My Multirotor Story


Junior Member
Right, so I am posting this about my latest tricopter build, based loosely off the great Windestål's design. Firstly I will say that I am 15, live in the UK, and am currently having my summer holiday. This build was completed to a massive budget, and in my mind was mostly an upgrade. I know this article could do with more photos, but I did not have the foresight to take them at the time!(and I also apologise for the quality of the included ones, as David would say they are HOOOORRRRIBBBBBLLEEEEEE!)

My first tricopter was a copy of the RCExplorer tri, almost to the letter using 3mm ply for the coffin body, the only main difference being the use of dt750s for the motors, and the use of a crappy 9g servo( I know, bad idea, but it held surprisingly through some beatings.) This was constructed about 2 years ago, running kk2 and a spektrum receiver. It had no camera capability and probably vibrated like hell. Unfortunately I don't have any photos of this tri, but believe me, it looked pretty atrocious. However for what it is, being my first multirotor and all, it flew really well in my mind, and was a great learning platform.

Before I go on, I will add im a tinkerer. I sit on my pc browsing the forums at 2am, and think "that's a really cool concept for landing gear" and i get up, fire up the glue gun and add it to my latest construction.

Late one Friday night, I thought to myself "it would be really mice if I had a foldable tricopter, maybe even I could add a camera?" so, the next day I began to cut(badly) David's body from 3mm marine ply(again, all I had laying around) I spent the day building this tri, even reusing my bad tail servo and tilt mech. And to my surprise it flew amazingly(I still don't really know why!) I later added a camera tray, and recorded some shaky video from an old iPod touch(the best camera i had at the time!)

I help out at the local cub scout group as a young leader, and they asked if i could do i flight demo for them. My first demo(to the younger beavers) went well, even though it was 'a simple hover' they loved it, and wanted me to return. Later that evening, I was demonstrating for the cubs. It was dark, but I was flying in a spotlighted field, so lighting was not an issue. I will point out at this point in time that I am using my dads dx5e(he does not use it anymore) and earlier that day a small incident resulted in the antenna of the absurdly expensive spektrum receiver being chopped off. So in my haste to cover it up, I bodily soldered it and neatly heat shrunk it, hoping he would not notice... (The possible range decrease was the last of my worries!) Anyway, first two flights went perfectly, small hovers demonstrating the led strips. Now, the third and final flight of the day, arm it, all looking good. Then suddenly full throttle without me touching anything! I watched in disbelief as my beloved tri flew at great speed in a massive arc straight into the roof of the sports centre. I was distraught, the cubs were laughing and 2 cross sports centre employs were running out of the front door, fuming and demanding an explanation!

So, the aftermath was actually better that I first expected, with no damage to the roof. The tri had a totalled motor and ESC, 2 broken props, 1 broken arm and a (finally!) broken yaw servo. Reparable i know, but not for me. I had no money left, and simply could not afford it. I tore the tri up(not literally) and used the parts to build semi successful scratch built planes that i wont go into.

Now we skip to last Christmas. I decide that I want to build another multi, this time going for quad. I used the turnigy xp 2836/8 and 30a plush ESC's. These coupled with the HK H4 and 12in props made for an awesome looking build, however the H4 frame it terrible, waaayyy to heavy and the motor mounts flex like crazy!

I built another frame, based of a spider quad one I found online, and guess what, I HAVE PHOTOS!!!

Here I am mid build:


And its all finished!


Now, compared to everything else this flew like a dream, smooth and stable, but still didn't do quite what I wanted. After promptly crashing this into the same tree 4 times and breaking all of my props, I decided to convert this exact frame into a tri, but this time using allow booms and a beefier tilt setup.

Here it is almost finished:


And in flight:


This has been my tricopter for the past few months, and was up until yesterday. It was this tri that carried my gopro for its maiden recording, and also the tri to carry my first brushless gimbal.

This video was shot without the gimbal, mounted on a camera tray. No post stabilisation was used:

using the gimbal and again no post stabilisation:


Now. this tri may appear to be able to get some quite pleasing video