Full-Scale Flying DeLorean Gets Closer To Liftoff

These days, even hobbyist multi-rotor aircraft are capable of carrying considerable payloads. For example, the test rig that [Brian Brocken] recently put together should be able to loft more than 80 pounds (36 kilograms) without breaking a sweat. That would be a whole lot of camera gear or other equipment, but in this case, he’s planning on carrying something a bit more interesting: a full-scale foam DeLorean.

We first covered this project in December of last year, when [Brian] started using a massive robotic arm to carefully cut the body and individual parts of the car out of expanded polystyrene foam. He estimated at the time the body should weigh in at less than 30 lbs (14 kg), so he’d need to build a quadcopter with a maximum lift of roughly twice that much to keep the performance where he wanted it.

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$12 Quadcopter Frame From PVC Pipe

Flying ready-made quadcopters is fun. Eventually, though, most hackers get the urge to build their own. One of the most challenging parts is building a robust airframe. [Thomas Jarrett] has an interesting approach: he uses schedule 21 PVC pipe to build a sturdy airframe that is inexpensive and can house the craft’s electronics to boot. You can see a video of the sizeable aircraft, below.

The 1″ pipe is lightweight but sturdy and big enough to hold some circuitry. The rest is secured with Lexan. [Thomas] used off the shelf avionics, but it is obvious you could use the frame with your own choice of flight systems easily.

Perhaps the trickiest part is flattening the PVC for the motor mounts over a stove. The landing gear are also PVC, and formed in boiling water. Just be careful since hot PVC can give off nasty¬†fumes (we aren’t experts on that, but it makes sense that it would be; you can watch a video about safety when heating PVC pipe). The total cost, including some prototyping parts, was under $300.

We’ve talked about building up drones in the past. If you don’t like PVC, you could always try old motherboards.

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