GPS Racer: worklog #9 – double rangefinder setup

My GPS Racer is less and less fun project. For last few weeks it acts as sensor platform for my attempts to bring rangefinders and terrain following modes back to INAV. This time in a way that will work.

Two weeks ago it was carrying HC-SR04 sonar (crappy device). Week ago it was carrying US-100 (much better device). This week it is carrying both US-100 sonar and VL53L0X lidar!

INAV with US-100 Sonar and VL53L0X Lidar

DigitalEntity apparently had too much spare time and he finally wrote (ported) a driver for VL53L0X and starting from version 1.8 (probably) INAV will be able to use this cheap lidar.

INAV with VL53L0X Lidar

Yes, VL53L0X is cheap and that means it's not state-of-the art device. First of all, it has limited range. 2m is all it can do in a room. No idea how it will behave in sunlight. Hard to guess, but I'm afraid that 1m will be all it will able to do in real life conditions… But we will see in a next few days.

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Depron Airboat Worklog #2

Next week passed and Depron Airboat is almost ready. Almost, since it still needs some finishing and I'm missing a BEC. Turned out that total power usage of one 9g servo and FrSky X4R receiver is slightly too high to just use single LM7805. 350mA during servo movement means more that 2W of heat ((12-5) * 0.35) over single LM7805. Too much, so I will have to scavenge old models for still functional step-down converter.

airboat depron hull parts

Hull made from 6mm Depron is now glued together using Uhu Por and polyurethane wood glue. It measures 18x8x2 inches. I've put my 3D Printed propulsion and steering system on it and did first static test.

It works. First water tests next week.

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Depron Airboat Worklog #1

One of my first DIY RC projects was a Depron Airboat I've build almost exactly 2 years ago. 12x6x2 inch hull, motor, servo, rudder and ESC. And honestly, I loved it. It was a great fun playing with it. Too bad, it did not survived very long. It broke in a middle of a lake and I decided my live is worth more. All I have left is a video

This season I started to build another Depron airboat. Slightly bigger, heavier and with more power. And partially 3D printed. Hull will be made from Depron, but propulsion and steering system will be (is) printable.

Depron RC Airboat Propulsion system

After few hours of printing time, propulsion and steering is done. What is left is to make a hull. 18x8x2 inches made from 6mm Depron. I might cover bottom with glass fiber and impregnate with polyurethane wood glue diluted with alcohol.

New thing will be a reversible ESC. I've already configured and tested FVT Littlebee 20A to act as reversible ESC and it seem to be working like expected. I only wonder how effective rudder will be when on reverse. Not much I effective probably…

Depron RC Airboat 3D printed Propulsion system

And yes, STL files will be available when this is proven to be working. Everything for the community 🙂

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3D Printed Paddleboat

3D Printed Paddle Wheel Boat

It's not a secret, that me, and QuadMeUp, are not only about quadcopters. From time to time I like to do something completely different.

When I was a child (10-12 or something like that) I loved to build boats. Simple crude design: styrofoam or bark, simple sail or DC motor and tinwire propeller. No RC link. Just let it sail in "somewhere there".

When I got a 3D printer and learned that servos can be converted to continuous rotation simply by replacing potentiometer with a pair of resistors, the idea to build paddle wheel boat powered by servos was almost obvious.

So, here it is!

3d printed paddle wheel boat

  • Hull can be 3D printed, STL files are available on Thingiverse
  • Wheels are powered by 2 TowerPro 9g servos converted to continuous rotation
  • RC link by cheapest FrSky compatible D8 receiver
  • 2S LiPo gives enough "juice" and with power usage of about 300mA it can sail for hours

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3D Printed Faceplate for SkyZone SKY-01 FPV goggles

While SkyZone SKY-01 are pretty good FPV goggles, they are not very comfortable. Instead big faceplate, they only have rubber eyecups. This approach works, but well…

Like always, there is a solution: 3D printed faceplate for SkyZone SKY-01. Thingieverse has at least few different designs, but I’ve chose the one from the link above. They fit right and do not have fan adapter which I do not use.

