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Carbon Fiber Arducopter/Quadcopter Frame

by Octovir, published

Carbon Fiber Arducopter/Quadcopter Frame by Octovir Aug 14, 2011
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So I purchased an Arducopter Pre-assembled and tested, Something I rarely do. Maybe it was a subconscious action then, that within a week I had smashed it into the ground?

Now I am designing and rebuilding it, testing and learning and really enjoying it.

Some pieces survived and I had initially thought to design things as a replacement/upgrade. Now I think that would be silly to tell people to "Print these, and buy these 'special' parts", so I am making the attempt to make this frame fully DIY...

I haven't really been documenting the process, but initially it seemed there would be a slight weight savings in the carbon fiber/ABS parts vs the stock arducopter aluminum/acrylic parts.

Maybe some different construction methods could be used to increase savings?

This is very much a work in progress, but thought I'd get the idea out in order get some feedback and enable collaboration.


The goal:

Get some carbon fiber shafts.. Got mine at walmart for $3 a shaft(29 inch, ~8mm dia. arrow shafts), I estimate it will take 6-8 of these, depending on desired frame size..

Print parts.

Use 3mm hardware to assemble nuts and bolts

Frame complete. Add electronics..

*update 08/19/2011:

Added the concept pieces I am currently using for the pyramid cage, as well as another mock-up image, this time with some electronics mounting ideas. I'm going to try to throw the minimal amount of electronics on and get a test flight tonight.. Hopefully the first won't coincide with the last!

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Did you ever finish this up and get it flying?

Kinda.. The pyramid of arrow shafts seemed to cause more problems than they were worth. I'll have to add the new landing gear I created..

Also I had no luck getting my arducopter board to work, so tried switching to aeroquad. After a few flights for some reason it took a nose dive (likely a loose connection somewhere?). It flew smoothly when it did, and I just need to find time to troubleshoot it more..

How well did it take the nose dive? I
’ve been working on getting a quad flying using the Hugin frame here on thingiverse. I’m new to flying them so I’ve been pretty rough on the frame. If this uses 8mm rod I feel like it should be more capable of handling my flying ability.

The frame is perfectly fine, though I wasn't more than 8-10 feet in the air.. You may actually benefit from having the pyramid configuration. It tended to catch the ground a lot and was somewhat bulky/distracting, but it had a nice spring to it if I needed to cut the throttle..

I took a look around for arrow shafts today and the best I could find was $40 for the ones for this. That's a bit steep for something I plan to crash a lot. I couldn't find aluminum rod in 5/16 locally either.

If I took a steel rod for the core 'X' and used wooden dowels for the rest do you think it would be stiff and light enough? Can you also confirm the diameter of the arrows?

What are the translucent white pieces holding the center together in the picture?

They would probably hold up, but yes that is quite expensive!

They arrows are indeed 8mm in dia.

I think steel would be a bit heavy, Wood all around would likely be best. I have heard wood is great for dampening vibrations.

The center pieces were left over from my wrecked arducopter. I think they are made out of fiberglass? Thin wood may work as an alterna

Or maybe printed? This thing has the whole arducopter frame: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:14836http://www.thingiverse.com/thi...

ArduCopter frame set in STL and DXF

I was a bit distracted but I finally got around to finishing up my quad as discussed above. It was flying for the first time today. Only a few short hops in my apartment for now but it can fly with steel/wood dowels. I made a few custom parts. When I get it flying well I'll post them as a derivative (or sooner if some one really wants).

Awesome! It looks good!

Kite builders use the graphite tubes also. Some place in Colorado sold them quite cheap years ago.

I might being building this... I just crashed my arducopter (on it's first real flight) into tree at a park near our house. Hopefully I'll be able to get it down tomorrow but it will have spent the night out in the damp weather, I'll see if the electronics survive it.

Have you flown this design yet?

I meant be building this... you wouldn't know that I'm a native english speaker...

I haven't flown it yet.. had to wait on some replacement electronics, and in doing so never got the motivation to finalize the way they will be mounted (the circles thing in the bottom concept pic probably isn't best)..

Additional to the lack of motivation is the fact my IMU seems damaged in such a way that my magnetometer will probably never work.. but RC is still an option!

..Anyway.. Once I get a good idea on electronics mounting, and get things mounted, a flight report should not be too far off..

I hope you
r electronics and/or other damage is not too bad!

What is the measurement of the boxes in the 3D images? Sorry if it's a newbish question

Do you mean on the grid? I think they are in 1 cm increments..

It's funny, I did exactly the same thing, I bought a fully assembled arducopter from jdrones and fully crashed it hard within a week ;) I just got my thingomatic kit delivered yesterday and sao this project of yours is awesome as I was just about to build my own new frame and parts to fix my quad.

meanwhile I built this tiny little quad to play with until I can get my big boy back in the air :

Ouch, did your electronics survive? I've just got to the point where i'm testing mine, the APM and sheild/oilpan seem fine on inspection. I can access it via CLI and mission planner, but values coming from the accelerometer/gyro/magnetometer seem a little 'weirded out'.. Making me wonder how sensitive those components are to a crash... More research and testing to do! LOL

That's a cool little quad! Do you have plans or any more info on it?

Good luck on the ToM build! I had a few problems on my, but support was really great! Overall though it's a very straightforward/enjoyable build..

With crashing that Arducopter, you made it better!

The feeling of knowing that must be great; from accidental destruction to making something brilliant.

Looking at the wiki for the Arucopter, I kind of want one myself...


The feeling of making things better is awesome! Though the new design does not fly yet, so it's not quite there.. yet.. lol

definitely check out/google AeroQuad and MultiWii as well as brucedjones's


...getting a copter going may be easier than you think, especially if you already have RC or arduino stuff.. :D

Bodgie the Little Quadrocopter

3D printing really is a quadrocopters best friend :)

Before I did my fully printed design I built a larger Quad out of a mix of aluminium and printed connectors. I had some aluminium connectors machined before i got my printer but they were heavy, when I got my printer I decided to see if I could save some weight. In a like for like part I got a 9
0% weight saving and a part that is fit for purpose when comparing the aluminium part to the printed part.

After taking another look at your copter, I was inspired to do a bit of research on the electronics required to get one flying.. It's been a number of hours, but I now feel very enlightened (though that's questionable LOL) to the options and requirements out there.

Thanks for the inspiration! I may have to give your design a try!

I've been working on a 3D printed multicopter as well. It flies well, but I've run into problems with the motors getting hot enough to soften the printed parts. it's been very hot here lately, I doubt it will be a problem when it gets cold again. I'm using PLA, maybe ABS would work better. Anyway, something to be aware of. I'd be interested in knowing how your rig flies when you get it in the air.

Hmm.. I briefly looked and it seems ABS may be better as far as heat goes, but I will definitely keep an eye on it.. Thanks for the tip!

I will post a link to video, once I do get it going. I have the whole setup for FPV / GoPro Camera and such... :D

The arrow shafts are brilliant. There is not wallmart over here and hardly any archery scene but ebay can provide. The pyramid base is nice to as it will double as a crash cage for electronics.

Agreed. The arrow shafts blew my mind.

Thanks guys! I thought Walmart was everywhere!? LOL! That's all our little town really has...