Tilt-Rotor Plane Needs Flight Controller Hack to Get Airborne

Part of the charm of quadcopters is the challenge that building and flying them presents. In need of complex sensors and computational power to just get off the ground and under tremendous stresses thanks to their massively powerful motors, they often seem only barely controlled in flight. Despite these challenges, quadcopter flight has been reduced to practice in many ways, leaving hobbyists in search of another challenge.

[Tom Stanton] is scratching his creative itch with this radio-controlled tilt-rotor airplane that presents some unique problems and opportunities. Tilt-rotor planes are, as the name implies, able to swivel their propellors and transition them from providing forward thrust to providing verticle lift. With the rotors providing lift, the aircraft is able to hover and perform vertical take-off and landing (VTOL); switched to thrust mode, wings provide the lift for horizontal flight.

[Tom]’s realization of this design seems simple – a spar running through the wing holding BLDC motors and props is swiveled through 90° by a servo to transition the aircraft. Standard control surfaces on the wings and tail take care of horizontal flight. Actually getting an off-the-shelf flight controller to deal with the transitions was tricky. [Tom] ended up adding an Arduino to intercept the PWM signals the flight controller normally sends directly to the servos and speed controls to provide the coordination needed for a smooth transition. Full details in the video below, and some test flights which show that an RC VTOL is anything but a beginner’s plane.

[Tom] is proving himself to be quite the Renaissance man these days. Between air-powered piston engines, over-balance trebuchets, and popping the perfect wheelie, he seems to have covered all the bases and done his best to keep our tip line stocked.

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A cat elevator, for the discerning lazy feline in your life

crazy_cat_elevator

Ah, to live the life of a cat. The lazing about, the food delivered on demand, and the elevators – oh the glorious elevators.

No you didn’t misread and we haven’t gone crazy. We were sent a link to the video below just the other day, and while it is nearly two years old, it was new to us. From the very brief description on YouTube, it looks as if the elevator senses the cat’s entry using infrared, locking the door behind the cat before transporting it to another level of the house. While it’s often implied that cats are incredibly lazy, this contraption definitely takes things above and beyond the norm.

It’s a pretty ridiculous system if you ask us, but it’s pretty compelling just the same. If you can find any more information on it, we’d love to hear about it in the comments. If you can’t, feel free to speculate as to how you would build a cat elevator, or elaborate on the crazy contraptions you’ve built for the lazy felines in your life.

[Thanks, Andreas]

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