So, i got the idea of a quadcopter in my mind. I wanted one. Started building. Full video blog at the end of the post.
Finally i decided to go for a MultiWii Mini Quadcopter. I chose MultiWii because it's the most adaptable. It is completely open source, and can run on any Arduino. I went for a mini, well, basically for budget reasons. I expected more crashes in the beginning, and smaller stuff is just cheaper.
Fortunately for me, right when i was in the planning stage, the guys at Farnell.com contacted me with a sponsorship offer. So i got an Arduino Uno from them. Thanks Farnell!!. I know it's not the most ideal flight controller, especially because of it's weight. But for testing, its ideal. On board usb, breadbord cable connections, power regulator, and more. That gave me a platform to start messing around with Multiwii and the sensors.
So i bought a Wii Motion Plus and a Nunchuck second hand, picked up the dremel, and started hacking away the casings. After some more wire cutting, and unsoldering the nunchuck analog stick, i had 2 nice sensor boards to attach to the Multiwii Arduino Uno setup.
After that i only needed the props, motors, speed controllers, and Transmitter/receiver!
And a frame. Warning: Its unconventional, and not ideal, but working pretty well for me so far. I decided to try and build it as cheaply as possible, with materials i had at hand.
So i decided to build it from protoboard and old 10mbps networkcards and videocards :)
I made a basic layout for the arms, and just started hacking away.
Then the struts for the arms added, and screwed to the base board
Took a day or 2 to build everything together
After that i started the tuning, with washline tests among others. Washline test is to remove 2 propellers and attach the quadcopter to 2 solid points with rope or very tight springs/rubber. Then test reactions on one axis at a time.
Also necessary is setting up the esc's. They need to be configured, either with a programming box, or by directly connecting it to the receiver. This is vital, since the ESC's are preprogrammed for planes usually, so they will stop running when the voltage gets too low. Thats not good, motors stop, quad becomes brick...
Another thing that needs setting on the ESC's is the throttle range. That is to make sure the all speed up equally fast. Otherwise it can seem top hover well, but flip to one side once you hit the throttle.
After this, Flying time! I was amazed about how well it works! Very stable considering its only using gyroscopes, and pretty speedy. I did notice a quick loss of thrust but there is still weight to be saved. The arms can be a bit smaller, and the Arduino Uno will be replaced with a much lighter board. But this is definitely a project that will be improved upon!
If you got this far, thanks for reading it all, and i hoped it helped.