Radio Controlled flying is not just a hobby for me - it's almost like a religion! No, I don't worship my airplanes, or any other "false idols", but I have sacrificed a few nice planes to the evil god Terra Firma!
In the past, I have noticed that you guys have been quite willing to jump in with your donations to support our little show. I have also noted, from our Spring-time giveaways, that you guys really like to WIN stuff and don't mind kicking in a buck, or two, for an opportunity to support the show and get a chance to win. With Laine's prodding and some great prizes offered up by Castle Creations and our co-hosts, we raised the money for the Tube Man in short order. LoL
That being said, we are going to try something different this year. I am going to shamelessly ask for your money again, but I have some great "gifts" that you will have an opportunity to get as a big THANK YOU for your support. Following is how it's going to work:
1. You may feel free to donate some of your hard-earned monies to our show by clicking the DONATE button below. For every dollar you offer up, you'll get your name on a slip of paper that will be drawn at random for a gift. If you give a buck, you get your name in ONE time. If you give TEN DOLLARS, you get your name entered TEN TIMES.
2. Since money is getting tight on some in this current economy, I also want to give you guys a chance to participate WITHOUT any monetary contribution. If you like the show, but don't have the dough to contribute, that is perfectly fine. Just jot a nice sentiment down on a regular old postcard and send it to us. Every postcard received will get an entry into this giveaway, since your kind comments ALSO fuel the show! Send your postcards to:
10800 Sierra West Drive
Waco, TX 76712
I currently have some nice gifts to give away to a few lucky sponsors
FIRST SPONSOR GIFT
One Battery Ready OPQ. This means you get a complete "Quadicle" ready for your Battery and Transmitter. Please note that I have included a Lemon 6 channel Receiver, so if you have a Tx that is something other than DSM2, you'll need to supply your own Receiver. The OPQ has been tuned and test-flown by Crash!
SECOND SPONSOR GIFT
One Battery Ready MiniBipe. This is the EXACT MiniBipe (from SlowBipe.com) that I constructed for the build video I did on YouTube for SlowBipe. Add your Battery (3s350 or 3s500) and Transmitter, and it's ready to fly! Please note that I have included a Lemon 6 channel Receiver, so if you have a Tx that is something other than DSM2, you'll need to supply your own Receiver.
THIRD SPONSOR GIFT
FliteLab Hockey Jersey. This is a SWEET jersey offered up by our friend Mark over at FliteLab.com. It is quite nice and is large in size. Since it's a sports jersey, large is more like XL. In addition to this cool jersey, we are also including a new Spektrum DX7s Transmitter-only package! Since this may be your first Spektrum radio, I am including a Lemon 6 channel Receiver in the box so you can put this radio to use in your new project right away!
During our LIVE-STREAMED show on Wednesday, December 18th, I will pluck the names of three lucky recipients of our Sponsor Rewards. Furthermore, I will have these items packaged up and ready to ship immediately on Thursday, December 19th, so that the lucky recipient may have the opportunity to receive their reward during the CHRISTmas holidays, when they are most likely off work and have the opportunity to enjoy their new goodies!
This is NOT a contest or a raffle! This is simply a way for you to donate your dough (or nice sentiments on a postcard) to the show to continue to cover our operating expenses. Any monies raised above and beyond the show's expenses will be used to purchase future prizes to give away next year. The goods given away are NOT PRIZES, but rather GIFTS from us to you for supporting our show, either through moral support communicated on a postcard or monies donated through PayPal.
This program is open to all listeners, HOWEVER, if you are outside of the United States, YOU will be responsible for the shipping. Some of the gifts will cost quite a hunk of money to ship outside of the USA and hey!, I'm not made of money, you know. :)
Please note that you do NOT need to listen to the LIVE-STREAM of the show to win.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE DONATION BUTTON WILL DISAPPEAR FROM THIS SITE ON THE MORNING OF DECEMBER 17TH! ALL ENTRIES, BOTH THROUGH DONATION AND POSTCARDS, MUST BE RECEIVED BY THEN SO I CAN HAVE TO TO PREPARE FOR THE DRAWING ON THE 18TH!
