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.
Step 1: The Design
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
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
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
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
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!
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.