I love getting mail. I honestly do. Not bills obviously, but packages make me happy. Today I got a package from Flite Test, and it made me very happy indeed. Inside was a plain white box with a bar code label and plain text: "FT 210 Quad Frame". Okay, so no points for package design or presentation, but lets be honest - that box was going in the trash in like 30 seconds.
Inside the box was a ton of hardware. There were standoffs and screws galore, more than one would need to build such a simple frame. I was confused at this point, so I went to flitetest.com and watched the FT210 build video (Hi TJ!) and realized that the Flite Test guys want you to make this frame yours. They provide the frame and a lot of extra hardware not just for repairs, but so that you can be sure that the frame suits your electronics, not the other way around. Nice!
Setting all the nuts and bolts aside I get to the frame and notice - wow, this thing is hefty! The bottom plate is 4mm thick and the top plate is 2mm thick. For comparison the top plate of my old QAV250 clone is 1.5mm... and broken. it took a lot to break it though, so I have no doubt that this frame is going to be a TANK.
I dig the style of the frame. The basic shape is your standard QAV-type frame, but the details are where the FT210 stands out. There are notches in the top plate to keep your battery strap in place, as well as a classy embossed gremlin logo. I especially like the rear plate and standoff configuration for protecting your video transmitter. Using a bulkhead extension, or a VTX with a pigtail, you mount the connector through the plate with the antenna on the outside pointing out from the rear. Oh you can still mount it pointing up from the top, which is a good idea if you are new to FPV, but the rear mount is the way to go.
Using the included hardware the frame weighs about 135g BEFORE electronics. That's a heavy frame for a racer, but it translates directly to the strength. This is a frame for the Noobs of the world. Good luck breaking this thing!
So now for the negatives... there aren't a lot really. It is heavy, yes, but as I said it's a tank. For noobs this means it'll last them through the growing pains of early FPV flight, and for the experienced pilot it means this is a good choice for a basher. Flying in a new spot and don't want to risk your main? Whip out the FT210 and go to town. I also had an issue fitting my HS1177 camera inside. My camera case was a bit wider than the camera plates and a bit longer in the front, so that the lens was pressing against the front standoffs. I trimmed down the outside of the case and turned the camera plates around, now the camera fits just fine with no real downside.
The FT210 is a simple frame with a simple purpose - be tough. It's heavy but small, and should stand up to a lot of abuse. The open design means it is easy to build with, and could be a very good choice for the beginner pilot wanting to build their own quad.
The FT210 is available on the Flite Test store: https://store.flitetest.com/ft-210-quad-frame/