A practical approach to RC planes
Category Archives: DIY
February 8, 2014Posted by on
I’m just flying home from a three week business trip around the world, catching up on missed flitetest posts and podcasts. Then I popped over to thingiverse.com and I’m super stoked to see a few people have printed their own tricopter tilt mounts!
and look up thorphar while on blue version here.
I can’t wait to see if they post any fight footage or feedback. The printer mount I have been using has been awesome but it would be great to hear if they have a different experience. Great work guys and good luck on your tricopter builds!
September 2, 2013Posted by on
Engineering allows me to take something conceptual, transform to visuals, print to tangibles, and finally build into useful objects. I often find myself mid build, mentally piecing together things and realize the standard options just don’t meet my level of individualism and dare I say it: flare. I look and look for bits and pieces to fit the build but I’m left designing the ideal solution in my head. And that is where my engineering process begins. With a little necessity, a bunch of function, and a bit of personal touch I find myself creating one off custom DIY parts.
The tools of my trade have been gathered and refined over many builds, years, and failures. They include everything from the pen/paper and hand tools to the complex like CAD programs, 3D printers, and laser cutters. I am a jack of many trades but a master of none. Constantly increasing the tool set at hand. I have little formal training but a deep love for hands on learning and the confidence to try until I break it. Then I have the patience to fix it.
In short I love to create something useful and cool from nothing. For this I am a backyard engineer at heart.
If you have a desire to design, create, and build, I encourage you too to become a backyard engineer. Soak in as many skills as you can. Acquire, borrow, or build and engineers tool set. And have fun learning as you build.
August 29, 2013Posted by on
August 26, 2013Posted by on
Saturday I took some time to modify the top plate for the 3D printed BackyardRC Quadcopter. In the original design the ardupilot was mounted solidly. With this setup the motor vibrations almost made the ardupilot useless.
So it was time to modify the build with anti-vibration in mind. So I looked for the most high tech solution I could think of. Ear plugs.
I had to drill out the stock holes to fit the compressed plugs. The finial product looks pretty good but will need some testing. More to come on that soon.
Checkout the rest of the build here:
And all of the parts are free to download on thingiverse:
August 17, 2013Posted by on
Today Austin and I started the rebuild of my old EDF TwinStar II. Back in 2011 Todd’s Frankenplane and the TwinStar EDF had a mid air collision on it’s first full day of flight. The only damage was from a direct prop slice on the left aileron. You can see the collision here (1:20 into the video).
Even with the direct hit I had no problem bringing her in for a safe landing. SInce then I’ve had it a handful more times with a horrific looking field repair including ripped cardboard and tape.
Here you can see the prop slices in what remains of the aileron. A good inch and a half is missing and another 5 inches torn. The hinge is completely pulled away for about 7 inches.
First the section of damaged aileron was cut off and a matching section cut from a spare TwinStar wing.
From here we hot glued the new section in. A super thin line of glue along the hinge edge and a glob on the end. After paint the hinge will be reenforced with packing tape.
In the spirit of salvaging and rebuilding we dug out the old Coast Guard TwinStar that crashed after the elevator servo stripped while inverted. This old plane had a ton of flight hours on it. Amazingly the landing gear held up even thou it was just held on by sandwiching the foam belly between the gear and a section of balsa.
So we pulled out the poor man’s landing gear leaving plenty of cleanup. (In a future build I return to the landing gear mod for the TwinStar II with fully laser cut balsa subframe. But more to come on that on another day)
Then we decided to paint the wings to match the fuselage with matching red and blue stripes.
We finished up the day with matching stripes on the right wing. Next up is to reinstall the electronics, patch up the holes in the belly, and head out for some test flights! As soon as we have this bird back in the air we’ll be sure to post about it.
August 9, 2013Posted by on
Tonight was spent printing the last of the parts for the new quad. I still have a few hours of assembly and testing before a scheduled test flight at old Delps Airfield tomorrow. So for now it’s just a quick post and back to work. I can’t wait to write up the full build and share the first flights!
August 2, 2013Posted by on
Well today I broke a lead off one of the motors on the new quadcopter build. I’m not too happy to say the least. Often I’d just pull apart the motor and try to solder the lead back on. But with a quad if a motor goes so does the flight capabilities. At least with a plane you can dead stick it back down. So while I wait for a new motor to arrive this build is grounded.
But the silver limning is I’ve been secretly designing my own set of 3D printed quadcopter parts. With the recent CD flyer grounding I’ll be shifting gears and posting about my new parts. Stay tuned and I hope you like the sneak peek!
July 23, 2013Posted by on
Using Solidworks 2013 I designed a simple but effective mount with two connecting rectangles. One for the quad’s arm and one for the ESC. Then on the perpendicular plain a mounting hole was added.
The Solidworks file was saved as an .stl, loaded into the Cubify software, configured, and finally a file was print ready. Each part took about 32 minutes to print and they came out identical! The parts are super light, weighing in at about 15 grams each. If you are interested in the stl file I have uploaded it to Thingiverse.
Next up the mount was placed on the arm with the ECS firmly in place. A quick measurement from center, the mounting hole drilled, a bold threaded in for safe keeping and the mount was on!
I then drilled small holes for the ESC power and servo leads. The power leads were the perfect length, aligning with the distribution board without excess slack.
Now with all of the frame build, RotorBones attached, motors and electronics mounted all that is left is a little wiring and Ardupilot programming. Then test flights! With any luck this little guy will be up in the air next weekend!
Follow the full build process from the beginning:
June 26, 2013Posted by on
If you haven’t done so already, take a look at our YouTube Channel. It is filled with build videos, flight footage, and a ton multimedia odds and ends. One of our more popular videos is our Ardupilot telemetry synced with FPV video. Check it out HERE and if you enjoy it please let us know with your subscription!
June 21, 2013Posted by on
It might not look like much but we’ve started moving in today. Now it’s time to organize, clean, add a workbench, and get back to the real work of building!