Foam pads for faceplate are a second problem. In first iteration I just uses gray sponge I had at home and white, dense, closed foam from Emax motors and glued everything together with Uhu Por. Continue reading “3D Printed Faceplate for SkyZone SKY-01 FPV goggles” »

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3D Printed HC-12 and HC-06 telemetry relay box

It’s a very nice feeling when people starts to create accessories for your inventions. OK, maybe “invention” is too strong word here, but still.

EduardoChamorro designed a 3D printed case for my HC-12 433MHz to HC-06 Bluetooth bridge that I published here last year.

LRS to Bluetooth 3D Printed case

It’s small, it has a switch and status LED. It also has integrated LiPo battery and a charger. Awesome!

Project can be downloaded from Thingiverse.

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Review: BuildTak Printing Surface

For last few months I’ve been happily 3D printing PLA on glass. Prints were repeatable, initial adhesion was just fine, ready print was easy to remove after glass cooled down. But I wouldn’t be me if I did not wanted to try something new. So I tried “the ideal 3D printing surface” BuiltTak.

My initial impressions were very positive. Nice mate surface a little similar to fine grain sanding paper. I was a little afraid that adhesion will be even too good and it will be hard to remove the print. But hey, they had to think of it, right? After all, BuildTak is quite expensive after all. Continue reading “Review: BuildTak Printing Surface” »

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How to print with elastic filament

Elastic filaments opened brand new areas for 3D printing. We are finally able to print something that bends, compresses and stretches. While TPE (ThermoPlastic Elastomer) filaments like NinjaFlex or FlexiSmart are still about 4 times more expensive than plain old PLA, they are not so expensive not to give them a try.

Unfortunately, due to the fact that they are elastic even before melted and extruded, they require special printing conditions. During my experiments with FlexiSmart I've came down to following conclusions:

  1. Because TPE is elastic, flow through the nozzle has to be as smooth as possible. If not, it will coil inside extruder
  2. Bowden extruder system greatly increases chance of failure. Friction of bowden, while small enough for ABS or PLA, is too big for TPE. Filament will coil. Direct extruder gives less chance of failure
  3. One has to pay big attention to the distance between extruder nozzle and bed. Usually it has to be a litter bigger that for PLA or ABS. In all the cases when I was switching from PLA to TPE, I had to raise nozzle a little. If not, TPE coiled. TPE has better initial adhesion than PLA, so rising a nozzle does not have side effects
  4. Filament retraction is a huge NO NO. Disable retraction since it will increase the chance of coiling significantly
  5. With no retraction it is a good idea to enable Combing. Nozzle, instead of taking the shortest route to travel, dripping TPE everywhere, will move above already printed layer. This greatly improves print quality
  6. Top printing speed is 30mm/s, but I recommend slower speeds. I have best results when printing at 15mm/s. On 25mm/s quality is still acceptable, but degradation starts to be visible
  7. I had best results of TPE printing on glass with 220deg nozzle temperature and 60deg bed temperature
  8. Not everything can be printed with elastic filament. Any thin vertical structure will come deformed. After all, it will move during printing due to a friction with extruder nozzle

While I was printing with FlexiSmart, almost all points from the above list will be true for other TPE (NinjaFlex). Temperatures might be slightly different, but general rules applies.

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3D Printed 433MHz Moxon Antenna With Arm And Snap Mount

It’s still middle of winter here in northern hemisphere, but I’m slowly preparing for next flying season. One of my goals is to push my DIY HC-12 Telelemetry System to a next level. In both range and quality. For quality I’m planning small hardware LTM decoder with LCD. For range, I want to reach at least 1.5km with 9600bps FU3 mode and 2.5km with 1200bps FU4 mode.

Continue reading “3D Printed 433MHz Moxon Antenna With Arm And Snap Mount” »

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