Introduction: Micro FPV Quad

Picture of Micro FPV Quad

This is a really neat and tidy micro quad build, with frame designed for FPV.
It only took me a day to do, and uses parts that are readily accessible, either from hobby stores or online.

The main materials needed are:
* 6mm square carbon fiber tubing. (44cm long)
* XPS foam, or similar strong, dense foam. (3cm thick, 24cm x 8cm block).
* carbon fiber sheet, or strong wood sheet (ply or mdf), 15cm x 12cm.
* lots of cable ties
* double-sided foam mounting tape.
* stick-on velcro (hook-n-loop) strips.

There are many types of motors and RC gear that can fit this model, but below are the ones I chose for this build:
* Props: 5030 tri blades
* Motors: Multistar 1704/1900kV
* ESCs: HK blue series 12A
* FC: NanoWii. (with Spektrum sat RX)
* Batt: 3S, 500mAh

Since first publishing, I actually had a major crash (in windy conditions), and have made a few small, but effective changes.
One is to use 6mm square CF tubing for the arms (instead of 4).  For this scale, these have a negligible weight increase, but are so much stronger. Plus, they have a lot less twist in them, which I suspect contributed to some yaw problems when at full throttle. (any tilt off the main axis produces significant yaw, with quads)

Also, I have done more carving of the foam cover for a more rounded shape, at the sides. I'm hoping this gives a more slippery shape, and helps when in cross-winds. 

A number of people have been puzzled at the acronyms used in this post. If you're not really into radio control hobbies, here are some used:
ESC = Eelectronic Speed Controller
FC = Flight Controller/stabilizer
CF = Carbon Fiber
LiPo = Lithium Polymer (battery type)
RX = receiver
TX = transmitter
FPV = First Person View
XPS (foam) = eXtruded PolyStyrene

Step 1: The Plan

Picture of The Plan

Here's the plan I drew up first. For the scale, the prop circle diameters are 5 inches. You can scale everything else from those.

Step 2: The Base

Picture of The Base

For thing is to cut out the base frame piece. I used mdf, 3mm thick. Is reasonably strong for its weight. I would have loved to use a CF sheet (prob 1.5mm) and cut out to the pictured shape, but don't have any on hand.

Then cut the four arm pieces from the 4mm sq CF tubing, where the from two are shorter (about 10cm), and rear ones about 12cm. (refer to the plan for measurements, especially if you're scaling this up or down).

The most time consuming part was making the four motor mounts. I had scraps of 1.5mm CF which I dremelled to the given shapes, and drilled holes to match the motors' mounting holes. Also two hole midway for cable ties to go through.

The next step is pretty fiddly, and you have to do it reasonably quickly before the glue dries. I used good old Araldite (Epoxy). THe most important thing with the gluing step is to make sure the motor mount plates are ALL LEVEL! So, work on a flat surface. I put 1.5mm scrap CF pieces underneath the mount plates to equal the 3mm mdf frame piece. That way I could just place the CF tube arms over (as pictured). I made slight corrections to the positions of the arms while the glue was drying (measuring the 4 corners with a ruler, and making sure it was square).

Step 3: Figuring Out the Wiring

Picture of Figuring Out the Wiring

Once the glue is dry (usually is within 10 minutes), affix the cable ties to the arms/body and arms/mounts.

When I started, I wasn't sure where all the wires were going to go, so I fitted the motors to the CF mounts to get an idea of ways to arrange everything.

Step 4: Installing the ESCs

Picture of Installing the ESCs

Next I laid out how I thought the ESCs could be arranged, and once happy with the layout I stuck them to the frame with the servo mounting tape.

Step 5: Foam Cover

Picture of Foam Cover

Next I cut out the foam piece for the cover/top, then dug out a cavity to contain the ESCs/wires.
I had to do a number of 'fitting tests' like pictured here until it fit properly.

Step 6: Almost Done

Picture of Almost Done

Then I cut a hole in the top of the foam cover for the ESCs cables to go through, to plug into the NanoWii.

Once I could confirm that it all was OK, I then used the servo mounting tape on the four contact points (where the foam cover meets the base piece). Once these are bonded, it makes for quite a solid overall structure.

I considered Epoxying the cover onto the base, but thought I may want to access the wiring or ESCs at some point, so the mounting tape was a good compromise (I think). As long as it's good tape it will hold very securely. But you can hobby-knife the tape later if you want to get the cover off.

Step 7: The Paintjob

Picture of The Paintjob

Then the mean, black paintjob was next.  Prob the most fun step (I think).

Well, the flight tests would be the most fun, I guess, which came next. Everything went perfect. The NanoWii is great bang-for-buck, and am really impressed with the MultiStar motors.

Step 8: FPV Gear

Picture of FPV Gear

After quite a bit of flying I was confident enough to put some FPV gear in it.

I didn't really have any particular cam or TX in mind at the plan stage, so it was a bit of a retro-fit, although the frame shape itself is especially for FPV.

