Hey! This thing is still a Work in Progress. Files, instructions, and other stuff might change!

Switch Blade 250 Mini Tricopter

by mpbiv, published

Switch Blade 250 Mini Tricopter by mpbiv Apr 4, 2015


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This is a 250 size Mini-Tricopter called the Switch Blade based on it's folding arm design. This is ideally sized for 2204 size brushless motors, with 12A ESC's and 3S LiPo battery power. Please check back as I update the instruction pages with a list of required parts.

Check out my build thread on Flite Test:


Required Hardware Items:

(10X) M2.2 Self tapping screw, 6mm long (used to secure printed frame pieces together)

(4X) M2.2 Self tapping screw, 4mm long (used to secure 32x32mm FPV camera)

(8X) M3 Self tapping screw, 8mm long (used to mount flight 36x36mm flight controller and printed tail boom)

(8X) M3 Socket head cap screw, 16mm long (used to mount front motor mounting)

(2X) M3 Socket head cap screw, 5mm long (used for tail motor mounting)

(3X) Anti-vibration Bobbins (used to isolate the camera tray assembly)

(4X) Flanged ABEC-7 Ball Bearings (used for front arm pivots, will eventually be replaced with printed bushings)

(1X) 1/8" Clevis Pin (used as tail pivot axle)

(2X) Carbon tube .375" OD, .25" ID, cut to 4.2" Length (used for front booms)

(1X) Hitec HS-45HB Servo (current yaw mechanism only fits this servo, but I plan to update the design later)

Suggested Electronics:

(1X) Flight Controller: Naze32, Tau Labs Sparky, BrainFPV, or anything with 36x36mm PCB (30.5x30.5mm mounting)

(3X) 2204-size Brushless Motors: Cobra 2300kv or 1960kv, Sunnysky 2300kv, anything with a 16x19mm bolt spacing will work with mounts

(3X) 12A ESC's: SimonK or BLHeli, or KISS suggested, I used 12A ZTW Spiders for my build, and Lumenier 12A ESC's are also a good option.

(1X) FPV Board Camera: SONY 600TVL is what I used but most 32x32mm size cameras should work

(1X) 5.8 GHz Video Transmitter: TS5823 32ch 200mW, the upper plate is specifically designed for this transmitter to snap in, but others can be used.

(1X) 5.8 GHz Antenna: I used a circular polarized with a right angle connector directly on the video transmitter above.

(3X) Props: HQ 6045's are good, frame will fit any 6" or smaller prop

(Multiple) Battery: 1300mAh 3S LiPo, 45C or higher discharge recommended

Assembly Notes:

  • The clevis pin in the hardware list above is used as the tail pivot. The pin should move freely in the motor mount portion of the yaw mechanism and have a slight interference/press fit in the pivot tab on the tail boom. If the pin moves freely in both parts, use a dab of epoxy near the head of the pin to prevent it from falling out during flight.
  • Printed yaw motor mount has integrated spline which matches Hitec HS-45HB servo. Use the screw that comes with the servo to attach these two parts.

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Hi, will any 9g servo fit this , I have printed it and it is a work in progress but I need to know if there are cheaper servo options please ? brilliant print went together perfectly, and I have the motors and flight controller mounted, just waiting for parts to arrive and then lastly I need to order a servo , any ideas , or has anyone used a different make servo, I am in the UK thanks .

Has anyone tried to put a go pro on it yet? I'm gonna spring one out when it starts cooling off but I'd like to be able to use a go pro style camera for av work

Awesome model, I wish the pieces were all rotated to be flat on the bed.

you can do that with tinkercad. or check out my remix which should print without messing around with it or such a heavy parts list.

Jun 7, 2016 - Modified Jun 7, 2016

I printed the frame as is here, then I discovered the trident arms which make for no need for the CFiber or bearings.
Then I noticed a different tail section for different servos so i could use ones i have.
Then I made a small camera mount , if you dont have the big camera some of your support is missing.
Then I made very simple landing gear. I found a crashed 250 racer on eBay and since it had a damaged motor It had 3 good ones! $30
I used a Tarot Naze 32 from Bangood since there is little room for pins and its so cheap! And a Orange 615X without the case making it about 60 bucks for all the parts , and after alot of messing around I got her airborne and it looks like it will really move.
I would note the tail servo jitters when its on the ground but stabilizes one in the air. I would say this is in now way for beginners. I conciser myself intermediate to advanced and have built 15 or so multirotors and i found many aspects very challenging ill add pictures soon.

FPV TVL Camera Mount Converter
Feet for small quadcopters
Switchblade Trident TRiFORCE 250 Rubber Cushion Antivibration replacement
Comments deleted.

