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Yet another RCExplorer Tricopter build thread

Bolvon72

Senior Member
Mentor
#1
I figured I would chronicle my build process as this is my first rotory of any kind. (Syma 3 channel does not count)

I went step by step from David's 2.5 log and bought everything Hobbyking would sell me. I got some spares in there and with shipping walked away $200 lighter. (spare motor and esc, extra nuts, bolts etc.) I learned in the process that all the lamenting I had over the hextronic swappable special was a result of a programmable esc I bought that had a brake on it. But thats another story.

The gear arrived in 10 days! What in the world HK? Time to find a decent material for the frame and some wood in good old imperial measurement America, off to Lowe's. 10mm wood translated to cutting my own or settling for 3/8 poplar instead of pine. Just the hairiest of hairs thinner than 10mm, by about 0.5mm.

I then found some 1/16 plexi which was marked as 1/8. (actually just the hairiest of hairs thicker... it's getting pretty hairy here) I am glad I brought a measuring tape so I would not have to use one off the shelf and put it back. But the wood sandwiched between two pieces comes up to 13mm, which is perfect for the frame.

Being that I am not equipped for cutting intricate lines through plexiglass I went with the coffin shape and just scored and cracked my way through it. It took a couple of tries to get two matching frames, but I drilled them out, cut the wood to 48cm, drilled matching holes 2 cm in on two of them and put it all together. That's it for today, I will start tackling electronics tomorrow.

2013-03-11 18.12.58.jpg 2013-03-11 18.13.27.jpg 2013-03-11 18.13.47.jpg 2013-03-11 18.14.02.jpg

I do like the clear look, and it shows how everything is set inside.

Please, anyone reading this don't be afraid to stop me with a "You'll be sorry" critique. I am learning about multicopters as I go. Now let's see if I can screw up some perfectly good ESCs.
 

Bolvon72

Senior Member
Mentor
#3
Ah, too late Mr. Monkey, I couldn't sit with all those electronics unsoldered. I spent the rest of the evening doing this:

2013-03-11 22.14.39.jpg

2013-03-11 22.15.10.jpg

I do not trust myself to go into the ESCs and resolder longer wires so I spliced the required lengths. This is coming along quicker than I imagined, thanks to david's meticulous build page. I made myself promise to get some sleep before tackling the rear motor pivot. The FT tip for soldering thick gauge wire worked great BTW.

2013-03-11 20.04.12.jpg

Aggravatingly, I ordered my KK2 board a week before ordering this stuff. I was up in the air about building this or getting the hexcopter from altitude and just wanted to get the board in motion. It is going through Singapore which always takes much longer. Oh well, patience is a virtue and whatever.
 
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Cyberdactyl

Misfit Multirotor Monkey
#4
I do not trust myself to go into the ESCs and resolder longer wires so I spliced the required lengths.
Looks good. And I did the exact same thing... referring to the ESCs. Why risk damage by de-soldering and RE-soldering directly on the ESC board? It may save ...maybe... a dozen grams in solder by not splicing.

 

Bolvon72

Senior Member
Mentor
#5
Why risk damage by de-soldering and RE-soldering directly on the ESC board? [/IMG]
Well, it does give a much better finished look. And to David's credit, he seems to do very little half assed. I just hope he doesn't check this article, I can hear it now. "If you don't wire straight to the ESC your helicopter will crash!" (eyes)
 

Cyberdactyl

Misfit Multirotor Monkey
#6
I've now run around 30-40 packs through my harness. If you use the same color shrink tubing as the wire, it's barely noticeable (which I did not do)

 
#7
hello Bolvon72

i have used plexi as a fame before . i would not recommend it . i had a slightly hard landing and this happened
IMAG0089.jpg

i have used a variety of materials but cf and g10 are the best way to go that said i did use the plastic from a hydraulic oil barrel and it held well . its way less fragile.

best of luck with your build .
 

Bolvon72

Senior Member
Mentor
#8
Jamiedco, that is a concern of mine, The stress points being the small area around the bolts I imagine it will not take much to crack it. I will be close to the nearest LHS on FRI and and will see if they have CF sheets.

This morning I finished all I can do at this time. I built the tail assembly:

2013-03-12 12.06.40.jpg 2013-03-12 12.06.54.jpg 2013-03-12 12.07.15.jpg

I installed it on the frame and checked it for proper movement. It is perfectly silent until it moves, then it must shift enough for it to sing, I guess there's no way around that with the manner it is mounted.


