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Posted by Josh 
January 26, 2010 02:38AM
Hello all,

A while back I came across some people building quad-copters. I wanted to build one, but decided that other projects needed to come first. Specifically my cnc mill and RepRap. But since my Mendel is getting close to being complete. Is there any interest in a group of people designing up a printable quad-copter?

Re: Quad-Copter
January 26, 2010 06:51AM
Re: Quad-Copter
January 26, 2010 03:41PM
I guess you are refering to an airframe to house the motors and the different
parts of the electronics?

What electronics do you plan to accomodate?
There are so many quadcopter-projects going on, it´s hard
to count the designs.

I myself am more a paraplane+paparazzi -type of guy. longer air-times,
easier to build and fly and extremely safe against crashes
(paracute included winking smiley). As opposed to quadcopters they can
also carry sensible payload and use it fully autonomously
using a REAL autonomous autopilot like paparazzi.

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Re: Quad-Copter
January 26, 2010 08:36PM
You are correct that I was thinking about the frame to hold the motors and electronics. I have looked at several open source Quad-Copters and honestly was planning on using the same electronics as one of the better documented ones. I am a mechanical engineer with a focus on controls and robotics, so this project is right up my ally. But I have not speced any of the motors, electronics or anything else. I just wanted to see if anyone here wanted to work on a RepRap-able design. If there is interest, then we can start deciding the design criteria. But honestly the frame could be pretty generic to allow people to use any electronics they wanted.

just my thoughts,
Re: Quad-Copter
January 28, 2010 01:51AM
Hey, looks like fun! I have the electrics from a crashed up RTF li-po rc plane that could go ballistic; it's occurred to me that I should try and reprap a replacement airframe for it.

Having spent a few years flying and crashing paragliders around the Rockies, I think I'll stay away from the paraplane stuff for now; ram air wings have a tendency to fold up mid flight right when things get interesting. Still better than running out of power on a quadcopter though; can't autorotate a quadcopter, not yet at least.

Reprap construction could be pretty good for small airframes - being able to make hollow structures with internal stringers and reinforcement like bird bones would be an advantage, even if ABS or PLA is still a bit heavy.

Should be interesting!

Re: Quad-Copter
January 28, 2010 04:55PM
My first stab at the design would be very simple and drawing on the STARMAC project. It is basically a frame made from composite tubes which you can purchase, and connected with printed parts. Similar to the way K'NEX work. A quick look on McMaster turned up this carbon fiber tube.


A few of those and some connection pieces and you have a quad-copter frame. Actually you could use the same connectors to build just about anything.

I'm interested in other peoples thoughts, so don't be shy.

Re: Quad-Copter
February 20, 2010 07:29PM
can u pls explain
1.it's advantages
2.what about it's duration.
Re: Quad-Copter
February 21, 2010 12:15AM
can u pls explain 1.it's advantages
Fun! Also, it drives RepRap research. (materials, control,
talking-to-cameras, etc.) And it's cool. Plus you learn a lot.

2.what about it's duration.
"To be determined" smiling smiley

"To be determined" smiling smiley

Some of these details are sort of like trying to figure out how we're going to cook fish we haven't caught yet, while figuring out what we want to fish for. It's all part of research. Likewise, Josh and fellow RepCopter user-developers will end up working on bigger, smaller, cheaper, more expensive versions. It's all good.

ramkumar, what price, duration, and feature set would you look for?

Also, what diameter carbon fiber rods can you source in your part of the world at your local and online suppliers? (In the case that you don't live in North America.)

My first stab at the design would be very simple and drawing on the STARMAC
project. It is basically a frame made from composite tubes which you can purchase, and connected with printed parts. Similar to the way K'NEX work. A quick look on McMaster turned up this carbon fiber tube.

Seems reasonable. Also price carbon fiber tube at your local hobby shop and kite shop. Here's an online hobby shop:

Tower hobby:
Shipping: ?

Handwaving: You can print up a "sparse" low density connection piece that aligns the rods properly, then lock the rods into place with rubber thong, kevlar lashings, or wrappings of fiber sheet and epoxy. My inspiration: [www.leevalley.com]
In this case that would be one length of steel wire, plus just enough plastic to prent the wire from crushing into the rods.

All of that's assuming a basic connector block isn't good enough, or is too heavy.

I've created a page for notes, files, photos, and further development.

I hope the name is ok. It sounded better that "QuadCopter" or "JoshCopter". You may want to log in and edit to clean it up.

Hopefully, this subject will eventually generate its own forum. smiling smiley

-Sebastien, RepRap.org library gnome.

Remember, you're all RepRap developers (once you've joined the super-secret developer mailing list), and the wiki, RepRap.org, [reprap.org] is for everyone and everything! grinning smiley
Re: Quad-Copter
May 16, 2010 07:17PM
My Mendel is almost finished and in thinking about what to make - a quad-copter was one of the ideas!

What I was considering was a mono-cock shell in two snap together halves - much like it would be made as a toy with 4 motors and small, high speed props. The motors and props angled outward slightly (the exhaust angled out) to improve stability and speed.

Just a thought,

Re: Quad-Copter
May 17, 2010 01:47PM
Simon - I like the idea of the monocoque shell. Sort of like the bumpers on the Parrot AR drone, but structural. I was imagining a spherical hull, with the propellers deep enough inside that it would be safe to fly around people. I think that the smaller propellors loose a fair bit of efficiency though; maybe 4 ducted fans might work better this way. The shell would be pretty heavy right now too, even at 0.5 mm ABS or PLA.

Alternatively, a single enclosed fixed pitch propellor with 3 steering vanes below it for anti-torque and maneuvering might work out ok too - the larger prop might provide for longer flight times.
Re: Quad-Copter
August 17, 2010 04:45PM
Maybe all of you know it already, but did you see this video?

