Foldable quad build log

by enivid | March 18, 2013 | (0) Posted in How To

I designed a foldable quad frame that is laser cut from bamboo. You can see details about my design in this article.  Below you will see the build log of my first quad!

The laser cut bamboo parts

The parts include 4 legs and 3 layer plates and two booms with the folding mechanism.



Assembling the folding mechanism

I secured both boom layers using 3 M3 screws and nuts.  I also used blue locktite threadlocker because these screws cannot come loose in flight.  The screw holes and folding guides are labeled on both booms for easy assembly.


Mounting the motors and landing gear

I attached the cross-shaped aluminium motor mounts that came with my 4 Turnigy outrunners to the motors.  I placed the zip ties in the anchors on my frame, placed two of the motor mount ends in each zip tie and tightened.   

These motors already had the male 3.5 mm bullet connectors soldered on so I didn’t make any changes to the motor wiring. 


I made sure to align the motor cabling with the zip tie anchors on the booms.  I put some electrical tape on the tabs of each leg to make them fit tightly in the gaps labeled L1 and L2.  Since the booms are stacked, the legs have to compensate for this by having two different lengths.  This solution keeps the Quadcopter level when on the ground.

Once the legs are in place, I guide the zip tie through the zip tie anchor in the boom (over the motor cabling) and the zip tie anchor on the leg.  To clean things up, I used the second zip tie anchor further up on the boom to secure the remaining motor cabling.

Preparing the layers

The battery layer plate

The layer plate designed to hold the battery has slots where I fed two velcro straps I found at my local hardware store.

The ESC layer plate

After reflashing my hobby king UBEC ESCs with the simonK firmware, I placed a pair of ESC on each side of the plate, I fed the power cables of each ESC to one side (the bottom, in this case the side with the labels) and soldered them all together to build the power harness.  

Using the zip tie anchors, I attached all of the ESCs to the plate in 4 directions to align the cabling with the booms.  Add a battery connector, some female 3.5 mm bullet connectors to connect to the motors and some heatshrink to clean things up and I was done!  You’ll noticed that I placed the M3 nylon spacers and short nylon screws on S4, S5, S6 and S7.

The controller board

I sat the HK controller board on the foam cover that came with its packaging (to reduce vibrations as much as possible), and then screwed it down to the plate using M3 nylon screws and nuts.  I cut the foam to match the board size and cut out two convers to give clearance for the screws.

Final assembly: stacking things up 

After this it's a matter of picking the right spacers for clearance and stacking things up.  So I first attached the ESC layer plate on top of the booms using M3 nylon spacers and the S4, S5, S6 and S7, and I fed the power cable/harness through the hole in the boom assembly.

You'll see that I already have my spacers installed to mount my battery plate under the boom assembly.

Now we can add the controller board plate on top of the stack using more nylon spacers and screws S8, S9, S10 and S11.  I also fed all of the wires up to connect the controller board.

To protect my controller board I reused the remainder of its foam packaging by feeding all of the necessary wiring (ESC and Receiver) through the top and placing the foam box over the board (I need to add some fiber optics so I can see the arming led from outside the foam box).

After this I started debugging my configuration like any other Quad.

Before the flight it's important to place the lynchpin to secure the booms together.



Microguy on March 25, 2013
Im so jealous because people have laser cutters!
Log In to reply
enivid on March 25, 2013
Every one has access to a laser cutter. Check out, they cut my frame. I'm thinking of making this into a kit also.
Log In to reply
serial0l0 on April 18, 2013
Thanks. That's awesome. I have never heard of that site. Mind if i ask what they charged you to cut that design out? Knowing I can easily outsource the cutting of my designs might motivate me to create some. Thanks again,

Log In to reply
serial0l0 on April 18, 2013
Oh and great job on the fold-able quad frame as well!
Log In to reply
enivid on April 18, 2013
It was about 20$ to cut and 20$ for the material... I've been working on a v2 of this design and getting cut in the coming weeks watch for more articles.
Log In to reply
Splatwillicrash on July 1, 2013
I look forward to release. I love the idea of Bamboo, a very renewable resource. If I had the plans, I would be cranking em out by the metric ton on the cutter we just got at HackerLab Sacramento.
Log In to reply

You need to log-in to comment on articles.

Foldable quad build log