Introduction: Mod for Picoo Z Mini Helicopter

Picture of Mod for Picoo Z Mini Helicopter

This is a set of detailed instructions for a mod to the rotor shaft of the Picoo-Z mini-helicopter; replacing the original steel shaft with a carbon fiber shaft and installing ball bearings in place of the copper/brass bearing. This mod is based on a description from the website dedicated to Picoo-Z mods, it's under the Rotor Mods section.

Step 1: Parts List and Tools

Picture of Parts List and Tools

You'll need the following parts;
1 - 1-9/16" length of .04" (or 1MM) carbon fiber rod
2 - 1x3x1 ball bearings (item Code m021 from
1 - Picoo-Z mini Helicopter

The tools required are;
X-acto knife
small dental pick
a standard (flat end) screwdriver
a pair of locking needle nose pliers
a pair of diagonal wire strippers
1/8" drill bit
a large flat washer (I cut a small 1/8" deep slot in it to help remove the rotor)
Foam Safe CA glue
and a good magnifying glass will help too

Step 2: Opening Up the Body

Picture of Opening Up the Body

Start by CAREFULLY using the X-Acto knife to cut through the glue holding the "Landing gear pod" to the lower part of the body. Don't cut too deep, there's wiring and a battery close to this area. Once it has been removed you'll see the IR detector for the remote control.

Next start cutting through the seam that runs all the way around the copter holding the 2 halves of the body together. I started at the the back where the tail rotor arm runs into the body (less delicate stuff in this area). Once you get it started you can pry it open slightly, so that you can see what you are doing, (to stay away from the wiring and battery, to get the two halves separated all the way around.

Once I had this done, (see 2nd pictures), I switched it on and ran the copter at low speed to makes sure I hadn't broken anythings up to this point.

NOTE: From the 2nd picture you can see why a push-pin (mod to add weight) in the nose of the copter could be a bad idea. It's close to the battery compartment, and a crash could drive the pin into the battery.

Step 3: Removing the Main Rotor

Picture of Removing the Main Rotor

To remove the main rotor I used a pair of locking pliers to hold the metal shaft close to the drive gear. Then I slipped a washer (see picture) with a small slot in it between the pliers and the rotor. Now I used a flat end screwdriver between the pliers and the washer to press the rotor off the shaft. You may need to reposition the pliers as the rotor moves to the end of the shaft.

Step 4: Removing the Drive Gear and Bearings

Picture of Removing the Drive Gear and Bearings

Once the main rotor is removed, the drive gear and shaft can be removed by first removing the small brass collar at the bottom of the shaft. After the shaft has been pulled out remove the two flanged brass bearing at both ends of the rotor shaft mount (shown below being removed with the dental pick). Then push the large drive gear off of the steel shaft. Save the flat washers (2); one is at the top between the drive gear and the brass bearing and the other is at the bottom, between the brass collar and the brass bearing. We'll be re-installing the flat washers into the same positions during re-assembly, but the bushings can be discarded as they will be replaced with the ball bearings.

Step 5: Cutting the Carbon Fiber Shaft

Picture of Cutting the Carbon Fiber Shaft

I used a pair of diagonal wire strippers to cut the Carbon Fiber rod, it reduced the chances of splitting the ends. Just cut it to the same length (1-9/16") as the original steel shaft. Once the shaft is cut, install the drive gear at the same position that it had on the steel shaft (about 1/2" from the bottom end of the shaft). Use a little CA glue to hold it in position. You may have to "build up" the shaft slight with a little of the CA glue before installing the gear. I put a thin coating of glue on the shaft, where the gear would be placed, allowed it to dry and then pressed the gear onto the shaft.

Step 6: Installing the New Shaft & Bearings

Picture of Installing the New Shaft & Bearings

I used a 1/8" drill bit to enlarge the holes (by hand) in the rotor bearing mount, so that it would accept the 3MM O.D. ball bearings. Once the bearings are in place take the new rotor shaft and place one of the flat washers on the short end and slide it up against the drive gear. Now slide the shaft in through both bearings, a small amount of the shaft should be sticking out at the bottom bearing. Place the second flat washer over the end of the shaft and press the brass collar on last with a small amount of the CA glue. Make sure everything is moving freely and then allow the CA to setup/cure.

Step 7: Re-installing the Main Rotor

Picture of Re-installing the Main Rotor

Apply some of the CA glue to the rotor shaft and press the rotor assembly onto the new shaft.