After significant testing of both the frame's capabilities and my ability to mill the frames out successfully on my personal CNC machine, I am pleased to announce the OPQ (One Piece Quad) Frame - aka "The Waco Quad" (Thanks, Doug!)! LoL
To give you a little background on this project, your hosts on TheCrashCast took it upon themselves to focus on just ONE facet of our RC Hobby this Summer - Multi-Rotors and FPV. We have all become so "into" these fool things and learned TONS about them and we even kicked around the idea of establishing some kind of Quad Combat event the next time we can all get together.
One of the things we learned in particular is that if you are looking for high quality, yet inexpensive Multi-Rotor goodies, the ONLY place to go is ReadyToFlyQuads. While I ended up getting a FLIP FPV setup (complete with FatShark video system and Naza Flight Stabilization), the other guys (NavionFlyer, IFLYOS, and KarlK) ended up getting the standard FLIP Quad. Something that we all learned is that these things are as pretty to look at as they are tough and capable! You'd be hard-pressed to actually break one of those frames.
Knowing that I had a couple of special purposes in mind for another Quad (learning aggressive aerobatics AND combat), and already KNOWING that my budget is very limited, I set out to try to find a lesser expensive solution for a frame and gear to suit my needs. Please don't get me wrong here, the FLIP Quads are without a doubt the best machines on the market! I just wanted to see if I could do it a little cheaper. I have received tons of listener emails asking what the best setup on the market is today, and my response is that you get your absolute best bang for your buck with a FLIP. Perhaps the best thing about these machines is that, as the website suggests, these Quads are READY TO FLY! Now if you're a tinkerer and builder like me, you might want to do the DIY thing.
Yes, I know I get long-winded with this stuff, so I'll get back on track. :)
The electronics are a given for an inexpensive Quad - just head over to ReadyToFlyQuads and buy the best gear (more on that later), but the frame, however, needed to be something a little cheaper, yet just as durable, as the HoverThings FLIP frame (about $90). I set out to design something simple to build up, light enough to be flown aggressive, and cheap enough to make for myself. Remember, I have CNC capability in my workshop, so the sky is just about the limit for me. I looked at foam, wood, carbon, and G10 as materials, but everything was just too flimsy, too breakable, or too expensive. While mulling this over for several days, I remembered that I had some plastic left over from another milling project and had an "AHA!" moment.
Previously I had scoured the web, searching probably every image on the internet when it came to Quads. I came across a particularly simple design by a gent that goes by "Ecks" on the RCGroups. This guy in Sweden is CNC-cutting some fantastic lightweight frames out of wood about 3/8" thick. He even stains and paints them, to boot! If you look him up on the RCG, you'll see that he sells his beauties at quite the fair price, too. I thought of buying one from him, but being that it would have to come across the ocean to get to me, and being that it would be such a work of art, there's just no way I would want to subject his frame to the kind of abuse I had intended to on this project. LoL
After seeing his design and looking again at the plastic I had on hand, I decided to take a stab at making something similar and seeing how it performed. In just one word I would have to describe it's performance as SPECTACULAR!
Now you guys that have been following me for a while already know this about me, but I'll state it again for those that don't. If I design something, I want to release it to the world as an Open Source Project, and I usually do (eQSC airplane, QSC Quad, QSC Tricopter, etc.), but this project is different. You won't be able to cut these things out by hand. Since I'm always looking at things I can do to offset the cost of doing my podcast, I have decided to sell these frames to support my show, and maybe even kick in a little money for my travel expenses to Fly-Ins across country.
What I ended up making is a 346mm frame that weighs 6 ounces (about 170 grams) and is darned near indestructible! The plastic that I use will flex upon impact, but is not so flexible that it will yield any kind of negative feedback to your flight stabilization system. If you hit something hard enough (see the bent boom pic that my buddy Hance provided) it will bend, but not break. With significant effort he was able to bend it back straight and fly again!
