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My H-Quad Build

BankNYank!

New member
Mentor
#1
This is my first multirotor build and I want to start by saying thank you to cranialrectosis, Foam Addict, mmeyer and xuzme720 for your posts to my thread where I asked for multirotor advice. I read every word and soaked up every piece of information you guys offered.

I want to give a special thank you to e_lm_70 and jhitesma for sticking with me and answering all my questions until I finally had an idea of what direction this build was headed and what parts I would need to get it there.

I have some experience with wood working so I decided to add some little tips here and there as we go for those who may read this and want to build a wood frame multirotor and not have experience. Please don't think I'm taking my first multirotor build and getting a big head about it. In this realm I am very much a beginner and I would love any advice anyone may have to offer!

Anyway, I finally got my order in from RTFQ and started building.

My big plan is to take all this stuff.....

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.... and this stuff. And make it fly!

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So here we go!

First off I cut the frame. 12" booms and 10" cross sections. 12" booms rather than 10" because I'm going to mount my motors straight to the booms not on motor mounts on the ends of the booms.

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Next I decided flat black spray paint would look good. In hind site I should of waited for final assembly before painting anything. Black makes it hard to see my marks.

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Then I marked my holes to drill and gave them a little tap with a hammer and drill bit. This will help keep the drill bit from wandering when I first start the hole since I don't have a drill press and vice. I decided to drill the holes 2" apart to start but have since realized I'm going to need a couple more holes. I'll add them later.

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Holes drilled. Time to cut my top and bottom plates.

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Top and bottom plates are cut and some dowel for spacers since I discovered my batteries are thicker than the dowel.

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Now it's time to drill holes in the plates so the screws can pass through and hold everything together. If you line everything up and drill the first hole then hold it in place with a screw and nut it will help with lining up the second hole.

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Screw and nut on, flip over and drill second hole. This doesn't guarantee the plate will line up but it does guarantee the holes in the plate will match the holes in the dowel.

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It's always a good idea to have a scrap piece of wood laying around to sit your piece on while your drilling if you don't want your work bench full of holes.

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The AC in my shop/shed/hanger isn't working and it's a nice hot muggy Florida evening so I've decided to call it quits for tonight. But here's a couple pics of what it may look like when finished.

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UPDATE: 5/20/2014
I'm off today and have been spending some time in the shop. I have the frame fully assembled and am taking a break before setting to work with soldering and electronics and I wanted to give an update with some pictures. I fully intend to have the flight controller in and blades spinning today. Whether or not it will actually fly is yet to be seen!

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Top. Rather than using those pieces of dowel to raise the center plate so the battery will fit like I originally intended I found that by just using a couple pieces of ply along the booms made the height just about perfect.
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Bottom. I put wing nuts on the bottom center plate so I have a way to easily access and replace the battery. I'll cut those long bolts down after tear down, paint and final build.
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I got everything put together last night. Here are some pictures of it assembled and ready for a test flight.
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I maidended it last night also! The thing flew great! I was absolutely amazed. I thought for sure it was going to have problems but everything was perfect!

Below are some videos of my quads first flights. It was dark and the video was shot under a street light but I think you can see and hear enough to tell whats going on.

The Maiden. Short because I really thought things were going to go wrong!

Second flight. A little longer and trying to get a feel for it.

Third flight. Flight aborted due to other air traffic! An owl decided to do a fly by and check things out. I put it on the ground as quick as I could. I didn't want to hurt the owl or my freshly built quad! You can just catch a glimpse of the owl on the left side of the screen a little over half way up right around the 27 second mark. You can also hear the pitch of the motors change right before that which is when I first saw the owl and was trying to get my quad down before he got there. I obviously didn't get it down in time and lucky for me the owl didn't think the quad should be his next meal!

Last flight. Nothing eventful here and the battery was getting low. But you can see I'm getting a little more confident in my quads ability to stay in the air!

Next up will be some pictures of my final build with all the wires tucked away and I'll get some video of some flights during the day.

Here it is! The final product! Everything wrapped up and tucked away. I don't know the AUW because I don't have a scale but I'm getting about 5 mins on a 25C 3S 2200 and about 8 mins on a 20C 3S 2650.

