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SCX-200 Race Quad Build Log

mpbiv

New member
#1
I've posted several of my builds here, and I've shared several of my own designs for 3D printed copters (http://www.thingiverse.com/mpbiv/designs), but today I am posting about my first full carbon fiber build.

Preface:


So I have been racing FPV quads for about a year now. It all kind of started with the Twitchity Acro Quad. I am sure many of you are familiar with Twitchity's work. Originally I started out with his frame and FPV pod, but as I started to get more involved in racing I decided to evolve the design of the pod. Below is a quick genesis of the design evolution

V1: Twitchity Pod with cheap RC Timer 700tvl CMOS and 200mw vtx fpv setup. This setup used Twitchity's original pod design with a 3D printed housing for the camera and vtx. Originally I tried 30* of angle, but it proved to be too much for my newbie skills at the time. This was prior to one-shot, damped light, beta flight, and all the other goodies we have now. I was running it with 12A SimonK ESC's and Sunnysky 2204 2300kv on 3S with 6" props.

IMG_0815.JPG

V2: My first fully redesigned fpv pod, lower profile and more streamlined. Switched to a 28x28mm 600tvl CCD, and a TS5823 200mw vtx. For this design I set the camera angle to 20* which was a happy medium for fast forward flight compared to my skill level at the time. Also switched to KISS ESC's and Cobra 2204 2300kv, but still on 3S.

IMG_0944.JPG

V3: Revised fpv pod for new HS1177 camera, and 30* of tilt. After many months of racing, I finally managed to hit a gate dead center and kill the board cam on the V2 fpv pod, which is what prompted this design change to the HS1177 camera which should be better protected. I also went back to the 30* tilt, as my skills had progressed, I could easily fly at 30* even on smaller tracks. I also finally updated the firmware on the Naze32 to Beta-flight.

TWITCH QUAD.jpg

The Twitchity Acro quad was always my go to quad for 3S spec racing! It was actually light enough that I had to add ballast to make the 300g minimum. On 3S it was light and nimble and still fast enough to blast past some of the heavier 3S copters. I really like the handling characteristics and the symmetrical x-layout. I always had people asking me questions about what it was and where I got it, but I always had to explain that it was a limited run frame that isn't available anymore.

Now despite the Twitchity Acro Quad being my go to 3S quad, when it comes to 4S and unlimited class racing, I have built and switched between so many different frames. I have my favorites (the Alien 5" and Tweaker 180, both get lots of stick time), but none of them have been my "go to" quad for racing.

Design:


So I wanted to build another quad to call my own, based on all my experiences gained over the past year. Something similar to the Twitchity Acro Quad in layout, rigid like the Alien, smaller like the Tweaker, but not so small that component placement is an utter pain (like my Shirke was). Out of this I formed the requirements for my new frame design.

I started laying things out in CAD (Inventor Fusion 360) and came up with this design:

SCX-200.jpg

The frame ended up being 200mm motor to motor, with replaceable 4mm arms, which much like the Alien extend all the way inwards to buttress against each other. The main frame uses 2mm carbon to sandwich the arms, and the upper plate is 1.5mm carbon on 25mm standoffs. The upper plate includes 3 different holes for vtx SMA mounting. And last but not least two vertical carbon plates sandwich an HS1177 600tvl fpv camera. The design of the top plate and the camera mount allows for roughly 35* max camera tilt, but I may change that as time goes on to add more allowable tilt.

The arms are designed to accommodate 2204 size motors and 5" props.

The first Prototype:

So I explored a couple ways to get the first frame made, but in the end I chose to go with Armattan Productions. You may have heard of Armattan, they produce their own frames, but they just started a service where you can upload your files and they will produce your parts for a reasonable price. I was very happy with the prices they quoted me, so I went ahead and ordered the first frame (https://armattanproductions.com/pages/kit_detail/119)

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Quality of the frame pieces came out really nice and thankfully all the pieces fit together as I intended without having to file anything. They definitely held a good tolerance to the models I supplied.

IMG_1457.JPG

Now I just have to build it up and get it flying. I've already picked out my electronics.

FPV Camera: HS1177 600tvl CCD
FPV vtx: UBAD 200mw Race Band
Power Distribution: Matek PDB
Flight Controller: Lumenier LUX
Receiver: Frsky TFR4SB (FASST compatible SBUS receiver to go with my Futaba 14SG)
ESCs: 20A Little Bee
Motors: T-Motor F40 V2 2300kv
Props: HQ 5x4x3
Batteries: 4S Lumenier 60C and Pulse 75C 1000mAH

I am going to try and update this thread with pictures and video as things progress!
 

jipp

Senior Member
#2
looks like its gonna be a nice design.. thats cool you were able to get your frame cut for a fair price. that service alone will please alot of guys who want to throw there hat in the ring of what they think will be a good desighn.

it also seems the FPV Camera HS1177 600tvl is the go to camera now a days..
good luck on your build.

chris.
 
