiber due to inherent weak points from 3D printing.

    Talon 3D Printed Upgrades (STL)

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  • Nick,

    Below is the link you have requested.  Within the next few days I will also post the STL files for all items I have 3D printed to this point in the build.

    Talon Sub-Millimeter Scans

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  • Thank you for keeping us updated with your work Ryan! I don't suppose you could kindly re-share the 3D scans of the Talon? 

  • Moderator

    Looking forward to your build progress, Ryan. I'm using a Penguin for mapping and am very happy with it, which is why it's tough to look for an upgrade. The talon is one of the airframes I would like to see more results on. 

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