PLEASE READ DESCRIPTION VERY CAREFULLY BEFORE SELECTING PARTS TO PRINT!
STL FILES HAVE BEEN CAREFULLY AND CLEARLY LABELLED AND ORDERED FOR EASE OF REFERENCE. DOWNLOAD THE FULL SET AND THEN SELECT PARTS IN YOUR COMPUTER'S FILE BROWER.
Prototype video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vkqLQrdgHY
Rig Upgrade & FPV with my Mum :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJC-BfLy9Ic
If you enjoyed your experience using this project please do share pictures and media of your build to spread the word. Also for me personally, I think it would just be super cool to see what you make!
13.09.2018 - IMPORTANT UPGRADE TO CAMERA MOUNTS - ADDED CLEARANCE AND ADAPTERS
This mount is internally cleared for 20 x 20 mm to ensure a clean fit for the camera. The mount can easily be bend to accommodate for any looseness and or you can use thin washer to resolve any issues if you encounter any.
Picking the right file:
There are several files here, they are as follows:
RunCam 19 x 19 Mount - Has a M2 hole on each side to mount 19 x 19 cameras or the provided adapters.
RunCam 19 x 19 Mount - Has M2 slots on each side to mount 19 x 19 cameras or the provided adapters.
Drop Head RunCam 19 x 19 Mount - Is labelled as such and is smaller than the other mounts. It is such that you should be able to now mount off the roof.
Universal Camera Adapter - By looping a rubber band around the front of the lens, twisting, pulling behind and over your camera and back onto the lens will secure your FPV camera. This is suitable for Tiny Whoop style cameras and offers adjustable tilt. The lens is cleared for 13.8 mm lenses.
- Universal Camera Adapter TPU - This is the same as the above file with a smaller lens opening. If printed in TPU you can push fit in your camera. The mount should stretch and grip it. If you have difficultly carefully and safely cut a small slit to expand the hole.
Place the piece on the bed so that when looking directly down it appears as a C or a U. You should have the print lines running along the long edge of the piece where the camera bolts in.
For the adapter print vertically with the lock points point up off the bed.
Files have been updated and included. Separate files can be found at: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3098162
real_darKing kindly made and shared an attractive mount to use on my frames. You can check it out at: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3094068
New RunCam 19 x 19 - Some users kindly reported that they were having issues with fitment of their RunCam cameras. This new mount has added clearance and should now clearance adequately. It mounts to the frame in the slot with M3 hardware.
For the most strength, print so that the mount:
- Appears like a C or U flat on the bed.
- Has the layer lines running up the vertical edges with camera mount holes.
real_darKing kindly made and shared an attractive mount to use on my frames. You can check it out at: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3094068
You can join the Facebook group at:
If you would like to use a Magnum Mini Stack (as in the Emax Babyhawk R) you will need to use the M2 to M3 adapters. You can mount via the arm holes or by rotating the stack to have one corner facing forward like a Tiny Whoop.
Update: (30/06/2018) I am proud to release the new upgraded design for the quad. The original one piece frames have been retained, the designations for part thickness are as below (1.1 mm, 1.7 mm and 2.8 mm). Support has been added so you can use the design in a modular style and replace arms and experiment with build configurations. This will allow people to now print a drone with different materials for the arms and the body. You can also use thinner plates for strength and aesthetic customization.
Update: (27/06/2018) - I had mentioned making plates for composite/laminate frames. After consideration I concluded that the 2.3 mm plates are redundant. I will therefore be removing these and adding the following designations: 1 mm, 1.7 mm and 2.8 mm. I have also added modular arm support to for all arm sizes in the aforementioned plate thicknesses. The idea is that people can now use the modular set up, for example if they have hard time with warping or for more tricky materials like ABS. The adjusted plate depths are still in perfect proportion, but will allow people to stack and sandwich thinner plates to achieve different frame characteristics visually and in strength. This should hopefully be done shortly. I am currently in the process of converting the files to STL for upload. I will also include the smaller aperture camera mounts as I had forgot to do this earlier. I will also try and produce a parts document with pictures for easier reference
Update Quad Part Recipes:
Files named modular are for modular builds, others are for the uni-body. 2D files have been included to assist in CNC cutting.
