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MINI TriCptr - TriCopter

by Boxx, published

MINI TriCptr - TriCopter by Boxx May 12, 2014

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Summary

Flight Controller:
MINI MWC Flight Control Board and DSM2 Receiver. This is a great flight controller, but it's hard to come by and not for beginners.
Afro Naze
Stay tuned for Afro Naze FPV version.
Speed Controller:
12A BlueSeries Flashed with Simon K
Motors:
RCX 1804 (2400KV) 2 Reverse & 1 Normal Rotation.
Servo:
TGY-50090M Metal Gear 9g Analog Servo
Propellers:
Gemfan 5" 5030
Battery
Zippy Compact 1000 mAh 25c 3s
I get 10 mins. of flight time.
Misc. Hardware
M3x22 Hex Bolt with Lock Nut for Tail.
Jumbo Paper Clip for control Rod.
FPV:
in progress... Stay Tuned..
Short Flight:
http://youtu.be/-k4rP4TRBJ0
UPDATE:
I've uploaded mk5 2204.stl and _mk5-tail 2204.stl_for larger 2204 motors. I don't have these motors. Please let me know if they need adjustment. I suggest starting with the tail since it's a smaller print.

Instructions

Printed in PLA at 80% infill for strength.
Frame, Rear Skid and Canopy can and should be printed without support.
Tail should be laid flat and printed with support.
I printed the Front Skids with support positioned as it is.
I used 3 M3 washers for the tail to smoothen the rotation motion.
I soldered the motors directly to the ESC and shortened the control wires to fit.
I took the Stock PID settings of the MWC Controller and cut them in half. It makes it less touchy. I added a bit of yaw rate, but that is more my preference.

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Should these be printed with a raft?

-- Yaw Mechanism Trouble ---

Hey Guys. Could I ask you for specific details how you connected the motor base to the frame?
I am using a 3mm bolt and nut, but it quickly loosens itself. Any suggestions on how to keep
it locked tight while still allowing a smooth yaw movement?

I use an M3 lock nut. Good luck.....

Any chance the naze version is up soon? ;-)

What is the diameter of the motor holes?

can you be more specific?
if you are asking about the motor mounting holes, the holes are meant for m3 screws....

Jan 13, 2015 - Modified Jan 13, 2015
randomalyzer - in reply to Boxx

I am asking about the motor areas. I have a 24mm diameter motor that I like, and I was wondering how it'd fit.
Also, what spacing are the mounting holes?

i'm thinking about making this, and I am curious if this setup would work for fpv:

http://www.banggood.com/CUAV-FPV-5_8G-200mW-Telemetry-AV-Transmitter-With-600TVL-PAL-Camera-p-933190.html

do you think that would work?

That should work. You might be able to use spare pins from receiver to power it.
Nice find.

Any chance of you post the canopy for fpv?

The FPV version has been evolving. I've move to a Naze32 board with very custom FPV electronics. I'm trying to revise it to take standard equipment. I'll post them up soon.

Has anyone tried this frame with the DYS 1806 motors? They have a flat bottom, so they would sit on top of the slots.

The 2204 version has a flat bottom. what's the diameter or the DYS 1806 motor?

Oct 9, 2014 - Modified Oct 9, 2014
Arakon - in reply to Boxx

Same as the 1804 motors, ~23mm. Just a bit taller (18 vs. 13mm).

That's awesome. The Naze so good at flipping.

Aug 17, 2014 - Modified Aug 17, 2014

Finally got to fly it. :) ran into an issue where it launched and started going in circles faster and faster. Did some research, looks like the YAW gyro had to be reversed, possibly because I had to reverse the Naze32.

Boxx, I ended up drilling some holes so I could properly mount the Naze32 in there. It definitely fits towards the rear, tail-side. If you can add some holes in the bottom that are 32.5mm spaced apart in a square that fit M3 screws this would be GOLDEN! I put a bit of foam down to clean up vibrations on the gyro. I think I need to do some PID tuning as I get tail wagging after doing flips.

This does in fact, work GREAT with the 6" props. I am unsure why no one tested them. I have a mini quad frame that works with 6" props that have a few cm clearance between each blade, this has a good ~1" between the front two and quite a few inches between the fronts to the tail.

EDIT: One last modification would be to add an extra 10mm to the landing skids to accommodate slightly larger batteries.

