Cheating on my Quad with a Tricopter......its LOVE

by galaxy engineer | January 23, 2014 | (8 Ratings) Posted in Projects

I found myself with the urge to build a new quad from scratch but I was short one ESC.  I had four motors but only three ESC's and a whole day to myself in the shop.  I could have built another quad and ordered an ESC but I wanted to fly sooner than that.  

I remember seeing Davids Tricopter (http://flitetest.com/articles/tricopter-scratch-build) and it seemed simple enough to build.  All I had to do was print out the body template (https://s3.amazonaws.com/assets.flitetest.com/article_files/Tricopter_1365353510.pdf), buy some 1/2 x 1/2 inch stock for the arms and a few bits of hardware.  

 

 The Build process by Brett Hays

 Here is a flite of my Tri copter with my Ducks!!

  

The problem was I had never built let alone flown a tricopter.  Luckily David's build article that I linked to above is clear and easy to follow!  The build was soooooo easy!  I had some trouble with getting it wired up but Carbon from FPVLab helped me out with a few PM's.  One feature I wanted to have on this was that it would be realitivly weather proof so I could fly it while there is snow on the ground and I wouldn't have to worry about the expensive parts getting wet.  The ESC's are still ''hanging out there'' but they are shrink wrapped and taped to protect them.  My solution was to use a food storage container on the top to house the KK2 board, the IMRC RX and the 2.4 TX.  The flight cam has been dipped in plastidip so I mounted it out side on the frame.  

Davids article is pretty well written and easy to understand.  He makes it very easy to build this.  That said, here are some of my construction pics.........

 

Printed off the body template and checked the dimentions

 

 

Traced and stack cut and drilled two body panels out of scrap 3/32 ply I had laying around.

 

 

 

Cut, drilled and notched the 18'' x 1/2'' x 1/2'' arms.

 

 

Then it was just easy assembly........

 

 

I wasn,t (untill now) really sure how a tricopter controlled yaw but again Davids article makes it stoooooopid proof.

 

 

So now I mounted the other two motors and the ESC's.  To this point in the picture below the total build time is under an hour!!!  Unbeleivable......such a simple build, even with the complexity of the yaw system!  It really didnt take much longer than building and mounting a motor on a fourth arm.  The zip ties really hurry the assembly along and are plenty secure.

 

 

 

Now for my ''all weather'' touch.........This is just a food container I bought at the grocery store.  They come in a pack of 4 or so and are only a couple of bucks!  Basically I can make a mistake and start over if I screw up the first one.

 

 

 

First I had to replace these four bolts with longer ones. 

 

 

 

Then ad spacers and the container lid upside down with the KK2 board already mounted...........for the love of all thats Holly about building a tricopter make sur that you mount the KK2 board facing the right way.  Ask me how I know this.  I did it twice.........in a row.........within 5 minutes of each other.  

 

 

Three lids later it should look like this!...........grumble!

 

 

So now all I had to do was disassemble the dome so I could drill holes and route wires....

 

 

 

I mounted the IMRC RX in the container with velcro with the antennas facing forward to give it kind of a ''bug'' look.........no other reason than that.

 

See.......looks exactly like a bug flying at you......LOL......not really......but kinda!

 

 

 

I mounted the VTX behind the RX.  I know, I know......kind of tight quarters for all the e-tronics but at least I shieled my TBS core which sits under the KK2 board.  I havent really had any problem yet......knock on wood.....so I will leave it for now.  

I am using a 2650mah 3s battery strapped under the frame at the CG.  I am getting every bit of 12 minutes with the DT-750 look-a-likes-whaterer-they-ares-ma-call-emms.  20 amp ESC and some metal geard servo I had bouncing around in my field box.  

I am so flipping happy with the way this thing flys.  I am using whatever the stock factory settings are for the KK2 and they seem to be perfect!.........but then I am no expert.  It flies so much better than a quad in my opinion and I am totally in love with this.  I want to fly t from my Cockpit Ground Station and will soon.  Link here....... (http://flitetest.com/articles/fpv-full-scale-cockpit-ground-station-w-42-tv.  

