In Project 2 (i.e. Quadcopter phase 1), we sought to design and build the frame for an autonomous quad copter, while also testing various electronics to be used in Project 3. Furthermore, the assembled copter was tested to determine if the motors and props could lift the weight of the frame. To build the copter frame, a variety of replaceable parts were designed in SolidWorks and printed using a MakerBot 3D printer with ABS plastic. We also constructed a Styrofoam shield in order to protect the props in case of a collision during flight. Finally, motors and other electronics were attached to the copter frame once it was assembled. In this section we will delve into the design and construction process achieved during Project 2.
- Arduino Uno R1 Microcontroller
- Laptop Computer
- Arduino Uno R1 Micro Controller
- 1900 KV HobbyKing Brushless Outrunners (4)
- Mystery 12A (Blue Series) Electronic Speed Controllers (4)
- Electrical Switch
- 9 Degrees of Freedom Sensor Stick
- Lipo 7.4v 2000mAh Battery
- ABS Plastic for 3D Printer
- Electrical Tape
- 3-Blade Props (2)
- 3-Blad Counter-rotate Props (2)
- Zip Ties
- Several Screws
- Arduino ProtoShield
We modeled the copter’s frame in SolidWorks, printed the parts, and then assembled them. If any of the parts were misaligned or if improvements could be made (such as changes to decrease part vibration) then those parts could be reprinted and the frame could be easily reassembled.
Similarly to Project 1, the electronics were tested independently before being attached and integrated into the copter. The electronics tested include the four motors and electronic speed controllers (ESCs), as well as the 9 degrees of freedom sensor stick (9DOF); integration of the sensors and radio onto the copter was not done for Project 2 – it’s a task for Project 3. Once all four motors were tested, we attached each one to the end of one of the quadcopter’s arms.
By holding the copter down using ropes attached to a large piece of cardboard, we tested that the motors and props could easily lift the weight of the copter frame. By running the motors at approximately 40% speed, the copter successfully hovered at a low height of 8cm as limited by the rope (see picture above).