Why 346mm, you ask? Ecks did his frame at 310mm, which is a great size but allows you to only use 8" props. We have found that by going just a bit bigger, you can use 9" props for MORE POWER (insert your best Tim Allen grunt here)!
At the end of each boom you'll find a 5/16" hole that is just big enough to allow a shaft relief for your favorite motor (even those with the shafts coming WAY out of the back). There are slots machined in to accept most of the motors you would deem worthy of putting on a frame this size, but are specifically designed to match up with the bolt pattern on all of the motors that ReadyToFlyQuads sells. Additionally, in the center of the frame I have machined in 8 tiny "dimples" that allow you to perfectly center your power distribution board (another RTFQ's must have), or any board that has 45mm bolt spacing (ahem, like a KK2.0 board), in both the PLUS and X configurations. For an inexpensive solution, we recommend mounting the power distro board with #6 3/4" wood screws with a small nylon 1/4" spacer. When you do that, you can put one of those FLIP 1.5 MWC boards right in the center of the distro with the included double-side sticky tape. It's just that simple!!
Oh, one more thing! While this frame can be flown without landing gear just like Ecks' frame, you DO have an option to install landing gear, of sorts, to keep from having to belly in on your battery (that is held onto the bottom by velcro and a strap). I have included in each boom a small hole that is tapped out to accept a 1/4-20 nylon bolt and a nylon jam nut that you can pick up at just about any hardware store. Keep in mind that these bolts are the first to break off in a hard landing, but they are super cheap to replace if the need arises.
Well, there you have it; my project, in a nutshell. If you are looking to transition from your micro quad, or you are complete beginner in the Multi-Rotor game, then this is the perfect frame for you! If you are looking at something that will handle lots of crashes while you learn those high-end, super aggressive aerobatic maneuvers, then again, this is the perfect frame! Best of all, if you are looking at putting a quality Quad in the air for CHEAP (around $150 total if you already have a Tx, Rx, and battery), then look no further. If you doubt it's durability, DON'T! All six beta testers couldn't break anything but props on their units. LoL
HOW DO I GET ONE?
Right now, the only place to get the OPQ Frame is from yours truly. I am selling them CHEAP and the only lead time is the time that it takes me to get plastic from the supplier (as much as 10 days). I can crank out about 50 a day if I have the material! Since I am not a "real business", I have been gauging interest by accepting "Letters Of Intent". That means that you can send me an email (crash.hancock(AT)gmail.com) saying "Hey, dude! I want one!", and if I have one in stock, I'll invoice you in PayPal. Once you pay, it get's shipped. If I do not have the inventory on hand, then I will put you in line for the next production run. When you send your email, please put in the SUBJECT LINE "OPQ" so my SPAM filter doesn't kick out your email.
I just finished a production run for 40 frames and it looks as though they have all been gobbled up, so if you think you may want one, SEND ME THAT EMAIL to get in line. :)
EDIT: Since the best place to get electronics for the OPQ is over at ReadyToFlyQuads, it seems most practical to let them distribute the frames, too, that way you guys get a one-stop shopping experience. :)
As I mentioned earlier, over the Summer I learned that the best deals to be had just about ANYWHERE on your Multi-Rotor projects can be found over at ReadyToFlyQuads. In fact, I no longer buy from anyone else!
Just about any of the motors that RTFQ's sells will work fine for this project and I have personally had opportunity to use two different kinds - The RED motors (great for a budget-minded build) and the FLIP Standard motors (a little more expensive than the REDs, but lighter and a much more precise motor). If I can suggest one of these motors to you, go for the FLIP Standard motors! The main reason for this is that Paul (aka Witespy) went to great effort on these motors to make available standard and reverse-thread props shafts. One a Quad, two of your motors will need to turn in an opposite direction of what is normal on an airplane. When you buy these, specify two of your motors to come with CW adapters and two with CCW adapters. If you go this route, and you set up your Quad correctly, you won't EVER have to worry about slinging off a prop in flight! Please note that neither of these motors come with bullet connectors, so if you don't want to solder them direct to the ESC's, you'll want to purchase enough to do the job for you.