I dont know about all Tricopters but this one seems to fly with a grooooooove that quads lack and is quite relaxing to fly.  It kinda flys with a bank and yank feel like an airplane but it hovers to......lol.  I fly quads like Bambi on the frozen pond but not this.  

Big thanks to David for this design and his article.  Also to the rest of the FT crew for their great forum!  My Kid and I love you guys!!  Keep it up!

 

I found myself with the urge to build a new quad from scratch but I was short one ESC.  I had four motors but only three ESC's and a whole day to myself in the shop.  I could have built another quad and ordered an ESC but I wanted to fly sooner than that.  

I remember seeing Davids Tricopter (http://flitetest.com/articles/tricopter-scratch-build) and it seemed simple enough to build.  All I had to do was print out the body template (https://s3.amazonaws.com/assets.flitetest.com/article_files/Tricopter_1365353510.pdf), buy some 1/2 x 1/2 inch stock for the arms and a few bits of hardware.  

 

 The Build process by Brett Hays

 Here is a flite of my Tri copter with my Ducks!!

http://youtu.be/OhE9chRZyXE

  

The problem was I had never built let alone flown a tricopter.  Luckily David's build article that I linked to above is clear and easy to follow!  The build was soooooo easy!  I had some trouble with getting it wired up but Carbon from FPVLab helped me out with a few PM's.  One feature I wanted to have on this was that it would be realitivly weather proof so I could fly it while there is snow on the ground and I wouldn't have to worry about the expensive parts getting wet.  The ESC's are still ''hanging out there'' but they are shrink wrapped and taped to protect them.  My solution was to use a food storage container on the top to house the KK2 board, the IMRC RX and the 2.4 TX.  The flight cam has been dipped in plastidip so I mounted it out side on the frame.  

Davids article is pretty well written and easy to understand.  He makes it very easy to build this.  That said, here are some of my construction pics.........

 

Printed off the body template and checked the dimentions

 

 

Traced and stack cut and drilled two body panels out of scrap 3/32 ply I had laying around.

 

 

 

Cut, drilled and notched the 18'' x 1/2'' x 1/2'' arms.

 

 

Then it was just easy assembly........

 

 

I wasn,t (untill now) really sure how a tricopter controlled yaw but again Davids article makes it stoooooopid proof.

 

 

So now I mounted the other two motors and the ESC's.  To this point in the picture below the total build time is under an hour!!!  Unbeleivable......such a simple build, even with the complexity of the yaw system!  It really didnt take much longer than building and mounting a motor on a fourth arm.  The zip ties really hurry the assembly along and are plenty secure.

 

 

 

Now for my ''all weather'' touch.........This is just a food container I bought at the grocery store.  They come in a pack of 4 or so and are only a couple of bucks!  Basically I can make a mistake and start over if I screw up the first one.

 

 

 

First I had to replace these four bolts with longer ones. 

 

 

 

Then ad spacers and the container lid upside down with the KK2 board already mounted...........for the love of all thats Holly about building a tricopter make sur that you mount the KK2 board facing the right way.  Ask me how I know this.  I did it twice.........in a row.........within 5 minutes of each other.  

 

 

Three lids later it should look like this!...........grumble!

 

 

So now all I had to do was disassemble the dome so I could drill holes and route wires....

 

 

 

I mounted the IMRC RX in the container with velcro with the antennas facing forward to give it kind of a ''bug'' look.........no other reason than that.

 

See.......looks exactly like a bug flying at you......LOL......not really......but kinda!

 

 

 

I mounted the VTX behind the RX.  I know, I know......kind of tight quarters for all the e-tronics but at least I shieled my TBS core which sits under the KK2 board.  I havent really had any problem yet......knock on wood.....so I will leave it for now.  

