Mod for Picoo Z Mini Helicopter

About: 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 recently I completed a 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Trainer course and plan to st...

Intro: 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

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 http://www.precisionheli.com)
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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

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    92 Discussions

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    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)

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    tparnet

    11 years ago on Introduction

    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.

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    fireballxl5tparnet

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    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 http://www.piccoztoolbox.no-ip.com/ site to see if anyone else has tried it.

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    fireballxl5mowhawkman290

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 4

    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.

    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.

    product.jpeg
    1 reply

    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).

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    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!

    C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Desktop\Cody's Pictures\P8010087.JPG
    6 replies
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    daniel!Jr Hacking kid

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    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

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    shoobyfunwithfire325

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    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.

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    I have bought 2 full spare blades,both the main blade and the balancer,plus rear blade from ebay..now 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.

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    shooby

    10 years ago on Introduction

    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.

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    fireballxl5shooby

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    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.

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    shoobyfireballxl5

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    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.