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Free Stuff! Need Help Testing devFrame

Who doesn’t like free stuff? And support the community while you’re at it!

I will provide free 3D printed parts for the first three brave souls to volunteer to help us build, test and document devFrame builds.

No charge for volunteers in US. If I have to ship international we will need to talk about you buying me a beer or two first.

You will need to buy the carbon fiber tubes - between 20 and 40 bucks depending on how crazy you get - and all the rest of the gear.

It’s been a few years since the devFrame project started so here’s a quick review: Reduce time to build and maintain so you can spend more time developing and flying. devFrame is all Open Source, uses 3D printable parts as much as possible, you do not need special tools, frame uses hardware store fasteners. You do need to have 10mm carbon fiber tubes for small builds up to about 7in props and 10mm and 12mm tubes for builds bigger than 7in props.

devFrame supports from 300-500 size builds and up to 2kg flying weight. Idea was to have something simple that you could bounce off the concrete and not ruin all your stuff while you figured out what was wrong with your code. And I have personally tested the “bounce off the concrete part” - multiple times. It works.

To make the devFrame really simple we want to publish recipes that are known to work. I have built and rebuilt three versions over the last few years: a d300, d440 and a d450 with various setups. I will start publishing all the details over the next week. Right now it’s just myself and @fnoop flying these things, so we could use a bit of help testing, refining and documenting.

With all the new features in ArduCopter 4.0, plus all the hardware it now supports, it’s more important than ever to help people get safe builds in the air.

Just hit me up in the comments if you are interested.

Here’s the project page and all the files:

Here’s d300 and d450…



I am game to try these out. I have spare motors and flight controllers

Fantastic! And much appreciated.

Here’s what I need to know to print up your base parts:

  • About what size you want to build (determines the arm tube clamp)?
  • What GPS module will you use?

Have a look in this folder and let me know if you are going to use any of these sensors etc:


And please PM your mailing address when you get a chance.

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Love it! Wish I could contribute, but I’ll settle for reading.

Best of luck!


@smartdave starting to print your parts. Send me those dims on the GPS mount when you can please.

Docs will live here:

Will be updating those over next week or so.

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Love this concept!! I just got a 3d printer and am going to build one of these. I have a small 250 frame Ardupilot quad I’ve built using an F4 board. It flies well but it’s just too cramped with gopro + gps etc. Any suggestions for motors for say a 450 sized frame? Something with maybe 8 or 10" props?

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Thanks! I have been using tmotor air gear 350 with 9in props for 450 class builds. Any motors around 950kv and 9in props seem to be a good match. Currently stuck on getting my garden ready. Hope to be back to working on the docs next week.

How are folks mounting motors? The instructions stop at the basic build :slight_smile:

NM - found this video on YouTube which shows the bolts through the bottom.

Have to find some of those :slight_smile:

Yep. Got the build docs as far as the base frame and then got diverted to other projects. My goal is to have docs done, with exception of Community Builds, by end of weekend.

You need M3 bolts to mount your motors. Likely around 22mm long if you are using 12mm arm tubes. It only takes two per motor. We are using clamping force to keep them in place. We had concerns about that design being an issue but as it turns out, in a hard crash, it allows the motors to twist on the tube without tearing a bunch of stuff up. You just need to make sure you realign the motors and preflight really well if you have a hard crash.

I have a 350ish size with 6in props that has been bounced hard at least 6 times now. With four being from about 4ft onto concrete – Was having a motor cut out on two different kakute f7 setups and could not figure out what it was, so went back to Pixracer – On the bright side it gave us some good empirical data on the frame. Besides a few turned motor mounts that needed to be straightened I have yet to replace a part.

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And that video is a bit dated. Sadly, I lost access to that account so can’t rid the internet of that exciting bit of video.

At this point I am waiting for banggood to deliver my carbon tubes. With everything going on Amazon cancelled my order :rage:

Same here - ordered some motors (2212 are hard to find) and some tubes from Ebay but have no idea when they’ll get here :frowning: Have almost all my parts printed though :slight_smile:

@cglusky let me know if you need any help with docs - I can take pics or help edit - will fork you repo and pull it down.

Almost done printing - using PLA because I have a ton of it.

Google Photos

Didn’t realize the square and round end pieces were different :slight_smile: so need to print those out next. Then wait for motors and tubes.

Hopefully they arrive in good shape. Also found a source for tubes on eBay that I have not tried yet.

The bad part of using metric tube sizes is it’s much harder to find a US manufacturer.

You could use the square box ends they just don’t look as good as rounded on outside layer. Please keep in mind that PLA is a bit more brittle and service temp is a bit lower than ABS. Temp perhaps only an issue if you forget it in the trunk of a car on a hot day. Also keep an eye on your motor mounts. On a previous design we have been able to soften ABS motor mounts with motor worked hard on a really hot day, so PLA will also be an issue. One way around it is to put a layer of silicone under the motor; then just have to make sure your fasteners don’t get too hot as well and melt into plastic.

Very interested to read how you get on with PLA. It could be a good match to a lightly loaded quad or rover that is expected to get banged around a lot. Just as long as you have plenty of spare parts.

RE help with docs. Intent is to have the main build be the reference design and then add info about Community Builds. Thinking at least a short video overview and or plenty of pics, a bill of material by exception compared to base build, any notes about tricky parts/lessons learned, and then a parameter file from after tuning and testing is complete. In your case it could be as simple as “here’s what I found using PLA for devFrame…”.

I think part of the issue we all have with ArduPilot (and open source in general) is there is a bunch of info buried in the forums and in chat that does not always bubble up to wiki etc. Trying to avoid that with devFrame, and be a value add to both ArduPilot and PX4 wikis with documented practical applications of the tech.

I was thinking of printing a thin layer of TPU to put between the motor and the mount. I have my freestyle quads to crash. This one will be for messing with autonomous flight and doing video so hopefully no major stresses will occur :slight_smile: Once I get it flying I want to print and build a gimbal as well.

Main difference between the square and round ends is I noticed the round end has a indent for the screw heads - as I noticed when I was testing the square ends my 1" screws were a bit short :slight_smile:

Where would be a good place to document my build? I think I saw something in the docs about a Google doc? Or should I add it in the Community Build section?

Still figuring out community builds structure. Challenge is docs written with Jekyll so not really a wiki. One of the ideas was to use a google doc to feed some tabular data but not sure that really reduces complexity. For those not comfortable with Jekyll I think what might work best is to have community builds submitted using a templated file/folder structure. Or use something like this script to at least get close to what is needed for Jekyll. EDIT: So, provide a gdocs template people can fill out as desired and then run that script, scrub and gen PR.

Open to ideas.

What about something like

Servers by jDrones