3D Printed Brushed FPV Microquad: Print, Build & Fly

Hi guys & welcome to this build log of my 3D printed brushed FPV microquad with a flying weight of only 50g! Links to the build & flying videos as well as a complete parts list are at the end of this article.

Build Log & Videos

As you know I got a 3D printer recently and after dialing it in, time was ripe for my first RC-oriented printing project. As you know, I’m fascinated by these small brushed quadcopter toys and modifying them for FPV, so this time I wanted to build one of these myself.

IMG_20160326_191318

 

I first got a very nice looking frame from thingieverse. It looked very lightweight but still robust and there were even some suggestions for components. So I ordered all the suggested components and once I had them, started by printing the frame. Here you can see the result. It’s just a great feeling to have something in your computer and a little bit later you have it in hands. That is awesome about 3D printing. But now, let’s get to building :-)

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In the next photo you can already see the completed quadcopter, only missing the upper shell. And this is a great time to talk about what makes quadcopters with brushed motors special. First, they are cheap. The completed quadcopter as you see it here only cost me around 45 US dollars. They are also very light weight, since they only need 1s lipo to run. The reason for this is that brushed motors have a very high kv, the ones I use have 16000 kv, so they can produce sufficient thrust off only a single cell lipo. Next, the flight controller which you see in the middle here, also has a DSM2 reviever and the brushed ESCs already onboard. This makes wiring very easy and straight forward as you can see. And finally, which is just awesome, this flight controller runs Cleanflight. So you can have autolevel but also all full acro mode, which is just awesome on this tiny quadcopter.

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The motors are just stuck in and they hold just fine that way. Also the props are simply stuck onto the motor shafts, which also holds very well. The flight controller is simply hold by double sided tape. All you have to do is solder the motor connections, which use standard cleanflight layout, and the power connector and you are basically done. The flight controller already comes pre-flashed with cleanflight and I mostly kept its configuration apart from a few small changes, which I show in the complete build video.

And that’s it. Arriving at an takeoff weight of only 35g including a 1s 300mA lipo, I was ready to try a first maiden flight using only the lower plate and without any FPV equipment yet.

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One thing on the radio here. Since I’m using a Taranis which does not speak DSM2, I got myself one of the cheap OrangeRX modules for the Taranis, which allows me to bind it with the DSM2 reciever which is part of this flight controller. That works great.

So the logical next step was to put FPV on it of course. Here, I could have easily used one of my own micro FPV sets, which I presented in one of my previous videos, but instead I wanted to try out one of the new Quanum Elite micro FPV sets. These come with a 25mW 40Ch push button VTX integrated already which makes them awesome for these micro quadcopters. So I opted for that. As you can see it was very easy to set up, I simply connected it to the power pads of the flight controller and basically I was done. Note that this means that the unfiltered, very noisy – thanks to the brushed motors – power goes straight into this micro FPV set, which is a great test to see if it does power filtering and if yes, how well it works.

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The Quanum micro FPV set does a great job at power filtering, I could see almost no interferences whatsoever. 25mW are also more than enough for these micro quadcopters – awesome.  That thing is running great, and I had tons of fun with it already. I’m getting around 7 minutes of flight time with the cheap components which I used, which is awesome. I’ll definitely continue along this path, and I have some quality components by Micro Motor Warehouse incoming for my next build. I’m really looking forward to that.

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Note that the photo above is still with the 300mA Lipo, which I do not recommend anymore. Get the 600mA Lipo which I link below for much better performance.

 

Check out the full build video here, if you like:

 

…and if you like to see some more of how it flies, there is another video here for you:

 

…let’s race it:

Parts List

Here comes the full parts list for you. The heart of this is Micro 105 FPV Quadcopter frame, which you can print yourself if you have access to a 3D printer. But even if not, hope is not lost yet, I have some alternative frames for you which you can buy. For quality frames, check out these from Micro Motor Warehouse – just look for those fitting 8.5mm motors. Alternatively I’ll link some below from Banggood, which should work well enough as well.

Alternative Frames

Here are some alternative frames. I have not tried them myself, but based on their specs, they should work fine.

90mm Carbon Fiber DIY Micro Mini FPV Quadcopter Frame Kit 2mm Support 8.5x20mm Coreless Motor

USD 8.99
120mm Carbon Fiber DIY Micro Mini FPV Quadcopter Frame Kit 2mm Support 8.5x20mm Coreless Motor

USD 7.99
120mm Carbon Fiber DIY Micro Mini FPV Quadcopter Frame Kit 2mm Thickness 8.5x20mm Coreless Motor

USD 9.99

LOS Components

This is all which you will need for line of sight flying.

2 X 8.5x20mm 820 Coreless Motor For Hubsan X4 H107C H107D RC Quadcopter

USD 5.42
3 Set Walkera QR Ladybird Blades Propellers for QX95 QX90 QX80 QX100 Hubsan X4 Micro Quadcopter 720 820 Motors

USD 5.89
Syma X5-16 X5C X5SW-1 H5C 1 To 5 3.7V 600MAH Upgrade Battery

USD 15.44

FPV Upgrade

If you like simple, just get one of these:

Quanum ELITE QB58 TX CAMERA COMBO Micro Cam VTX 25mW 40CH 5.8GHz (NTSC)

USD

 

Update: Banggood has this all-in-one micro FPV camera now as well:

FX797T 5.8G 25mW 40CH AV Transmitter With 600TVL Camera

USD 34.99
FX FX798T 5.8G 600TVL 25mW 40CH NTSC Mini Transmitter Camera Combo For FPV Multicopter

USD 27.27

 

If you love tinkering around, you can also build a micro FPV set yourself, for lower cost and more tinkering around fun:

FX758-2 5.8G 200mW 32CH FPV Wireless Audio Video AV Transmitter Module

USD 6.71
600TVL 1/4 1.8mm CMOS FPV 170 Degree Wide Angle Lens Camera PAL/NTSC 3.7-5V for RC Drone FPV Racing

USD 5.99
600TVL 1/4 CMOS 2.8mm 90 Degree FPV Camera PAL/NTSC 3.7-5V

USD 8.89
FPV 5.8GHz Micro CL TX Antenna Light Weight for RC Drone FPV Racing

USD 3.99

Keep in mind, that if you build the set yourself, you will also need a good power filter, such as the Pololu S7V8A, to avoid intereference from the brushed motors. My suggestion is the Quanum set if you want a simple solution.

Radio

If you do not have a DSM2 compatible radio yet, you have two possibilities. First you can get a DSM2 module, if you already have a Taranis or a similar radio:

OrangeRX DSMX DSM2 Compatible 2.4Ghz Transmitter Module V1.2 (JR/Turnigy/Taranis compatible)

USD

 

Or, if you really just want to try this build and your are looking for a cheap DSM2 radio just for trying this out, HobbyKing has this very cheap OrangeRX radio for you, which will work great:

OrangeRx T-SIX 2.4GHz DSM2 Compatible 6CH Transmitter w/10 Model Memory and 3-Pos Switch (Mode 2)

USD

 

There is also one from Banggood, if you prefer this vendor:

FsFly T-six 2.4GHz 6CH DSM2 Compatible Transmitter For RC Models

USD 75.99

 

That’s it, guys! Hope you liked this article and I do look forward to see more tiny brushed quadcopters in the air :-)


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