3D printed Quadcopter project
3D printed Quadcopter project

This Instructable was made as a requirement for the Makecourse at the University of South Florida. Using the Xlab, a new engineering and technology lab located at USF, the quadcopter was printed using the 3D advanced printers.

Step 1: Brushless Motors

3D printed Quadcopter project
3D printed Quadcopter project

I used the Axi GOLD LINE brushless motors for speed, 500 size airplanes and .25 glow conversions. When you upload your code. These motors run fast and will jump off your work table if your not careful. Gives a scare the first time your code works.

Technical Specs

2.7 oz. weight, 1-3/8" diameter, 1-3/8" case length, 4mm shaft diameter.

High torque motors for models 21 to 53 ounces.Kv (RPM/V)

Prop Battery Controller Airplane Type 1490 9.5x5 8x5

2-3 LiPo 6-10 Nixx

30 Amp

21-53 oz. Sport

Step 2: Electronic Speed Controllers (ESC)

3D printed Quadcopter project

This specific step is the most tricky. Normally, the Proton 30A speed controllers are used with only the manufacturers or 3rd party programming card to arm your controllers. Unfortunately there is no easy way around the trial and error of arming your controllers. Arming your speed controllers is the same procedure of programming your speed controllers to work with your transmitter, like FUTABA, on your RC controller device. Using the Proton ESC, I used a trial and error system to find the specific variables, like speed, timing , and angle that will translate that data into usable data to arm the ESC from the Arduino Uno Microcontroller. I have included the codes and variables in the next step.

Technical Data

.1 Output: Continuous 30A, Burst 40A up to 10 Secs.

1.2 Input Voltage: 2-4 cells lithium battery or 5-12 cells NiCd/NIMh battery. 1.3 BEC: 2A / 5V (Linear mode). 1.4 Max Speed: 210,000rpm for 2 Poles BLM, 70,000rpm for 6 poles BLM, 35,000rpm for 12 poles BLM. (BLM: BrushLess Motor) 1.5 Size: 45mm (L) * 24mm (W) * 11mm (H). 1.6 Weight: 25g. 2 Features 2.1 Safety Arming Feature: Regardless the throttle stick position, the motor will not spin after battery connected. 2.2 Throttle Calibration: Throttle range can be configured to provide best throttle linearity, fully compatible with all market available transmitters. 2.3 Programmable Items: - Brake Setting: brake enabled / brake disabled. - Battery Type: Li-xx(Li-ion or LiPo) / Ni-xx(NiMh or NiCd). - Low Voltage Protection Mode(Cutoff Mode): Gradually reduce the output power / Cutoff the output power. - Low Voltage Cutoff Protection Threshold (Cutoff Threshold): low / medium / high. - Start Mode: normal / soft / very soft. - Timing: low / medium / high. - Reset: reset all the programmable items to their default settings. 2.4 Full Protection Features: Low voltage cutoff protection / Over-heat protection / Throttle signal lost protection. 3 Advantages 3.1 Military standard capacitor of extreme low resistance increases the ability of prevention of unwanted RF noise during flying. 3.2 Extreme low resistance PCB is helpful for getting a super current endurance capability. 3.3 Microprocessor uses separate voltage regulator IC, with good anti-jamming capability. 3.4 Compatible with Hobbywing's program card

3D printed Quadcopter project
brushless_motor_code.ino130 bytes

Step 3: Power Source and Regulator

3D printed Quadcopter project
3D printed Quadcopter project

For this project, I used a 2 pack, 2 cell in series lithium polymer or Li-Po batteries with 15.7 volts. I regulated the voltage through a linear voltage regulator with an output of 8V to protect the Arduino Uno. The Uno has a maximum votage of 12 volts and does have a regulator in the microcontroller but the recommended voltage is between 7V-12V.

The ESC can withstand a much higher voltage and so I applied the 15.7V to the ESC and from the ESC to the brushless motor.

Step 4: Arduino Uno with Code

3D printed Quadcopter project

The Arduino Uno or the Arduino Mega microcontroller is used in this instructable. The Arduino Uno is a microcontroller board based on the ATmega328. It has 14 digital input/output pins (of which 6 can be used as PWM outputs), 6 analog inputs, a 16 MHz ceramic resonator, a USB connection, a power jack, an ICSP header, and a reset button. It contains everything needed to support the microcontroller; simply connect it to a computer with a USB cable or power it with a AC-to-DC adapter or battery to get started.

A servo library is used to program the ESC with a few commands that you can find in your Arduino library when you upload the software. Pin 9 is used to send the command from the code to the speed controller to control the speed of the propellers.

// this uses the Arduino servo library included with version 0012

// caution, this code sweeps the motor up to maximum speed ! // make sure the motor is mounted securily before running.


Servo myservo;

void arm(){ // arm the speed controller, modify as necessary for your ESC setSpeed(0); delay(1000); //delay 1 second, some speed controllers may need longer }

void setSpeed(int speed){ // speed is from 0 to 100 where 0 is off and 100 is maximum speed

//the following maps speed values of 0-100 to angles from 0-180, // some speed controllers may need different values, see the ESC instructions int angle = map(speed, 0, 100, 0, 180); myservo.write(angle); }

void setup() { myservo.attach(9); arm(); }

void loop() { int speed;

// sweep up from 0 to to maximum speed in 20 seconds for(speed = 0; speed 0; speed -= 5) { setSpeed(speed); delay(1000); } setSpeed(0); delay(5000); // stop the motor for 5 seconds }

3D printed Quadcopter project
motoresctrial.ino2 KB

Step 5: 3D printing

3D printed Quadcopter project
3D printed Quadcopter project

Using solidworks, I drew a version of a quadcopter that I liked. There are also some really good examples online that can be a creative start to your design. After the design is finished, you are ready to send it to the the 3D printer. I used my universities Xlab that houses 4 Makerbots. Converting your file to .STL, which is important to note, I uploaded the file to a USB drive and downloaded it to the makerbots software and from there I was able to rotate and move the parts. The build took over 72 hours to build and another 24 hours in the caustic soda to dissolve the filament supports in the build.

Step 6:


Tag cloud

make build easy simple arduino making homemade solar laser printed portable cheap mini building custom cardboard wooden create super lego turn paracord chocolate your paper light intel