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 Post subject: Mini Tricopter / VTail Build Thread (work in progress)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 4:36 pm 
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Location: Houston, Texas
Hi Guys

Here is where i will discuss the building of my Mini Multi frames

Although they are very simple and pretty intuitive to assemble there are a few small things that you can do to make life a little easier.

Due to the nature of laser cutting the parts of my frames have a clean side and a "dirty" side meaning that the back side of the parts have a kind of burnt or smokey look to them from the heat from the laser cutter.
Due to this i have tried to arrange the parts to be cut so that they have an inside and an outside face.
This is purely a cosmetic thing but it should allow you to build a slightly cleaner looking frame.
If for what ever reason you do not notice this its no issue as all the duplicate parts are identical in dimensions and are fully interchangeable with one another.
If you really don't like this then the smoke marks are easily sanded off with some fine grit sandpaper.

Here is an example

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Now to get started
Firstly i like to lay out all the parts and make sure i have everything i need.

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I take all of the parts for the upper clean frame parts(all the 1/16th parts) and put them to one side and start with the main frame of the Tricopter / VTail

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I then take some fine sandpaper something like 240 grit or 300 grit and give everything a light sanding over.
I like to sand off most of the burn marks from the laser and take the edges of the corners.
This just make sit a little nicer to handle and is totally not needed if you don't feel like it.
For me it just feels allot nicer to handle than the raw un-sanded plywood.

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Next i like to use a small countersink bit just to soften the edges of the hole where the rubber vibration isolators are installed.
This just makes it a little easier to assemble and disassemble later on

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Now its a simple matter of laying out the parts and using the provided M3 nylon screws and nuts tighten everything up.
I use a small No1 Philips screw driver bit and a 5.5mm nut driver for this.
Don't over tighten the nylon screws they will strip or break you don't need them to be over tight just a good snug fit.
There really isn't much load on these screws.

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I like to snip off the excess threads of the nylon screws as well.

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Now if you are building a Tricopter you need to prepare the motor mount for the tail servo.

There will be a 1/8th inch ply spacer and a 3/8th square popular dowel
You need to take a straight servo horn that will fit your desired tail servo and make three marks on the 3/8th wooden dowel.
Mark 2 screw holes and mark the center of the servo horn.

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Check your servo horn to see if the top surface is smooth and flat, most of the time you will need to sand it smooth so it sits flush against the wooden block.

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You will need to drill out the center hole you marked so its big enough to get the screw that holds the servo horn onto the servo though.

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The other two holes you marked are for attaching the wooden block to the servo horn you need to drill pilot holes for these screws.

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Next you need to glue the 1/8th spacer on to the top of the 3/8th wooden block making sure it is in the center. Or at least the center of the 1/8th spacer lines up with the servo horn mounting screw.

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When you are happy that everything is in the right position and you can get the servo horn mounting screw through the wooden block and are able to tighten it securely then you can apply a small amount of medium CA to the surface of the servo horn and screw the horn to the wooden block.

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The final stage is to sand everything smooth and round of the ends to match the spacer to make it all look pretty.

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Now you need to mount the servo to the rear arm of the frame.
Firstly i suggest that you scuff the top surface of the servo case with some sandpaper to help with the adhesion

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Making sure the the servo output spline is in the center of the frame arm and that the end of the arm is roughly flush with the main part of the servo case you can glue the servo to the frame.

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IF your not comfortable gluing a servo to the frame then you could use some thin double sided tape and several zip-ties to secure the servo to the frame, just make sure its attached very well!!

Now you can mount your motor mount to the servo ready to install the motor.
Dont forget to use thread locker on that servo screw!!

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OK so next we will cover the Assembly of the VTail rear arms.

Here are all the parts you will need to complete both arms.

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This is the first time in the build where we will use CA for the assembly.
I personally like to use Mercury Adhesives but most of the known brands of CA will work well.
I also recommend that you use the Thin CA so it can soak into the joints.

The wooden pieces are designed to be a pretty snug fit together so you may need a small hammer to gently persuade the pieces to fully seat properly.
You should fully assemble each motor mount before you apply any CA, leave this step right until the end.