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Here's a quick little daytime flight. In my defense the wind was gusting. You can see it in the trees behind the quad. The thing fly's great and I love it!


So what do you guys think??? Please share comments, suggestions, advice and I'll even take drunken opinions! Let me know what you guys think!
 
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e_lm_70

Senior Member
#3
Nice job so far.

Keep up with new photos, these can be a nice reference for many people interested on make a DIY copter.

Are you going to use double plate in the connection points ... between the motor arm and the two arms holding the control board ?
At the moment I just see one plate ... but I guess you will need the extra rigidity from one plate over and one under.
 

SGrog

New member
#4
Looks great so far!

I am also new to scratch built copters, and it looks like you are off to a fantastic start!

Questions:
-How do you intend to mount the motors?
-Do you intend to loctite the bolts/nuts?

Lessons learned in my own build:
-Enjoy the build! Part of the fun of the copter is knowing every nut, bolt, solder joint and dent on it!
-Be prepared to make adjustments, I started with a variety of parts and had one idea in mind, and ended up with something totally different (used same parts, just different configuration. Probably also an outlier as well)
-No detail is to small, if you are unsure, ask away, in my experience the people on this forum are great to work with, and very knowledgeable. I have had lots of help from Craftydan, cranialrectosis, and xuzme720 to name a few.
-Programming can take a while, and may be frustrating at times, but the time took now, should help make the experience so worth it. (currently programming my Multiwii, and close to my first flight! :D )
-Velcro, and Zip ties are really helpful for prototyping, and securing equipment.

Good luck, and good flying!

-Sean
 

kah00na

Senior Member
#5
I looked at building an H quad but then I got a good deal on a plastic F450 frame. After breaking 6 arms, I look back and wish I had gone with an H quad instead... I guess it isn't too late.

So you raised the center plate to make a little more room to mount the battery under it? .... interesting.
 

BankNYank!

New member
Mentor
#6
Are you going to use double plate in the connection points ... between the motor arm and the two arms holding the control board ?
Yes! I already have the plates cut. They are in one of the pictures above. I just didn't lay them under my frame for the pictures. To try to make my quad a little bit lighter I'm thinking about cutting my end plates down quite a bit or possibly just doing knuckles like on the FT Knuckle H-Quad. I'm also thinking about slimming down the center plate on top that I'm going to use to hold my flight controller. I think the bottom plate I'll leave the original size to help protect the battery.

Questions:
-How do you intend to mount the motors?
-Do you intend to loctite the bolts/nuts?
I am going to zip tie the motors to the booms. So no loctite or bolts/nuts. ;)

-Programming can take a while, and may be frustrating at times, but the time took now, should help make the experience so worth it. (currently programming my Multiwii, and close to my first flight! :D )
I ordered a kk2.0 board for this build and have since acquired a used kk2.1.5 board. Not sure which I'm going to use for this build yet. I'll end up trying both of them and deciding from there. So no programming for me on my first build! YAY!

I looked at building an H quad but then I got a good deal on a plastic F450 frame. After breaking 6 arms, I look back and wish I had gone with an H quad instead... I guess it isn't too late.
I too looked at buying an F450 frame for my first quad build but I'm glad I let the guys here in the forum point me in the direction of the H-Quad for my first build. Building an H-Frame out of wood is so cheap, it's never to late to go back!

So you raised the center plate to make a little more room to mount the battery under it? .... interesting.
It took some considering but I decided that would be the best way to get the battery inside the frame and protected. The top plate clears the props by about 1/2 an inch right now and I'm thinking of cutting it down some more so it's just big enough to hold the flight controller. No since carrying around that extra weight I think.

Thanks to everyone for your comments. I'll be back in the shop again in the next couple days so more pictures to follow!
 

BankNYank!

New member
Mentor
#8
Looks like you're off to a great start. Keep up with the pictures and build notes, they're great to have.

Last Christmas I build a scratch built H style quad. You might want to take a gander at it for some ideas: http://forum.flitetest.com/showthread.php?6530-Mustang7302-s-iQuad-Build-Log
I'll keep the notes and pictures coming. Thanks for the support!