The idea is that 1.1 mm, 1.7 mm and 2.8 mm plates can be stacked and together to create a composite/laminate frame.
I noted that my filament strands in various materials had a lot of flex and less brittleness when I was trying to break them in my hands. I also noted that brims also seemed to flex and twist a lot without breaking easily. The common element seemed to be how thin the material piece was. I therefore made the frame pieces into thin plates so take advantage of these characteristics and have found it to be beneficial to increase strength and reduce vibration.
I have found that even without glue, there is improved flexibility and shock resistance as the presence of multiple layers allow for more give in the parts. Normally the maximum number of layers is 3 due to weight, but you can combine different materials, in different thicknesses, in open and closed faced sandwiches to see what works best for you. I have not tried gluing layers together yet, but this should theoretically give good results.
I personally find that a good combination is to print your parts of choice in 1.1 mm and place three plates together. I have had very good success with PLA/TPU/PLA as in the main picture. This gives much more resistance to crashes and also stops arms from getting torn off. The thin plates allow brittle materials like PLA to flex and this same recipe could be improved by using PETG/TPU/PETG.
Colourful Building Concept:
Print and attach different combinations of the above to customize the look of your build. Placing spilt and solid arms can create nice colours on the arms of the quad and in the layers of the parts.
Quad Configuration Update:
I got tired of having to reprint the entire frame every time one arm broke so I made it modular. The design is the same and the same options are available. However the X-132 can now be built in virtually every combination including, standard config, pusher and split front/rear. Have fun and see what you create!
File organization: I will be working on a little parts booklet, otherwise, download in full, hit order by name in your browser and the files are labelled in a self explanatory manner. Select and choose what you wish to use
X-132 - The Ultimate Sub-250g, 2 - 3", Fully 3D Printable, Racing Quadcopter Drone
X – 132 Concept:
A fully 3D printable quadcopter that performs as well as a quadcopter with a carbon fibre frame.
A quadcopter can be built to have an AUW of less than 250g so as to be light, fun and legal to fly basically anywhere.
A quadcopter with a minimal footprint that can run up to 3” propellers.
A quadcopter that maximizes component compatibility and that can house electronic components up to 30.5mm x 30.5 mm.
A quadcopter that allows pilots the flexibility to build custom craft suited to their needs and preferences.
A quadcopter that’s frame geometry inherently minimizes vibration, maximizes strength, lightness and beneficial flight characteristics.
A quadcopter that is cheap, easy and fun to build and maintain.
- Create a free resource for pilots to use to help the flight and FPV community develop and progress.
Key Features Explained:
Fully 3D printable:
Designed to print quickly and with ease. No part of the design should exceed two hours with a reasonably well set up machine.
Minimal need for print supports and bed adhesion aids. This helps to increase print speed and also reduce the likelihood of failed prints and imperfections.
- Designed with strength and lightness in mind. This frame compares to carbon frames of similar size in weight and is designed to be suitably strong enough to print in all commonly available printing materials.
Being able to mix and match different components can allow you to create something quite special or simply help you save money by letting you build a fully functional quad using your spare parts.
Frankenquadding for those on a budget.
In short, this frame is compatible with virtually all micro and mini quadcopter components as of the current time (11th June 2018).
Specifically, this frame is compatible with the following:
Flight controllers: 16 mm x 16 mm, 20 mm x 20 mm, 30.5 mm x 30.5 mm.
PDBs: 16 mm x 16 mm, 20 mm x 20 mm, 30.5 mm x 30.5 mm.
ESCs (4 in 1): 16 mm x 16 mm, 20 mm x 20 mm, 30.5 mm x 30.5 mm.
ESC (Arm mount): I have fit 20a with no problem, give your quad some biceps!
