Let's Make Robots!

Quadcopter begins


Well i finally went through with it and started on a quadcopter. I will probably just stick to doing RC with it but who knows, maybe one day i will make a quadcopter UAV.




Well i am just at the beginning stages of the everything. I have mostly been researching. I am copying the first setup on this webpage http://warthox.bplaced.net/?page_id=76. I am ordering those exact parts, but will be using the multiwiicopter electronic setup and code. 

I like this guys qaud in the fact that he uses wood for the arms. It does not seem like that bad of an idea, its cheap, he says it is very strong, if it does break it is an easy fix. The aluminum that other people use is not that easy to find in light weight and can be expensive with shipping.

I should be able to put those wood arms on this frame

So that is the basics of what i have in mind. Here are some pictures of what i have so far. I plan on ordering most of the rest of the stuff soon.


Motors and Prop savers:


Wii motion plus circuit board: (3 axis gyros)


Wii nunchuck: (3 axis accelerometers)


Now those wii products have those pesky triwing screws. I delicately used a dremel to get the wii motion plus circuit board out. I do not want to have to dremel out the wii nunchuck so i bought a triwing screw driver on ebay for $2. That should arrive soon.

As you can tell i still have a lot to get:

  • Props
  • ESCs
  • 6 channel receiver (already have the transmitter)
  • Arduino of some kind
  • lipo battery 
  • lipo alarm
  • frame stuff
  • etc...
  • etc...

But it shouldnt cost too much...




Update 12.28.10

Well i have all my parts ordered. So pretty soon i should have packages flooding in. 

I went to the hardwar store yesterday and picked up some 1/2" square hardwood. I do not have an accurate scale but with the one i do have, i estimate it at 1.8 grams an inch. I also picked up some hardware for mounting the motors and 8ft of aluminum U channel (its the shortest they had).


My triwing screw driver arrived today in the mail so i was able to take the nunchuck apart.


You can cut the joystick part off because i just need the accelerometer so that is what i did with my dremel.


Then i had to wire it to the wii motion plus that i already removed.


It is all mounted on some perfboard using double sided foam. This board will be mounted to the frame using some different foam to help prevent vibrations. 


I tested it on the GUI and it looks fine. Remember all this wiring you can find here http://radio-commande.com/international/triwiicopter-design/

So like i said i have all the parts on the way. I need to get started on the frame but i am waiting on my frame plates to arrive before i get too much accomplished. I can probably start on the arms and mount the motors on them though. 




Update 12.30.10

Packages, packages, and more packages. 

Yes i received 3 packages today in the mail.


Here are my plates that i ordered for my frame. The 1/2" wood should make a good substitute for the aluminum.

The bigger two are the "main plates" and the smaller 2 are the "electronic carrier plates"

Main plates ($5 a piece):


Electronic carrier plates ($4 a piece):


I also received my 8" counter-clockwise and clockwise propellers (EPP0845).


I received my lipo alarm yesterday. This gets plugged into the lipo battery charging cable and will beep loudly when the battery is low so i know to land and recharge. 


Unrelated to this (ok some what related in the fact i might use them to help me build the thing) are my digital calipers that i decided to buy from ebay. 


Looks like i am ready to start building...




Update 12.30.10 #2

Well i have been busy today. Above you can see my parts came and so i started building. (oh and the calipers came in handy!)


So i cut and painted the arms (they are 10 inches long)


Pretty straight forward. Drill some holes in the wood and bolted the plates together.


Motors are also bolted on:


And there you have it. I still need to mount the electronic carrier plates, but i saved that for another day. 


Weighing it:




Update 1.1.11


Yesterday some more packages arrived.

The first one is from the red box company (Sparkfun). Just an Arduino mini and some random headers.


The second was my receiver for my transmitter.

I havent showed you my transmitter yet so here it is:


Ok time for the building i got done. I added the electronic carrier boards on it. One is on top for some of the actual electronics and one is on the bottom for holding the battery and maybe to serve as a surface to land on.


I mounted the receiver on it and plan on running the 2 antenna down the front and back arms when the other parts arrived.


In case you are wondering, that red tape marks the front of the quadcopter.


If it was not new years day, the rest of my parts would have arrived today, but i will have to wait till monday. So it looks like I will be giving it a test fly next week if all goes well. I have to run to RadioShack today to get a prototyping board so i can make my quadcopter board this weekend. 

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I am sorry to read that you have abandoned this project. I was going to ask you about vibration absorption for the controller board. You did a great job documenting this build, BTW.


Great job! Can you tell us more about the project? Does it have to contain more things? What should we do next, after  we put the antenna receiver? I want to do my own quadcopter, based on your plans, and I don't know what to do.


Thank you

I have pretty much quit working on this project. So you are better off finding someone else's plans to use.

Did you just PM the guy?


I've got a few questions about this project.

1) How much did all this cost?

2)Are you going to finish this project because I'm basically building my own quadcopter based on your plans and im stuck?

NIce job! :)

Recently I've found myself lusting after the awesome videos made by these quadcopters. And I am considering buying/building one myself.

@ Patrick: How did you choose this model? What were your considerations? Any other models you considered? What kind of payload do you expect to carry on this one?

The lust for awesome video is what made me build this one. Though as you can see, i have no awesome video yet. I am sure that eventually I will, but right now there is something funny going on with it, whether PID gains or vibrations. So i have yet to see how well my current configuration flies. 

The first thing i do when i decide to make something is figure out how much money I have or am willing to spend on it. Robots always need to fit the budget so that was my main concern. Quadcopters can get very pricey so to save money i went with a pretty DIY system. Cheap Wii sensors, motors, and frame. From all the videos i have seen on the forum over there, when done correctly they fly nicely. With any DIY project, there is the over whelming possibility of doing it wrong. I do not believe i have done it wrong, but i can say that i still need to do something on it and have yet to pinpoint the problem nor had the time to fully do so. It seems plenty powerful and hopefully can carry my GoPro when i feel it is stable enough to do so. 

Nice project Patric. Can't wait to see it flies.

One question about your IMU. Have been playing around with Wii Nunchuk and Motion+ some time ago. Worst thing I found is, that both devices have the same I2C slave adress. How did you solve this problem?

Edit: Ok, found the answer by myself. The Wii Nunchuk Passthrough mode. Damn, I wish I had  knew this before I resell my Motion+.