There is a specific order in which the pieces are assembled.
Start here with the first angle spacer.
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It shoul dbe fully installed so the legs stick out the other side.
This is intentional as it gives you more surface area to glue later on.
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Next take the actual motor mounting plate and install it into the first angle piece. Note the orientation. Again you may need to persuade it with some gentle taps from a hammer.
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And this is what it should look like
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Then you can add the final angle plate, again you may need to tap it gently with a hammer to fully seat it.
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And this is what it should look like when done
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Now just repeat the process for the other side so you end up with two opposing sides.
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Be sure to check you have assembled a left and a right hand motor mount, yes even i have made two right hands for one frame!

Once you are happy with them you can run some Thin CA into all the joins on all sides. It should soak into the wood very nicely.
If you want to add even more strength, after the Thin CA has dried you can go back and add a small fillet of Medium CA around the joints but i have never found that to be necessary.
I like to use the disposable plastic pipettes you can get from HK or such places
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you can reuse them if you make sure you get all of the CA out of them and are careful where you store them so they don't stick to everything!


Next its on to assembling the upper frame for the electronics.
Again, layout all the parts you need and make sure there is nothing missing.
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We will start with these three pieces, the base plate, the camera mounting frame and one of the side frames.
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Take the Camera Mount frame and slide it into the side frame like so
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Then you take the middle frame plate and attach it to the side frame (sorry for the blurry image)
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Then you take the second side frame and attach to the other side. like so
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Please note that the middle plate of the upper frame is recommended but optional. You may find that its easier for you to install your chosen radio system / Flight controller without in place.
So you need to put a little thought into how you will set up your frame before you apply the CA.
The middle plate is practically impossible to re-install if you assemble the frame without it and its almost impossible to install after you have applied the CA.
BUT a complete new spare upper frame assembly can be bought for only $15 bucks if you change you mind AFTER you have applied the CA!!

Next you will need the base plate
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Take your assembly and mount it onto the base plate making sure it is fully seated properly.

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Next you will need to assemble the rear half of the frame where the VTX will mount to.
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You need to assemble the three pieces to look like this but please note that the center piece will only fit in one direction as its not symmetrical top to bottom.
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Then you need to install this on the rest of the assembly making sure that all the tabs and slots are fully seated.
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The last step is to install the top plate, this will tie it all together.
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Once you have the top plate installed you can start to add the Thin CA to all the joints, you dont need to add too much but you do need to make sure that all the joints are glued inside and out.
When the glue has dried you should end up with a surprisingly strong and rigid assembly.

The nest step is to install the rubber isolators into the upper fame and install the upper frame onto the mainframe.
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Note that the isolators should be installed in the correct orientation. You will see that one end has a thin slot and the other end has a thicker slot.
You will need to install the thin end into the upper frame, like this
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The isolators should stretch out as you pull them through the hole try to support both sides of the whole as you pull the through.

Once you have all 4 isolators installed the upper frame should look like this
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Next you can install the upper frame onto the lower main frame.
Line up all the isolators with the corresponding mounting holes in the main frame and pull them through teh frame until they are correctly seated.
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OK so now you frame is almost finished
If you decide to opt for the Blade 300X Landing gear you will find that the frame is already pre drilled ready to go.
You can also use the supplied screws that come with the Blade 300X Gear.
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If you are mounting this gear on a Tricopter frame you will need to drill a clearance hole in the center of the rear Landing gear upper cross bar.
Like this.
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Now you can install the landing gear like this
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And now you are DONE!
So now you can stand back and admire your handy work.
You should end up with something that looks like this
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or this

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(i will cover the camera installation in the FPV gear section below)

That's about it for the actual Assembly of these frames
They should go together in less than an hour including the sanding work.

You can paint the wooden parts but i would suggest you paint the upper frame after you have finished assmbling and gluing it.
The lower main frame parts can be painted before you assemble them if you feel like it.
I would suggest you start with a fairly thin water based paint so its absorbed by the wood a little and i would recommend that you use severla thin layers of paint as opposed to one thick layer.


Please feel free to post pictures of your frames in this thread.

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask below

Many Thanks

Ben

PS I also intend to condense the above into a PDF build manual that you can download.....eventually......

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Last edited by Borneoben on Thu Aug 21, 2014 11:02 am, edited 7 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Mini Tricopter Build Thread (work in progress)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 4:36 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 3:43 pm
Posts: 2513
Location: Houston, Texas
Hi Guys

Here is the long awaited pictures of how to set up the 4-in-1 ESC!!

Its pretty simple but not particularly obvious.

There is of course 4 esc built into one PCB, each esc has a number and a signal cable that attaches to the receiver.
I forget where the actual numbers are but i did color code the motor output leads to match the corresponding signal lead.