Motors: 11xx, 13xx,14xx in x and + configuration. Yes, you can go fast. Really, really fast!
Propellers: 2” – 3” (with 3 mm clearance!).
Cameras: Run Cam Micro Swift Mount (19 mm x 19 mm). All tiny whoop cameras with the use of individual mounts from 0 – 30 degrees in 5-degree increments. Both utilize M3 hardware and can be used in of your other projects.
VTX: Run Cam TX200 is my preferred VTX of choice. The stack plates will let you put anything you want.
- RX: The stack plates will let you put anything you want, Flysky, FrSky, DSM, Divination. Everybody can party.
The frame has been designed to offer as much protection to components as possible. Note the following design considerations:
Central stack design to allow components to all sit within a very stiff enclosed structure.
Single plate mounting for all flight components to ensure that if the top plate separates, no components will be torn off.
Linked arms to increase stiffness and reduce the likelihood of arm separations that tear off components.
Crumple zones to allow the frame to absorb impacts and not your components.
- High shock absorbency and impact energy transference characteristics reduces the likelihood of amperage and voltage spikes that destroy components, by routing stresses around components.
This entire design and all of its accessories are in perfect geometric proportion to one another.
I am a musician, in particular a guitarist. Geometry and proportion are key when considering the transmission of sound, vibration, in an instrument. Good design can help to increase sustain, balance vibrations and enhance desired vibration characteristics.
People spend much time fussing about their PIDs, how things are mounted, etc etc rather than on their actual flying. They also seem to rarely consider how the actual proportions of the frame affects the transmission of vibration.
In short, the frame, if you think about it, is much like a pitch fork. If you can tune the design right, you should theoretically be able to eliminate a significant amount of vibration. Additionally, you should be able to enhance characteristics such as strength and stiffness. When considering that plastics have absorbent qualities with regard to vibration, this benefit should further be enhanced.
The other key aspect to consider is balance. A poorly balanced quad will always be out performed by a well-balanced quad and few designs seem to take this into consideration.
I enjoy flight both fast (racey) and also acrobatically. In the end I wanted a frame which would comfortably bridge both types of flying. This frame is perfectly balanced in all axes and the battery mounting and flight component stack are perfectly centered allowing for the best balance possible.
Additionally, the frame has been made as small as possible to center mass and reduce size and flight drag.
Great care has been taken to produce a design where every single line, of every single component is perfectly in proportion.
The benefits I have noted from this are indeed as described above.
Further development and CNC Cutting:
The 2D STL files have been included to allow people to have frames that they enjoy cut at a CNC workshop local to them in the material of their choice. Hole mounts have been standardised to allow for other designers to create new and original parts to attach to the structure of the design. Users of the design can then print and design whatever accessory parts they wish to use and have quad that they can use for a long time.
Originality of design, copy protection, legal declaration and disclaimer:
Very important to me personally, is the originality of design. I have taken great care to make a totally unique and original design that does not take from anyone else’s work or infringes on any copyrights or patents.
The unique geometry of this design alongside its unique design features identifies it as an original design and also builds in copy protection. If there is any duplication of any part of this design, a measurement can be taken of any two points and by simple calculation it can be proved.
I am a British citizen and this design was produced in the United Kingdom. The natural design rights reside with me as accorded by European Union law.
Just as a polite warning to anyone, I am legally trained and have worked in the legal sector as paralegal for almost a decade.
Legal Declaration – Originality of design:
I hereby state that I am the sole author of this work, that it is an original creation and not a duplication in any form.
I accept no liability for damage, harm, injury or death caused to anything by the use of this design.
You use this design at your own risk.
PLA – The 19mm and 15 mm versions should be adequately strong if you’re are flying in a grassy area and in concrete areas if you are careful. The problem with PLA is the brittleness so appropriately choose frame depth to suit your needs.