I decided to slice off the nose (pictured), and make a custom cavity for the camera, then Epoxy'd it back on, with the wires going along the underside of the quad.

And them chose to put the video TX in the tail (as in main picture).

Step 9: Misc.

Picture of Misc.

I put velcro strips on the bottom and also a small strip to the rear of the NanoWii, and experimented with where to place the main LiPo.
The CG can be achieved either way.

For the FPV setup, I use a small 3S, 180mAh Nanotech LiPo velcro'd to the rear of the NanoWii for the camera and TX.
Then velcro a 500mAh, 3S underneath for the motors/radio.


HuzaifaT1 (author)2016-07-03

where did you get the NanoWii. (with Spektrum sat RX) and foam from. what alternate foams can I use

Kushalpikki (author)2015-07-13 is better at selling quadcopter parts

ayushmh17 (author)2014-07-24

do these properties match
maximum power-1.5kW nd maximum e.m.f b/w any 2 points should be less than 22.2V

The Turn (author)2014-05-06

What controller and software did you use? looking at attempting a build, but not sure as to what a good software would be

pegazx (author)2014-02-23

its very good but you could put a video of the flight plaese

mgiana (author)2014-02-16

Hi ya, what FPV camera and TX did you use?

Diogo o criador (author)2014-02-13

meio fácil de mais não?!?!?!?!?!!!?!?!!?!??!!!?

japodaca (author)2014-02-12

Acronyms are okay if you are just talking to other people who are strictly in your field. Since this is the web and you may be addressing people who are very interested newbies, please give us a guide to your terms as a courtesy and save us the trouble of having to leave your page to look up those terms every other line.

sqij (author)japodaca2014-02-13

Hi. I guess I assumed I was talking to people already in the RC/multicopter field. Plus, this is my first instructable post. Still getting to grips with how this all works :-)

japodaca (author)2014-02-12

For future posts I mean.

firestarter5048 (author)2014-02-11

I would advise using a prop with 2 blades rather than 3 as it would be more efficient due to airflow. Also what transmitter are you using?

aalejo (author)2014-02-09

its too heavy and the source will be 500mah jesus make it 5000 or 10000 9volts to make it up in the air longer and more trust and make trust me will do the work

naja452 (author)aalejo2014-02-09

I don't think you have ever built or flown a multirotor, This thing probably weighs half as much as a 5Ah battery, he might be able to double the battery but thats it. .5Ah will work fine.

aalejo (author)naja4522014-02-10

i make one but i use a motor a dvd rom i try it with some microcontroller and some for bluetooth mech is been working and pretty enough to much power its to much trust and its much better

ke4cpc (author)2014-02-09

A lot of Acronyms, please provide a glossary or a link, if possible. I'd like to try and make something like this with my two 11 year olds.

ESC = electric speed controller

FPV = First Person View

CF = Carbon fiber

Hope that helps

Thank you, I was thinking exactly the same about all the TLAs!

CT4 (author)2014-02-09

You do not mention the CofG position I take it that it is in the center of the body equidistant from each of the props? Interesting thoughts on the 3D printing. Not too sure you could get it ridged enough on this size of quad. A hybrid though would work. Print the main RC chassis and use the carbon fiber motor arms and maybe print the motor mounts to go on the end of the arms.

sqij (author)CT42014-02-10

Yeah, the CG is in the centre (ie. diagonals from prop to prop). Props are in a square config.

eserra (author)2014-02-10

A list with an extimation of the total that you've spent would be very useful :) !

sqij (author)eserra2014-02-10

These are estimated further down in the comments, but the basic gear (minus fpv) is about $120-$150 from HobbyKing. The fpv camera I put in it was about $35, and the 5.8GHz tx/rx pair is about $70. There are misc bits like power harness cable, props, CF tubing, etc, but these are fairly negligible.

deejayq (author)2014-02-10

do you think that instead of mdf it would be better to use balsa wood?

sqij (author)deejayq2014-02-10

No, definitely not. Balsa would be far too brittle. Best would be a custom-cut CF sheet. But they're pretty pricey. The 3mm mdf is about the best strength/weight (and cost) that I've found.

truckingman (author)2014-02-09

I was wondering if you have any video(s) or plan on taking some of your 'micro quad.' Can you please post the link(s), thank you.

sqij (author)truckingman2014-02-09

Yeah, there's a video I posted on Google+

dark-shot666 (author)2014-02-09

This looks great for a scratch built machine. You know the AUW?

Sidenote, I hope you'll be tossing on a pair of circular polarized antennas for when you do FPV, your video link will be greatly improved by doing so.

sqij (author)dark-shot6662014-02-09

235g without FPV gear, 290g with.

Yeah, I have some circular 5.8s, but I think they got damaged in a crash a whiles back so reverted to the standard antennas (for now).

