Over the holidays, we went to the Palm Springs, CA area, and all I could think about was the clear sky - with no trees, wires, or park rangers. What a flying paradise.
But I had none of my flying machines! Not even one would fit in the rented Chevy Impala with my wife, two in-laws and all the luggage. So I made a pledge to build a quad that could either fold up or was just plain small. It had to have some of the basics - but it didn't need a GPS or the ability to autonomously fly. It did need a camera, though. A gimbal would be nice, but not absolutely necessary.
So I built one. I couldn't find suitable props anywhere, so I took some 8" props and cut them down to 6" and carefully balanced them. They fly surprisingly well.
So now, I have 8 multirotors! I'll probably build two more soon - a folding one with 9" or 10" props, and a new test bed made with 100% carbon fiber for the 'Santa Cruz Project'.
Above is a picture of all 8. Cosest to furthest. They are:
- An ESTES Proto X
- Cheerson CX-10
- My 6" 'traveling' quad with 28mm 1050KV motors spinning 6" (cut from 8") props, a KK2 controller, 20A ESCs and is powered from a 3 Cell 2200-3000mAH battery. It has a fixed (no gimbal) mount for a SJCAM (Similar to a GoPro).
- A copter that WAS a Cheerson CX-20, but it now has a new controller, a modified circuit board, new motors and new 9" props - the only parts that are original is the case and the 12A ESCs. The battery bay was modified to use 3 cell batteries up to 3850 mAH and the landing gear was extended to better handle a gimbal. Although it has no gimbal now, one can be moved from one of the other craft if desired.
- A "stretched" quad that is 100% 3D printed. It has large (36mm) 910KV motors driving 12X5.5" props. It uses a 4-cell (16V) battery pack and has 35A ESCs, an APM controller, and has GPS, 900Mhz telemetry, voltage/current sensor, a BASECAM Gimbal (for a GoPro Hero3), and a 600mW 5.8GHz FPV transmitter with a cloverleaf antenna.
- A "square" quad that also is 100% 3D printed. It has 28mm 1050KV motors and spins 11X4.5" props. It uses either a 4-cell (16V) or a 5-cell (20V) battery. It has an APM controller, GPS, 900MHz telemetry, voltage/current sensor, a home-built gimbal driven from a Martinez board, and a 5.8GHz 1.5 Watt FPV transmitter with cloverleaf antenna. This model has an auxilliary 4A 12V switching power supply that provides 12V to the lights, gimbal, and FPV transmitter even if a 6 cell (24V) battery is used. The ESCs used are 40A/12-24V types.
- A super-strong quad built from Home Depot aluminum stock with 3D printed 'joints'. It has 28mm 900KV motors and spins 12X4.5" props. The ESCs are 40A types and a 4-cell (16V) battery provides the power. It has an APM controller, GPS, 900MHz telemetry, and a Chinese gimbal with a Chinese controller (but it works well) and a 5.8GHz 2 Watt FPV transmitter with cloverleaf antenna.
- A big, aluminum and carbon-fiber frame hexacopter with 36mm 1350KV motors. The props are 10X4.5 and the power is from two (usually) 5000mAH 3-cell batteries in parallel. The controller is an APM with GPS and it has 900Mhz telemetry and a 600mW 5.8GHz FPV transmitter with cloverleaf antenna. It currently has no gimbal, but has mounting holes so it can accept a gimbal from another craft. A complete gimbal for this hex is 'on the way' from China.
All except the ESTES and the CX-10 have LED strip lights to help with orientation and night flying.