Let's Make Robots!

Build BLOG - I believe I can fly...

It's a design known as a "Nutball", a popular build on the scratch built foamies forum of rcgroups.com. It is designed by the rcgroups forum user "GoldGuy" (people in that forum are justifiably touchy about proper atrribution). Only one servo shown, but there are 2. This is a "RET" design (Rudder, Elevator and Throttle) which I chose because it should be simpler to do autonomous work with. Shown are the ESC (with BEC), mini breadboard, Arduino Pro Mini, 434MHz radio, GPS, battery and a key fob video camera. around the outside are materials I will use to mount all that. One of my first tests is to attach all that, even if most of it is just bagged or whatever, stand it on its tail and give the motor a short burst to see if it will indeed pull it off the ground. I am confident that if I put the light plane wheels under it and taxi, it can fly with all that, but I hope for VTOL also. If you search YouTube for "Nutball rc plane"

I had a walkthough on the remote, but for completeness here is a picture:

My plan is to put that, with a smaller battery, in a soft belt clip camera bag with the nunchuck cable coming out one corner and the antenna wire coming out another.

I will probably use tilt for elevator and the joystick for speed and rudder, though I may put elevator and rudder on the joystick and use the buttons for high/low/no speed.

These things put a different twist on aerial ideas as far as I am concerned. Quads are faster and way more accurate for detail work, but this type of "plane" can hover as well as cover distance quickly and it is much cheaper to build and easier to fly.


OK, so what am I planning to do with it? Well for starters I want to work on the idea of nunchuck as RC remote.

I also want to do some autonomous flight using GPS coordinates, including altitude. I could send it up like a rocket (more practically, it would work better to have a way point off to one side) and get a picture from 1000' up or whatever.

I will also incorporate GPS return for signal loss. In other words, it will remember where the flight started and return there if being flow in RC mode and loses signal.

If I get this working well, next would be a seaplane that could take water samples.


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Wow, looking good. Can't wait to see it fly!


I didn't want to put this in the main blog post due to possible confusion of these being mine. They are not. They are examples of other ones of the same design (Nutball designed by "Goldguy" at RCGroups.com) flying.

A similar plane (NOT MINE) being flown - shows it covering distance pretty well

One (again NOT MINE) being flown indoors - shows the copter like hovering at one point