I am using a 2650mah 3s battery strapped under the frame at the CG.  I am getting every bit of 12 minutes with the DT-750 look-a-likes-whaterer-they-ares-ma-call-emms.  20 amp ESC and some metal geard servo I had bouncing around in my field box.  

I am so flipping happy with the way this thing flys.  I am using whatever the stock factory settings are for the KK2 and they seem to be perfect!.........but then I am no expert.  It flies so much better than a quad in my opinion and I am totally in love with this.  I want to fly t from my Cockpit Ground Station and will soon.  Link here....... (http://flitetest.com/articles/fpv-full-scale-cockpit-ground-station-w-42-tv.  

I dont know about all Tricopters but this one seems to fly with a grooooooove that quads lack and is quite relaxing to fly.  It kinda flys with a bank and yank feel like an airplane but it hovers to......lol.  I fly quads like Bambi on the frozen pond but not this.  

Big thanks to David for this design and his article.  Also to the rest of the FT crew for their great forum!  My Kid and I love you guys!!  Keep it up!

 

COMMENTS

frogs84ss on January 27, 2014
inspired thanks for the article.
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galaxy engineer on January 28, 2014
Thank you very much!
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Zatoichi on January 23, 2014
I like it! Yup,very cool. Nice braiding O wires, buddy
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galaxy engineer on January 23, 2014
LOL......Thanks bud!
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royce.meredith on January 23, 2014
Great article! David's Tri is planned to be my next build as soon as I get a hobbyking shipment in.
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galaxy engineer on January 23, 2014
Thanks!!
You are going to love building it as well as flying it! For what it is worth.....If i was going to do it again I would build the new and improved coffin shaped body panels. Search around on Flite test if you don't know what I am talking about. It looks simpler to cut out and I think would be stronger.
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FKreider on January 23, 2014
I've been tuning my tricopter build, almost exactly the same as Davids. However I've tried two brands of zip ties and they keep breaking or poping off on me, I dont know what the deal is but I've since abanoned the zip ties and using screws to hold everything in place.
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galaxy engineer on January 23, 2014
I haven't had any problem with the zip ties yet except on the landing gear but that's because I have had less than perfect landings. I figure that it is good to have the weak point so I don't have to fix broken landing legs. I hope the servo zip ties hold but I will keep an eye on them since you mentioned it. Thanks
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hanggar_mungil on January 27, 2014
nicecopter! can you give more details spesification ?
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sailorJohn on February 14, 2014
Really like the food container cover, add some leds for eyes and for orientation. As soon as I get everyone's plane off the bench I'm going to build my first quad , and am soaking up everyone's ideas.
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galaxy engineer on February 14, 2014
Yea the food container may kinda look stooooooptid but it is a real life saver when flying in the snow! It has really eased my concerns about my e-tronics getting snow on them. It is not waterproof but it is definitely resistant to snow and rain!!
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carsonpauli on February 14, 2014
love it!!

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DGI Frames on May 22, 2014

Hey, If you guys want a tricopter frame visit my site www.dgiframes.weebly.com they are all really cool! anyway i will come out with more like hexacopters and quadcopters and in the future octocopter frames. Best regards Team DGI
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denny1528 on May 26, 2014
What transmitter were you using?
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galaxy engineer on May 26, 2014
Futaba 8FG
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MikeRockz on September 10, 2017
Hi Galaxy Engineer,

Old article I know but still relevant for some of us.

I have a Futaba T8FG transmitter as well and being an almost complete beginner I would be grateful if you could share your transmitter settings for this tricopter with me.

I currently have a tricopter that uses only hk401b's and have never been able to find the right settings to get it operational and it was shelved for five years. I have been trying to work it all out with my current setup but it is beyond me at this time.

I am now going to set it up with a kk2 board instead and ditch the hk401b's.

Any wiring or transmitter setup tips you could share with me would be greatfully received.

Thanks.
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