Just some information for someone who hasn't flow a tricopter before (like me). I didn't find any good information regarding running MWC/Naze32 in tricopter mode. The tail servo was doing a max throw which obviously isn't possible with this configuration. If you are running Naze32 and using Baseflight Configurator and you have ran the "mixer tri" command make sure to set your min and max throw settings under the "servos" tab. Unfortunately I still don't have a paperclip so I can't test the min and max throw settings for this servo I have but chances are it will be slightly different for everyone anyway or at least slightly different depending on what servo you are using (might even be different for the same model servo)

Also make sure to run Sunnysky x2204's with 5-15-13 SimonK firmware or the latest firmware if you are running the Cobra 2300kv motors as the 5-15-13 has sync problems w/ Cobra 2300's.

Do you think an M3x20mm hex bolt will be OK instead of 22? Local hardware store has max of 20mm. Last thing I need to do the build hah.

that should work...

The hex bolt was near impossible to get in. And after I did it I noticed the servo mount holes go right over the tail so I took it back off and drilled small holes so I could attach the server proper. I ended up just using a regular m3 socket head cap screw instead of the hex. Not even sure why the hex was suggested, this worked so much easier :)

Should be able to test fly tomorrow but I actually loaded 6" props on it. They fit great and there's an inch gap at least between the front two props

Awesome. Good luck.

Hey Boxx,

nice design, but just want to know what side do you print the skid_front ?

Thanks. I print it as is and use support.

Hello, funnily enough I just ordered a bunch of Cobra 2204 2300kv motors and have a couple spare Naze32 boards and I see these were made specifically with the OD of the motor you used in mind. Do you plan on supporting a 32mm x 32mm FC mount design on here and could you redesign the arms slightly if I gave you the OD? Sorry about China cloning your work. Pretty pathetic.

Yes, let me know the OD.. I'm planning to update the frame and tail to accommodate larger motors.

Looks like it is 27.25mm this should fit Cobra 2204 2300kv and SS x2204 2300kv motors.

I just uploaded the frame and tail for larger motors. Give it a try and let me know...

Worked good on the tail. Didn't get a chance to print the frame yet. I HIGHLY suggest when doing supports on the tail to use Cura. Slic3r absolutely sucks for supports on this. The supports fuse with the perimeters and makes it impossible to remove. I'll upload some pictures. I printed in 10% infill for testing purposes but definitely recommend 30-50% at minimum for this. The screw size that seems to fit perfect is M3x6mm with 1 washer.

Looks like the motors fit but the motor mount lines for the screws need to be increased as well. It's currently at what looks like 2mm. It need to be increased to 3mm to fit M3 bolts after that it will be perfect.

I uploaded a fix... try it out...

It's still printing. About 40 minutes left on the frame but the motor definitely fits inside so it should be good. Looks big enough to fit http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:318966/#files so I will print the bottom part and screw it onto the frame :)

Naze32 Acro case for HW ver 5

Will do. Will report back later.

I have to as when is the acro naze version coming out :D, I really don't want to buy the MWC just for this :)

The naze version is in beta testing. it will be out soon. The MWC is a pretty good flight controller. You should give it a try.

For the FPV version, I hope you will create a version that can fit motors like my H2204X or the Sunnysky 2204. Even better if you can fit 6" props!

What's the OD of your motor? I might be able to increase the diameter. 6" props is going to be tough. It's getting pretty tight on the build plate.

I've uploaded a 2204 version of the tail and frame. Give it a try and let me know.

Cool, will give it a test print. I have been really busy and haven't had time to wire up the RCX version.

Hi Boxx ,Hovership, I can speak and write / read Chinese. I will try to help you to communicate with Chinese seller If you're not willing to see your work been copied and sell there. ( not guaranteed but I'll try) I don't know if Thingiverse's rules are mean to "free to sell" but its bad to sell people's design without contact the original creator. just let me know and I'll try to help you out.
~Ew~

Ew, thanks for the reply. I think I'm going to let it be for now. It's a gamble you take the moment you post anything online.

As another designer of a mini copter frame here on thingiverse: great job on the design, I am going to try this out!
I also wanted to give you a heads up about it now being sold on goodluckbuy: http://www.goodluckbuy.com/3d-printed-160mm-3-axis-tricopter-rc-multicopter-mini-mwc-compatible.htmlhttp://www.goodluckbuy.com/3d-...
My design also recently started to show up on Chinese sites using my photos too!

