PL1Q Vampire, the 3d printable quadcopter

by swepet, published

PL1Q Vampire, the 3d printable quadcopter by swepet Feb 14, 2012

Featured Thing!


I have now uploaded a new version the PL2Q Hugin

Its a 3d printable quadcopter frame that i have designed, all parts is printable. See youtube.com/watch?v=DLrN-lrLtUs

Recent Comments

view all

So I know the dome holds onto the arms, but how did you affix the motor
mounts inside the arms? Just friction? Mine slide out (they've been
sitting on a shelf for years) - don't want to have to glue them on since
I want to be able to disassemble it..

I like your quadcopter and your videos to mach, specially the Coca Cola hardness test

does the motor mount not heat up when in those cases?

Liked By

view all

Give a Shout Out

If you print this Thing and display it in public proudly give attribution by printing and displaying this tag. Print Thing Tag


I have now uploaded a new version the PL2Q Hugin

Most parts should be backwards compatible with the PL1Q with some
modifications.. if you already printed a PL1Q and want to use the
stuff like the gopro camera mount etc..

Download, Print, Build, Fly!

But isn't a 3d printed arm to weak and will break in flight?
Answer here: youtube.com/watch?v=RwZ5aTlU0iY

new flight video:

---new 2012-02-29-----


I have added a optional 3cm taller canopy.
Also tried reducing bridging by 50%..

---new 2012-02-27-----


I have made a smaller canopy that should be printable on a makerbot,
i also changed the top a bit so there is no huge bridging any more.
Perhaps it is also printable upside down.. I also removed the screw
holes i think it will stick if you just push it on. If not, glue on small velcro strip on each side inside and fasten to the battery holding velcro..

Leave a comment if you have managed printing it on a makerbot or reprap

---older new----
I have now sliced it up to be able to print on makerbot or other
printers with smaller build area, i have not tried printing and
assembling the parts, please leave a comment if you have..
It is the files that have makerbot in their name...
Gluing would be required..and tape for the canopy..

If someone comes up with a better idea how to make the canopy on
a makerbot that would be great!

Presentation video:

I printed mine on a Ultimaker with PLA using skeinforge35. I used 100% infill on the motormounts and the arms. I used 40% on the rest. Use 100% on the landing gears if you intend to do hard landings..

Mine came out with the following weight:

motormount: 13.9g
Arm: 19.0g
Center: 42.3g
canopy: 25.7g
Landinggear: 32.0g
total 231.6g

I used a couple of drops CA (glue) to fasten the motormounts to the arms..
(not between the arms and the body, the canopy locks them in place there)

It might be a good idea to print it using a different color for the front arms etc, to be able to see the orientation of it when flying. I am going to fly mine mostly fpv..

What i think is a good cheap setup for it:
(i have not tested this setup myself, its just what i would have bought
if i didn't have parts laying around)

Motors: 4x A2208-17 1000KV

Esc: 4x TURNIGY Plush 12amp (2A BEC) BESC

Computer: MWC MultiWii Lite Lightweight Version 4-axis Flight Control Board QUADX

Propellers: GAUI 330X 8" Props G-210801

Prop adapter: 4x 3.175mm motor shaft 5mm prop hole

You will also need silicone wire for the motors, battery plugg, a receiver,a radio, a 3s lipo battery around 2200mAh (and a charger for it)..

I am working on fpv camera mounts for it, and gopro mount.. I post it when i am finished with them..

I also have several ideas for future revisions of the quad so stay tuned, esc placement, weight reduction and so on.. :-)


You must be logged in to post a comment.

jkeegan on Mar 16, 2014 said:

So I know the dome holds onto the arms, but how did you affix the motor
mounts inside the arms? Just friction? Mine slide out (they've been
sitting on a shelf for years) - don't want to have to glue them on since
I want to be able to disassemble it..

loucaster on Feb 6, 2014 said:

I like your quadcopter and your videos to mach, specially the Coca Cola hardness test

soupaboy on Jan 11, 2014 said:

does the motor mount not heat up when in those cases?

remim on Oct 30, 2013 said:

hey i'm french and i am building a PLQ Vampire. But can ou say me wich motors i can use for it because the A2208-17 seems to be out of stock on goodluckbuy.com and i don't know wich motors can be mounted on the PL1Q. Thanks a lot.

hugo411 on Jul 12, 2013 said:

hey, am i the only one that the motor holes doesn't fit with the motor mount holes, when i pass the wires trough the arm and i place the motor inside, the holes are not aligned, there is 2 holes with more space than 2 others. Because of the wires, it can only fit in one way. Any trick will fix this? or i need another design with the holes inverted. Btw i got the same motors in the instructions goodluckbuy.com/a2208-17-1000k...


