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How to build a storage/transportation box for your quadcopter.

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Picture of How to build a storage/transportation box for your quadcopter.
So you've spent a ton of time build and hopefully flying your quadcopter. Now you need something keep it safe in between flights!

At Techshop I built my own quadcopter using the laser cutters and some of the other tools and equipment available. One day though while driving around with the quadcopter in my truck another box rolled over on top of the quad and broke the main frame apart. That is was inspired me to build some sort of transportation / storage box for it.

This instructables outlines the steps I took to build my own storage box for the Elev-8 quadcopter. This is by no means the one and only way to build a storage box. This is just something I came up with one day using AutoDesk inventor to design all the parts and and make sure everything would fit together. You will probably need to modify my dimensions to fit your quadcopter.

 
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Step 1: The Design

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I wanted something simply yet strong so I chose to use some 3/4" plywood that was laying around. The box itself is pretty basic, the main design part was the boom supports that also hold the quad centered in the box.

I used Autodesk Inventor as it was easy to dimension everything that way I needed and it also allowed me to perfectly align all the mortises at the right angles.

I have included the .dxf file for the box using 3/4" plywood. This file is designed for 3/4" wood, so it will need to be modified if you plan on using anything other than 3/4" material.

Step 2: Running the cut files on the CNC Shopbot Router

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After creating the toolpaths from VCarve and setting up the shopbot CNC router, I basically just stood back and let the machine do all the cutting for me.

I broke up the job into 4 files. The first being the safe holes for the screws to better hold the material. The second being the marking holes for the screws in the box. The third being the interior cut outs. The last file was the exterior cut profiles.

Step 3: Cleaning and finishing parts

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Depending on the tooling and material that is used, you may need to clean up the edges of your parts. In my case I used a flush trim router bit  and the table router to clean up all the edges of the part.

Following this, depending on your preference you may want to add a round over on some of the edges. Please keep in mind of which edges will be butting up against another. You only want to round over edges that will be exposed once assembled.

Step 4: Assembly of the Box

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The assembly of the box should go pretty smoothly if you made sure you material thickness was exactly what you specific in the design process.

The easiest way I found was to lay the base up on a table and use a square to keep a side straight while I drilled and screwed it in place.

The spacers simply get hammered into place and screwed in from behind to hold them in place. I added a little bit of weather tape at the spacer to keep the wood from scratching the quadcopter.

Step 5: The Top

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The final step is to put on the top. You could easily add the top to the CNC cutting files as well, in my case I did not because I wasn't sure how I wanted to complete the top at that point.

I chose to vinyl wrap (faster than painting) two boards cut to fit the top of the box.

Add hinges and your choice of hardware and that's it!

I used a handle for each of the top halves and one larger handle for the main body to carry the hole thing.

Step 6: Enjoyment!

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Sit back and enjoy your work.

I want to point out that this box is definitely not the lightest out there. I build mine heavy duty so that I can pile stuff up on top of it without having to worry about the quadcopter inside.

Please feel free to comment any ideas or suggestions you may have below.
a1auto1 year ago
This is a great idea and a nice build! Makes me want a quadcopter & GoPro.
zeus05292 years ago
This is a great build! Did you build your quad? Have you thought about an ible for this? I would like to build a quadrotor some day, but I don't even know where to start.
Can the rotors turn in the box? I would like to see one done with sprung doors on top so you can leave it sit on the floor closed and just fly it straight out of the box!
Possibly a bigger box needed, and some way to turn it on with the box still closed and another control channel to operate the box. Would be cool though!
BrianWard (author)  RandomIdeaMan2 years ago
Definitely some good ideas! Depending on your radio you could probably have a second rx inside the box running on the same frequency and operated on a aux channel. The quad itself only uses 5 channels. The box I built is too small to allow the rotors to spin as I wanted it to be as compact as possible. Let me know if you end up making something like that. I'd love to see photos of it!
To keep the same size box you would just need the hinges to be below the prop arcs. So if it had clam shell doors it could be the same size and still be able to spin when open (might have to watch prop position when closing though.)

I could also see having some retractable wires to guide the quad into the slots for landing in the box.
Or for landing in the box you could make the spacers have a big "Y" shaped cut out, the sloped sides of the top of the "Y" would guide the rotor arms in to their resting position in the straight section at the bottom of the "Y".

You might need to make the whole assembly a cylinder for that though, so no matter which way it is facing when it lands gravity will do the right thing to line it up.
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