PETG – The flexible nature and relative of PETG make it an ideal candidate for plastic choice. I have flown several of these frames in PETG and the strength increase is significant alongside the vibration absorption. If you have an F4 series flight controller, it would benefit to print in this material. The flexible nature will allow for maximum strength for the slimmer armed variants.
ABS – I have not been able to test in ABS, but considering it is the strongest of the three primarily accessible/popular plastics and should produce the strongest frames/components.
Tolerance & fitment:
There are only two hole sizes in this entire design, M2 and M3. Everybody has different tolerances on their machines so I have left the measurements exact. To compensate for tolerance, adjust the scaling on your software.
Parts Reference List and build advice:
2D – These STL files have been included to allow people to have frames cut for themselves at a facility close to them. Alternatively you can use the design software of your choice to pull into three dimensions to desired thickness or simply to have a 2D blank to work on.
3D – The bottom and top plates have been made in the following thicknesses, 1.7 mm, 2.3 mm and 2.8 mm. This is to account for variability in plastic strength, flexibility and stresses incurred as a result of having split arms. Print as you feel appropriate to your craft and flight skill capacity. I would suggest sticking to the thicker frames, particularly when using the split arm versions.
The frames are identical save for the fact that they have varying arm widths. There are three designations 19 mm, 15 mm and 12 mm, each with a split arm option. The split arm introduces a recess into the frame to reduce weight and drag.
19 mm arms - These frames will offer the most air resistance, but likely the most strength. If you bump into shit a lot, this would be a good choice. This would be most suitable for printing applications and a super durable carbon cut.
15 mm arms – These offer similar strength to the 19 mm frames but have the benefits of reduced weight. If you are a better pilot and really want to make your craft perform, this would be a good option. I would say that these would make nice frames in a carbon fibre cut.
12 mm arms – These frames are experimental as I have not personally tested them. I did create them for those who are experienced pilots wanting to test the limits of speed. I would say that these would make nice frames in a carbon fibre cut.
My personal preference is to mount my flight controller at the bottom of the stack, have my receiver in the middle and my VTX on the top so that I can easily change the channel. The stack plates should allow you to foam tape, zip/cable tie and wire secure components to your heart’s content.
Mounting in a stack, preferably off the bottom plate will help to protect the majority of your components during crashes.
You will note a slot in the frame. This M3 slot is designed to hold the camera mounts and allows you to move the mount to the position of your choice to suit component spacing and camera view.
There are two variations, one with a 12 mm and one with a 10.8 mm aperture. You can use basically any micro FPV camera in this mount. Print with the print lines running up the mounts vertically for the most strength.
To mount put your camera lens through the hole. If it does not fit, unscrew the lens and then re-screw passing it through the hole. Once through get a small rubber band, loop over the lens, twist and pull around the back of the camera. Loop the other end over the lens and you are done! Adding a little strip of foam tape to the back of the mount can help to adhere your camera and reduce any vibrations.
To mount to the frame, pop a screw through and put some double-sided foam tape on the bottom to secure and to soft mount the mount.
The mount is internally clearance for 19 mm x 19 mm to suit the micro swift 2. This mount screws to the frame with an M3 bolt/screw. Print so that the print lines run along the vertical sides of the mount, this will maximize strength. Place some double-sided foam tape on the bottom of the mount and you will have a very secure mount and free camera soft mounting.
Top plate mounting:
There are two top plates, I have affectionately dubbed them the sunroof and hardtop. The reason for the name is likely obvious once you look at the pieces, but it is to allow you to put your VTX (if you chose to run a separated unit, as is my preference) at the top of your stack and have access to the button to change channels. You can alternatively glue in a buzzer if you wish.
You will note a number of holes cut into the frame. All are functional, the majority of which are to mount various flight stack components. Your top plate standoff configuration will largely depend on your build. I normally use the front two mounts holes or the 30.5 x 30.5 mounts holes with one standoff in the back. It makes a triangle if you look down at the quad. This normally allows me the space to house my components and to hold my battery lead in place in the rear. It is very strong in collisions and I would say better than square, four standoff setups.