Ultang42 on Oct 11, 2012 said:

There seems to be a lot of 3D printed quadcopters about, has anyone tried or considered attaching a printer to a quadcopter?
It could be a great way to deliver prints on demand.

A few artists are already doing something similar at Burning man.


I was thinking about it the other day and if the quadcopter was precise enough it could be able to hover over the build area and fly a tiny bit higher for each layer, it would just have to drop down a heated build platform.

Does anyone know if this is just pure fantasy or is it a possible reality?

I havnt the know how, experience or printer to do it myself, it was just a daydream.

Would it require too much lift for just a quad copter, would it have to have 8 or 12 propellers instead?

I'm hoping to have a printer sometime early next year and a printed Arduino quadcopter was going to be one of my first projects.

Would anyone be interested in collaborating with me on this project if I attempted to stick all of or parts of a printer on to a quadcopter?

zach on Jul 29, 2013 said:

if the flight times to high the battery will die what would they do about that

gaahrdner on Jul 1, 2013 said:
EvieAlani on Apr 30, 2012 said:

Please contact me at [email protected] if you are able to print this for my project at school. This Quad is way better than the one the class is building I wanna blow their sox off!

thnx I dont mind paying for parts/labor/shipping


MattS on Mar 14, 2012 said:

I watched the vids with the PL2Q in it. I can't wait for the new design and the gopro mounts to be published. Moving the ESCs out by the motors is really great.

Lenbok on Mar 11, 2012 said:

I'm keen on having a crack at this. Do you have a suggested links for suitable propellers and prop adaptors from either hobbyking or goodluckbuy in order to minimize the number of separate orders needed?

swepet on Mar 14, 2012 said:

Sorry i cant find any on hobbyking, and not on goodluckbuy either.. Also the last time i ordered from goodluckbuy they sent wrong items, 1200kv motors instead of 1000kv, but i think that will also work.. But so you know you need a bit of luck to get the parts you order from goodluckbuy ! but they are cheap ! he he

mhensen on Mar 10, 2012 said:

Saw the new motor mounts in the youtube vid.. That's an improvement.. As I am rebuilding and thus reprinting .. could you share the mounts?? I think this solves my problems with not enough room under the hood :-)

Zydac on Mar 2, 2012 said:

This looks like a great project! Any idea of the payload capacity with your recommended configuration?

swepet on Mar 2, 2012 said:

I say stay below 400 grams of payload on this size quad (thats about a 2200mAh 3s battery and a gopro like camera). I think it can take the double but then it will not fly very good, and its not good for the electronics and motors to be pushed to the limit.

mhensen on Feb 29, 2012 said:

I have put a adapter plate for the HK board to set in X-Mode at http://www.thingiverse.com/thi... ..

But the HK boards and the KK board have there yawn sensor as a stand..
This makes the cover to low.. I need more clearance in the cover ..

Any sketchup guru that can make it 5 cm higher ? (my esc's are too big to put in the space of the cross :-(

Thanks in advance..:-)

mhensen on Feb 29, 2012 said:

3cm higher should do fine BTW.. 5cm would be overkill!

Anonymous on Feb 28, 2012 said:

Any update on the gopro mount? Thanks!

swepet on Feb 29, 2012 said:

Nope, not yet sorry. I been working on more elementary designs first. I have made motormounts with esc intergration, that way the arms with esc will be easy removable, so it would be possible to use the same arms/motor/esc in different configurations, like this normal quad or when you want to fly with gopro, just move your arms to an other centerpiece that is a gopro mount :-) or in hexa cunfig etc,, There will be a gopro mount, because i want that to !! But i don't know when yet!

ZaphodBeeblebrox on Feb 27, 2012 said:

The motors in the four pack cost around $40, yet on the youtube video, you claim to have spent almost $150! Which one is the real value?

swepet on Feb 27, 2012 said:

You will NOT be able to fly with motors alone! The other parts, propellers and speedcontrollers etc are requred to be able to fly. So total cost is more then just the motors! So you will spend at least about $150, more if you don't have radio etc, look at the other comments for more detailed info..

stefanturcanu on Feb 24, 2012 said:

Hi there! Nice work. I love the concept. However I have a few questions since I couldn't find the information myself throughout the comments: Do you have a tutorial on how to build and configure this interesting device? What was, approximately, the total cost of the parts?