Printed it out. And as another member had asked, where do you mount the part "esc_mnt" I can see the holes line up rear of body but a visual of the internals would be great.


That part sits in front of the Flight Controller. The flight controller is mounted on the lowest deck the part points to the front of the craft very near the front of the lower deck , and acts as a location for ESC mounting. And I to was derptafied by its location for a bit. and the final ESC is of coarse in the tail.

what did you use to control it and what did you use to see with the fpv

The FPV fits a 700TVL non compact camera with the larger PCB board with mounting points, the Top Deck has a location for a TS5823 Transmitter mini. you might concider a zip tie or printing this peice with 100% infill of those tabs tend to fail , but the Transmitter cant really fall out so its ok.

also how much did all of the extra parts like the camera and nuts and bolts cost

Hi just wondering is this drone used for drone racing

really nice Project but where i have to build in the ESCmount piece?

how does the tail servo take rough landings?

I printed this project ... and must say , i take my hat off to (MPBIV) this was a very well thought out project. For someone like myself who has taken the time to create projects from scratch, i really respect the perfection in this design. I would like to say thank you for listing this project. To those who are interested in the switchblade tricopter project , you may also check out the designers upgrade (trident 250) that features printable non- folding arms . The creator also has a tail upgrade that you can use larger servos and a different style pivot that can be used with the servo supplied control horns.Keep up the great work and were looking forward to future upgrades.

i did a overhaul remix of this craft,, you might like it, its in the remix section.

Thanks for the info . I will have to check it out !

Is the tail motor perfectly level on the motor mount? The motor mount does not have any forward or aft tilt correct?

There is no forward tilt or dihedral built into this Tricopter. It might be cool to try out, but I don't plan to design parts for that yet....

My next design goal for this tricopter is to re-design the camera mount to allow for tilting, and also a couple other camera options.

I built at least one more camera option
This gives you the ability to use the smaller camera that are more and more common.

If anyone wants i can mod it to tilt pretty easy

FPV TVL Camera Mount Converter

I was actually thinking about doing this mod today. I gotta say I love this copter at this point, but if I'm gonna race it (and I am considering it) then I certainly will need some more tilt on the camera.

Can you share the design files to make it easier to mod?

I understand that David W firmware mods for clean flight has taken care of adding any dihedral to the tail motor.

Sep 18, 2015 - Modified Sep 19, 2015

I got this idea from David W from his tail servo. This digital servo will take a M3 hex bolt. Instead of a Pin to secure the servo you can use a longer M3 Screw that replaces the pin and then is screwed into the servo making a very strong connection. This setup could with stand a crash and would enhance the control of the tri for FPV racing. http://www.blue-bird-model.com/en/servos/bms-210dmh.html What do you think?

Thanks for the link. That is a good alternative which I had not considered. I was originally planning to just release a printed bushing to replace the ball bearings, but I have had limited time to design/test new parts lately.

Great little frame!

I have printed everything, but cannot find a suitable servo to fit.

Would it be possible to create a tail that fits 9g servos or a more standard size servo?

Thank you!

I just uploaded a revised tail which is designed around the larger Hitec HS-65MG servo. There are two files in there you can print and see if maybe they will fit other servo options.

Were is that file for the revised tail? I can't seem to find it?

Sorry for the delayed reply. This is it, although I see you already made an improved version on your own:


Trident/Switchblade 250 Updated Tail Mech
by mpbiv

Thank you!

Will definitely try these :)


pretty damn cool for a 3d printed tough tricopter

really wish this was designed for a digital servo

I just posted an updated tail mechanism which will accommodate a larger Hitec HS-65MG servo, which should also work with a HS-5065MG which is the digital version. Hope that is helpful.

where does the battery go?

The battery is slung below the tricopter, and the bottom plate has two slots in it to allow for a Velcro strap for attaching a battery. Most 1300mAh 3S LiPo batteries should fit fine.

Isn't that a bit hard on the battery, when you drop onto it? I maidened my Switchblade tonight, it flew very nicely. I'm just worried about my battery.

i made landing gears, just check my things to get a copy they protect the battery and they are super simple.

Great work! So far its coming out great on my Printrbot Simple Metal. I'm using UV reactive colors & glow-in-the-dark PLA for hacking together some UV LEDs on the finished product to test with night time flying.

Any progress on the bushings design to replace the bearings? It would cut the materials bid down by about $50. :-)

have details? servo size? arm's length and size ? It's cool design.

I have updated the instructions page to include all the required and suggested hardware. I also added a link to my build thread on Flite Test, which can be found on the "thing info" tab. I hope this helps, and feel free to let me know if you have further questions.

you rock.. thank you.