Another Quadcopter rolls off the M2

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Brendan

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Mar 2, 2014, 4:18:56 AM3/2/14
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I love taking a part of the glass and saying "damn that's a beautiful thing".  I know beauty is in the eye of the holder but I'm really happy with the consistent quality of prints I've been getting out of my M2 over the last six months.

Toby

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Mar 2, 2014, 11:04:10 AM3/2/14
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Very cool.  Liked all the extra information on your thingiverse page as well.  

I have the same feeling when I take a part off the glass.  Even things "only a mother could love"!  I've had my M2 a month, but now that I've learned to prepare the bed and make sure the z-height is spot on before each print, I'm getting good results every time.  

Your copter is tempting me to get into building one myself.

Jin Choi

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Mar 2, 2014, 12:10:08 PM3/2/14
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Any flight videos?

Do you have a list of the rest of your equipment anywhere, for someone who is starting out from scratch, to replicate what you have built?

I just tried loading up the body. This thing is huge! Takes up the whole bed. When printing something that large in ABS, I've experienced massive warping off the bed. What are your print settings/bed prep?

I noticed you're using Sketchup for modeling. Whenever I see a Sketchup derived STL on thingiverse, I prepare myself for a session with netfabb. Your STLs are all manifold. Do you need to take any special measures to make that happen?

Tony Shulthise

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Mar 2, 2014, 2:20:55 PM3/2/14
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Very nice!

Brendan

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Mar 2, 2014, 9:21:35 PM3/2/14
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@Jin.  I haven't compiled a full parts list (yet).  I've actually just pushed an update to slightly reduce the overall width because the poor soles that only have a Replicator 2 couldn't fit this on their print bed!! ;-)  My one is printed in PLA with budget hairspray on the glass so no problem with warping.  I haven't done much with ABS but, when I did, I found that keeping the bed temperature as low as I could get away with actually helped reduce warping.

Regarding Sketchup, yes you have to tread carefully, keep an eye open for unexpected consequences from make certain changes, and be willing to undo, undo, undo, and then try tackling the problem a different way if possible.  I then use the "Identify non-manifold
edges" tool in Creator to find any other bits that I've missed and fix those up.  Don't underestimate the many tens (if not hundreds) of hours that have gone into creating these designs - I must be nuts!!

Jamil F.

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Mar 4, 2014, 1:50:07 AM3/4/14
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Very very well done!

Brendan

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Mar 9, 2014, 4:31:41 AM3/9/14
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@Jin.  Yes T4 quadcopter flight video is posted here now.

Jin Choi

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Mar 9, 2014, 10:49:23 AM3/9/14
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Nice. That is very smooth video. I take it the camera is hard mounted? Do you have any experience with gimbaled cameras or live POV systems?

I have an AR Parrot, which is a fun toy, but the camera movement is too twitchy and low resolution to be useful.

Brendan

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Mar 9, 2014, 4:21:11 PM3/9/14
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If you pause the video in the first 10 seconds you can see the equipment mounted under the T4.  The camera is attached to a Tarot T-2D gimbal with an anti-vibration mount.  At the back you may also see a big blue wire antenna which is for the 1.2Ghz video transmitter.  This allows me to see what the GoPro is recording on a LCD screen (or in goggles) while flying.

As an aside, I didn't tune the T4 as a "camera ship" prior to taking that video.  I should have reduced the yaw rate a bit which would have made the left-right movements a lot smoother.

Dale Reed

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Mar 9, 2014, 5:29:26 PM3/9/14
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Brendan,


On Sunday, March 9, 2014 4:21:11 PM UTC-4, Brendan wrote:
At the back you may also see a big blue wire antenna which is for the 1.2Ghz video transmitter.  This allows me to see what the GoPro is recording on a LCD screen (or in goggles) while flying.

I could SERIOUSLY use a craft like that for hauling fishing line up into trees for stringing HF wire antennas for a fellow ham.  HULK WANT!

As an aside, I didn't tune the T4 as a "camera ship" prior to taking that video.  I should have reduced the yaw rate a bit which would have made the left-right movements a lot smoother.

Smoother....  REALLY!?!  The cameras on wires they use for NFL (American) Football should take such smooth video!!!  NO tweaking required at all!  Keep the maneuverability!

Dale

Joe Williams

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Mar 11, 2014, 4:08:39 PM3/11/14
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Brendan,

You've got another convert.  My boy and I downloaded your Thingiverse files and are printing them in anticipation of making a bigger copter than the Blade QX nano we're currently playing with.  I didn't realize you could FPV the GoPro - that seems like a less expensive solution than some I've seen.  Could you point me toward a resource on doing that?

