Acrobatic tricopter inspired by the Oblivion movie trailer

tricopter

There have been a ton of commercials for the new [Tom Cruise] movie called Oblivion. One of the main points in every clip we remember seeing is the Top Gun meets Star Trek vehicle he does some tricks in. [James Cotton] loved that footage and ended up building his own RC version of the vehicle.

Three propellers give it lift, with directional control facilitated by servo motors which can pivot the motors attached to the two orange propellers. This design produces remarkably responsive controls as shown in the video after the break. That being said it’s still not immune to operator error. At the end of the clip [James] crashes it hard, stripping out the gears on the servo motors.

He has a few things in mind for the future of the device (and he’ll have plenty of time to plan while he waits for replacement servos to arrive). The aircraft should be able to carry a camera long with it. He discusses the issues involved with where the camera ends up pointing based on what the tilting motors are doing. But we figure he could always build a base that lets the camera pan and tilt separately from the chassis.

You can find a few tricopter projects around here but we’ve always like the one made of cardboard.

Comments

  1. sonofabit says:

    love the ending :) great project

  2. Nick says:

    Reminds me of one of the ships in Terminator

  3. mrxavia says:

    Nice idea… I had been thinking of doing the front servo idea, but the addition of the tail rotor is a great idea for stability

  4. ino says:

    nice build, crappy video.

  5. James Cotton says:

    Haha, sorry about the crappy video. I’ll try and shoot another when it’s fixed and post it here.

    @mrxavia – i think the coolest thing would be a variable pitch prop on the back so then it can fly with the tail straight up or down.

  6. David says:

    Could use a bamboo skewer as a sacrificial linkage that saves the servo gears by breaking first. small cheep easily replaceable easer to get a hold of than servos. it also may have a torsional rotation that allows bending instead of breaking. Similar to F1 rear suspension system.

  7. vladimir rugelindin says:

    asange said: can someone build this in a gummimotor version? …rubber powered for educative goals?

  8. parko says:

    oops…

  9. Geebles says:

    I really like it, it should be able to hover very steady if the microcontroller can deal with them and make small adjustments because then you have 3 servos and 3 motors and if they’re all in sync it should be able to correct itself in a very agile way!
    Its a shame those mounts are so big and heavy! A lighter alternative wouldn’t be a bad idea.. for protection see this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0biXFNXYNnM

  10. James Cotton says:

    Sorry about the crappy video. I’ll take a better one once it is repaired.

    @Geebles yeah i agree, the mounts are way too heavy :( i need to set up some bearings with a cantilever system – i just couldn’t find any bearing for the 450 tubes. Sparky works really well for stabilizing it. I just got the stuff to flash the ESCs which should tighten it up.

    What I’m really excited to try is adding a VPP to the tail so it can to a handstand or keep the tail down. I like the idea of the ball actually for that – cause then it can site on teh ground hanging within it’s cage.

  11. peabody124 says:

    Sorry about the crappy video. I’ll take a better one once it is repaired.

    @Geebles yeah i agree, the mounts are way too heavy :( i need to set up some bearings with a cantilever system – i just couldn’t find any bearing for the 450 tubes. Sparky works really well for stabilizing it. I just got the stuff to flash the ESCs which should tighten it up.

    What I’m really excited to try is adding a VPP to the tail so it can to a handstand or keep the tail down. I like the idea of the ball actually for that – cause then it can site on teh ground hanging within it’s cage.

  12. Stryker says:

    It’s a fantastic setup! Although, at the end—”Whoops” is right!

  13. baobrien says:

    Why only the one post? What happened to all of the other HaD staff?

  14. Vonskippy says:

    Nice build site and project, but terrible video (way too busy a background so most of the video is nothing more then looking at his backyard with something tiny buzzing around it).

  15. Bloodlock says:

    It could tilt the motors 90° forward…. and with some wings… fly like an airplane… =P

  16. bzroom says:

    I dont think he would need to tilt the camera to control its pitch. I think he has enough control to control the copters pitch and fly in any direction. I think that’s the whole point of the design. If the props were fixed, he could not control the independently, but because they can rotate, he should be able to use that to control the camera/coptor pitch.

  17. Genesis says:

    You should add A lifting body cover to your prop struts and main fuselage, Increase lift while the rotors are tilted

  18. Reminds me more of a V-22 Osprey than the Oblivion craft. Even an Osprey flares up nose high in order to decelerate.

  19. Rich says:

    Now give the horizontal booms an aerofoil profile, and It will actually fly

  20. Rick says:

    wouldnt one of the spring-type servo savers like used for the steering gear of RC cars work well in this case?

    • James Cotton says:

      Man, that’s a really good idea. It might be hard to find one that is light, but with a servos in the center design that would be brilliant for surviving crashes.

  21. daniel says:

    Hey James, really like your design! Fun project, thanks for posting a parts list on your site (and a crappy video of it flying =). Good job!

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