Frankensteined X4 Quad is Brought Back to Life

x4 quadcopter wood frame

As kids we’ve all let a friend use a toy only to have it returned broken. That was such a bummer! At least that was years ago though…. well not for [Tom]. He had a Hubsan X4 mini quadcopter that he had crashed into all sorts of things. The little quad held up good against all of the beatings so [Tom] didn’t think too much about letting his pal take it for a test drive. Thirty seconds later, several separate pieces of the quad were laying in the dirt.

A new X4 was ordered but there was some time to kill waiting for it to show up. Since the electronics seemed to be intact and only the frame was broken [Tom] decided to try his hand at making a new frame. Keeping costs under control is an important part of any project and this one was no different. The frame would be made of cheap and rigid 5mm plywood. The only potential problem would be the weight. [Tom] cut out a piece of the plywood and weighed it, then measured the volume and calculated the density of the wood. The wood’s density was used to estimate the final weight of new plywood frame designs and shapes. This worked so well that the newly built quad only weighed more than the original by 0.31 grams, less than 1% increase in the total weight!

Admittedly, the plywood quad is slow and flies a little clunky but overall this is a great project that saved this toy from the scrap heap. [Tom] now also has a dedicated ‘loaner’ quad in case any other friends want to try multi-rotor flying. Check out the video below.

If you like building or modding Hubsan X4’s you may like the mini quad from scratch.

Comments

  1. Galane says:

    0.31 grams heavier? Looks like it could be trimmed down by slimming up the arms on the plywood and rounding all the edges to improve airflow and reduce resistance to the airflow. Might end up lighter than the original.

  2. Joee says:

    Why use 5mm plywood? I’d use 1/8th balsa..

  3. Shez says:
  4. echodelta says:

    In this case, harpsichord or psaltery wire. Def not aero.

  5. Thinkerer says:

    Step 1. Make it work ☑
    Step 2. Whittle away excess weight/thrust interference.☐
    Step 3. Whittle away just a little too much ☐

    Remember, if it isn’t broken, it hasn’t been fixed enough.

  6. Eric says:

    All I have to say about this is that this quadcopter and whatever was used to record the audio make this sound like a sound of pissed off alien killer bees or something.

  7. Stu says:

    I have owned three or four of these crappy little quads. Each and every one of them suffered a catastrophic ‘speed controller’ failure (basically cheap transistors) and was rendered unflyable. I wouldnt mind if I had caused it by crashing, but at least two of them just died mid flight not hitting anything!
    They dont appear to have any protective back emf diodes or similar circuitry AFAIK.
    Anybody have any luck replacing the speed controllers on the boards? I dont have the kit to desolder the minuscule little components needed.

  8. Hirudinea says:

    Reminds of the $6 Million Dollar Flashback in Family Guy “We can rebuild him, we have the technology, but I don’t want to spend a lot of money.” Nice job though, with just what he had laying around, and since this thing is so cheap if you had a 3D printer you could make personalized quadcopters.

  9. Jane says:

    I’m quite curious to know what his friend did to physically break the frame.

    I’ve had a couple of mine for several months now with near daily use, and have crashed them into walls at 35-40kph from my estimations. The props break often, but I’ve never had the frame actually break. Considering the minuscule inertia and built-in shock absorbing features, I just can’t see this thing being broken whilst in-flight.

  10. Jonathan says:

    Buy JXD 385 instead! Cant understand why one would spend more money on Hubsan when 385 is better.

    Never heard of any ‘speed controller failure’ on the 385 model. Me and my friends own a lot of them and should have seen it by now.

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