Quad-copters -- A new obsession


This page describes my latest obsession - radio controlled multi-rotors. Having learned the basics with the wonderful Blade Nano QX, I've since built a number of machines to my own design, a number being the "Phynnodderee 270" (that being 270 mm between motors).

The newest of this family is a carbon reinforced epoxy/foam build. Here's the build log:

There's also a 420mm (must be "Phynnodderee 420" then). This is equipped with GPS and telemetry. Similar foam /epoxy sandwich body with carbon fibre arms.

... and then the tricopter (600mm m2m) ... also GPS and telemetry. Cheap build using 10mm aluminium square tube.

It folds for easier transportation and storage.


The mini frames are built from a common design. A librecad DXF file defines the general arrangement, there is also a PDF version. The components used are:

Component Glass frame (2S) Carbon Frame (2S/3S) "New Blue" Frame (3S)
Lipo Turnigy Nano-Tech 950mah Zippy 1000mah Zippy 1000mah
ESC RCX 10A G series (simonk firmware) Afro 12A (simonk firmware) RCX 12A G series (simonk firmware)
Motor Hobby King 1811 3100kv,
replaced by RCX 1306-8 3100KV
AX 1806N 2100kv RCX 1806-2 2300KV
Propellers HQ Prop 5030 (2 blade)
Gemfan 5030 (2 blade)
Hobby King 5030 (3 blade)
GoodLuckBuy 6045 (2 blade)
HQProp or Gemfan 5030 (2 blade), Hobby King 5030 (3 blade)
RCX 6030 carbon fibre
Flight Controller Flydruino NanoWii (MultiWii 2.3 firmware) Hobby King NanoWii (MultiWii 2.3 firmware)
replaced by Acro Naze32 (cleanflight firmware)
Flip32 (cleanflight firmware)
RX Orange R100 Spektrum Satellite Lemon RX Spektrum Satellite Lemon RX Spektrum Satellite

The only real difference between the frames is the power train; it would be just as practical to build the glass frame on the 3S Lipo / 12A ESC / AX 1806 motors. In fact the 2S frame is smaller at 260mm motor to motor, while the 3S frame is 270mm m2m).

Build Summary

The frame is a built using a foam sandwich technique. The core is 6mm Depron closed cell foam, and the skin is woven e-glass, 200gsm for the first build, and 90gsm carbon fibre for the second and 160 gsm e-glass for the latest. In both cases, epoxy resin is used. The frames allow experimentation of both construction techniques and power trains.

Larger H frame quad

The larger H frame is built in a similar fashion. The centre 'hull' is depron foam sandwich, the arms are 12mm carbon fibre tube.

Component H frame
Lipo Turnigy Nano-Tech 3000mah (3S)
ESC RCX 20A G series (simonk firmware)
Motor Keda KD A20-26M 15A 1130kv
Propellers Gemfan 9045
HQ Prop 9050 carbon composite
Flight Controller Hobby King MultiWii ATmega 2560 (MultiWii 2.3 NAV firmware)
RX Lemon RX DSMX Spektrum Satellite
Mission Planner mwp
GPS Ublox 6M
Telemetry Radio Goodluckbuy 3DR (433Mhz)


Then came the tri-copter. Very simple build, 10mm square aluminium tube and plywood body. 600mm motor to motor. Naze32 compatible (flip32+) flight controller with cleanflight firmware.

Component Tricopter
Lipo Turnigy Nano-Tech 3000mah (3S)
ESC Emax 25A (simonk firmware)
Motor EMAX 935kv
Propellers HQ 9x4.5
HQ Prop 10x5
Flight Controller Flip32+ (Naze32 clone), cleanflight firmware
Telemetry Logger mwp
GPS Ublox 6M
Telemetry Radio Generic hc06 Bluetooth

Aerial Images

Once upon a time, I thought that autonomous navigation and aerial photography / video would be fun. I was wrong; throwing 270/250 class machines around the sky is are more fun, but here's some pictures anyway.

Aerial Images

Just click the "Read More" link to see the images in full resolution.

Tricopter Video

Dusk flight at the local community centre field

H-Frame Quad Videos

Gansey Beach,Isle of Man. On board video and pre-planned mission followed by manual flight.

Mission Planner and Telemetry Video

Telemetry log replay of an autonomous mission using mwp as the misison planner, flight logger and replay tool

Mini-Quad Videos - learning to fly

On board acro

Getting a little better, and the 270mm frame is so locked in, even with nanowii.

Learning aerobatics

Dusk flight of the carbon frame flying at the local community centre field

Another dusk flight of the carbon frame flying at the local community centre field

Carbon frame flying at the local community centre field

(more) Carbon frame flying at the local community centre field