I checked out your build and I like the minimalistic approach you took to building the frame. Not a lot of extra pieces weighing it down. How good do those screws in the ends of the boom work with keeping the frame ridged? And what type/how long are they? I'm assuming you pre-drilled the holes?
 

helinor

Senior Member
#9
Bank....

Nice build:). What will your AUW be on this?

If you have the old KK2.0 board (hasen´t been sold for about 8 months) this will probably have the old v1.2 fw on it. The self level on this is no good. The KK2.1.5 has the v1.6 with much better self level. I would recommend using some custom fw instead... Like v1.6++rev 3 from RC911 or some of Steveis versions. Steveis has a beginner type that is known to be good. I haven´t tried it myself though...Not much programming needed but you will need a USBAsp cable to do the flashing of the board. Many of my builds have flown good on almost stock settings on RC911s fw´s.
 

BankNYank!

New member
Mentor
#10
Okay guys, I've been working on my quad today. I have the frame all cut, drilled and assembled. I'm about to get to work on the electronics and I hope to have the thing powered up today! Final tear down and build probably won't happen for a couple days but I at least want to see if the thing will power up and actually work! I'll shoot some video of the very first time its powered up and post it in my first post. Pictures of how it currently looks have been added to my first post as well.

Bank....

Nice build:). What will your AUW be on this?

If you have the old KK2.0 board (hasen´t been sold for about 8 months) this will probably have the old v1.2 fw on it. The self level on this is no good. The KK2.1.5 has the v1.6 with much better self level. I would recommend using some custom fw instead... Like v1.6++rev 3 from RC911 or some of Steveis versions. Steveis has a beginner type that is known to be good. I haven´t tried it myself though...Not much programming needed but you will need a USBAsp cable to do the flashing of the board. Many of my builds have flown good on almost stock settings on RC911s fw´s.
Thanks, I'm glad your liking it! I have no idea what the AUW will be and I don't have a scale to weigh it unfortunately. :(

My kk2.0 board is a re-pop sold by RTFQ. I'm told it may in fact have the current firmware as he is known to update FC's to the current firmware before shipping. Regardless, I'm going to start with the kk2.1 I picked up used due mainly to the fact it is already assembled and ready to go. It's even in a protective case! As far as flashing different firmware I don't have a USBAsp cable and I'm not really wanting to mess with that right now. But thanks for the tips on whats available should I choose to do so later on!
 

BankNYank!

New member
Mentor
#11
I maidened my quad last night and the thing flew great! I'm so happy! Thank you guys so much for all your comments and support! For help with everything from picking what type of frame I should build to what flight controller I should throw on it and all the comments and support in between both here and on my other thread where all this got started. Thank you all so much!

But it's not quite over yet! Check back soon! I'll be working on my quad some more tonight and tomorrow and I should have some pictures up of the final build and some video of it flying during the day! I'll try to get all that done and posted by tomorrow evening.

Thanks again to everyone!
 

e_lm_70

Senior Member
#13
I maidened my quad last night and the thing flew great! I'm so happy! Thank you guys so much for all your comments and support! For help with everything from picking what type of frame I should build to what flight controller I should throw on it and all the comments and support in between both here and on my other thread where all this got started. Thank you all so much!

But it's not quite over yet! Check back soon! I'll be working on my quad some more tonight and tomorrow and I should have some pictures up of the final build and some video of it flying during the day! I'll try to get all that done and posted by tomorrow evening.

Thanks again to everyone!
How could you maiden without taking a video ? :black_eyed:

PS: Give suggestion from far away is relative easy ... you did an excellent job on collecting inputs and realizing a working output ... your H quad :)

Share more photos and video please :cool:
 

BankNYank!

New member
Mentor
#15
Solid build and looking good!
Thank you, I'm glad you like it! And thanks for selling me the kk2.1.5 board. It's working wonderfully!

How could you maiden without taking a video ? :black_eyed:

PS: Give suggestion from far away is relative easy ... you did an excellent job on collecting inputs and realizing a working output ... your H quad :)

Share more photos and video please :cool:
He's smart - tried to keep Mr. Murphy away ;)


Excited to hear it's flying and you're loving it!