Also, do you use supports when printing the baseplate?  It seems like the autopilot supports are square-bottomed, which would suffer from thread hang-downitis.

Thanks for helping spend my money,

Joe

Brendan

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Mar 11, 2014, 4:29:43 PM3/11/14
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Joe.  It's great to hear you are making one of these - I'm really enjoying mine.  

For FPV with a GoPro Hero 3 you can use something like a Tarot TL68A10 cable or something similar.  They both plug into the USB port of the side of the camera and provide Ground/Video/Audio wires that you can connect to whatever video transmitter you want to use.  The GoPro just outputs live video from that port whenever it is on - it doesn't event have to be recording.

I didn't use support for any of my prints.  There are some small bridges but nothing challenging.  Perhaps try doing a small bridging calibration test print first to get the best temperature/speed/extrusion rate for your material - but again, the bridges in these parts are very short so shouldn't be a problem.

Bret Allen

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Mar 24, 2014, 2:50:09 PM3/24/14
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Joe, just be careful using the Go-Pro as an FPV by itself. Typically, a second flight camera is used for the FPV because it uses the onboard receiver battery to power it. If the battery in the GoPro dies, so does your FPV. I would recommend setting up a switchable system between the 2 cameras if you want to see what the goPro sees. Just some food for thought. :)

Brendan

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Mar 24, 2014, 3:19:38 PM3/24/14
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You can actually use the TL68A10 cable to power the GoPro too - make sure you only use 5V though (I accidentally put 12v into my Black camera and all the magic smoke came out).  Back in 2012 and early 2013 there were some reports of GoPros locking up - which put a lot of people off using them for FPV flying.  I believe these issues have since been resolved though.

Personally I like using my GoPro for FPV as I can see exactly what I'm recording - especially when you use a gimbal that can tilt via remote control, etc.

Bryan Boettcher

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Mar 24, 2014, 3:20:37 PM3/24/14
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Brendan, does that affect recording framerate or anything?  Recording quality, perhaps?


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Brendan

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Mar 24, 2014, 3:23:22 PM3/24/14
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No issue with selecting any particular frame rate that I'm aware of.  The Go Pro records at full resolution - but you only get "TV" resolution from the video out port for broadcasting back to the ground.

Bryan Boettcher

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Mar 24, 2014, 3:26:49 PM3/24/14
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That's fantastic news, have you done it personally?  Is that the Hero3?  I have a friend who claims that using the video out sacrifices quality, but he's only read on forums rather than tried it himself.

Brendan

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Mar 24, 2014, 4:17:56 PM3/24/14
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Yep, works fine for me.  I was using a Hero3 Black until I accidentally stuck 12v into the USB port (bad).  I know use a Hero3+ Silver and that works fine too.  All of my flight videos are recorded with one of these.

Jin Choi

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Mar 24, 2014, 4:23:41 PM3/24/14
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Do you use an HMD for FPV flight?

I looked around a little bit at systems for doing binocular FPV, but it seems you want frame syncing and all I've found rely on systems that are fairly old.

An FPV system with one of the new generation of VR headsets would be super.

Brendan

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Mar 24, 2014, 4:32:29 PM3/24/14
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I've got some Fatshark Attitude goggles I use with ImmersionRC 5.8Ghz gear and, for longer range, I sometimes use a small LCD screen with 1.2Ghz Lawmate gear (with a diversity receiver and dual antennae).  The goggles/screen options can be mixed and matched if you don't mind having an AV cable hanging out of the Goggles.

I don't know anything about "binocular FPV" and "frame syncing" sorry - my goggles just display the same picture for both eyes (if that's what you are referring too?).

Jin Choi

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Mar 24, 2014, 5:03:39 PM3/24/14
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Yes, I'm talking about using two cameras so you can see in 3D. I guess it has not evolved to the point where that is something you can just buy.

Brendan

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Mar 24, 2014, 5:12:41 PM3/24/14
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Sounds really cool ... but I have enough trouble standing up straight when flying with the goggles as it is!! :-)  

To be honest, my personal preference these days is actually flying with the LCD screen rather than the goggles.  I find it easier to keep track of where the vehicle actually is when I can look up from the screen - and then there's all those grumblings "from the man" about keep physical line-of-sight contact with your vehicle at all times.

Toby

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Mar 24, 2014, 9:10:12 PM3/24/14
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Many years ago I had an image of groups of people forming armies and staging air battles with this kind of equipment.  Is anyone doing that yet?  I think it would be a blast, though probably expensive in terms of equipment damage.