Diogo o criador (author)2014-02-09

parece ser legal

e facil ne

samern (author)2014-02-09

I've been looking at various FPV quads here and on Thingiverse. I think you would do well to get the design into a 3D printable STL. For example, if you draw the base plate and arms and motor mounts as one piece and then the body on top as another, you've got something all of us can print (and in fact, you can market) because you can print as many identical components as you need. If you don't have a 3D printer and don't want to get one, I can print a few for you. Next is the motors. If you stick to the brushless variety, your mounts can be consistent (and printed separately) because most motors you would use would have the same mounting hole pattern. If you have any other drawings, please post them. This design is great! I love it!

sqij (author)samern2014-02-09

Wouldn't the parts then all be in whatever the nylon/plastic that the 3d printers use? I don't think it would be very strong if that was the case. Having the base and motor mounts CNC cut from carbon fibre sheet would be excellent, though.

samern (author)sqij2014-02-09

They will be plenty strong, especially if you use 100% infill. I have printed several (larger) quads and they hold up great with motors, ESCs, control boards and batteries. If you print in ABS, they will be very strong. The other thing you can do is also use the originals to cast the parts instead of print them. So you'd print the parts, then make molds out of them and cast as many as you want out of whatever the mold can stand (like resin for example). But the honeycomb structure of the printed parts, especially the shape you have there, will take a lot of abuse if you print them standing upright (the longest dimension in the Z axis). You can CNC the parts out of blocks of plastic too so long as all your holes are in the vertical plane.

sqij (author)samern2014-02-09

Interesting. Seems like most people use SolidWorks for cadding up these things. Is there any cheaper way to get started?
Also, would the arms need to be thicker than 4mm sq, which is what they currently are (in CF)? Ie. Some mesh design that's thicker, like in most quad arms in commercial kits.

samern (author)sqij2014-02-09

I use TinkerCAD for quick stuff like this. Browser based and easy. Get in and search for FPV and you will see some good samples.

ghaines2 (author)2014-02-09

would it be possable to mount a go pro on this?

sqij (author)ghaines22014-02-09

i don't think so. Its a bit too small a frame for that.

ghaines2 (author)sqij2014-02-09

ah ok cool no probs

bremus (author)ghaines22014-02-09

No, that would be to heavy for this Micro quad. That said, a quad that can lift a gopro wouldn't cost much more to build than this one. The most expensive parts (transmitter, receiver, fpv gear) remains the same even on larger quads.

sfurqan (author)2014-02-09

i am here in abu dhabi how can i get complete set circuit.
how much is price. i will pay on delivery.

dzervas (author)2014-02-09

Can you give me the exact link of the parts you used, without the camera gear?

How much did it cost to you (no camera)

Is there anything cheaper that I can buy, by sacrificing camera compatibility?

BTW: very good instructable...

sqij (author)dzervas2014-02-09

i bought all the components from HobbyKing. You can do searches for the parts I've listed on that site. Not sure what they total, but around $120 to $150 for basic gear. Another 30 for camera, 70 for video tx/RX pair.

dzervas (author)sqij2014-02-09

ok, thank you! :)

jfarhoud (author)2014-02-07

This is awesome, would it be possible to buy one premade from you

sqij (author)jfarhoud2014-02-07

yeah, I could build you one. Were you thinking one with all the electronics or would you use your own? With or without the Fpv gear?

short_fuse (author)sqij2014-02-07

I'm also interested in one premade from you with FPV gear. how much would it cost

sqij (author)short_fuse2014-02-07

prob is there are so many different types of Fpv gear, and not sure which is legal in your country? Eg, 5.8GHz. I've heard 1.2 and 1.3GHz gear is awesome, but I'm still not sure on legals her in Australia.

Also, not sure what kind of ground setup you're into? Goggles or monitor?

I could do a camera install, but would prob be best if you found video tx/RX and googles/monitor yourself. Actually, even with the camera choice, there can sometimes be incompatibilities with video tx/RX. You mostly just choose NTSC or PAL, and make sure your ground setup can take that.

eben89 (author)sqij2014-02-08

1.2 -1.3 Ghz are illegal here in Australia unless you have a amateur radio licence. I swear there are new rules appearing every week tho.

eben89 (author)eben892014-02-08

I have also heard its better to have your radio control frequency lower than your video feed so the signal is stronger or you risk losing control before you lose video feed. But if its field tested and you fly well within the limits it should be ok. I think most people that use 1.2ghz -1.3 ghz also have long distance radio setups for this reason such as dragonlink or old transmitters of lower frequencies. Not that it's legal but at the moment it is hard to enforce I would think. I think 5.8 ghz is perfect for 95% of people and the antennas are smaller.

sqij (author)eben892014-02-08

ah, thanks for clarifying. Would love to get one of those setups, tho. Apparently goes right through walls. Don't have to worry about line of site.

About This Instructable




More by sqij:Micro GPS QuadcopterDurable FPV QuadcopterMicro FPV Quad
Add instructable to: