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Lunar Module Quadcopter Project

GeorgeG

Junior Member
#21
Psyborg wrote:
Should get this into the article section
I’d love to see it there. Since I’m new to the forum, I could not find a way - figured that’s something that the forum operators do?

Caroline Tyler wrote:
Next do a Space:1999 Eagle, one rotor on each foot unit!!!
Well, I’m mainly into model rockets so that takes up as lot of my hobby time. But this Lunar Module truly was a childhood dream that I never thought would be possible… until I realized it was maybe possible as a Quadcopter.

There is another special Quadcopter project that I have in mind. This time it’ll be based on an old Model Rocket design, and it will have the capability to take off 100% on rocket power, and not use the rotors until it reaches apogee , at which time the F.C. will stabilize it to level and hover, ready for manual R/C control after that. I’ll use Arducopter’s “Throw Mode”, when you can arm it., and throw the multicopter into the air with the motors not running, it senses when it reaches apogee then stabilizes into a hover. Figure rocket boost will be treated the same way as throwing, Anyway, I’m not sure when I’ll do that project but I’ll post info on this forum when I do.

There are a number of R/C multicopter builders who have done a number of neat scale/sci-fi type projects. One I re-found is “RC DemonDriver”, who does a lot of airliners but also has done a number of Sci-Fi models. Like this Discovery from 2001: A Space Odyssey:


The way that wobbled around, technically it flew, but not very well. That is the kind of poor handling that I was thinking of if my LM had flown that poorly on its first tests and I didn’t think it could get much better…. I’d have cancelled it. The likely reason that Discovery model wobbled around so much in pitch, the inertia from the length while the quad rotor layout was still in a square near the center (not enough leverage in the pitch axis). If anyone tried that again, they’d want to have a pair near the front and a pair near the back (Like Carolyn’s idea of a motor on each foot of a Space 1999 Eagle), and do plenty of PID tuning to sort it out (again that is among the neat capabilities Arducopter, to adjust the PID settings, and even to use “autotune”, so it learns by itself while in the air the optimal settings).

I was unable to find another person I’d seen do a number of Star Wars models a few years ago, which flew well. Videos of commercial drone models from Star Wars kept me from finding the guy I was thinking of.

Back to the LM, no, it won’t ever have a rocket motor in it. Over the years when I’ve done some neat projects and someone sez “what would be really neat would be…” (and 99% of the time, those people do not build advanced models). I have come up with a response , which is that I look forward to seeing their model that does all the stuff mine does plus the extra thing(s) they thought was needed to be added in order to actually be a neat project.

So….. “I look forward to your LM with the Ascent Stage taking off using a rocket motor” :)

makatack wrote:
Imagine putting a mini FPV rig in the rocket nozzle of the descent stage, then making a spot landing / modern FPV lunar lander type game!
Interesting idea. But that could be done with other multicopters as far as the flier using FPV to land onto a spot, for a game. What I like more in this model is the bright LED inside the decent engine nozzle to represent the rocket engine firing (and in the vacuum of space, there was no exhaust visible. The artwork showing flames was just that, artwork).

However, at some time I would like to add an optical flow sensor to the Descent Stage. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optical_flow

In this case, a special little camera pointed straight down, which “sees” the ground drifting by and can be used like “optical GPS Hold” so the model hovers over the same spot on the ground, rather than drifting. Sometimes the compass sensor is a bit off, and the LM has a problem with “Toilet Bowling” in GPS Hold (or GPS Loiter). https://diydrones.com/forum/topics/toilet-bowl-effect-in-loiter-even-after-calibration

So I’d like to add that to the LM so that I could land it more accurately when there’s significant wind and it’s Toilet Bowling that day. But optical flow sensors are for just detecting horizontal motion, not true cameras that produce a useable signal to transmit to the ground or record onboard.

kpixels wrote:
Thanks for sharing all these details.
You’re welcome. I tried strike a bit of a balance between reposting the thread on The Rocketry Forum, while covering a lot of things that were either unique to this model, or “well known” to some old-timer Multicopter builders (yeah, old-timer, like 4 to 5 years ago!), but not known much by some multicopter fliers (Like Arducopter and Multicopter version of eCalc) and very little known by those who are not into multicopters.
 

GeorgeG

Junior Member
#22
OK, a bit more on the model.

Here’s a video of flying with the moon. I had to wait for the moon phase and time of day and clear skies to all be in sync. Unfortunately a bit windy and it was toilet bowling so I could not use GPS Loiter mode like I wanted. Most of the flying I was pointing the front into the wind, at a 3/4 azimuth vector (about 45 degrees) to the camera line of sight. My camera was mounted on a fixed tripod, and the angle was about 20-30 degrees above the horizon. So this made it tricky to fly it with the moon like I wanted to do. I wanted to fly it back toward the camera, and had to match the rate of descent with the line of sight angle. But in the last sequence, the last part turned out well (camera was at maximum zoom, BTW, and at it’s farthest distance out the model was 300-400 feet horizontal and about 100-150 feet up. For those woh do not want to see the whole thing, check out the last 2 minutes, from about 7 minutes onward.


So, one day I took a “Lunar Landing” photo on a patio surface, good low angle lighting and such. I’d gotten some Apollo Astronauts off eBay, at 1/12 scale. So, they are a bit big but acceptable (did not want to hassle with getting 1/16 astronauts 3D printed by someone and painting them).



And then it turned into the plot for a bad Ed Wood / Roger Corman movie.







Attack of the Monster Moon Cat!

Plan 9 Lives From Outer Space!

Close Encounters of the CAT kind.

Well, he didn’t do anything to it. And I could never have “cat herded” him to do that. He walked up, checked it out, and left within a minute.
 
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#26
OK, a bit more on the model.

Here’s a video of flying with the moon. I had to wait for the moon phase and time of day and clear skies to all be in sync. Unfortunately a bit windy and it was toilet bowling so I could not use GPS Loiter mode like I wanted. Most of the flying I was pointing the front into the wind, at a 3/4 azimuth vector (about 45 degrees) to the camera line of sight. My camera was mounted on a fixed tripod, and the angle was about 20-30 degrees above the horizon. So this made it tricky to fly it with the moon like I wanted to do. I wanted to fly it back toward the camera, and had to match the rate of descent with the line of sight angle. But in the last sequence, the last part turned out well (camera was at maximum zoom, BTW, and at it’s farthest distance out the model was 300-400 feet horizontal and about 100-150 feet up. For those woh do not want to see the whole thing, check out the last 2 minutes, from about 7 minutes onward.


So, one day I took a “Lunar Landing” photo on a patio surface, good low angle lighting and such. I’d gotten some Apollo Astronauts off eBay, at 1/12 scale. So, they are a bit big but acceptable (did not want to hassle with getting 1/16 astronauts 3D printed by someone and painting them).



And then it turned into the plot for a bad Ed Wood / Roger Corman movie.







Attack of the Monster Moon Cat!

Plan 9 Lives From Outer Space!

Close Encounters of the CAT kind.

Well, he didn’t do anything to it. And I could never have “cat herded” him to do that. He walked up, checked it out, and left within a minute.

You, sir, are my hero. awesome build and awsomer video.
 

GeorgeG

Junior Member
#28
I wrote:
So….. “I look forward to your LM with the Ascent Stage taking off using a rocket motor” :)
I fear you mistook my comment... I have nothing but respect for the time and effort you put into your build.
Sorry, I was having a bit of fun with how many times I really have seen/heard people say things like that about the LM model, and other models. :)

That Space:1999 Eagle model is really neat , and quite timely that it was just mentioned here. (avoiding the temptation to say it needs to land, drop the cargo pod, and take off without the cargo pod. And I'm failing to avoid saying that. Totally kidding, it's an example of the statements above! :) :):) ).

Seems like an "I" Quad configuration. IIRC, FT had some "I" quad homebuilts in videos a few years ago - some hardwood ones, and maybe the flying toolbox was one.

Some day I want to go to a rock quarry that has huge piles of dirt, rocks, and other stuff with no vegetation, and fly the LM Quad there. To get some good video of it flying without any "earth-like" objects around, just those piles in the background like lunar mountains (Apollo 15), and dirt in the foreground. to look more like a Lunar Surface. Probably use editing effects to make it look more realistic, possibly even B&W and a bit grainy.

And to someday make a couple of definitive videos. One, a project video from when construction and first flying began, thru the development and becoming complete. And another that's more celebrative of Apollo.
 
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