Joe Williams

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Mar 25, 2014, 11:49:02 AM3/25/14
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Joe Williams

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Mar 25, 2014, 11:54:12 AM3/25/14
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Brendan - are you willing to post some more details about the motors/ESC/battery needed for this platform?  I'm struggling to understand what the ecalc website is telling me.  (http://www.ecalc.ch/xcoptercalc.php?ecalc&lang=en)  It looks like 800kv motors with 20A ESC would be sufficient, and reasonably paired with a 6000 mA-hr 3S1P battery.  Got any guidance?  I'd like to buy gear that could be used in a variety of platforms rather than just optimized for this one.

We're making good progress on the prints, although I've had a couple of problems.  The 'spring-leg' legs don't spring - I think I'm overextruding a bit so the moving parts became one.  Also, I had one corner of the base lift slightly so now the propeller arm doesn't slide in.  I'll make some measurements to see if sanding will make it work but, if not, it's another 8 hour print.  Precious little free time to get these things done!

Toby

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Mar 25, 2014, 12:35:09 PM3/25/14
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I love it.  That was fun to watch.  Now just add some weaponry, 3d glasses for the controllers, and stage an outdoor war between armies of drones.  

On Tuesday, March 25, 2014 10:49:02 AM UTC-5, Joe Williams wrote:

Brendan

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Mar 25, 2014, 3:35:56 PM3/25/14
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Hi Joe,  Yes I use to spend quite a bit of time frowning at ecalc myself.  I got a little frustrated with some of my first (badly) chosen combinations and decided to try an stick to what was proven.  

For example 3DRobotics use pretty much the same combination of Motor/ESC/Propeller on all of their vehicles (quad, hex, octo, Y6, X8) and I've been using their 850kv (or 880kv) motors with 10x4.7 APC props and 20amp ESCs for the last 6 months with great results.  All of these run fine on any 3S battery (or even 4S battery).  I'm not so particular about ESCs and have used many different ones with good results - including the 4-in-1 QBrain pictured on the T4 quadcopter page.

Regarding batteries it really is all about weight.  For the T4 alone I like using the 6000mah nano-tech because it is almost overpowered with the 880kv motors and a lighter battery.  However when I add a gimal under it the weight starts to creep up and it flies better with a bit smaller battery (e.g. 3,500mah) - although still okay with the 6000.

I hope that helps?

Brendan

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Mar 25, 2014, 4:12:29 PM3/25/14
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Regarding the prints, with one springy leg I had to run a blade along the plunger slot to help break it free (and then give it a reasonably hard push down onto the bench).  Once moving you can try lubricating with a bit of olive oil or similar.  

If it helps, with PLA I use budget hairspray on the glass with the heated base plate set to 55 deg C.  For me higher baseplate temps increase the chance of warping.  With this combination I haven't had any issues and normally have to put the prints in the freezer for a couple of minutes to get them to pop off the glass (after they're down to room temp).

Jin Choi

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Mar 27, 2014, 3:16:58 AM3/27/14
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Brendan, I'd like to get your take on the copter being featured on Thingiverse right now, the Flexbot: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:274396

I'm looking at options to get started without breaking the bank, but I don't want to end up with a toy; I already have a toy, an AR Drone. My interests are mainly a decent camera platform, increased range, real time POV, and autonomous function (in decreasing order). What's your opinion of the Flexbot as a platform to build on? Or should I just bite the bullet and build a big one, like your quad design?

Brendan

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Mar 27, 2014, 4:28:36 AM3/27/14
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Hi Jin.  It depends what you are looking for.  

From the FAQ at the bottom of the Kickstarter page:
  • The Flexbot quadcopter can carry about a 12 gram payload.  The T4 can carry >750 grams (including battery).  A GoPro is about 75grams and a Brushless gimbal is about another 200 grams.
  • The Flexbot uses Bluetooth 4 so the range is only about 50 meters.  The T4 with a budget 2.4Ghz radio will give you at least 500m range.
  • The Flexbot can fly for about 7 minutes (without camera). The T4 can fly for 15+ minutes with a full size camera (and big enough battery).
Also the T4 is perfectly happy flying in 30kph wind gusts - whereas the Flexbot would just blow away.

On the other hand the flexbot was selling for $49?.  The flying components for the T4 would cost at least $300 and it's not hard to spend $1000++ with a proper flight controller (Pixhawk or APM, GPS, Telemetry), FPV gear, good RC gear, ground station tablet, etc, etc.

