Turning four smaller helicopters into one larger quadcopter

copter

There’s a reason we’ve seen a menagerie of quadcopters over the past few years – the key piece of any quadcopter build is an inertial measurement unit. Historically a very complicated and expensive piece of kit, these IMUs came down in price a few years back, allowing anyone with a few dollars in their pocket and a handful of brushless motors to build a four-bladed drone in their workshop.

[Starlino] built a few quadcopters, but he wanted to shy away from IMUs and get most of the mass of his new ‘copter over the center of the chassis. He came up with a design he calls the quadhybrid that can be built out of a quartet of those cheap 3-channel helicopter toys.

Most of the lift for [Starlino]‘s quadhybrid comes from a pair of coaxial rotors from a Syma 001 3-channel helicopter toy. Anyone who has played with one of these toy helicopters knows how stable they are; if the tail rotor breaks, you’re left with a helicopter that can only go up and down.

To give his quadhybrid a few degrees of freedom, he attached four tail rotors from 3-channel helis to a few booms laid out in a cross pattern. By taking the receiver out of a 4-channel helicopter and adding his own controller board, [Starlino] made each of the tail rotors control the pitch and roll of the craft.

In the video after the break, you can see the quadhybrid is amazingly stable even without an IMU and surprisingly agile. As [Starlino]‘s ‘copter can be made out of replacement parts for cheap 3-channel helis, we’ll expect a rush on these tail motors at your favorite online RC retailer very shortly.

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Propeller based UAV helicopter

I guess we’re on a UAV kick – I ran across this one when I was looking for interesting propeller projects. [Glenn]‘s building this one based on a R/C helicopter he picked up. Both the controller and the heli recieved a propeller chip, along with a pretty standard array of navigation sensors for the heli. It’s a work in progress, but sometimes those are the most inspiring.

IR Helicopter Tracking


[Lyle] sent in some of his work with mini-copters. This rig was built to test control methods with his mini-copter UAV. I’m hoping that some attention here will get him to document a bit of his home testing for us. (He’s working on some bigger systems professionally, so I’m not sure if he will.) The test rig uses an IR camera to measure pitch, yaw and three dimensional positioning 120 times a second.