It doesn't matter which motor you connect to which esc as long as you connect the right esc signal wire to the correct channel on the esc for that particular motor position, if that make sense?

Image

This picture shows you how to solder the esc motor output wires.
The solder pads are very small and the wire very thin so i like to solder them length ways along the solder pad as opposed to perpendicular to the solder pad to maximize the contact area. With a little forward planning you can also point the wires towards the relevant motor to help with wire routing etc.

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Here you can see in more detail where the main power leads connect to and how the capacitor is connected.
There are pads on both sides of the board to connect the main power leads to so i decided to split the end of each power lead to form a Y and solder it across both sides of the pcb.
this picture hopefully makes it a little more clear

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Also when installing the capacitor please note that there is a positive and a negative leg that should be soldered to the corresponding power lead.
I also angled mine for the lowest profile to fit my frames better but you can solder however best fits your needs.

This esc is like most other esc you still need to calibrate it to your RX or FC.
I prefer to calibrate it to the Flight controller your are using as in reality it is the FC that is controlling the esc not the RX.

Most FC have a specific calibration process such as the KK boards. There is a certain button sequence that you press on power up and the FC will calibrate the ESC for you. Check your particular version of firmware for the calibration process.
The MultiWii based system have a section of the sketch that you comment in flash it to the board power up wait for the motor tones, power down comment out the esc calibration code and then reflash to the board.
its a bit of a pain but you should only need to do it once.

Hope this helps guys

Let me know if you have any further questions.

Cheers

Ben

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Last edited by Borneoben on Thu Oct 02, 2014 5:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Mini Tricopter Build Thread (work in progress)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 4:36 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 3:43 pm
Posts: 2513
Location: Houston, Texas
reserved for FPV set up

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Last edited by Borneoben on Thu Aug 21, 2014 10:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Mini Tricopter Build Thread (work in progress)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 4:38 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 3:43 pm
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Location: Houston, Texas
Reserved for Flight Controller set up

I am hoping to be able to cover (in time)

Flip 1.5 with MultiWii 2.3 using custom motor mixes

KK2.xxx with flashed Firmware (Steveis / RC911)

Naze32 with custom motor mix (basically the same as the MultiWii motor mix just different way of entering the data)

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Last edited by Borneoben on Thu Aug 21, 2014 10:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Mini Tricopter / VTail Build Thread (work in progress)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 4:59 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2014 7:09 am
Posts: 36
Location: Far southeast Wisconsin
Finished putting my tricopter together.
Piece of pie.....
In fact I was able to put it together without glue!
Motors and servo installed. I'll finish it tonight after work


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 Post subject: Re: Mini Tricopter / VTail Build Thread (work in progress)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 7:00 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2014 7:09 am
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Location: Far southeast Wisconsin
To clear things up, I did apply thin CA to the joints.


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 Post subject: Re: Mini Tricopter / VTail Build Thread (work in progress)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 7:10 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 3:43 pm
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Location: Houston, Texas
Awesome!!

Congratulation's your the first person in the "wild" to build one of my Mini Frames!!

I'm glad you found it easy to build.

Did you need to refer to the section about the tail motor mount or were you able to figure it out?

Cheers

Ben

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 Post subject: Re: Mini Tricopter / VTail Build Thread (work in progress)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 7:12 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 3:43 pm
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Location: Houston, Texas
Oh and BTW.

I hoped you noticed in the small print of the purchase agreement that you are obliged to post pictures of your Mini Tricopter!!!

we will be expecting to see them very soon!!


:thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:

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 Post subject: Re: Mini Tricopter / VTail Build Thread (work in progress)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 11:30 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2014 7:09 am
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Location: Far southeast Wisconsin
Motors and servo installed. No instructions were needed, just the finished photo was all I needed.
For the VTX I found a mini 5 conductor plug to install into the 600mw transmitter header instead of the end of board typical location. It now rests nice and low and tight. Really love the vtx location and mounting methode.
I didn't bother sanding or painting, as I plan on torturing this menace. :thumbup:


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 Post subject: Re: Mini Tricopter / VTail Build Thread (work in progress)
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 8:21 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2014 7:09 am
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Location: Far southeast Wisconsin
Mine comes in at 232grams with full fpv equipment and bluetooth, minus the battery. Just routing wires left now.
I changed my mind on the FC, going with the lemon flip arrangement. Same as my junk drawer tri.


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