Step 8: Glue It Back Together

Picture of Glue It Back Together

First apply some of the Foam Safe CA glue to the motor mount frame and glue in back into one half of the Picoo Z body. Allow that to setup for a few minutes.

Check again to make sure the main and tail rotor are both working before continuing.

Next apply some glue carefully around the two halves of the helicopter body and press it back together and secure it with some rubber bands. You can also glue the "Landing gear pod" back in place as well. Now let it set until the glue dries (following the instructions for whatever type of glue you are using, just make sure it is Foam Safe).

Step 9: Ready to Fly Again

That's it, remove the rubber bands and the Picoo Z is ready to fly again. Now where's my Airwolf theme music?


knex luver234 (author)2010-10-10

all right, i did this (it did wonders by the way) then take the sticker crap off the shaft to the tail rotor, but leave the ltlle triangle piece beneath the tail rotor. take some stiff paper or thin plastic, cut a 2" long by 1/2" wide strip fold it in half so its in a v shape. glue it 1/2 down the shaft with the v shape down, it will stabalize your copter like no other and between the two mods creates the ultimate micro copter. (i am not responsible for any accidents, i now my way around this and other copters, if planning on my mod, you should to, i cannot be blamed for a destroyed copter)

indoor helicopter (author)2009-12-31

Great mod for this mini helicopter. I think the 2 channels are becoming obsolete to the newer 3 channel indoor helicopter. Does anyone know of any good mods for the newer 3 channel helicopter?

tparnet (author)2007-07-14

Hi everyone. This mod looks cool. I got two questions though... 1. Has anyone tried to disable or remove the flashing blue LED thats their for "night flying" or flying in the dark? I suspect you can get more flight time with the LED either disabled (saving energy) and or removed (to make it lighter). 2. Is it possible to add a larger battery for longer flight time? Thanks.

linuxthefish (author)tparnet2009-12-30

 use can use a higher amperage battery, the old one is 50 mAh

fireballxl5 (author)tparnet2007-07-14

I didn't try to remove the LED, but it would be fairly simple to do, splitting the case as shown in my mod instructions, but I'm not sure that you would get a noticeable gain in flight time, LEDs are very efficient, especially when blinking verses on steady. As for the bigger battery, that can effect the balance and weight of the heli. You might check the site to see if anyone else has tried it.

mowhawkman290 (author)2009-08-28

i dont get what the washer does. im new to rcs

I think you're referring to the step where the rotor/blade asm. gets removed, if so, the washer (with the slot cut into it) is used to protect the bottom of the rotor (plastic) when you insert the screwdriver between it and the pliers that are locked to the rotor shaft. The washer presses against the rotor but slides over the shaft allowing you to twist the screwdriver between the washer and pliers to remove the rotor/blade assembly. Hope that helps.

the-ruler-of-craziness (author)2008-12-27

i got a picoo z insecta and it starts spinning anti clockwise and ive trimmed it and nothing seems to be happening. help me please if possible anyway thanks.

It sounds like the tail rotor might be loose on the shaft or that it might be gummed up with lint or hair. Try removing the tail rotor from the motor shaft, remove any debris and replace it (maybe with a "fresh" rotor).

gremlinz_man (author)2008-12-27

what does this do to the helicopter?

funwithfire325 (author)2007-08-02

hey, i need help my helicopter broke a blade i have another broken helicopter ( can i take off the blade ) can i like make it not look crapy thanks!

daniel! (author)Jr Hacking kid2008-11-27

I find it hilarious how a pack of 4 tail props cost $15, when at walmart you can buy a new havoc heli/picoo z for about $20

shooby (author)funwithfire3252008-03-13

The rotors are pretty floppy anyways, I'd stick some tape (maybe transparent packing tape, something relatively adhesive) onto both sides (upper and lower), then cut off the excess in the shape of the piece that used to be there. Two layers of tape, adhesive sides facing eachother, should be strong and light enough.

Well my suggestion would be to use tape and put something stiff in it (that is if the chip affects flight)

mastelios (author)funwithfire3252007-10-09

I have bought 2 full spare blades,both the main blade and the balancer,plus rear blade from really worth the money since the full helicopter is cheap but I like like fixing things,plus I have 3 nano helis so spares are welcome..