I have tried two different ESC's from RTFQ's, and have had great luck with both. If you choose one of the motors I've recommended above, then either of the following two ESC's will work just fine:
ReadyToFlyQuads SimonK 16 Amp HOUSE ESC: As of the writing of this article, these are selling for only $9 each! They are a great choice and I have found the quality to be great. One consideration when using these, though, is that they have some pretty long Rx wires on them. Be ready to coil those wires up neatly so that they will not get tangled up in your props in flight. LoL Also, these ESC's do not come with and female bullet connectors so be sure you get some if you don't want to solder them direct to your motors!
ReadyToFlyQuads SimonK 20 Amp HOUSE ESC: Now these ESC's are going to cost you a little more (currently $14 each), but they offer a little more current rating AND will handle up to 4S from your battery! Best of all, these things come with a 3mm MALE Bullet Connector already soldered onto their boards. Unless you are going for an extreme budget build, I highly recommend using these, since once you're comfortable with flying your new OPQ with 8" props, you can gain a nice increase in performance just by going to a 4s LiPo!
This is the fun part! If you're new to the Quad game, consider getting 8" propellers. RTFQ sells the Gemfan props that we love so much (I have yet to balance one!), and they come packaged in two to a pack - one for CW and one for CCW. They also come in a variety of colors! Consider buying two different colors, since having one color on the front and a second color on the rear of the OPQ will seriously help you understand the orientation of the craft when it's in the air!
If you're an accomplished pilot and are looking for the best in an aerobatic Quad, go with the 9" props. I don't think they'll support the use of a 4s LiPo (too many amps, I expect, though I've never measured it), but the thrust that a 3s battery supplies is GREAT! Also, due to the small size of the OPQ, this is the largest prop you can put on it.
Now there are many ways to get all four of your ESC's to tie in to your battery, but most require you to do some tricky soldering. I avoid the headache of creating my own special 4 into 1 lead these days and, instead, Just buy a Power Distribution Board from RTFQ's. It's going to set you back a whopping $2.50, but makes things SO MUCH EASIER! This board has contact points that you can solder all of your ESC power leads to, as well as the lead and plug that goes to your battery. Super easy!
This board also has holes spaced at 45mm an allows you to mount it on 1/4" Nylon stand-offs. I have been using #6 wood screws to mount this board to the center of my OPQ's with the Nylon spacer in between the board and the frame, allowing for room to pass your Rx wires from the ESC's underneath, making for a nice and clean installation. You'll notice that the OPQ frame has 8 little dimples in the center of it. Well, those holes allow you to line up and mount this board perfectly centered in either the PLUS or X configuration. :)
FLIGHT STABILIZATION SYSTEM
I suppose that you can use whatever you want for your FSS (Naza, KK, etc.), but I am a big fan of the MultiiWii systems. For your money, you won't find a better MWC board at a better price than the FLIP MWC boards offered by RTFQ's. They come pre-flashed with mild settings to start you off, and you can specifiy what configuration you intend to fly (PLUS or X) and RTFQ's will already have it set up for you when it arrives!
For the budget minded, get the FLIP 1.5 board. It costs only $15, and if you are not good at soldering small stuff you can have RTFQ's outfit the board with the header pins that are needed. You can also add a protective case to your order and the thing will be virtually indestructible just like your OPQ frame! If you run the bare board, there are holes in the Power Distribution Board that will allow you to mount the FLIP 1.5 directly to it. If you opt to add the nifty little Protective Case to the FLIP 1.5, then all you have to do is use the supplied double-sided tape to mount the board directly to the center of the Power Distro Board.