#3
so do you just send them a couple DXF files? I didn't see you mention a cost (hope you don't mind if I ask). That does seem like a pretty cool service. I have been playing a lot with inkscape and would love to have my own custom frame cut out as well.
Look awesome man!
 

cranialrectosis

Kite Eating Tree Trimmer
#4
Beautiful work. I always enjoy your copters. They tend to be very colorful with nice fairings and sleek lines.

Is that Alien/Warpquad hardware? :)
 
#5
Really cool stuff. I dabble in home made frames and lately have been trying to adhere to a symmetrical design. Seems true symmetrical spaced fpv frames are hard to find on the market due to all of the gear being stuffed in the middle. So I really dig your design and am impressed it's a 200 swinging 5in props.

So if I'm interpreting what I see in your link to the Armattan site correctly, anyone can order your frame design in a kit for $48.50? If so, that's an awesome price, really cool stuff.

I work at a plastics supply warehouse that machines and supplies all kinds of plastics, fiberglass, and many other industrial materials to the aviation and medical industries. I've been granted approval to purchase materials at cost plus 10% which gives me access to alot of really cool and hard to get materials for my model aircraft addiction. What I can't get there is carbon fiber. And carbon fiber seems to be the lighest and strongest material that is affordable. So I'm really excited to learn about Armattan's manufacture to your design in carbon fiber program from your post.

Now I gotta figure out if an Autocad license is in my budget. Would really help to make my design dreams a reality.
 
#7
i would use a free autocade program and save the money for parts :D

here is a good one that lots of guys on here use:
http://download.cnet.com/DoubleCAD-XT/3000-18496_4-10907980.html
chris.
Thanks jipp, to see you posting again:cool: I likes free;)

mpbiv, sorry to get off the main topic of your super sweet frame. But I'm dying for details about your experience designing your frame with a cad program and tips or tricks you learned designing her:)
 

mpbiv

New member
#8
so do you just send them a couple DXF files? I didn't see you mention a cost (hope you don't mind if I ask). That does seem like a pretty cool service. I have been playing a lot with inkscape and would love to have my own custom frame cut out as well.
Look awesome man!
To sum it up, yes you send them your files for each part (by uploading them to the site), and they quote you a price per a piece. They accept several different formats and I am pretty sure DXF is one of them.

Once all your individual pieces are quoted you can arrange parts and hardware into kits using their website.

I'd prefer to keep the exact pricing of my parts to myself because I am indeed offering this frame to market. Your quotes will differ based on design. What I will say is that I was impressed with the pricing and the way the website works, and it will allow us smaller guys to not only design our own frames and get them made for a reasonable price, but Armattan will also manage the production/sales/shipping/logisitics if you want to setup a store front using their website. They also allow you to set your own margin. Its good because it keeps the overhead low, and you don't have to invest any money in doing a production run or minimum buys.
 
#10
Really cool stuff. I dabble in home made frames and lately have been trying to adhere to a symmetrical design. Seems true symmetrical spaced fpv frames are hard to find on the market due to all of the gear being stuffed in the middle. So I really dig your design and am impressed it's a 200 swinging 5in props.

So if I'm interpreting what I see in your link to the Armattan site correctly, anyone can order your frame design in a kit for $48.50? If so, that's an awesome price, really cool stuff.

I work at a plastics supply warehouse that machines and supplies all kinds of plastics, fiberglass, and many other industrial materials to the aviation and medical industries. I've been granted approval to purchase materials at cost plus 10% which gives me access to alot of really cool and hard to get materials for my model aircraft addiction. What I can't get there is carbon fiber. And carbon fiber seems to be the lighest and strongest material that is affordable. So I'm really excited to learn about Armattan's manufacture to your design in carbon fiber program from your post.

Now I gotta figure out if an Autocad license is in my budget. Would really help to make my design dreams a reality.
Symmetrical frames are definitely the current trend! I wouldn't be surprised if ImpulseRC released one soon, everyone else seems to be. I've been a fan of them for a while, basically since I started flying my Twitchity Acro quad as an FPV rig.

200mm seemed like the happy medium to me mainly because it allowed a little more room for neat arrangement of the fpv gear. I have one of the first batch of the X-labs Shrike, and it is a 185mm with 5" props. The room for gear on that frame was super cramped and even after I spent a lot of time planning and 3D printing parts to hold components, I never really felt satisified with the build.

Yes you are correct, you can buy my frame for $48.50 direct from Armattan. The only difference being that the kit on the site includes regular steel hardware and round aluminum standoffs. The build I am posting here has purple aluminum hardware which I purchased on my own.

Also you may want to consider Autodesk Inventor Fusion 360; it is a pretty legit CAD program from the company that made AutoCAD. It is available for PC and Mac, and if you read their website carefully, they do free licensing for "students, enthusiasts, hobbyists, and startups" (http://www.autodesk.com/products/fusion-360/try-buy). I'm a mechanical engineer so I use Solidworks everyday, but my home computer is a Mac, so my CAD choices were limited. I've been using it at home for over a year now, and it ran pretty good on my old 2010 MacBook Pro 13". Just upgraded to a new MacBook Pro 15" Retina, and it runs super smooth on that.
 