Hovership, as one of the many people who have tried and enjoyed your work, I am humbled that you want to try out my design. Let me know how it turns out.
Thanks for the heads up. I'm a little disturbed that they can do this. Is there anything I could have done to prevent this? This is discouraging me from posting updated and new designs.
Congrats on your store!! I hope you have great success!!

Thank you for the compliments. I am not sure there is much we can do. It is one of the problems with open source designs. I can only fight it with competitive pricing, quality and customer service.

Hi,
First, thank you for sharing your work,it is a very nice piece of work ;-)
I'm an absolute beginner with flying machines, but I've decided to give it a try using my 3D printer...
I was looking for websites selling motors, electronics, propellers and so on.

  • I was able to find mostly everything except the motors. (well I got a reference for a shop in China but I'm a bit reluctant to order over there as it will take toooo much time (if it pass through the customs'), to arrive.
    Could you give reference for other motors that may work with your project?
  • Also, you speak about a speed controller flashed with Simon K... what is that? (I suppose it is a kind of firmware...can I buy an already flashed piece or do I need to do it myself ? If so, what do I need to flash it ?)
  • I saw that there are propellers in the form of CW and CCW (I suppose it is clockwise and counterclockwise orientation); which one do I need ?
  • I don't have a remote controller... which kind should I buy?
    Thanks

Thanks for your interest.
I ordered my motors from http://MyRcMart.comMyRcMart.com. It took about 2 weeks before I received them. They also have ESC's that are already flashed with SimonK firmware. A tricopter can work with all motors rotating in the same direction, but it tends to hover slanted. Having the 2 reverse motors and propellers works alot better. I use a Turnigy 9XR with a Orange RX DSM2 Module to work with the built-in receiver.
If you are new to RC, this may seem very confusing. I advise going to http://Flitetest.comFlitetest.com. They have videos that will walk you through the necessary steps. It should be enough to help you with your build. The RC hobby is an expensive hobby and I would advise purchasing an "all in one" (nano QX) model to get your feet wet.

Boxx, my top cover wont fit too well on my frame. I used a stupid 3D Systems Cubex Duo to print it (horrible printer) because it was the only one i had access to at the time. It seems that the tabs dont line up correctly. Do you think it would cause too many problems if i just removed the tabs? Thanks.

I just snipped the edges of the tabs by about 1-2mm. Fits like a glove off of my CubeX

Hmmm..... try filing it down first before you start removing. The tabs are there to secure the top in place.
If you decide to cut, let me know if it works.

Thank you Boxx, I am looking forward to your FPV version J TX5805 looks good,
shame that it is not Full HD.
I have a few question to your HW list for tricopter frame:

  • You use 2 CW and 1 CCW motors?
  • I would use my HW which I already have (to save some Money): Multiwii
    and Megapirate AIO Flight Controller w/FTDI (ATmega 2560) V2.0, Turnigy 9X 8ch
    Receiver and ZIPPY Flightmax 2500mAh Transmitter Pack with your selection of
    motors, props, servo. I would also use ESC Turnigy Multistar 15 Amp Multi-rotor
    Brushless ESC 2-3S. It is going to work together, what do you think?
  • How did you connect the servo and third motor to flight board ?
    Thx

Mirec46,
Thanks for your interest in my TriCptr.
You can use all conventional motors. I use the counterclockwise motors so that the propellers are self tightening.
The megaprirate AIO FC will not fit in the cabin. I picked the Mini MWC for its convenience and size. it's small and it includes a receiver. I modeled the TriCptr around it. Same with the ESC, I modeled the arms around the Blue Series ESC. The Multistar 15A Esc are too big. Everything was designed to be compact and light. There are other options in for FC and ESC. http://MyRCMart.comMyRCMart.com 10A esc, and the new Afro 12A ESC v3 will also fit.
I cut all the wires to Fit to reduce the weight and keep it clean in the cabin. I used regular servo connectors to connect to the board.
I hope this helps.

