The World’s Lightest Brushless FPV Quadcopter

When a claim is made for something being the world’s lightest it is easy to scoff, after all that’s a bold assertion to make. It hasn’t stopped [fishpepper] though, who claims to have made the world’s lightest brushless FPV quadcopter. Weighing in at 32.4 grams (1.143 oz) it’s certainly pretty light.

The frame is a circular design cut from carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer, and on it are mounted four tiny brushless motors. In the center are the camera and battery on a 3D printed mount, as well as custom flight and speed controller boards. There are a series of posts detailing some of the design steps, and the result is certainly a capable aircraft for something so tiny. If you fancy experimenting with the design yourself, the files are available for download on the first page linked above.

There are two aspects to this build that make it interesting to us. First, the lightest in the world claim. We think someone will come along with something a bit lighter, and we can’t wait to see a lightest multirotor arms race. Good things come of technology races, which brings us to the second aspect. Governments are busy restricting the use of larger multirotors, to the extent that in some parts of the world all that will be available for non professionals will be sub-200g toy craft. Any project like this one which aims to push the boundaries of what is possible with smaller multirotors is thus extremely interesting, and we hope the community continue to innovate in this direction if only to make a mockery of any restrictions.

To get some idea of the sort of legislative measures we might be seeing, take a look at our coverage of a consultation in just one country.

28 thoughts on “The World’s Lightest Brushless FPV Quadcopter

  1. Wow I love the look of it, as well as how lightweight they managed to make it. This is the sorta thing I’ve wanted to see made ever since I first learned of quadcopters.

  2. “Any project like this one which aims to push the boundaries of what is possible with smaller multirotors is thus extremely interesting, and we hope the community continue to innovate in this direction if only to make a mockery of any restrictions.”

    Bad apples have been “spoiling” it for many people across many things for as long as there have been people. Blame the apples not the reaction.

    1. “Blame the apples not the reaction.”

      Blame the idiot operators for inciting the reaction, but blame the reactors for their typical knee-jerk, baseless over-reaction and resulting ridiculous legislation to show they are “protecting us” from a non-threat brought to undue public attention by technically clueless media hype encouraged by government. The sky is a very, very, VERY large space and the KNOWN problem is BIRDS, not R/C aircraft of ANY kind as statistics and the safety record of R/C flight since it inception CLEARLY prove.

      https://www.mercatus.org/system/files/Dourado-Wildlife-Strikes-MOP-v2.pdf

      A problem is that so many even within the R/C community buy into the hype and don’t even bother to investigate for themselves.

      1. Not arguing one way or another on regulation, but if your evidence for regulation being excessive is the excellent safety record collected in said excessive regulatory environment, then you don’t actually have proof of your point.

    1. …..Most of them.
      The following should cover most readers.
      https://www.caa.co.uk/Consumers/Model-aircraft-and-drones/Flying-drones/
      https://www.faa.gov/uas/media/Part_107_Summary.pdf
      https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviation/opssvs/flying-drone-safely-legally.html
      http://www.phantompilots.com/threads/drone-laws-in-germany.53975/
      http://dronelife.com/2016/03/17/japan-passes-strict-drone-laws-ahead-of-g7-summit/
      https://www.casa.gov.au/aircraft/landing-page/flying-drones-australia

      Multicopters & RC planes are increasingly being treated more like commercial or traditional hobby manned aircraft rather than RC toys in the eyes of the law. Some countries (Thailand) ban the use of cameras on Multicopters

      1. Picking the UK and CA ones they seem to just be enforcing quite sensible (and quite possibly) already existing regulations ? RC toys tend not to invade privacy or cause interference to airports/airspace.
        Line-of-site might be a bit archaic with FPV, but if you’re out of range of your ‘drone’ to see it, you’re no longer in control of it and that would be irresponsible (edge cases aside).

        1. Getting below 500 gram with your quad is very important. It is very sensible not to fly 5 miles of an airport of course. However every helipad or heliport used or not is considered an airport so one would have to contact all of them if you like to fly within their 5 mile radius. Any populated area east or west coast is covered by many helipads. Most of them cannot be reached or tell you that they oppose any flight anytime of a drone so your are grounded. You also need to be a member of a community based organisation to fly within 5 miles even with permission. I have 7 around me I have to drive 3 hours to find a spot that is not covered. NO wait that is a State park Quads banned as well. Look at the B4Yfly app of the FAA or AirMAP that gives you all the telephone numbers to contact. Also our local PDs are thrilled to question and trying to confiscate your drone,.even if you stand in a middle of an RC club flying field.

  3. You’d need to ditch the off-the-shelf motors if you wan to win that race. Carbon nanotube fibre can outperform copper. Laying down the conductors and components directly onto the frame is another obvious improvement. Like most things, it is really just a question of how much time and money you are willing to spend on it.

          1. The thing with brushed motors is that they do not last very long. They run at crazy rpms and are specced to last 1-2hours at those speeds. The brushes simply wear out. The pepperf1sh hovers ~6minutes with a 200mAh battery, thats quite good actually. Flight time really depends on the way how hard you fly, but i expect >3 minutes.
            My brushed Tinywhoop (25g incl battery) flies ~3minutes with the same battery.
            For indoor racing practice this is enough, at least i am quite happy to get a short break after 3 minutes.
            And for brushless, this is indeed the lightest fpv quadcopter so far.

  4. Thanks for posting this! I put a lot of effort into getting this thing that light. It is using a custom designed flight controller that integrates the receiver and a custom designed 4in1 esc (open hardware). The whole quadcopter uses only open hardware electronics and open source software (the esc design will be published soon).

    Sure, you can go lighter than this. But it has to be affordable and I wanted to use parts that everyone can buy or will be able to buy soon as someone will probably build and sell the open hardware fc and esc sooner or later. Also keep in mind that those copters crash a lot (at least i do), so having the PCB a structural element is a no-go for me.

    I am still trying to push the limits, maybe 30grams is possible, who knows. But for now there is no brushless quadcopter close to this. When i started to work on this, speaking about a decent flying 1S brushless quadcopter made people smile at me — nobody thought this could actually be flyable. It has a thrust to weight ratio of around 3:1, so it flies quite well for indoor. Not a racer (they usually have a ttw ratio >10:1!) but much better than those tiny brushed toys.

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