Jin Choi

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Mar 27, 2014, 2:09:44 PM3/27/14
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Okay, as an exercise, I have pulled together all the equipment you have mentioned in this forum and on thingiverse, and here's what I've ended up with. Selecting the cheapest options for everything except FPV, I get ~$490. Going up to the Pixhawk to add autopilot is $740, and FPV goes to $1170. Have I missed anything?

I have some questions.

That Q Brain 4x ESC is slightly more than the cost of one 3DR ESC?

The KK2 is $31, the APM and Pixhawk are like 9x more. Is that for GPS/autopilot, etc.?

My assumption is that I need one motor, propeller and (non-Q Brain) ESC per arm, is that right?

You haven't mentioned a model for your controller, the thing you hold with the sticks. Any recommendations?

Body
T4

APM
+wireless data $100
+GPS $80

KK2



FPV
FatShark Attitude SD goggles

ImmersionRC 5.8Ghz 600mW transmitter


Brendan

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Mar 27, 2014, 4:51:09 PM3/27/14
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Thanks Jin.  I hate adding up costs like that :-)  

If you were starting from nothing I think you could sneak in at about $300 with the following recipe:
- KK2 flight controller 
- QBrain 4-in-1 ESC
- 3DR 850KV motors
- 2 sets of 10x4.7 propellers
- a 3000mah 3S battery
- a basic Lipo battery charger
- a basic transmitter like the Turnigy 9X with 8 channel receiver 
- a few plugs and cables (eg male-to-male servo cables to connect KK2 to the radio receiver, XT60 or Deans connectors for connecting QBrain to battery)

If you use separate ESCs then you'll need some way to distribute power from the single battery connector to each of them (either homemade or 3DR and Hobby-king sell boards).  The QBrain really makes it easier AND cheaper!

Flight controllers like the KK2 are great value if you just want basic stabilisation.  The APM and newer Pixhawk add the option for GPS and programming flight missions using a PC or tablet, return to launch if RC link fails,  auto land if battery gets low, etc...  The current Ardupilot software will probably be the last for the APM hardware as the developers have now reached the limit of what it can handle.  Development will continue rapidly with the Pixhawk.

For RC gear I started out with the Turnigy 9X mentioned about and then moved to a Spektrum DX8 and have just received a new Taranis.

terry mccafferty

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Mar 29, 2014, 1:02:03 AM3/29/14
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Brendan,
Sorry to bug you with the newbee questions, but you are so good at answering them....
Received my package from 3D today! I went with the full Pixhawk approach. Still waiting on Q Brain quad ESC from hobbyking. I've never done this before so didn't know if I need connectors,... When I get the ESC, I should be able to figure it out.

I am debating on ordering the gimbal, but don't have the video figured out completely. They sell a controller board for the T-2D. Do I need that or does the Pixhawk take care of the interface? I can't decide on goggles or tablet so may just wait on video and get it I the air and more familiar with the options.

I ran out of steam the other night when ordering stuff and didn't get the batteries ordered. It seemed like the ones I wanted were all back ordered. What source do you get batteries from? Also, I want a good charger that is fast, safe, and preferably will handle more than one battery at a time. Do these exist? I saw high amperage, but they didn't mention whether they do multiple batteries.

And finally, I need the radio gear. I don't want intro stuff. You mention the Taranis. Do you think that is the ticket for quads?

Thanks again for your help.

Brendan

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Mar 29, 2014, 2:33:39 AM3/29/14
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Hi Terry,

Thanks for your questions.  I took the liberty of reposting them over on the T4 forum at DIYDrones.com.  I'm starting to feel like we're spamming this forum since this is not strictly about 3D printing or the M2.

Cheers,
Brendan.

Terry McCafferty

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Mar 29, 2014, 3:19:55 PM3/29/14
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Thanks for getting me where I need to be!

Terry McCafferty
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Joe Williams

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Apr 6, 2014, 1:43:03 PM4/6/14
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Brendan,

Staying strictly within the confines of this group, would you be willing to post your .fff file?  I like to compare other folks' settings to my own.

Thanks!

Joe

Brendan

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Apr 6, 2014, 5:36:03 PM4/6/14
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No problem.  I use these settings for PLA only and I'd call them "engineering settings".  They tend to favour strength over appearance (no coast, etc).  The only thing I really change between colours is the Extrusion Multiplier and sometimes, for for different brands, the Extruder Temperature.  I print with these settings straight onto glass coated with budget hairspray.

I'd be grateful if you compare wither others and can report any obvious improvements.
140302 Blue PLA tube copter.fff

Terry McCafferty

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Apr 7, 2014, 9:20:02 PM4/7/14
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Perhaps the reason my zip tie points were weak is because I have some coast.  I had forgotten that coast creates issues with small features.

Terry McCafferty
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