Sunday, December 7, 2014

The DJI Frame and How it Works

The frame that I received, free, with the purchase of four motors is incredibly light.  It has four arms and two sheets of light and strong plastic material, commonly used in circuit boards.  Today I put together the frame part of the quad-copter.  It was fairly simple, but very time consuming.  In order to get the directions to assemble the frame I had to go online and find them.  Once online I found a simple YouTube video on how to put the frame together.  It requires 8 long screws to attach the arms to the larger plastic board and 16 smaller screws to attach the arms to the smaller plastic board.

The next item I explored today was the battery, it is a 3300mAh 11.1V LiPO battery.  As I perused
 my way through the instructions on the battery it had a long list of warnings.  Apparently Lithium batteries are very temperamental and heat sensitive.  Most of the warnings were to ensure that, if in the case of the battery randomly setting itself a blaze, it would not burn your entire house down.  I am telling you these batteries are not the ones you pick up at the local drug store.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) Regulations

Lately, the news has put drone regulations and close calls as lead stories.  The story usually involves a UAS or drone that flies at high altitudes, near airports.  Airplanes landing and taking off from the airport share the same air space as the drone and in some cases causes the aircraft pilot to take evasive action in order to dodge the drone in their way, but when piloting an aircraft a few hundred feet in the air it is very hard to evade the drone because of the tight space.  Sometimes, though, the pilot,in an effort to evade the drone, crashes.  In order to avoid these close encounters the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has put regulations on flying UASs' near airports. If I wanted to fly my drone whiten 3 miles of an airport I would need to call the control tower.  Another FAA law is that I would need to fly below 400ft in the air.

I am very lucky that I don't have any airports near by.  I am fortunate to have three huge parks that I could be able to fly my drone in.  These huge expanses of land air going to be very useful when I start to learn how to fly the drone.  Especially, because the parks have no trees for my drone to fly into, and have grass to cushion the landing, or time to time crash of my drone.

In conclusion, The only real pertinent aviation laws that apply to me are to fly under 400ft and not near airports.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

How much Weight can the Quad Copter Take

       This week I decided to figure out how to build the frame of my drone.  Building a regular quad copter seems pretty easy, but what makes it difficult is all the add on's.  Constructing a frame is very hard to do.  First, I needed to find how much force each motor can lift.  I am working with an E300 ECS (15 amp.) motor which can lift up to 400g, multiply that by 4 motors and you get 1600g.  A similar frame that could work in this situation is 282g, which is very light.  After assessing the masses of all the components I figured that the total mass of the frame has to be from 400-500g.
      Building too heavy of a frame is not my only problem I have to worry about because all four legs of the quad copter have to be uniform in order for it to fly straight and accurately.  Through research it seems that the most effective way to build a frame is by using wood because it is easy to shape, is light weight, and is strong.  The only problem that needs to be addressed is that soldering wires is usually done directly to the frame and if the frame is wood than a hot soldering iron might burn the wood.  I am still working out the details on how to build the frame.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Researching Quad Copters/Intro to project summery

It's a bird, it's a plain, no it's Patrick's drone.  For my project I am building a quad copter(a modified helicopter with four propellers, instead of one).  The idea came to at MSU's engineering camp this summer.  At the camp I was introduced to most of the sub disciples of engineering.  When, the mechanical engendering professor introduced to how motors and propellers work, I thought about building something that could fly.
So, how am I going to accomplish this?  First, I need to research quad copters.  As it turns out building a quad copter is no easy feat.  For starters, I would need to find what parts I would need.  As I browsed hobby-shop sites it looks like I need: 4 motors, 4 propellers, 1 frame, multiple wires, 1 battery, 1 radio controller, 1 radio receiver, and 1 control center.  I have yet to acquire the parts to build it, but it looks like the cost is going to average out to be 350$.
So far the most recent goals for the construction of the quad copter is to: get the materials, learn how to solder, and start preliminary construction.  For my long term goals they include: the final construction of the quad copter with a custom built frame (that I make) and to take pictures from the sky for film class.