Control of precise aggressive maneuvers with an autonomous quadrotor helicopter. This is a small autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). Demonstrations of flips, flight through windows, and quadrotor perching are shown. Work done at the GRASP Lab, University of Pennsylvania.

I like the speed they can reach...
Re: Quad-Copter
August 18, 2010 03:42AM
... fantastic meneuvrability! - now imagine a swarm of this beasts on a battlefield carrying small anti-person-weapons eye popping smiley

Aufruf zum Projekt "Müll-freie Meere" - [reprap.org] -- Deutsche Facebook-Gruppe - [www.facebook.com]

Call for the project "garbage-free seas" - [reprap.org]
Re: Quad-Copter
August 18, 2010 07:50PM
Wow your morbid.

I tend to to think along the lines of 1000 of these based out of a UAV Hybrid AirShip being used in relief distribution and rescue.

My idea, but turned morbid, with a P-791 loitering at 10,000 feet, dropping these down to assault troops with vertical shots from 1000 feet, then returning to recharge. Now that makes you want to outlaw war.

Re: Quad-Copter
August 23, 2010 03:19AM
... this may be morbid, but most new technologies are used for military first sad smiley

On the other end you have a bunch of really helpfull goodies developed for use in the field and later spreaded/evolved to the civilian sector ...

Aufruf zum Projekt "Müll-freie Meere" - [reprap.org] -- Deutsche Facebook-Gruppe - [www.facebook.com]

Call for the project "garbage-free seas" - [reprap.org]
Re: Quad-Copter
August 27, 2010 04:27AM
I am interested as I have stalled on my quadcopter project. I see the advantages of making some of the parts with a reprap.
Re: Quad-Copter
November 23, 2010 01:05PM
really interesting project. I like the idea of using repraped parts and carbon fiber rods.
here's a picture that shows the way I would build it.

I will improve and complete the design as soon as i have more time for it
Re: Quad-Copter
November 24, 2010 03:34AM
While you guys are discussing future scenarios these might be used in I see them playing a vital role in providing security in insecure areas. Imagine having 4-6 microcopters attached to the back of your shoulders as you walk through the ghetto/Kabul/Ciudad Juarez at night. Also nearly everyone else walking around also is carrying their own fleet of miniature copters. The copters are all networked to a service like Onstar that can allow them to handle nearly any kind of emergency scenario. Extremely small and fast models could carry small kevlar "catcher's mitts" for stopping bullets. Larger ones could have multi-hour flight times and be useful for tailing suspects. Multipurpose copters could provide nearly any level of non-lethal physical defense from buzzing assailants' faces to tazing them or even shooting them with a tranquilizer dart. If this technology advanced far enough very few environments might be truly dangerous to visit - at least until the villains start packing HERF guns smiling smiley
Re: Quad-Copter
March 06, 2012 05:26PM
i wish to make quad copter what do you think about this advantages???smileys with beer
Re: Quad-Copter
March 07, 2012 08:00AM
Here are two links to a design that is already complete. Its printed on an ultimaker

Quadcopter on thingiverse

Quadcopter video

Probably the most appealing one to the reprap community would be the "arducopter" (just google it for several links). As its arduino based, a lot of the community here would be familiar with the electronics.

There is also a good link here to a micro quadcopter which makes interesting reading.

micro quadcopter
Re: Quad-Copter
March 17, 2012 03:04AM
seeing everyone getting excited about the military applications of the quadcopter, i can't help but remind myself that for every high tech weapon, there's a low tech counter measure... and then a drag net comes to mind. spinning smiley sticking its tongue out
Re: Quad-Copter
April 01, 2012 05:50AM
Once the quadcopter's positional control is sufficiently developed, you could give it a pair of legs so it can perch on suitable surfaces to save energy.
Next you give it a plastic extruder on an x/y chassis, and you are no longer limited in your build area, of course the quadcopter, just like birds nestbuilding, will have to keep getting more plastic to use in it's printing.
If it were large enough to lift bricks and another to dispense morter, you could build your own house.winking smiley
Re: Quad-Copter
April 02, 2012 07:56AM
Forgive me if the question is stupid, but why are quadcopters the stuff everyone talk about nowadays ?

I can't help thinking that 3 motors should be enough - and easier to drive.

Most of my technical comments should be correct, but is THIS one ?
Anyway, as a rule of thumb, always double check what people write.
Re: Quad-Copter
April 02, 2012 12:36PM
more stable, and can be flown with 1 motor being out of order.
Next trend quintiple / pentiples and up winking smiley
Re: Quad-Copter
April 02, 2012 02:37PM
The answer is torque. With an odd number of rotors you have more spinning one way than the other way. With an even number the spins cancel out. You could do 3 but then you'd need to have a counter-spinning weight or a tail rotor to act against the torque or else the whole thing constantly spins.
Re: Quad-Copter
April 02, 2012 02:56PM
Thanks, makes sense.

Most of my technical comments should be correct, but is THIS one ?
Anyway, as a rule of thumb, always double check what people write.
Re: Quad-Copter
April 03, 2012 03:28PM
Quadcopters dont fly well with one motor disabled, they will flip and be unable to control direction and torque.

The main reason that quadcopters are most popular is that they are the simplest to construct. Helecopters, bicopters and tricopters need a fan tilt mechanism to control torque and direction. This means there is usually an extra servo or two below the motor so the fans can be tilted. This introduces more complexity and more importantly weight.

A quadcopter has fixed motors and all the control is via motor speed. This simpler setup means they can be very small and also lighter which increases flight duration
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