If you intend to use your OPQ for GPS-assisted flying, you may consider stepping up to the Pro 2 board and a GPS system (all for about $65). You can add those features to a FLIP 1.5 board, but you've got to mess around with hooking everything up and getting things working. With the FLIP Pro 2 board and the GPS unit, you've got more processing power and a much simpler setup. If you end up going this route, you should consider getting some long 4-40 screws and using them with 12 of the Nylon Stand-Offs. The screw will pass through the frame (from the bottom) then you will put a Nylon spacer on each screw, then the Power Distro Board, then another set of spacers, then the Pro 2 Board, and the third set of spacers, ad then finally the GPS board, and then 4-40 nuts to hold everything together. If you go with this setup, I highly recommend you getting one of the new "Karl-Proof Domes" that RTFQ's sells so that if you crash your OPQ, you won't have any damage to the electronics.
Regardless of what FSS you end up getting, make certain that you get (or already have) a set off servo extensions four to six inches long. You'll need these to connect the FSS to the Rx, and RTFQ's has them for only $5.
I have tried several different battery setups in my OPQ's. I recommend that a beginner use 8" props and a heavier 3s2200 battery. The weight of the battery and the smaller props yields a less sensitive Quad, which is great for starting off and getting use t the flight characteristics of a Quad. I expect that an even heavier battery could be used to extend flight times and make it even more docile, bu the 3s 2200 is the largest I have tried.
Once you've learned how to fly and you're ready for more power, simply reducing the weight of the battery will make it a little more responsive, but flight times will drop (of course). I like to use a 3s 1300 battery for a "sportier" feel to my OPQ's.
Now if you want to have an OPQ like my buddy Tim flies with some INSANE power, consider one of two things:
1. If your motor can handle 4s, strap a lightweight 4s 1300 (or two 2s 1300's in series) and try THAT with your 8" props. The OPQ get's quite "spirited" with that setup!
2. Consider going to 9" props. The extra pull that you get with the bigger props immediately steps up performance! Couple the 9" props with a lightweight 3s 1300 and HANG ON FOR THE RIDE OF YOUR LIFE! LoL
There are only a couple of things that need some special attention when you are setting your OPQ up for the first time, and I'll list them briefly below. This information is all over the web, so I won't go into any real detail on it.
1. Make certain that you plug all of the wires in to the correct ports on your FSS and on your RX. If you don't have things plugged in correctly, your OPQ WILL NOT FLY!
2. Make certain that you have your Transmitter values for Throttle, Rudder, Aileron, and Elevator cranked up to about 135% so that you get the full PPM range (low about 980PPM and high about 2020 PPM) from your Rx to your FSS. Also make certain that your Tx is in Airplane Mode and that the correct channels have been reversed.
3. After your Rx is bound to your Tx, make certain that you calibrate your ESC's! You can buy a cool 4 into 1 cable from RTFQ's to help you with this, but you can just as easily calibrate each one individually before doing your finally hook-up of the Rx to the FSS. It is important that all of your ESC's recognize the same PPM range from the Rx (high throttle to low throttle) when you first power them on. If you don't do this, you'll be in for headaches. LoL
4. Make certain that your motors are turning in the correct direction, and do this with the props OFF! (enough said LoL)
5. When you first power up your completed OPQ for your first flight, take a minute to CALIBRATE the sensors. This is done simply by moving your Elevator gimble straight back, making certain that the Throttle stick is at it's lowest, and then moving the Rudder to the full left position. If you've done it right, you'll see some lights flash for a bit and then you are ready to arm and go fly! BE SURE YOU CALIBRATE ON FLAT AND LEVEL GROUND WITHOUT MOVING THE OPQ DURING THE PROCESS!
With the above things done, you are ready to fly your OPQ in what we call "ACRO Mode", meaning that no accelerometer correction is processed by the FSS. To activate Accelerometers, you'll need to load up the MultiiWii Configurator and assign "ANGLE Mode" to one of your switches (I use the 5th channel RETRACTS Switch on mine).