Drone #12: Mounting

So it's been too long, but I've been really busy trying to get my freelancing business up and running and moving to a new apartment. Finally, I managed to get some work done on the drone the last couple of days!

It's been 3 full months since I last was able to put in a lot of work on the drone. Things are moving too slow. The power harness is done, the ESCs are calibrated, I'm almost ready. But the frame is a huge issue. Either I need to go out and 3D print a frame, but that would require first researching the different materials to use, modelling it and finally printing it. Although this was actually one of the reasons I started this project (to get to work with 3D printing) I have to accelerate this project now. I need to get it flying ASAP.

So a couple of days ago, when I was at a second-hand store I found a flat and stiff plastic shoerack - perfect for my drone. So I started to mount the engines.

Mount #1

It was a little difficult to align the screws properly but with a nail and a hammer I managed to make a quick and dirty marker that I could use to aim the screw that came with the engines.

Mount #2

Word of advice to those building your own drones: Make sure to keep track of which of the engines are CCW (counter-clockwise) and which one's are CW (clockwise). At one point I had two engines on the table and I lost track of which was which. I was really sure that I had them identified properly but when I recorded the engines in slow motion it became clear which was CCW and which was CW and that I mounted them wrong. Oh well..

But now the frame is up with correctly mounted engines.

Finished mount

The next step is to start playing around with the IMU and start implementing the flight computer. I need to do a bit of research here though. Probably my first design will be PID based, where the PIDs are taking input from the IMU. But this design is a proof-of-concept that I can run the four engines with an Arduino and controlling them reliably.

I am a little concerned about whether the shoe-rack will actually work. Can I actually use this shoerack thing as a frame? I'm a little concerned about the lift but on the other hand the combined weight of the drone is a lot lower than the max lift generated by the propellers so maybe. I guess worst case I'll have to either cut the frame a bit or even 3D print the frame. In any case this is a good prototyping platform to start playing with the flight computer because I can secure the frame to a table or something and test the propellers and engines properly.

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