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First Multirotor Build – Fortis Titan Tricopter

PHugger

Church Meal Expert
#1
This is my first multirotor build. I’d like to share my experience with you and selfishly get a lot of priceless help. My son built a BatBone tricopter last year and has had a great time with it. I saw the advertisements for the Fortis Frame on FliteTest and started reading reviews and watching videos. My wonderful family gave me some generous gifts this year with the intention that I build a multirotor to keep my son company. I have flown a bit of multirotor (mostly NanoQX) and a lot of simulator time (Realflight). My goal is to get most of my crashing out of the way by first learning LOS and then moving into FPV when I become more comfortable.

I ordered parts and patiently waited for the UPS man -
Fortis Titan Frame with 16” CF booms
Board Camera Mount
Mobius camera mount
Transmitter Mast
Wiring Harness
RCManchild 2212 1000KV brushless motors
RCManchild PreFlashed SimonK ESCs
RCManchild 10”x5 carbon/nylon props
Naze32 Flight control board (acro)
The ESCs are opto-isolated so I needed a BEC
Cobra Motors U6A - 6 amp UBEC
Hitec HS-508MG yaw servo
FrSky 6 Channel FASST receiver

Fortis Airframes
http://www.fortisairframes.com

RCManchild
http://www.buildrcdrones.com/index.html

Here are the parts –

Parts_2.jpg

Parts_1.jpg

The frame is made out of laser cut Delrin. The cuts and etching are perfect. You have to spend a decent amount of time punching out all of the cut-outs from the frame pieces. Did I mention that the cuts are incredibly precise? Next comes tape removal. The parts are covered on both sides with blue papers tape. You’ll want to clean the parts and ensure that all of the tape residue is gone.

Frame_1.jpg

I admit to being slightly disappointed that the frame went together so quickly. You will need to buy a large package of 4” 18lb zip ties. One of the features most often cited in reviews is that when you crash, you only break zip ties, no frame parts.

The landing gear are two pieces that slot together at 90 degrees and are held together with zip ties.
Everything attaches to the frame with zip ties.

Frame_3.jpg


The booms are attached with a single bolt that allows the boom to swivel. They are held in place with O-rings. A hard landing allows the O-ring to pop off and the boom pivots to absorb the shock.

Frame_2.jpg

Fortis offers several boom choices – length and material. They come in 13”, 16” and CF or Poplar. I know I’ll be crashing so I was interested to read about how you can make Hybrid Carbon Fiber - Poplar booms.
The CF booms are square with a round bore that a 5/16” dowel fits perfectly into. Polyurethane glue (the foamy stuff) makes it solid and stiff as all get out.
His instructions are here –
http://www.fortisairframes.com/how-to-carbon-hybrid-booms/

They were fairly quick and easy to make. The added weight is around 10g per boom.

Scales.jpg

That’s all for now. I am waiting for some machine bolts for mounting the motors (not sure why they weren’t included). I may put the Tilt Mechanism together and work on the Mobius Mount tomorrow.


Best regards,
PCH
 

PHugger

Church Meal Expert
#2
Haven't made much progress - still waiting for some parts and I got distracted by some replacement parts that arrived for my new Sport Cub. I did put the Tilt Mechanism and the Board Camera Cage together.

Tilt.jpg

I also put the Camera Platform together and mounted it to the Frame.

Platform.jpg

The Isolation Mounts are what looks like Tygon tubing which you screw to the Frame plate.
The Battery will attach to the bottom of the Camera Platform providing even more vibration dampening in the form of mass.

Closeup.jpg



Best regards,
PCH
 

PHugger

Church Meal Expert
#4
I've been working slowly - real life and weather are negative influences.
I've been distracted by wire sleeving.
I chose a Naze32 acro board for the controller.
I'll post some progress this week.


Best regards,
PCH
 

PHugger

Church Meal Expert
#5
I haven't been working very diligently on this tricopter. The snowy weather hasn't helped my motivation at all. I had a birthday last week and my family gave me some new gear and this motivated to get moving again. This weekend I had to work Friday overnight for a data center switchover. SWMBO is getting a new hip this week so I took a couple days off. Most importantly perhaps is that my Harmony One remote for the home theater went AWOL. I blame our 3 year old granddaughter, but who knows. It's been missing for 3 days. I have no desire to dig out the various remotes that would be needed for non-Harmony operation***. So I did make a bunch of progress on the Tricopter - correlation?.