You will note that I have included mount holes on the top plate. Apart from providing mounting flexibility this is to allow other designers to have standard mount sizes to produce additional component mounts such as mounts for buzzers, led, aerial and GPS units. These holes have also been left so that the lazy, like me, can run their aerial out of the top without additional fixtures.
Motor mounting and shim plates:
This frame has motor mounts that accommodate 9 mm – 12 mm mounting holes in M2. Most motors are supplied with oversized M2.5 bolts whilst the plans available specify M2 holes. You can therefore mount your motors as you wish. I have included shim plates in 1.0 mm and 0.5 mm to allow people to use different hardware.
Personal notes and preferences:
I have included my personal preferences to help guide you in deciding what combination of parts to utilize and to help you understand and get the most out of the design.
My personal preference is to fly with separate ESCs and an all in one flight controller. I like the Omnibus F3 Nano, but you could happily use what you like such as the ever popular Piko BLX.
I do like 4 in 1 esc’s but for the sake of a little more wiring, the money saving when a unit fails is a deal breaker. The exception I find is when I am really strapped for space and weight in a build.
The design was therefore originally intended to have esc on the arms. I have offered split and slimmed arm variations for those who wish to use 4 in 1 speed controllers or who want to keep AUW to a minimum. These designs were intended to take advantage of weight and drag savings whilst also making use of the flexible nature of plastics to add strength. Surprisingly I was finding that thinner sections on the arms allowed certain plastics to flex rather than snap and you may also note this in your builds.
Personally, I have noted that the best balance and component protection comes from placing things in central stack and using an appropriate combination of standoffs to mount the top plate. It also makes wiring relatively straight forward.
Plastic is not carbon fibre and you will have to rebuild, probably quite a bit depending on your flight skill and plastic choice. I therefore wanted people to give people the opportunity to have fun with their builds rather than it being a tedious exercise.
I therefore made the variations that I feel my fellow pilots would request. Some of the frames are more experimental but are suitable for things like speed testing and drag racing. I have included the 2D STL files so that you can go to your local CNC service and request them cut it in the material of your choice such as carbon fibre. Alternatively, if you are good with design software you could use this to remix a design for yourself or to pull into 3 dimensions a frame to your desired thickness.
I normally fly the 19mm and 15 mm frames solid and split. Once I get some time I will do some more testing with the 12 mm versions. I feel that for carbon cuts, this will be the most popular due to the low drag and weight that it offers. But don’t wait for me, get printing and let me know!
So, when you build, see what you like and have fun! I have only tried standard set-ups, but you could even build this as a pusher or with two bottom plates. Indulge your curiosity, have fun and see what you can create! I would love to see what flies of your imagination!
You may/will need:
M2/M3 standoffs. Nylon for weight reduction purposes.
Double sided tape.
Double sided foam tape.
Hi there, and thanks for taking your time to look at my design. My name is Karamvir Singh Bhagat. I’m 26 years old and I live in the United Kingdom. I am a legal graduate and since that time have been working as a paralegal in a law firm. When I’m not doing boring things, you’ll find me with my buddy, our longboards, cycles and our quads. I love music and playing my guitars too!
Story behind the project:
This project began as a bit of fun but ended up being something that I believe is quite special.
Originally my intention was to simply to design a simple frame to house my 2s micro quad components.
My first frames were really fun to fly and I soon started enjoying the process of tinkering and improving my designs. Every time I broke a frame or a component, I took note in my mind of where the damage seemed to be and of what seemed to break. I also took note of what components tended to receive the most damage and in what way they were most likely to break.
I soon started to learn what worked and what didn’t.
FPV is a fantastic hobby. The only downside to FPV is the cost. This has a three-fold effect. Firstly, it prohibits entry into the hobby, secondly it prohibits long term involvement in the hobby and lastly, we are left with buyer’s remorse/guilt having looked back on what we spent and broke.