Should work, if both copters are Picoo-Z's. Take a look at step 3 of this Instructable for how I removed the main rotor blade assembly. If the main rotor blades are ok on the other copter, just pull the whole assembly off of both copters and press the good set of blades onto the one that had the broken blades. You'll need a good pair of vise-grip pliers to hold the rotor shaft when removing and re-installing the blade assembly. Good Luck.

shooby (author)2008-03-12

Does the end result have rubber bands wrapped around it? It seems like this would probably add too much weight to make replacing the metal drive shaft worth it. I have a micro-flyer, same concept basically, but my body is plastic and doesn't totally enclose the electronics. With the picoo z, you might try, for a simpler, faster, and easy weight loss solution, drilling holes into the foam. You could even drill then all the way through, parallel to the forward direction, to decrease drag, considering these things don't move forward too easily.

fireballxl5 (author)shooby2008-03-13

The rubber bands are just to secure the two halves till the glue tries, I should have mentioned that they need to be removed in the last step. The carbon fiber rod and bearings really do more for the stability of the rotor than for weight loss, but thanks for the tips. I did cut away some of the foam in the "landing wings" making them look more like landing gear.

shooby (author)fireballxl52008-03-13

Good to hear. Flying these things is really addictive, makes me want to go one step up, maybe a 4 channel, something under US$100.

Jr Hacking kid (author)2008-01-05

wat do i do with the rest of the carbon fiber rod

Greeny717 (author)Jr Hacking kid2008-01-05

keep it just in case you snap the one carbon rod then you can just snip some more off and put it back together

Jr Hacking kid (author)Greeny7172008-01-05

i was thinking i could make into traing supports

Greeny717 (author)Jr Hacking kid2008-01-06

good idea or you could make some proper landing gear by bending thr garbon firba rod into landing gear like proper helicopter and the glue it one with POLERSTIRING SAFE GLUE but before that you might like you paint the rod its up to you HAPPY BILDING Greeny717

Jr Hacking kid (author)2008-01-05

where did you buy ur carbon fiber rod

DrSimons (author)2007-12-24

I got a couple RC choppers on for only $15 each, and this looks exactly like it. I'm gonna try the bearing upgrade, but hold off on the CF shaft since there are no hobby stores nearby. I hope the steel shaft fits in the bearing you specified?

Ankush (author)2007-11-05

Cool i have 2 mini helicopters just like the pics

endolith (author)2007-10-20

Why would you replace the rotor?

mastelios (author)2007-10-09

Great mod,I have done the CF-shaft part,could not find ball bearings,it works better,I guess it will be even better with the bearings.By the way,any e-shop or ebay selling those?I can't seem to find any!-other than precisionheli- thanks. Any way, another mod I found really good was sprying the gears with solid grafite.Both the drive gear and the motor sounded faster and better..

themysteriouslips (author)2007-09-03

hi i got given one of these about a year ago, and it worked fine until about 2 weeks ago, when it literally started shaking in mid air. this problem has persisted, but all other functions work fine. i hav checked all rotor blades for damage and hter is none visible. any ideas how i could fix it? thanks

Nidrah4 (author)2006-12-27

Excellent mod! Does it fly better or just less noise?
A little tip for new owners:
If your heli doesn't go forward enough just gently twist the tail CW (tail facing you)if it's going to fast do the opposite and tweek it CCW. Leave the weights off until you know how it will respond. I added one weight at a time, one slightly more forward then the other for a total of 2.
I've got over 240 flight minutes on mine and still going strong. Only problem was this morning I couldn't get it to trim out (spinning CCW). After checking for dirt/lint I wound up replacing the tail blade. I'm going to assume that the hole wore out and the blade was slipping cause it works just like new now.
To see my other heli's and less successful endeavors goto:
Happy flying!

LankanPicooZ (author)Nidrah42007-01-01

Good tips, thanks. Mine started spinning crazily CCW after just 03 charging rounds. The tail blade rotates alright(not too sure whether its got sufficient revs) but doesn't seem to counter the torque created. Haven't tried out anything yet. Appreciate any tips. Thanks LankanPicooZ

Mojojack (author)LankanPicooZ2007-01-09

I had the same problem. Used a teflon lubricant on the tail rotor and works like new.

wobby (author)Mojojack2007-02-22

My heli also worked great for a few flights, and after a subsequent few crashes, it began spinning counter clockwise, and trim could not correct it. I tried bending, pulling prodding, adding weights etc... Found this thread on teflon lubricant and it fixed the problem perfectly. I used tri-flow superior lubricant with teflon, $3 at my local hardware store. Thanks Mojojack! Wobby

phoenix124 (author)wobby2007-07-25

I had the same problem (seems to be pretty common), no obvious hairs or rotor cracks... every other place i looked said the motor was burned out. anyways, lacking teflon lubricant I used silicone... it works like new! thx for the idea!

