Building an F450 Quadcopter – Day 4 – Frame Assembly

My daughter was finally able to fit me into her schedule we had a date for 9:30am on Saturday.

We spent a little bit of time on Friday night trying to work out the best way to piece everything together.  To my surprise the APM 2.6 was too large to fit onto the PDB without sitting on the solder joints, and there was definitely no room for the damping plate.  

After much debate, and taking advice from the FB Quadtopers page, we finally decided there was no option but to switch places and put the battery inside and the APM on top.

IMG_1537

Satan’s torture device

First task of the day was assembly of the damping plate.

Let me just say, for the record, the person who came up with the idea of forcing those little squishy balls into those tiny holes on the plates is an agent of Satan.  Getting those things forced through 8 holes without tearing them took almost 45 minutes and included some serious tongue biting to avoid teaching S some bad habits.

IMG_1527

Frame assembly

While I was busy cursing the damping plate S. was busy attaching the frame spars to PDB and then flipping it over and starting on the top plate. Blue loctite was used to keep things secure but not permanent.

IMG_1538With that done it was time for us to attach the motors and secure the ESCs to the frame with zip ties.  Pushing in those little bullet connectors was tough, especially after the punishment my digits suffered putting the damping plate together.

IMG_1539Had I been more confident I would have cut the wires shorter before soldering to the PDB, which would have left less slack.  But with some zip ties we were able to make them secure, if not exactly pretty.

At this point we were ready to attach the flight controller, power module and battery and start configuring.  Getting to this point had taken us to 11:30.  I was all for pressing on but S said “No, I don’t want to finish it yet.  I’m enjoying building it with you”.  Awww!

We talked about what the next steps are and how the flight controller works with the ESCs to control the motors.  This was easy for her because we had built a robot with a Raspberry Pi, so she understands that the power cannot all flow through the computer.  We also took a look at the Turnigy 9X transmitter, which is very different from the Phantom one that she has used before.

9xNoting that the throttle doesn’t spring to the center she asked “How do we make it hover?”

This was a question that I didn’t have an answer for, but a quick look on the Arducopter site and know we know that in loiter or altitude hold mode the throttle just has to be within 40-60% range and it will hold altitude.

For once it is my calendar that is getting in the way.  I have a very busy week ahead and it doesn’t look likely that I will get around to doing anything significant until next weekend at the earliest.

If I’m lucky I will be able to bench test the motors before then.  I might have to sneakily do that before next weekend, as it would be nice to then do that again with S watching and know that it is going to work 🙂

*** Pro Tip ***

curvedUsing a pair of bent nose pliers makes putting the little squishy balls in place simple.  I wish I had those the first time around – I could have avoided a lot of cursing.

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1 Comment

Filed under Building Multirotors, Children, Education

One response to “Building an F450 Quadcopter – Day 4 – Frame Assembly

  1. Love this: “No, I don’t want to finish it yet. I’m enjoying building it with you”

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