Pirx Seven – The ultimate custom 7-inch FPV frame, part 1

Do you know this old saying “If you want something done right, do it yourself”? I do and sometimes I just live according to it. Not always, I’m not crazy, but at least from time to time!

I fly 7-inch FPV drones a lot. To be honest, they are my favorite flying devices. There are a few good 7-inch frames, like TBS Source One for example. There is a difference between good and great tho. I do think that Source One is a good frame, there are a lot of things on it that do not make me very happy tho! The list might not be very long, but it is relevant:

  • props in the view
  • limited space to install split-like hybrid cameras
  • no very convinient place to install VTX
  • it’s not that big inside as one might imagine…

Continue reading “Pirx Seven – The ultimate custom 7-inch FPV frame, part 1” »

QmuBeacon – open-source Arduino GPS locator/beacon drone is now public

If too long didn’t watch: it’s a GPS equipped beacon/locator DIY system based on popular radio development boards compatible with Arduino: LoRa32u4 and ESP32 LORA32 working in 868/915MHz band using LoRa modulation. You put a beacon on anything you want to track: airplane, drone, car, boat, wife, husband and use Locator to get distance and heading. Both beacon and locator are battery operated and should have a range of a few kilometers in the air.

Flying R2-D2 or SpaceX Falcon 9? Both – RC coaxial dualcopter

The second generation of my 3D printed coaxial dualcopter is here! And this time it works almost as I wanted.

3d printed RC coaxial dualcopter

Just watch the video

On the more technical details:

  1. It runs INAV 2.0 with a custom mixer
  2. Thrust and yaw control is provided by 2 counter rotating propellers
  3. Upper motor is 2205 2300KV with 5×4.5×3 propeller rotation in CW direction
  4. Lower motor is 2205 2600KV with 4×4.5×3 propellers rotating CCW
  5. Control surfaces are rotated 45 degrees from the long axis to fit servos
    flight controller is also 45 degrees rotated
  6. Any 9g servos will do
  7. runs on the 4S battery that has to be on the top of the device
  8. All 3D printed parts can be downloaded from Thingiverse

Required parts:

  1. 2205 2300KV brushless motor
  2. 2205 2600KV brushless motor (2300 also will do but will have less yaw authority)
  3. 5×54.5×3 propeller
  4. 4×4.5×3 propeller
  5. 2 14mm carbon pipes (12mm internal diameter), each around 270mm long
  6. 2 2g servos
  7. 3M bolts to secure the motors
  8. good adhesive tape to make control surface hinges
  9. pushrods
  10. hot glue
  11. flight controller compatible with INAV
  12. radio receiver

3d printed RC coaxial dualcopter

3D Printed Tricopter, part 1

In the last two weeks, I had plenty of time to sit in front of Fusion 360 to design a few things, but no time to 3D print anything. As a result, I have a couple of almost ready projects. Yesterday I showed you 3D Printed Dualcopter Reloaded. Today I will show you 3D printed tricopter drone. Tomorrow? Who knows…

Last year I have designed and made a fully printable quadcopter frame called Isando. It was fun, but well… There are plenty quadcopter frames over there. Cheap and much stronger than anyone can print at home. But Tricopters? Good luck with that.

3D Printed Tricopter Drone

I've taken some of the parts of Isando Quadcopter frame, designed some more and here it is.

3D Printed Tricopter Drone

3D Printed Tricopter Drone

The most important part of any tricopter is, of course, the tail motor tilting mechanism. I had the following options:

  • no bearings, just bushings
  • single bearing and using the servo as a second support point
  • two bearing and the servo is used only as a torque source, not support point

Guess which option I've chosen? Right… The tail will be quite heavy, so to somehow help with that, the rear motor has enough space to use 5-inch or 6-inch propeller. And the rest? The rest is quite standard:

  • Standard FPV camera in the front
  • 30.5mm hole spacing flight controller in a middle
  • video transmitter and radio receiver just behind the flight controller
  • ESCs on arms
  • 5-inch props in front
  • 5 or 6-inch props in the back

3D Printed Tricopter Drone

Of course, I will share STL files but only after I will print and assemble this thing. So please wait a little longer.

3D Printed Dualcopter Reloaded #1

The first generation of my 3D Printed Dualcopter was not the best. It was flying. Somehow. Poorly. Crashed. But for a moment it was flying alright.

3d printed dualcopter

I'm slowly designing the second generation of Dualcopter. This time smaller in scale since instead of 10-inch propellers, it will be using 5-inch ones. And smaller 2205 motors. And some carbon fiber to support 3D printed elements and hopefully give it a little more structural strength.

3d printed dualcopter

The general idea is as follows:

  • "Structure" will be provided by two vertical carbon pipes
  • Motors and propellers will be in a duct. Not EDF, but almost. The idea is not to get more efficiency but to guide the air to the control surfaces. The goal is to have some control during descend too. Version without duct had none
  • Upper motor will be 2205 2300KV with 5×3 3 bladed propeller
  • Lower motor will be 2205 2600KV with 4×4 3 bladed propeller
  • Lower prop will be working in the already accelerated air so it needs more pitch speed. More RPM and higher pitch = higher pitch speed
  • 4S battery on top to move the center of gravity far from control surfaces to give them plenty of torque
  • 2 9g servos
  • flight controller running INAV

3d printed dualcopter

And that is more or less all… Will it work better than the previous one? I hope so 🙂

ESP32 and GPS with a help of TinyGPS++ library

One of the first projects I did with ESP32 development boards is a simple GPS tracker. OK, it's not really a tracker since it does not store the position anywhere, more like distance meter with a UBLOX Neo-8M Beitian BN-880 GPS unit and small SSD1306 OLED display.

This ESP32 GPS Thingy as I call it uses one button to store current position and then report straight line distance, speed and altitude compared to "Home Point". GPS communication is handled by TinyGPS++ library.

Oh, one the best things about ESP32 is that you can map ports to almost any pin you want. It's not like on ATmega328 where UART and I2C are always the same pins. Here you can choose them. How nice is that?

Code is available on GitHub.

3D printed racing drone, part 3

It is done. It is alive. My 3D printed FPV racing drone works. A few weeks ago I finally flight tested my design and it works! Even better than expected, since I survived the experience without a scratch. OK, I did not crash it yet, but give me some time for that too….

3d printed fpv racing drone

And I have a cool name for it: Isando which means hammer in Zulu. Kind of fits, right?

Ah, STL files are available on Thingiverse of course.

Crossbow LRS: this one did not went well…

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. This time I’ve lost. Not by much, but always. During testing of my DIY LoRa RC link, radio caught a glitch during a flip few meters above a ground. It was not even a failsafe situation. Link recovered a few milliseconds later, but it was too late and quadcopter crashed into the ground.

During a roll, while being behind a tree, RX antenna got hidden behind a carbon fuselage and both antennas were at 90 deg. That was enough.
Damage is not severe, nothing I can not 3D print in one evening. It’s more like a discredited honor or something.

Crashed GPS Racer, 6 inch experimental quadcopter

Crashed GPS Racer, 6 inch experimental quadcopter

The glitch was so short that is was not even recorded in blackbox log. RSSI was fine, no locked rcData. Quadcopter just kept 90deg attitude for too long.

There is a slight chance it was not faulted in software or hardware. Maybe there was a strong rouge TX polluting the aether. Why? I’ve caught a failsafe on a different quad (2.4GHz FrSky link) while being only a few meters away and a friend caught a failsafe on a TBS Crossfire. So maybe it’s not entirely my fault after all.