I got my FPV gear working - with EZOSD and FatShark goggles.
Fortis_MG_0246.jpg

I was briefly side tracked by the 2 axis gimbal I got as a gift (do I have a great family or what?).
I won't be mounting it to start, until I can have some confidence that I won't wreck it immediately.
I probably should mount an equivalent weight so I can learn with the proper balance.
Fortis_MG_0251.jpg

I did purchase the 'large camera' sub frame for the Titan and I think it will work well. i like how it's designed better than the other one. The deck is built like a trough (2 side rails) and the wiring harness fits perfectly inside. It's also a bit longer and will allow the battery to be positioned back further to help with balance. The FPV camera is mounted to the side of the Recording camera.
Fortis_MG_0253.jpg

Here is the back end where you can see the trough that the wiring harness fits it.
I have also mounted the GPS platform and the Transmitter mast.
Fortis_MG_0256.jpg

I'm using 'opto' ESCs so I spliced a UBEC into the wiring harness to power the receiver and servo.
I've been working hard on sleeving all of the exposed wiring. It looks very nice in black. I used mesh type for the larger cables and paracord for the smaller stuff. My paracord technique is improving and I'll share my tricks later. I used shrink wrap with an adhesive lining. It holds great, but can still be removed with some work.
Fortis_MG_0248.jpg
Fortis_MG_0250.jpg

I'm mounting the Naze board on a CF shock mount and the receiver will get some double sticky tape.
Fortis_MG_0252.jpg

Later on I'll connect the gimbal to the receiver (pitch adjustment).
The same goes for a video switcher that will get jammed in somewhere.
As I said the gimbal bits are not a priority for now, but I want to be prepared and plan ahead.
My next steps will be getting the Last ESC wired and then getting the Naze connected and calibrated.

** I realize that this is hard to understand how depressing this is for anyone who has never used a Harmony remote. The good news is we found it.


Best regards,
PCH
 
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PHugger

Church Meal Expert
#6
I got motivated today, actually my son came over and made me finish up the basic flight system. I'll do the FPV and GoPro later when I'm more confident of Not crashing all the time. I made all of the connections - ESCs, Receiver (CPPM), BEC, and mounted the FC and Rx in the frame. We did some basic (haphazard) Clean flight setup and went out to the field. It was really windy, but I thought I'd be able to at least attempt a hover. On my bench, the tail servo was a bit jittery. On the field, it developed Parkinson's. It would get into a feedback loop shaking like a wet dog. I came home and did some serious RTFMing. I went through All of the standard settings and now it's steady as a rock. I think the Fortis landing gear and boom length have a harmonic that my servo really liked. I'll try to maiden again this week and I'll even try to get some video this time.....


Best regards,
PCH
 

makattack

Winter is coming
Moderator
Mentor
#7
Nice to hear you're so close! Yeah, stock PID's (most/any flight controller/software) generally have too high of yaw PID values for tricopters. I think they're generally setup for quads.
 

PHugger

Church Meal Expert
#8
Got the maiden flight in today. Light wind and cool. The fist power up was carefully controlled and I could immediately tell the the elevator was reversed. Easy to fix and soon I was in the air. I broke a few zip ties on the landing gear during easy landings. After the 3rd break I just flew it with 2 gear. I think the holes on the Delrin are fairly sharp at the edges and this edge shears the zip tie. I think I'll round off the edges and maybe add a second set of ties if needed. It was always the same one so maybe relieving the edge will work. I did around 10 minutes total of nose out hovering and simple in & outs. I got it above and behind me once when I started to lose it. I can't remember exactly what happened, but I have a feeling in my mild panic state I may have applied full up elevator around 5-10 feet above the ground as it was rapidly descending. It flipped and landed right next to me up side down. My son was shouting duck! There was a group of guys playing soccer on the field next to us. When it landed I heard them all groan Oooooooh. The Titan is fine. We did hold a brief service commemorating the Titan's first sacrifice to the prop god. I need a lot more practice, but it was an enjoyable start. I was flying with some low C 4000 mAH batteries and I think they will serve me well at least during my learning phase. I need to bring some spare props with me next time. I'll post some video when I get a chance to go through what we captured.