Poor piloting aside, lack of compatibility and poor design do not help the cost situation.
Being a little short for cash I’ve always struggled in this hobby to justify spending a heap of money on a ready to fly craft when I could build something to my specification for the same money or less. The market is currently improving but I believe that people, if they easily could would prefer to have custom craft.
I started to think that maybe I wasn’t the only one and after some time, I started to take the idea more seriously.
In this hobby, progress happens by people experimenting and trying to build and achieve new things. Quadcopters literally just reuse RC plane and helicopter parts.
I started to think that maybe, it would be a good idea to share what I had made so that other people could also benefit. After all, I was enjoying cheap drone frames that protected my components and flew very well. When I broke one, I had a bunch printed and so I just put it back together.
In 6 months I blew up 1 ESC and 1 motor. The motor died after a 4 second free fall onto concrete and I always push my ESCs very hard. I think kind of performance is quite special.
I have basically only ever flown micro drones. Partly due to cost and partly due to the fact that they are so much fun. Unlike a full-size quad or a mini quad, you can fly these little guys almost everywhere. I’m loved by dog walkers most of the time and otherwise most people think I’m playing with a toy. They normally ask to ride shotgun.
Although it sounds silly, but because it so small and looks cute and non-threatening, people don’t mind me flying around them, at all. This I believe is how as a community we can make quadcopters and drones more accessible and less “scary”.
The other benefit that micro quads have is intangible. It is in the confidence that they give you.
Small quads have always been fun for the fact that they are much less stressful to fly. Simply put, being light in weight means that the quad is much less likely to damage itself or someone/something else in the case of a collision and this means that you aren’t stressing out when you’re flying, rather focusing on flying well and having fun. As it should be!
Current micro quads have huge acceleration and power for their size and this makes them very nimble; the main reason being their light AUW combined with brushless motors. My frame design I hope should bring a new range of super-fast and nimble micro quadcopters.
This brings me onto the next point which is AUW itself. Thanks to idiots flying too close to planes, we now will likely as hobbyists have to abide by limits of weight as low as 250g. I have for a long time been a believer of micro quads, and I believe this is their time to shine. For fun flying and for racing, micro quads are no less capable now than current mini quads with regard to performance.
I figure that most pilots will have a tiny whoop, a micro and/or a mini quad of some sort and maybe also a flying wing. This means that they should have the same stuff lying around at home that I do. And when you have lemons, you know you gotta make dat lemonade.
With this in mind I set to work trying to create the best quadcopter frame that I could.
I suffer from depression and anxiety disorder and the world of FPV hobby has made such a difference to my life. This last year it gave me a reason to stay alive.
Don’t mistake me, some days I get so frustrated with it that I want to give up. Once I was so frustrated, I beat the only quad I had with a stick so hard that not one part survived and I swore I’d never fly again. I did that when both my quads got stuck in the same tree. But despite all of that, crazily, it’s something that I still love you know?
In flying my drones, building and designing them I found great peace and happiness. They made the world a better, less lonely place for me.
I really wanted to give something that could make the world a better place for someone else. To give to someone else the happiness and joy that I was able to experience. I hope that this care shows in the quality of the design.
I see so much sadness, hurt and hardship in the world and see so many people purporting to do something about it. I don’t really have much money and everything I did, I funded myself.
Most will say that I’m mad, but I see it as my responsibility to use the good ability and skill-set I’ve been given to make the world a better place. I believe it starts with putting a smile on someone’s face.
Therefore, with regard to cost - I don’t want anything, for personal use the design is free of charge to use.
Aside from anything else, I wanted to give people the ability to really enjoy their flying experience as much as possible, for a little as possible for as long as possible, with as little worry as possible.
So, when you fly, the only thing that I humbly ask is that you think of me, of your little quad and smile.
The key to becoming a good pilot is to get a lot of practice, particularly on the same craft.
So, you better get busy, especially as now you have no excuse not to rip, destroy and rebuild!
Karamvir Singh Bhagat