Additive Manufacturing Strategies

3D Printing & Carbon Fiber Join Forces in Creation of Unique Quadcopter

ST Medical Devices

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When quadcopter enthusiast describe their relationship with the little machines, words like ‘addiction’ almost always seem to come to the surface. Combine that with the alluring call of 3D printing’s personalization and customization and you have a perfect storm for obsessive tinkering.

ynlr9ktJim Spencer, member of MakerHive, found himself wishing he could move to a radio controlled quadcopter that would go beyond those he could find in the stores:

“I’ve always loved flying RC toys, so when they became relatively affordable, I bought my first quadcopter. ‘Once you prop, you can’t stop’ so I bought another micro. Of course, flying little quads just makes you want to have a big one, one that’s capable of carrying a GoPro or of FPV racing and doing serious flying. I’d already seen several store bought and pre-built designs, and while they worked, they just didn’t thrill me. Since I’m addicted to making and 3D printing, designing and building my own was the only way to proceed.”

Spencer was interested in obtaining the maximum vibration isolation possible as well as combining carbon fiber components with 3D printed parts of his own design. While doing this, he was also interested in keeping the modularity and adjustability of parts in mind so that it would be easy for parts to be added and removed or remade as required by anybody wishing to use his design.

1LBZRuQThe carbon fiber components were made from inexpensive arrows purchased at the sports store and all of the plastic parts were 3D printed. He used O-Rings to reduce the transference of vibration on all parts where the plastic interfaces with the carbon fiber. For the controller mount, he was inspired by the Omni-Mac and designed his own version using tubing as the slot for the UjfYovRcontroller and ensuring isolation from the frame by using silicone.

Each part was tested and redesigned multiple times as he worked to create the optimal configuration and assembly for his quadcopter. Having worked so closely to create every part of the final product leaves the designer with a true sense of pride and ownership in the design, unattainable by those who purchase ready made kits:

“The most notable design aspect that I’m proud of is the fact that the silicone isolators are arranged 90 degrees away from each other, like the sides of a pyramid or the XYZ axes in 3D space. This is so the mount can isolate vibration in all directions equally. I designed and printed my own molds for the vibration isolators and made those pieces myself.”

gI1d3Q5Using industry standard dimensions means that parts can be interchanged, scaled up, or added on as desired by any individual user. And in the best spirit of the open source movement, Spencer has gone out of his way to provide the fullest detail possible regarding both his process and the product through Revolver.

It should come as no surprise that despite the successful flight test, Spencer still considers his design ‘semi-final’ rather than finished. I’ve rarely met a maker who couldn’t follow an explanation of their creation with a laundry list of desired modifications. It’s what keeps us all coming back for more.

What do you think of Spencer’s creation?  Let us know in the 3D Printed Carbon Fiber Quadcopter forum thread on 3DPB.com.

 

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