Thank you Boxx for your reply. I understand that you made a prototype with intention to build it with smallest and lightest components and the frame fits the exact dimensions of your HW. Acctually what is the weight with battery and maximal dimension with propellers of your tricopter?
Probably I did not write my question correctly, sorry. I would like to build similar tricopter based on your frame. But I do not want to spent to much money for new components, I already have some HW parts. I will probably adjust your frame to my components. But my question is, if is it going to fly with my components. I would like to know If you had specific reason why you chose MINI MWC Flight Control Board and DSM2 Receiver (except the dimension and weight) and ESC with SimonK firmware- if there are any special properties for better fly? What about the motors, what is their constant and maximal thrust?
Hope I do not disturb you to much:)
Thx.

Sorry, I don't think this is the model for you. your components will not fit in this model.
This project is built around the MINI MWC Flight Control Board and DSM2 Receiver for it's size. It's an all in one package with built in Accelerometer, Gyro, Barometer and Digital Compass. Better yet, is has an DSM2 Receiver Built-in. I bought this when if first appeared on HobbyKings site. I chose the ESC also for its size and performance. Same with the motor, again size......
There are other models in thingiverse that might fit your components.

Ouh ok, thank you for patience with me.
But I am still curious about dimension and weight of your tricopter.. could you share them?

Nice project of Tricopter :)
Will DSM2 Receiver work with Turnigy 9X 9Ch Transmitter (v2 Firmware)?
What do you think about solving FPV issue with Boscam TR1 FPV All-In-One Camera and 5.8 GHz Transmitter with HD Video recorder + battery
Thx

I use the DSM2 module as GWP17 stated. I looked into the Boscam TR1. It's got everything I need, but the only thing is the form factor. It's too tall. I'm thinking more of a small camera transmitter set-up with recording at the receiver end. It keeps things small and light. I'm working on using the TX5805. The model is done in my prototype testing stage. One problem, I'm not very good at FPV. I need to practice before I can post actual flight videos. These videos are as seen on goggles videos, not HD videos. I can always attach a mobius for HD videos.

Thank you Boxx, I am looking forward to your FPV version J TX5805 looks good,
shame that it is not Full HD.
I have a few question to your HW list for tricopter frame:

  • You use 2 CW and 1 CCW motors?
  • I would use my HW which I already have (to save some Money): Multiwii
    and Megapirate AIO Flight Controller w/FTDI (ATmega 2560) V2.0, Turnigy 9X 8ch
    Receiver and ZIPPY Flightmax 2500mAh Transmitter Pack with your selection of
    motors, props, servo. I would also use ESC Turnigy Multistar 15 Amp Multi-rotor
    Brushless ESC 2-3S. It is going to work together, what do you think?
  • How did you connect the servo and third motor to flight board ?
    Thx

Should work fine as long as you have a dsm2 module in it. If you don't then http://hobbyking.comhobbyking.com sells them.

Totally remixing to make a v-tail :-)

Nice!!

Im impress about the quality of your tail print, mine didn't end up like yours, which side have you printed to be flats? I have done a 270 Y rotation, ending having a lot of retractation filement inside where the motor feet,
nice design anyway I love it!

If your using Repetier Host, rotating it 270 on the Y axis is correct. I use support when printing the tail motor mount.
I'm currently using Cura for slicing gcode.

ok haven't figure it out how to print that yet, anyway thanks for your fast answer apprecate it!

I want to print this out on a Replicator 2 but ... the main frame (mk5.stl) is oversized for the platform. MakerWare offers to scale it down. Before I go waste a whole load of filament could you confirm what Makerbot this is scaled for please?

I printed it on my 200mm x200mm print bed. I rotated it (Z axis) by 15 degrees. Do not scale it.

Thank you. My build envelope is 225 x 145 x 150 mm - I think I've lucked out :-(

Awesome..... Let me know how it turns out.....

Love the design! could you share some details about the yaw mount? is it just a bolt and lock nut or are you using a bearing?

Yes. It's that simple. No bearings. I only use the M3 washers if the print is a little rough.

Very neat design mate, if you don't mind I will upload a remixed version to suit the KK2.1 controller, I also added a smidge to the arms to allow well for 5" props.

Sure. No Worries. My first 4 Versions of this build used a KK2.1 Controller. I wasn't happy with the wire management and the pins on the top. I couldn't find a good place for the receiver that didn't shift the weight too much or look like a wart on the device. The KK2.1's dimensions were also on the large size. Stay tuned for the Acro Naze version. KK2.1 was too bulky for my taste. I hope you can make it work.

The KK's can be funny with Tricopters I agree, the new KK however in the hard case has right angled pins and is much smaller, so hopefully that will be an improvement on the last version.

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