Thank you! And keep up the great work. :-D

Anonymous on Feb 25, 2012 said:

No tutorials yet, but on how to connect and configure have a look att multiwii.com lots of nice info there.. And the cost, I say about $130 and that for motors ($40), esc ($40), and controller($50)... And then if you don't already have it you would also need a radio that's about $60 for a turnigy 9x (thats
 what i have, awesome radio because you can hack the firmware).. And you would need a lipo battery about $20, and a lipo charger + power supply, about $30.. Total about: $240

approx on Feb 23, 2012 said:

What receiver (4 channel?) and radio (transmitter) do you use? Sorry I'm new to quadcopter building and want to make sure I get the right parts :)

Anonymous on Feb 24, 2012 said:

My favorite radio is Turnigy 9x, and it is also very cheap just $60 from hobbyking. The nice thing with that radio is that you are able to hack it with custom firmware (if you like, not requred). It also can take plugin modules (not requried, but i like the frsky system with telemetry), i have frsky modules on mine. You can get a combopack, frsky module + one receiver for about $55.. The nice thing with that receiver is you are able to change the firmware in it so that you only need one cable between the receiver and the flight controller. (normally you need one for every channel)..

Vegetoast on Feb 21, 2012 said:

Just printing now but have come across a problem with your edited arm, doesnt fit, there too big to slide together and with the body, I used your original but just took yours tabs off it and it now fits my print bed. Thanks for your design!!

swepet on Feb 22, 2012 said:

You mean the two arm pieces doesn't fit together? It should only be 0,1mm extra so it might be very tight, have you tried sanding it down a bit? Perhaps this lying down arm is better if your build area supports it.. http://www.thingiverse.com/thi...

Also you might need to carve some on the bottom layer, tends to float out a little bit.. Hope it helped !

davo on Feb 20, 2012 said:

Great design, once i get proficient on the mendel, this is first on the list. Thanks


techno246 on Feb 19, 2012 said:

Looking to do some UAV research myself... This frame will looks very nice and will most likely use it for the body!

swepet on Feb 20, 2012 said:

Have you looked at ardupilot ? They have released the APM 2, sensors, gps everything on a single small board for just $200, i am getting one to the summer :)

Anonymous on Feb 18, 2012 said:

I like the design, I thnink I can cheap out on the hardware a bit though and still have a useable copter. Gonna try it out and if I get good relults ill post

swepet on Feb 18, 2012 said:

I think it might be possible to cheap out a bit more.. I have tried choosing the cheapest parts available.. One thing you can get cheaper is the control board, i think you can get a kk board for about $20 instead of the one i link to. But then you won't get the autolevel function, and if you are a beginner i do recommend that! Without autolevel is more like flying a normal rc heli, you will need to keep the balance yourself..

ncbob on Feb 17, 2012 said:

Great design. I'm going to use the center piece and modify it some, removing the legs (I've got the legs on my motor mounts, as they are usually the first thing to hit ;) ) and making the canopy more round and mounting a camera in it.

I'm also using carbon fiber tubes for the arms. I've got it printed out the way it is right now and i am hoping to have it flying next week

swepet on Feb 18, 2012 said:

Nice ! Before i had an idea that i would print out a mold of a quad, top and bottom with arms attach to the center, and then make a quad entirely in carbon fiber. But then i would have to build a vacuum system and stuff first and there are not enough hours in a day.. Hope to follow your project !

Landru on Feb 17, 2012 said:

Needs printable propellers...

swepet on Feb 18, 2012 said:

And printable eye protection. There are huge forces in props in these size flying machines. But it would be cool for proof of concept, that might be something that needs to be put to the test.

mtuieee on Feb 16, 2012 said:

Printed everything out for this yesterday, hope to source parts soon.

I was thinking of making the legs taller to make room for mounting more hardware underneath the copter, and maybe add a leg design like http://www.thingiverse.com/thi... (although the current design seems fairly springy)

swepet on Feb 17, 2012 said:

Nice ! Did the pieces fit together good for you ? You are right i think the legs might need a tweak if a larger payload should be attached. For standard flying i like to keep it simple. I am now working on a ccd cam mount for fpv but after that i will make a gopro mount, and for that the legs perhaps need to be a bit taller..

reprapperMC on Feb 16, 2012 said:

One other question: why a non-commercial license? This stops anyone from being able to print a set of parts and sell them to someone else that is interested in the design, but does not have a 3D printer. One of the things that has kept this hobby up for me is being able to sell random parts from time to time to buy more things for this hobby. I imagine quite a few others are doing the same.

I somewhat understand if you were planning on selling them yourself and didn't want others to push in and take up the demand you would get for your time. However, then it would seem best to have the design ready to sell when unleashing it on Thingiverse. This site is easily becoming a quickie mark
eting tool but the interest comes and goes pretty fast.

Just my $1.35 and wondering why many people select non-commercial for their uploads.

swepet on Feb 16, 2012 said:

It do not stop people from printing out and selling, if they have permission from the author. In the license there is a text "Waiver
— Any of the above conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder.". And if people with printers contact me for permission to sell i be happy to give it to them, and perhaps say please consider a donation to my paypal if you make money of my design. And if a large company
contact me and want to mass produce i will say, sure but lets make a deal. That was my thought when i choose the license i did. Hope that answered your question, and showed my point of view on it.

