Introduction: Xcompact: DIY Drone Frame That Fits Into Backpack

Hello drone lovers!

In this instructable I would like to share my current progress with a truly portable drone frame.

The goal is to make drone transportation easier by:

  • Folding arms in the most compact way
  • Detaching legs

Step 1: Arms

I am using arms from my previous drone, though it will work with any arms based on 16 mm tubes.

The important moment is to make arms folding in the right way (check the video).

Black plastic clamps will provide rotation around a single axis, and the part from the drawing will let arms rise, just like doors in Lamborghini.

Such construction allows you to fold arms even if motors are on the same level (more pics are on the way)

Step 2: Core Modules

The frame core is based on a pair of tubes and two modules (with a pair of arms on each). A strong side of this design is that the frame size can be varied from 400 to 800 mm (I have 710 mm).

The plates for core modules can be made from different material. The best would be 2 mm carbon fiber, however machining of carbon fiber is not easy. In my prototype I am using 3 mm PMMA plastic. And the plates were produced by using a laser cutter.

Red clamps fix plates to the core tubes, blue ones fix arms and legs (at green dots on the drawing)

Step 3: Detachable Legs

This trick minimizes the height of the folded drone.

Legs (also 16 mm tubes) are fixed with the same screw as arms, so the assembly time doesn't increase.

Step 4: Vibration Isolated Module

In order to improve flight performance and get better FPV, one has to take care about vibrations on the control electronics and the camera. An efficient way of vibration damping is to put all important components on an isolated module and also add a battery there (higher mass -> more damping). Therefore I added such module to my design. It fits to different frame sizes and various number of damping balls can be used depending on the load.

Step 5: Final Remarks

I have described the ideas and tricks that were used to build a prototype of a truly portable drone. By using these ideas you can build your own.

I am not showing the dimensions of self-designed parts as they strongly depend on the material you are using.

For example, the most elegant design is possible with carbon fiber and aluminum parts. However, this requires some professional tools.

You can check the discussion about the materials in my blog.

Thank you for reading!

Any comments are strongly welcome)

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