ticklishhobo (author)phoenix1242007-07-28

I have the same problem with the tail rotor, but I'm not sure how to apply the lubricant. Do I have to crack open the motor and apply it there? or the gap between the motor and the blade. Thanks. ticklishhobo

phoenix124 (author)ticklishhobo2007-07-28

all that i did was spray the lubricant on the main shaft and where it enters the motor. my propeller was off anyways, but i don think you have to take it off (it may be easier though) After you lube it it may take a little bit of running to get it fully greased and working. just rev it up for a while, or if its vaguely flyable, fly it. its a relatively easy fix, no disassembly required... although tearing these little things apart is fun! good luck

wemmick (author)2007-03-02

i also had the problem of it juz spinning under the main rotors after lift off. i discovered that it was due to a tiny crack on the tail rotor blade. i rectified the problem buy dabbing a tiny dash of rubber glue on the affected spot... the only glue i could find at the time. but remember to align the crack before u apply glue over it. its now flying again.

fakcali (author)wemmick2007-04-05

Hi... I am still desperate about the spinning problem. After investigating the tail, i have found a crack as you mentioned. However neither glue nor changing the tail rotor worked. Since I am working abroad, I have lost my only fun. Any help is appreciated.

BuilderP2K (author)fakcali2007-07-13

see if there is hair wrapped around the shaft, thats what happened to me

fireballxl5 (author)fakcali2007-04-05

You may want to try looking in the forums at to see if anyone there has any suggestions. If you used oil to lubricate the motor shaft, some of it may be on the end of the shaft where the rotor is pressed on, causing it to slip. You might try cleaning the end with a little alcohol, but don't get any in the motor itself. You could also try "pinching" the rotor shaft with some pliers to add a little knurling to the shaft, this might help hold the rotor to the shaft. Hope that helps. Good luck.

JamesRPatrick (author)2007-07-11

Ever considered a radio conversion?

pollysea (author)2007-01-26

why not try the mini dragonfly?more easy to fly: The differences between mini dragonfly and Picoo z The mini dragonfly’s main propellers can be under disassembly Throttle: Mini dragonfly:32 levels Picoo z:14 levels Left and right control: Mini dragonfly:14 levels Picoo z:6 levels Accurately control: Mini dragonfly:32 levels Picoo z:7 levels

fireballxl5 (author)pollysea2007-01-26

Sounds great, but price was a factor, the mini dragonfly ~$179.99 The Picoo-Z ~$40.00 I'm just a casual Helicopter fan, but If I really get into it I take a look at the dragonfly. Thanks for the info.

Havoc Heli(PicooZ) $30 at Target. And It's ironic that the site you're using is of the company that copied the original(Picco Z).

Yeah, I know, it's been a while since I posted this reply. Since then I've followed some of the legal battle, that Silverlit has been fighting, on my blog at Also, Gizmodo has an excellent summary of all the PicooZ knock-offs (PiccoZ, PicoZ, and much more).

lite (author)fireballxl52007-06-01

piczo z @ dealextreme is £16

fireballxl5 (author)fireballxl52007-01-26

My mistake, there appears to be more than one mini Dragon Fly, this one, at:

appears to be comparable to the Picoo-Z in size, not sure of the cost.

Daemonbeast (author)2007-04-15

Hi All I've been playing around with these little copters for a couple of months, they are absoultly fantastic, mean and my young kids all have one and they have taken countless crashes without any damage. Although the Picco Z isnt avalible an exact copy of it the "Shuan Ha" brand is exactly the same - ive tested it right next to my Picco Z i got from the states and there's no difference (Even the packaging is the same!) These are avalible in NZ for NZ$55 - With Free postage worldwide!. So if your having trouble getting hold of them e-mail me at with "micro Helicopter" in the subject line and i'll send you the payment details. Happy Flying Guys :)

lite (author)Daemonbeast2007-06-01 do them for $16

About This Instructable




Bio: I've always been a maker, mod-er, and tinkerer. I started out by taking things apart and then trying to put them back together. Most ... More »
More by fireballxl5:Replacing the Battery in Bontragers Ion 700 Bike LightCalibrate Your Garmin Edge 500 Battery IndicatorBlack & Decker Mower Wheel Repair
Add instructable to: