Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tricopter Start- At Last!

Literally months after ordering all the electronics, and perhaps a month after finishing machining the motor mounts, I've started on my first Tri-copter build in earnest. I'm basing my build after this knowledgeable Swedish fellow's build: http://www.rcexplorer.se/projects/tricopter/tricopter.html

I think this will make a fantastic camera platform- maybe even FPV someday. The motor struts are 1/2" OD aluminum tubes purchased from Lowe's. They appear to be a fairly soft alloy- it'll be interesting how well they stand up. They were quite cheap, though. $4 for a 36" length. My initial build is using 18" long struts.

The two body sections are 1/8" liteply cut to the plans on RCExplorer's website.  I'll probably cut lightening holes in the plywood body to save a few grams. RCExplorer uses fiberglass printed circuit board material for his components, but since I don't have easy access to that material I'm just using 1/8" plywood.

Eventually if this system flies well and proves fun, I'll upgrade the structural components to carbon shafts and a lighter weight body.

The motor mounts are my own design, machined from delrin scraps. The rotating tail motor mount uses the 1/2" aluminum tube as the bearing surface. It seems to work pretty well, with minimal slop.

Structural Components

I'm attaching the struts to the baseplate with 1.25" long 4-40 screws, also from Lowe's One nice feature of this design is the right and left struts will fold after removing a screw from each side. This will make the craft nice and compact for transport.

Unfolded, flight configuration (DX6i for reference)
The motors will mount at the end of each strut. The electronics will mount on the plywood, with the battery being suspended below the bottom plate. The rectangular "platform" towards the bottom of the photo is a prime place to mount a camera- that'll be the 'front' of the craft during flight. I have an old Canon SD300 that might get flown...

Folded, Storage configuration

Exciting stuff.... Perhaps it'll be flying in a week or two!

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