The wires are slightly too long, but they don't get in the way. I mounted the loom and now I just have to wait on my board to come in.

2013-03-12 12.58.23.jpg 2013-03-12 12.58.55.jpg 2013-03-12 12.59.15.jpg 2013-03-12 12.59.41.jpg
 

Cyberdactyl

Misfit Multirotor Monkey
#9
I have to agree with jamie. ...if... that's generic plexi and not lexan, and 1/16" plexi at that, seems awfully brittle and thin. I sincerely hope we are both proved wrong. I'd love to see you flying that the day you get your FCB.

Also, don't forget to cut those motor shafts down. :)
 

Bolvon72

Senior Member
Mentor
#10
Just picked up a Dremel, I figured I would wait until I get the props (they're with the board), double check, cover and cut.

After working with it I'm almost certain the plexi will explode, but it will be low and away from me and others while I learn to fly it so still fairly safe.

I am looking forward to seeing the frame in the FT store sometime soon. I will mess with materials until then, experimenting is all part of the fun. If all else fails, I can pay the shipping from Sweden because even if I order some g10 I would still have to figure a way to cut it.
 

Bolvon72

Senior Member
Mentor
#11
Hot damn, I decided to roll over to the store to see if my fan pack was still "processing" 3 weeks later (I guess they were short on fat shirts) and not only is it on the way, the frames are for sale. Dropped them in the cart and I'm on my way. David's autograph engraved at that, sweet.
 

Cyberdactyl

Misfit Multirotor Monkey
#12
Yes, that is sweet. I'm also puttering with David's tri-copter. I've slowed down a bit on building since I now have something to fly. :applause: I've had David's tri-plates for a couple months now. It's not "true" CF. It's G-10 Garolite. Two satin surfaces, uni-directional tow (fine weave) layers sandwiching a glass sheet. Probably fairly inexpensive by the sq/m. as compared to the much prettier low tow, multi-layer, mirror finished FB, but more workable, and very capable, and MOST important pretty much radio wave transparent.

My point is, even at that, they will be at LEAST 8x stronger than the 1/16" plexi and around 80% the weight.

 
#13
I cut my frame (coffin style) just out of 1/8" plywood and its been through multiple crashes. I broke 2 arms this week, one was trying some proximity flying, and they other was on my maiden, my battery died and it dropped 35 feet onto an arm. i now have gone and cut an extra 8 arms that i am going to paint so they are ready to go. i would recommend this to others as well.

I'm also going to be putting up a review of the tricopter. i did a few things that i thought were a bit different than david's original build
 

Cyberdactyl

Misfit Multirotor Monkey
#14
Great thing about wood sticks is if they fracture and don't catastrophically crack, you can squirt some wood glue into the crack, work the glue into it and wrap two or three times with a glue-whetted piece of old t-shirt, and be flying again in a few hours. Actually makes that area stronger.
 

Bolvon72

Senior Member
Mentor
#15
KK2 is at the post office, I can pick it up in the morning, I am not sure how long it will take me to figure out the programming, but I hope to hover test tomorrow.
 

Bolvon72

Senior Member
Mentor
#18
Thanks Cyberdactyl, followed the above video step by step, there was no ESC calibration listed in my kk2 menu, but it's in the air, ran three batteries through it so far. Now it's just practice, charge, practice. I'll have to post a video of the ugliness tonight.
 
#20
Thanks Cyberdactyl, followed the above video step by step, there was no ESC calibration listed in my kk2 menu, but it's in the air, ran three batteries through it so far. Now it's just practice, charge, practice. I'll have to post a video of the ugliness tonight.
ESC calibration is not in the menu.

"Esc Calibration":
Instructions:
1: Important: TAKE OFF THE PROPELLERS OR DISCONNECT ONE WIRE FROM THE MOTOR!!
2: Turn off the FC power.
3: Turn on the transmitter and set the throttle to max.
4: Press down button 1 and 4, keep pressing until last step. Releasing the buttons aborts the
calibration.*

*(If your fast enough (within 1 to 2 seconds) plug power in then press 1 & 4 buttons)

5: Turn on power to the FC
6: Wait for the ESC to beep its full throttle calibrated signal. Takes a few seconds, depends on the ESC.
7: Lower the throttle to idle.
8: Wait for the idle throttle calibrated signal.
9: Release the buttons.

I would suggest you do this even if it seems that it is flying properly. if one motor is close to it max range and a gust of wind comes about, that motor may not have enough power to recover from it. Its better to be safe than sorry. It shouldnt effect and settings or changes that you have made.
 
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