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X-Wing Tri-Rotor Brings Star Wars to Life

xwing

Once you realize you can make almost anything fly if you strap a big enough prop and motor to it, you really start thinking outside of the box. That’s what [Rodger] did and he’s come up with this very impressive 19lb, 5′ long X-Wing Fighter from Star Wars.

Recently [Rodger] has found new joy in making movie props come to life with the help of today’s technology. He started with Project Thunderball — a flying James Bond mannequin with a jet pack. From there he brought us the Marty McFly working hover-board, and now an X-Wing Fighter, his biggest flying machine yet.

It measures about 5 feet long, and is a tri-rotor design with three 100A ESCs, 1200W 1050KV motors, and 12″ rotors. The frame is made of PVC to conserve weight. Since it’s a tri-rotor with true vectored thrust, the X-Wing features much better yaw than quadrotors. Then only problem is it pivots around the odd prop out, meaning in this case, the X-Wing turns on its nose — instead of its tail.

Regardless, we can’t wait to see what [Rodger] tries flying next! Stick around to see the X-Wing in action.

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An absurdly small tri-copter

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The team behind the Femtoduino – an extraordinarily small repackaging of the Arduino – sent in a few videos from YouTuber [phineasIV], a.k.a. [Eric] that shows one of the smallest multicopters we’ve ever seen.

Because this isn’t a traditional quad or hexcopter, the control system is a little weird. Two of the motors and props are fixed along the vertical axis, while the rear prop is connected to a small servo to rotate from side to side. Still, the electronics are fairly standard for any multi rotor vehicle – a triple-axis gyro provides the stability of the vehicle coupled with MultiWii, while an amazingly small servo receiver, Bluetooth module,, Femtoduino, and a trio of brushless ESCs tie everything together.

The end result is a tri-copter that weighs about the same as the Crazyflie Nano Quadcopter, but is just a bit smaller. As impressive as it is on video (seen below), we’d love to see this tiny robotic hummingbird in person.

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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.

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The $100 tri-copter

We’ve seen lots of budget tri-copters, but $100 seems like a heck of a deal to us! Watching this video, you can see this home made tri-copter is incredibly agile and seems to handle quite well. Whats amazing is that [hallstudio] claims that it cost roughly $100. That price is really good compared to even the cheapest multi copters out there.

Much of the manufacturing cost associated with this kind of thing has been removed as the body is just cheap wood from the local hardware store. He even did an admittedly sloppy rig for his tail rotor, not that it looks like it has hurt his performance.  One cool feature is the fact that you can fold the front arms backward, allowing for the tri-copter to be shoved into a bag for easy transportation.

You can find a complete parts list on his video, but it looks like maybe his cost doesn’t figure in the cost of the radio controller. There are no build instructions, but a quick google search leads us to the rcexplorer tricopter which seems to be the template he used. There are full build details there.

 

[via Hackedgadgets]

Cardboard framed tricopter

Talk about reducing the costs of a build, this tricopter uses cardboard as a frame and has one less motor than its quadcopter relatives. There are almost no details other than those shared in the video after the break so we’re just going to guess based on what we see (feel free to share your own insight in the comments).

The smooth curves of this integrated landing pad makes us thing the frame was cut either with a CNC device or a utility-knife wielding ninja. Two of the three motor supports look just like what is shown above, but the third has a hinged mounting bracket attached to a servo motor. This way the propeller can be tilted around an axis running parallel to the support arm. We’d bet this feature is mainly for adjusting the yaw of the aircraft.

The video comments mention that this can hover when the throttle is at 45%, showing that there’s a lot lift available when needed. That is until you really weigh it down by adding plastic cages around the propellers. It’s kind of neat to see the thing ‘sticking’ to the ceiling at the end of that clip by driving the throttle wide open and using the cages as top-sided landing gear.

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Target hunting UAV armed with fireworks

Don’t just build a UAV, use it to blow things up. In this case a tri-copter seeks out colored balloons and pops them using low-grade fireworks. We’ve seen this type of flying armament before, but not in a ‘copter form factor. It looks like the targeting and firing is done by an operator, and is not an automated system despite what the text overlays on the video after the break says. The lack of autonomous firing capability makes this delightful, rather than scary. Don’t miss the build log for the tri-copter itself. How do you think this one stacks up to the last 3-bladed build?

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Tri-rotor helicopter with full autopilot

Quadcopters stand aside, here’s a three-rotor helicopter we think you’re going to love. The body is made out of plywood and carbon fiber rods, keeping it light enough to be easily lifted by just 3 motors while making sure the force doesn’t tear the aircraft apart. Three gyroscopes, two accelerometers, three magnetometers, and a GPS module are all used in conjunction for an autopilot system. There’s a lot of great pictures and videos but our favorite, embedded after the break, shows the tricopter writing messages in the sky using light and camera exposure tricks similar to this ground-based trike.

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