A simple to build foldable spider quad for AP and FPV

As some of you might have understood I’ve done some experiments with multirotor helicopters for the last couple of years. Mainly because I think it is extremely interesting what you can do when you combine these machines with cameras. Stuff like this:

And if you want the best images you need to be at the right place at the right time. And for images like this you need to be there with your copter. So the copter needs to be easy to carry.

IMG_0006 copy

I wanted to build a FPV quad that I could carry in my ground station case together with my radio and some batteries. I have built several mini-multirotors that fits in that space, but now I wanted to build a bigger quad that should be able to carry a bigger video Tx, gopro and even a Sony RX100.

IMG_0011 copy

I ended up building a foldable quad. So far I am very pleased with the result.

I’ve built several multirotors during the last two years. Quad, hexa, Y6, X8, tri, octo. I’ve built in wood, alu, carbon fiber and combinations.

But i like wood. It gives less jello in my recordings because it is slightly flexible so it absorbs some vibrations. And the flexibility also makes sure that it survives a lot of crashes. But it is not too flexible, so it is stable. And it is cheap. And environmentally friendly. Doesn’t block radio signals. Doesn’t transfer current. And it is easy to work with.

So, here is my wood based foldable quad:

There is a bit of jello in the recordings here. It is 2.7K @ 25p with no ND filter. Will probably get rid of it with some tweaking of the mount.

Update:
First FPV test flights. Now with GoPro Hero2 at 720@50p and a horribly misplaced ND filter. But: absolutely no jello!

The arms are tightened with four screws. Folding and unfolding takes approx 30 seconds.

Spec:
Motors: Sunnysky 2212 980 kv
ESC: HK F30A SimonK
FC: DJI Naza GPS
Props: 8 inch
Motor-to-motor: 58 cm
GoPro mount with Tilt
4S Batteries

Some images from the build:

A simple to build foldable spider quad for AP and FPV

26 thoughts on “A simple to build foldable spider quad for AP and FPV

  1. Yes, I’m controlling the gimbal directly from the receiver. I have experimented with the auto stabilisation in the Naza. It works very well, but with cheap direct drive gimbals like this one it is less than useful. Makes more vibrations than stabilisation.

    You need a proper belt driven gimbal if you want good auto stabilisation.

    I have it in there simply because I want to be able to tilt the camera down.

    Feel free to copy it! The wood I used is beech from Bauhaus (bøkelister: 13×13, 30×5 and 40×5)

  2. Kyrre Baker says:

    Even the over expensive Gaui Crane III are not any good with out the right controller so i understand. I’m waiting impatiently for the new “brushless gimbals”.

    Thank you for the description of the sizes. Makes it just a bit easier when i don’t have to guess :-)

  3. Nice build again! What kind of servos are you using? The 500 kr Hitec HS-5245MG is pretty good, used by some semi-expensive gimbals. Mine burned right away though, possible due to hangup. I have recently tracked down a couple of good servos from HK, the GWS Naro super and the Hitec HS-81. They are a lot smoother than average and won´t kill your budget.

  4. MArk says:

    Just stumbled upon your site cos of the moose video.. Im just thinking about getting into AP after having got a toy heli for christmas from my wife you knows Im a big kid!

    Im actually a film-maker by trade, based in Oslo, and have wondered about using some AP in my productions before. (I make corporate films) I even had a meeting with a few enthusiasts once, regarding a project (maybe one was you?)

    Anyway, IM just saying Hi, and maybe you can give me some advice sometime. Absolutely LOVE this wooden machine.. excellent!

  5. Luke Jarman says:

    Dear Eirik, I found your time lapse ‘One year in 40 seconds’ on Vimeo. Awesome mate. Would I be able to use part of it in a 15 second Television commercial please? I am from Sydney, Australia, it would be on air for 3 weeks.
    Cheers, Luke Jarman
    lukejarman@mac.com

  6. Neps says:

    Ser ut som at du har brukt en del tid på planleggingen her, ser f.eks hakkene på armene som passer fit stoppskruene osv. Likte også det at den er litt bredere bak slik at armene foldes inn og ligger paralelt med de forran.

    Har du fortsatt tegninger eller målene på dette bygget? Donorer gjerne en liten slant for å kunne bygge en kopi :)

  7. Har desverre ingen tegninger. Bygget en prototype og gikk så rett på denne. Men den fungerer så bra at jeg skal se om jeg får målt opp alt og laget en tegning.

    Hakkene i armene er en løsning jeg er fornøyd med. Det hele er jo bygget for hånd, så da blir det ikke 100% nøyaktig. Ved å file ut hakkene litt kunne jeg etterjustere for eventuelle unøyaktigheter og sørge for at rammen er så symmetrisk som mulig når den er slått ut.

    Får nok ikke laget tegninger med det aller første. Men siden det blir mye ekstra jobb for meg å bygge en ny om jeg mister denne før jeg har målt og tegnet så bør jeg jo får gjort det om ikke så alt for lenge…

  8. Neps says:

    Ok. Jeg tror det skal gå fint å få til noe bare utifra bildene dine også. Det gopro festet med tilt, Hva heter det/hvor er det kjøpt fra?

    Bruker du gopro både til opptak og fpv? (ser ikke noe eget fpv kamera)

  9. neokiller62 says:

    Hello,
    Could you publish another picture from the underside fully mounted because i don’t understand where the dampeners are fixed…
    Thank you

  10. TurboBiff says:

    I’d also like to see the pictures that neokiller62 asks for. Do you mount the battery on the same dampened layer as the camera is mounted? If so, why? If not, why not?

    Thanks for great guides, I’ve built both the nrkbeta quad and your foldable guides. Both fly very nicely.

  11. I’ve now added several images of the dampeners and the platform. I mount the battery on the platform together with the camera. I want as much weight as possible together with the camera. That helps soften the vibrations.

  12. And: I’ve now crashed it seriously for the first time. It behaved very well. The arms folded and the only damage was a broken prop and a damaged motor mount.

    It took me 15 minutes to make and install an new motor mount.

  13. ali hashemi says:

    Hi Eirikso,
    I congratulate you.
    I think it’s great what you’ve done.
    One question still:
    How high can fly your unit?
    How much you have to invest in order to build something simple?
    Of course without camera.
    Much success to ongoing construction and update.
    With best regards

    Ali Hashemi

  14. In Norway it’s not allowed to do recreational RC flying above 400 feet. But technically a quad like this can go much higher than that.

    Approx Price:
    Motors: 4×20=$80
    ESCs: 4*10=$40
    DJI Naza/GPS: $400,- (But will fly beautifully with a Naze32, $60 or a KK2, $30)
    Then you add a couple of dollars for props, cables, batteries etc.

    For FPV:
    Camera: $40,-
    Vtx: $100,-
    OSD: $10,-
    Power Supply: $15,-

  15. odin says:

    hei! det er odin her, hadde det vært mulig å kjøpt et relativt billig helikopter av deg? eller drone? maks 2500

  16. William says:

    Hi Eric,

    Can you recommend a good gimbal setup to use with the Sony Rx 100? I am going to be using the NAZA-M VERSION 2 as a FC. Any help setting up a Sony Rx100 to a F550 platform would be appreciated. Thanks!

  17. Hei Erik

    Vet du om det er mulig å installere varmesøkende kamera på en quad? Tenker å benytte det i søk etter savnede ( mini politihelikoper :P )

    Har lenge lett etter kombinasjon av FPV kamera/varmesøkende/ir..

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