BackyardRC

A practical approach to RC planes

Category Archives: DIY

Tricopter Tilt Prints Everywhere!

Tricopter print

Hi everyone,

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!

Checkout hot_soup_in_space sweet white on white print here

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!

-Miles

I am a backyard engineer

odds & ends

odds & ends

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.

Quad mount v 2.0

Quad mount v 2.0

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.

Laser cut wing set

Laser cut wing set

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.

Baby Blender Motor Mount Update!

Technical Drawing Standard Units

Technical Drawing Standard Units

I have a quick update for everyone. The technical drawings for the BackyardRC Motor Mount for the Flitetest Baby Blender have been uploaded and posted on thingivers.com and FliteTest.com.

These drawings include all the major dimensions. Please let us know what you think. Follow us on FliteTest, Thingiverse, YouTube, and here on our blog!

Standard / Metric

Thanks!

-Miles

Anti-vibration to the rescue

Solid mounted ardupilot

Solid mounted ardupilot

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.

Super high tech anti-vibration apparatus

Super high tech anti-vibration apparatus

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.

All mounted up!

All mounted up!

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:

3D Printed Quad Build

And all of the parts are free to download on thingiverse:

A wise man designs twice and prints once

3D Printed Quad Build

-Miles

TwinStar II EDF Rebuild – Part 1

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).

aileron carnage

aileron carnage

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.

pre-repair damage

pre-repair damage

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.

measure twice cut once

measure twice cut once

First the section of damaged aileron was cut off and a matching section cut from a spare TwinStar wing.

repairs are looking good!

repairs are looking good!

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.

old coast guard TwinStar II

old coast guard TwinStar II

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.

rear gear removal

rear gear removal

messy front gear removed

messy front gear removed

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)

painter's tape is a painter's best friend

painter’s tape is a painter’s best friend

Then we decided to paint the wings to match the fuselage with matching red and blue stripes.

painting complete!

right side painting

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.

-Miles

The night before first-flight and all through the shop…

Late night at the lab

Late night at the workshop

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!

-Miles

Grounded but not out

Quadcopter Motor Mount Sneak Peek

Quadcopter Motor Mount Sneak Peek

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!

Quadcopter Build Goes 3D

3d Printed ESC Mounts

3d Printed ESC Mounts

A few weeks ago I picked up a Cube 3D printer. A relatively cheap low end 3D printer stocked by Staples.com. After a few days of testing and setup I printed my first set of functional objects.

Solidworks File

Solidworks File

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.

3D printed ESC Mounts

3D printed ESC Mounts

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.

Power tools are FUN!

Power tools are FUN!

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!

Wiring up the power distribution board

Wiring up the power distribution board

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.

All four mounted up!

All four mounted up!

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:

Ground Control to Major Tom

CHeck out our YouTube Channel!

Check out our YouTube Channel!

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!

Home Sweet Home

BackyardRC's new home base

BackyardRC’s new home workshop

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!