But yeah...let's get some video :D
I am loving it and a special thanks to both of you for all your support!

I did actually post video of the maiden and I added some pictures! It's at the bottom of my original post. The video is at night and shot under a street light so it isn't very good but at least you can see the maiden! I guess I forgot to mention that in my last post! :-/ I'll be adding some day time flight video tomorrow.
 
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e_lm_70

Senior Member
#16
I see now you update post #1

Lot of photos now :)

Really a good construction job.

I'm curious where you mount the battery, since with the esc inside the frame I guess there is no more space for the battery

From what it visible on the night video it is looking a very stable quad ...

What is the weight with and witjout the battery of this copter ... just for get a feeling how light can be a DiIY wood frame.
 

BankNYank!

New member
Mentor
#17
The battery does fit inside actually. Before I even started this build I knew I wanted a very clean look with minimal wires showing and the battery absolutely had to go inside. Below is a picture with both a 25c 3s 2200 and a 20c 3s 2650. I've only flown it once with a 2650 since it is a pain to get it in there and takes about five minutes of packing to get the hatch on. I haven't actually timed my flights yet but I'm guessing with the 2200 I'm getting around five minutes flight time and with the 2650 about eight. And that's running the battery down to 11.6 volts. I designed the quad to run the 2650 and I really want to make it fit better so I will use them more. I'm doing my final tear down and putting all the finishing touches on my quad today. I'm going to try to figure out a way to make the 2650's fit better.

As far as the weight goes I have no idea. Your the second person to ask that. I don't have a scale that I can weigh it on. I'm still thinking about who I know that might have something I can use to weigh it. Maybe the local hardware store. As soon as I can I'll get the thing weighed and let you guys know.

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e_lm_70

Senior Member
#18
You can run you battery down to 11.3v or 3.75v per cell ... actually as long you don't push under 3.70 theyshould be still totally fine

So you should get over 6 or 7min fly on a 2200mAh .. that means it is a pretty decent set up ..

Nice the design with enclosed battery ...

Next step is to set an on board camera ... or you want to be an acro copter ?
 

BankNYank!

New member
Mentor
#19
I put the finishing touches on my quad and just finished putting up some pictures of it at the bottom of my original post. If you wanna get there quicker just click here.

You can run you battery down to 11.3v or 3.75v per cell ... actually as long you don't push under 3.70 they should be still totally fine

So you should get over 6 or 7min fly on a 2200mAh .. that means it is a pretty decent set up ..

Nice the design with enclosed battery ...

Next step is to set an on board camera ... or you want to be an acro copter ?
Thanks for the info on battery voltages. My voltage alarm doesn't adjust in 0.05 increments, only 0.1 so I set it to 3.7v per cell. I'm guessing the battery rebounds a little bit because when I pulled it out and tested it I got 3.8v per cell. I guess the times I gave you were a little off because I timed my flights tonight with the voltage alarm set at 3.7v rather than 3.8 and I'm getting five minutes on the 3s 2200 and eight minutes on the 2650. I have two 2650's and I'm going to order two more as soon as I get a chance to sit down and do it. Not tonight though. It's too late and I need to get to bed!

Thanks for the comment on the enclosed battery design. I had two things I absolutely wanted when I started this build. Battery inside and no wires hanging out everywhere! I had to go back to raising the center piece where the FC sits with a piece of dowel on each side so the 2650 would fit in there easier but its working well now. You can see what I'm talking about in the last set of pictures I posted to my original post.

Nope. No acro. On board camera all the way. My whole reason for building this thing is to shoot aerial video and down the road add some fpv gear. I'm going to build a second bottom plate for the front that will stick out so I have something to mount the camera to.
 

e_lm_70

Senior Member
#20
If you are going to FPV-video ... you should have though in advance of some ant vibration mount to be used ... still you can cut some holes in the wood plate and run some anti-vibration dampening balls .. or use some different way ... I guess you will have to make the camera over the frame that does make jello and vibration a little bit more problematic.

Anyhow ... you can try first with no special mount .. and maybe you are lucky that not much vibration absorb is needed ... sometime just some velcro mount for light camera can make the job.

I have just seen the day video on post #1 ... it is flying really very good :)