Best regards,
PCH
 

PHugger

Church Meal Expert
#9
Here is a short Mobius clip. The jello isn't too bad, but the exposure control and dynamic range is meh.
I was too afraid to use the GoPro (smart?).
There is some jello. I had it mounted on some moon gel - level with the frame.
I'll just have to practice until I am brave enough to put the GoPro on the gimbal.





Best regards,
PCH
 

PHugger

Church Meal Expert
#10
OK - the firmware on the Mobius was v1.2
Current firmware is v2.33
I had read that they had worked on the dynamic range and sure enough after loading the latest I see an option for High Dynamic Range.
I should be all set and hopefully it will improve the video quality.
I've done a lot of video work in the past, but never from a platform that moves around so much and always with more controlled lighting.
I will work hard to improve my work - and figure out how these small cameras work to their fullest potential.


Best regards,
PCH
 

PHugger

Church Meal Expert
#12
I am using an Arco model. The Full model has a barometer, magnetometer and can possibly be further extended with GPS.
It depends on your goals and how you fly.


Best regards,
PCH
 

Dizzy D

Junior Member
#13
Thanks, I may just go Full so I have the option to add GPS later. Where did you get your FC shock mount? Do you have any pics of your completed Tri?
 

PHugger

Church Meal Expert
#14
I got the mount on EBay. Was only around $5 with free shipping from China, but it was delivered quite fast.
I'll take some more pictures soon.
Check out some of JHitesma's posts about the limitations of the Naze board.
The Full version can do position hold, but it's not perfect. Getting GPS to work is another story.


Best regards,
PCH
 

jipp

Senior Member
#15
your build is looking very clean.. look forward to see how you do the parachute chord etc.. i hope to give that a go on my next build.
it will add a little or protection from rocks and dirt.. and just looks neat.

chris.
 

Dizzy D

Junior Member
#16
I should get my QAV400 next week:) There are a few things that are intimidating me tho, setting up the flight controller first of all, I ended up going with a CC3D since it's my first build, but I may upgrade to a Naza mini because of its features and so I have to option to add GPS in the future. Another thing I'm concerned about is the rx. I'll be using a DX9 tx but which rx should I use? I have everything from 6100's to a 9110 with 2 satellites, is it okay to run an rx with a satellite and where should the satellite be placed so it doesn't interfere with any of the other signals (video, GPS, ect)? Thank you guys so much for your time, I assure you that the knowledge I gather here will be passed down to my children and members of my RC club, we all greatly appreciate the time you dedicate to educating noobs like me.
 

PHugger

Church Meal Expert
#17
I don't know anything about the CC3D (I use Naze32). My Naze board can talk to my receiver via CPPM. This allows a single servo cable to connect the Receiver to the Naze. Instead of 4 cables, you only have 1 cable between them - very clean. See if any of your gear can do this. It's cheaper, lighter, and more reliable.

I believe most satellite receivers use CPPM to talk to the main receiver. Now here's the cool part. You can use JUST the satellite connected straight to your CPPM compatible controller. No need for a full Receiver if you don't need it. There are many use cases where you might need one, but it's still a great option.

I can't tell you which of yours will work, but it would be worth looking into these features.


Best regards,
PCH
 

Dizzy D

Junior Member
#18
I just went with a small 6 channel rx. So I have everything wired but I have a concern, I have the power/control wires coming from the speed controls that go to the FC board, each one of those has a positive, negative, and signal wire, is it okay to plug all four positive wires into the FC? It won't get too much voltage will it? The only reason I ask is because I've seen some videos of guys wiring them with only one of the power wires and cutting the other 3. That doesn't seem right tho.
 

PHugger

Church Meal Expert
#19
Take a picture or better yet draw a diagram of what you're talking about.
The ESC signal wire and a BEC are very different an it seems like you are mixing them together.



Best regards,
PCH
 

VicR

Junior Member
#20
image.jpg hi, this is my first quad build and my first posting. I have a question about props on the dragonfly. First are multi rotor props different to conventional ie do the size of prop markings face up? ( forward.) if so when I mount the props on the downward facing motors they will face the ground ,yes? I purchased the. Motor pack with the dragonfly kit, in this the props and motors are splined so the prop only fits one way. Hope this makes some sense.