Whizbang on Feb 16, 2012 said:

wow this is awesome! I have never seen these before. I am strongly considering building one. perhaps you could put a instructable or tutorial together for people who know nothing about these to get started. Judging by the prices of these things in a google search this is an affordable way to get into the hobby.

swepet on Feb 17, 2012 said:

I might do that when i get some more free time. It might actually be a very nice place to start with rc. You can fly in small places. With autolevel activated you do not need to keep the "balance" as you do with a normal rc heli. Parts are cheap, and the reason the motormounts looks like they do is to protect the motors incase of crashes..

Jolijar on Feb 16, 2012 said:

I suspect you will have problems with your motors overheating based on the way you have them enclosed. Should be interesting to see how it holds up.

swepet on Feb 17, 2012 said:

The reason i designed the mounts that way is to save them, on my other quad i have bent the shafts in a lot of expensive motors the times the gravity won. I did some calculations, my quad consumes about 120w while in a hover, that is 30 watt per motor, if the cheap motors are 80% efficient then there is 6watt of heat generated in each motor, and i hope there is enough airflow on the top of the motors to remove that heat. But i am not sure, for now i have just flown it in -10c.. The next quad i build might be different (and uglier), with the esc in the propwash etc

ZaphodBeeblebrox on Feb 16, 2012 said:

For the X shaped connecty bits, I've seen some people use metal arrow shafts. That may cut down on weight, but it'll definitely add strength.

mhensen on Feb 15, 2012 said:

:-( Really like the design .. But 14 Cm in Z is just a bit too high for me..

Can the arm be redesigned in 2 parts to click together?

swepet on Feb 16, 2012 said:

I now have split them in two parts, let me know how it works if you try printing it...

Octovir on Feb 15, 2012 said:

Awesome design!

I am determined to try this with an aeroquad mini board!

I wonder if it could be sized to print on a makerbot?

swepet on Feb 16, 2012 said:

I have now sliced it down to makerbot size, let me know how it works if you try printing it..

akka69 on Feb 15, 2012 said:

Hi, great design!

I'm new to thingiverse.

I see a lot of designs here, like yours, that need motors or other ready-made parts.

Wouldn't it be neat to have a kind of catalog of mount plans, like you motor mounts, for most common ready-made components: motors, fans, cameras etc..
So it can be included in people designs.

I'm sure that with some lobbying we can even have them made by components sellers....

swepet on Feb 15, 2012 said:

There are already a few motor mount on thingiverse. For more "standard" parts to build your own quad etc, there are already stores that sells that kind of stuff, mostly in aluminium. Search for multirotor on goodluckbuy.com for example.

NewPerfection on Feb 15, 2012 said:

This is awesome! I printed my own parts for a quadcopter that I've flown, but it doesn't look near as cool as that. I use square aluminum tubing, it ends up being excessivly strong and heavier than I'd like. It flies well though.

reprapperMC on Feb 15, 2012 said:

Sweet! I'm in the beginning stages of building my own quad with printed parts.

How have the arms dealt with crashes and bumps? I'm planning on using aluminum arms because I was worried printed ones would not be strong enough.

swepet on Feb 15, 2012 said:

When i started the design i thought i would use fiberglass arms, but i didn't have any. So i started experimenting with printing arms. And this arm if printed correct you are not able to break by hand, and it do not bend or flex. And if you would crash hard and manage to break it, you don't need to order a new one, just go home and print one out.. :-D

swepet on Feb 15, 2012 said:

This is the canopy being printed by the way,,,


ezmobius on Feb 20, 2012 said:

The canopy is almost unprintable. It just makes a huge mess when it tries to print that huge overhand on top, spagetti central.

I alretered the canopy to be a tad thicker and added some support tubes in the middle so the flat top part has something to print on top of instead of aiur. Then you break off the rods when your done. I also have to add some semicircle flat parts on the bottom of each 4 bottom parts in order for t
he whole thing to stick during the entree print. otherwise one or two of the sides would come unstuck from the best before they get bridged together.

Here is the nbew model currently printing the canopy :


and here is a gallery of the rest of my parts so far


including the assembled arms and center:


and with a plastic dome instead of the canopy:


I also have a large surplus of ESC's motors and flight controllers including multiple s
tyle of multiwii platform, KK boards, a few open pilot boards, some DJI Naza boards and one DJI wooing M. If anyone want a complete set of electronics, motors, wiring and props for one of these copters get in touch with me and I'll hook you up for cost.

ezmobius __ @ __ gmail __ . __ come

Nice wor
k on this quad man, loving it. I've built about 25 quads of my own now including a few 3d printed nano quads and I have parts to build at least 50 more so if folks want some cheap p[arts to finish on of these copters let me know and I will hook you up for cost plus shipping.