Twitchity

Senior Member
#11
Beautiful design just like all of the other frames you've created. I can't wait to see this one at the field next time I make it out there. That is also a fantastic price for the quad from Armattan's store. I'll definitely be picking one up in the near future.
 

Flat4

Senior Member
#13
I was just checking that frame out a few days ago. Very cool to see it was designed by one of our members here. I'm looking to pick up a purpose built racing frame, and yours is very much in contention. The only concern I have is the max cam angle. I'd be curious to know, once you have it built, if you can achieve max forward flight speed and still see. Also any idea of the weight how you have it setup, with the nylon standoffs and aluminum screws?
 
#14
I was just checking that frame out a few days ago. Very cool to see it was designed by one of our members here. I'm looking to pick up a purpose built racing frame, and yours is very much in contention. The only concern I have is the max cam angle. I'd be curious to know, once you have it built, if you can achieve max forward flight speed and still see. Also any idea of the weight how you have it setup, with the nylon standoffs and aluminum screws?
I'll have to get back to you on some of that. I've actually been busy and fighting a cold all week so I haven't worked on it, or properly measured the weight of the components. I've had a couple people ask me the same question so I will definitely verify that this week.

Finally started feeling better this weekend and decided to make a last minute trip to Miami to race a MultiGP Regional Qualifier Race for the 2016 Championships. Ended up flying the Alien 5" since I didn't have time to build my SCX-200 up. Didn't win, but I did manage to qualify for the next event, now I need to brush off the rust and get practicing. So I am going to get this quad together very soon since it will be my race horse.
 

Flat4

Senior Member
#15
I'll have to get back to you on some of that. I've actually been busy and fighting a cold all week so I haven't worked on it, or properly measured the weight of the components. I've had a couple people ask me the same question so I will definitely verify that this week.

Finally started feeling better this weekend and decided to make a last minute trip to Miami to race a MultiGP Regional Qualifier Race for the 2016 Championships. Ended up flying the Alien 5" since I didn't have time to build my SCX-200 up. Didn't win, but I did manage to qualify for the next event, now I need to brush off the rust and get practicing. So I am going to get this quad together very soon since it will be my race horse.
Just peeping the armattan productions page, and I see you've been busy. Really digging the frame, and with the increased cam tilt I no longer have any reservations. Will be ordering one shortly. Hopefully they can get it cut, shipped, and delivered before April 19th, would love to get it built up before I go on vacation.

Now you just need to tweak it a bit for an LOS frame, that's my next build. ;)
 

Flat4

Senior Member
#16
One other question, I know you mentioned the arms all butt up against one another so how are you routing the battery strap. Are you just going up and over the mid plate and back through?
 
#17
Yes I added a couple extra configurations based on some common requests I received. If you need higher camera angles, up to 45*, I would suggest the MOD1 version of the kit.

So you also asked me earlier how much it weighed, so I have two numbers to give you. If you use the hardware it comes with from Armattan, you can expect the frame to weight 87g, if you swap the screws and locknuts to aluminum, around 76-77g weight:

IMG_1467.JPG

IMG_1466.JPG

One other question, I know you mentioned the arms all butt up against one another so how are you routing the battery strap. Are you just going up and over the mid plate and back through?
Essentially yes. The bottom plate has two slots in it, which you thread the strap through, and the strap slides between the arms and up and over the mid plate. I need to take more pictures and post a good build log, but I have included enough hardware in the kit to mount the PDB and FC. The four screws which mount the stack are inserted through all three carbon plates(the lower plate, each arm, then the mid plate), and then a M3 nylon nut is placed on that to space the PDB up off the carbon and allow for the strap to pass below. You'll probably want to put the strap through before adding the PDB and FC to the stack.

Hopefully the pictures below along with the explanation above help:

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jipp

Senior Member
#18
i would be proud of that frame it looks good. i think its very cool the service they are offering.. will mean more options for frames. i know im curious how different frames will fly.

so kudos to the guys who said that was a good idea.. and from there point of view it should not cost any extra to cut carbon if they are to9oled up for it anyhow.

and with more people designing frames, good chances some cool stuff is to come to fruition.

chris.
 

Flat4

Senior Member
#19
Excellent, thanks for the follow up. I will be doing the build with nylon standoffs and aluminum screws/nuts, so thanks for including that weight as well. Under 80 grams is pretty impressive. One plus with the processing time from armattan is I'll have plenty of time to decide on the power train for it.

Edit: Forgot to mention, I just pulled the trigger on the mod 1 kit with a pair of extra arms. :D
 

jipp

Senior Member
#20
sounds like a good start flat4. i ordered one of them alien clones 230 size. im thinking i may try emax red bottom motors. they look good on paper.

im thinking 4s build. will be my first 4s one.. even tho in theory i think everything iv built so far can take 4s.. i just do not have any 4s battery's. heh. not that ineed the extra performance. but i figure if everyone else is building to 4s must be a reason so i may be a follower :D
chris.

chris.