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FT Explorer, CAD, Ideas for expansion, etc...


Junior Member
Hey everyone, I'm posting mainly about some of my adventures with the FT explorer and some stuff that I am doing/want to do, that y'all may find useful.

I've been somewhat enamored with RC flight for a little while now and recently got off the ground with an FT explorer that I decided to build about a month ago. It's suffered some minor to major dings and dents since then in its ever ongoing pursuit to explore the various soil compositions at some of the local parks. However, I have really enjoyed how versatile and how rugged the explorer has been so far, which has led me to want to expand on its capabilities some with additional modules and design refits.

To help in this I put together a somewhat rough CAD model of the explorer to see how certain designs shape up, and as a way to easily mold and shape new parts. I'm currently using Inventor 2016 for this, which might be a bit overkill and or the wrong tool for the job, as it seems that sketchup is easier to use for unfolding parts into 2D shapes.

I've attached a few pictures and the STEP file for the assembly if any of y'all want to take a look, it may not be perfectly to scale, and is lacking a few parts (motor mount and all of the electronics).

Current ideas I have for modules to add/design include something like an improved cooling intake (external NACA intakes near the powerpod?) side mounted pods for electronics (IMU's, Raspi?, Arduino?), a longer nose with a flatter bottom, and of course, landing gear.


Current View.png

STEP File:

View attachment FT Explorer v6.zip

If anyone wants the original inventor files, or this as an STL file I can post those as well.


FT CAD Gremlin
Staff member
Nice. You got it a little farther in Inventor than I took it. Never finished the nose. Been too busy with other projects to work on it for a while.

3d EXP WIP Render 02.png

I have taken my Baron model much farther, and will eventually finish it out completely.

Baron Assembly.png
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Junior Member
That's awesome! What modeling program are you using SP0NZ? I don't know if the model I have is properly to scale but a model of the new power pod would be awesome to have. I've been MIA for about a little over a week but I made a little progress on some of the stuff I wanted to do. I need to convert them over to DWG files to tile and print off (probably just going to take the sketches used to build each part and lay them flat. Not sure if there is a better method.)

I made a more rounded nose using a spline to get a sort of oblong shape that's flat on the bottom and rounded throughout, along with some intakes for the ESC, and a pair of saddle pods. I'm a little unsure of whether I need to, or where to put an intake on the nose, as I imagine that the battery needs some airflow. I also have recently acquired a runcam 2 and am looking into how to mount it, maybe a slit in the nose? camera pod + gimbal on the bottom?

Here's what I have so far in inventor, pictures of the actual foam cutouts and testing to follow.

FT Explorer with rounded nose and side pods (angled at the front and on the bottom)
RayTrace Side.png

FT Explorer with rounded nose and side pods (angled on front and back), intakes near power pod, a trainer wing modified with ailerons, and an idea for landing gear.
Hello, could you please send me the cad file to the ft explorer? I am working on a school project and it would be great if I had the file!