Servers by jDrones

How to build the lightest Ardupilot microquadcopter 3-inch "2-stack" frame?

(Hugues) #1


This is part 1 of a 3" Ardupilot micro quadcopter build, starting by making a custom light frame able to carry all of the electronics and cameras of a full fledge drone:
-A F7 Ardupilot (ChibiOS) autopilot
-a FPV camera
-Video live tx 5.8Ghz
-Full HD video recording (1920x1080 30 fps)
-Mavlink radio telemetry (real time telemetry on ground control station)
-GPS + Compass
-2S 3300 mah Li-Ion battery for long flight time (to be tested)

The frame is designed to carry two full 30x30 stacks (and has screwholes for 20x20 stacks).

The frame has a protective top plate, so is not only a unprotected base plate exposing the electronics.

This custom frame is a composite made of plywood, carbon fiber elements and balsa/carbon fiber sandwich plate.Such a composite allows to get a much lighter frame than its equivalent in full carbon with the same, if not better rigidity.

The result is a frame with 50% of the weight of the lightest two stacks 3" carbon fiber frame that exist on the market at this time.

A part 2 will be cover the microcopter build…

STL files of the frame:
Frame bottom: FrameBottom.stl (455.6 KB)

Frame top: FrameTop.stl (254.8 KB)

UPDATE 1 : I tested two different 4-in-1 ESCs board in order to find one that will allow to be powered by a 2S battery while running BlHeli32 which seems to be a challenge as suppliers all pretend they support 2S when not true…

UPDATE 2: I decided to use the Kakute F7 autopilot in the build because this autopilot has a SD card slot to record the Ardupilot logs. It also has 6 available UARTS which are needed to connect all of the equipment (receiver, GPS, radio telemetry, etc…)

UPDATE 3 : I forgot Holybro specifies the Kakute F7 as a 3S minimum board which would ruin my decision to use this board with a 2S battery. So I tested what is the real minimum voltage supported by the board:

UPDATE 4 (09 feb 2019) : Here is finally the build video:


(cala2) #2

Nice Hugues, waiting the second part :slight_smile:

(MartinKeilloh) #3

really great project I fancy having a go at this Hugues,could you please put a parts list up and would you have a file of the frame please,many thank’s

(cala2) #4

What do you think about 3d printing the frame?

(Jeff) #5

Very nice, I’ve wanted to build your 300 class frame since you posted it. Very interested in seeing the electronics and how you mount them.

(MartinKeilloh) #6

Now I would also be interested in his 300 class frame as that is what I fly at the moment

(Hugues) #7

I added the STL files to download.

(Hugues) #8

To what email can I send them ?

(MartinKeilloh) #9

Thank you,ive sent you a message

(Hugues) #10

In preparation of the microbuild, I have selected this board as the autopilot:

(Hugues) #11

Voltage test of Kakute F7 in preparation of the build:

(Auto Boat) #12

What GPS and compass will you use?

(Hugues) #13

I wil use the GPS+compass : Matek M8Q-5883

(Hugues) #14

And here is the build video, finally

(SN) #15

Have you measured flighttime / hover current already?

(Hugues) #16

We will have to wait until next video to know…

(Hugues) #17

UPDATE : PID tuning of a 3" Arducopter (2S Li Ion):

(cala2) #18

Nice Hugues:) did you check endurance?

(Hugues) #19

NOt yet as the ship was unflyable when I tried. I had to tune the PIDs first. Endrance check will happen soon now, waiting for ideal weather conditions.

(cala2) #20

Did you change filters or use standard ones? Perhaps if you rise them you can have better performance