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Guided Kit Build Pre-Session

Are you going to to the guided kit build or build party in January and are wondering about what kit to buy, what tools you might need, or anything else? Then come to this session where robotics expert Christopher Vo will lead a discussion about all the things you need to think about before doing your build. This session is especially recommended for those going to the guided kit build although it is not required. We will attempt to post notes from the event for those who can't make it.

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  • Eric M.

    Excellent information and I'm even more excited to start building my own drone!

    December 14, 2012

  • Timothy R.

    Nova Labs, our host for this event, put up a nice blog post about the meetup. You can check it out at http://www.nova-labs.org/blog/2012/12/13/where-makers-gather/ .

    1 · December 13, 2012

  • Timothy R.

    One of the things we discussed at last night's event was doing a group buy of kits and parts. Christopher has thrown together a site where you can choose what you want to order and see recommendations from him as to what you should get. This can be found at http://iron.irixmedia.com/~vo/store/index.php . There is no obligation to get anything through this mechanism, but we are hoping it will make life easier, and perhaps cheaper, to do the ordering together.

    Also important to note, your order and your payment to Christopher must be received by December 28. You can pay him via mailed check, Paypal, or cash. Any orders where payment is not received by that time will be dropped and no additional people will be able to participate in the group buy or any associated discounts after that date.

    Thank you and I look forward to seeing you in January.

    1 · December 13, 2012

  • David S.

    Great. Chris Vo did an excellent job of presenting.

    I am looking forward to doing a quad build so that maybe I can figure out all the problems I've had with my hexa. I think this is going to be great actually building alongside others.

    1 · December 13, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Exceptional! I can't imagine a better staging for a group build. Christopher was knowledgable, generous with his time and a patient teacher. We got an excellent grounding in the basics of drones which will translate directly into useful insight for when we order and build our own. I'm really looking forward to this build group progressing.

    1 · December 12, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    For anyone wanting to hear from Chris Anderson ...

    Makezine.com: "Chris Anderson has been one of the clearest voices describing the maker movement. On his last day as editor-in-chief of Wired magazine Chris talked with Russ Roberts about his personal journey to becoming a manufacturer of drones, his transition to CEO of 3DRobotics, and the ideas put forth in his latest book Makers: The New Industrial Revolution. Chris brings clarity to important ideas for which pro makers have a visceral understanding. This interview is a worthwhile listen. www.econtalk.org/archives/2012/12/chris_anderson_2.html"

    December 12, 2012

    • Jens

      Great find - thanks!

      December 12, 2012

  • Timothy R.

    We are excited to see you at tomorrow's guided kit build pre-session. One of the things we will be discussing is whether anyone wants to participate in a group buy that will allow us to get discounts and faster shipping times. You may want to consider bringing your checkbook with you in case you want to do this. There is absolutely no requirement to participate in the group buy in order to attend the January kit build session and we will probably also set up an online mechanism to collect funds but usually online payment systems involve some percentage being collected by the payment processor so doing this by check would be the lowest cost way to handle the transaction (and what I am going to do myself). Just something to consider. Thank you and I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.

    December 11, 2012

    • Gustavo Z.

      sounds interesting! I didn't finish assembling my first quad yet, but I would like to buy some spare parts; I heard that is highly recommended to stock some extra propellers, ESC and motors.

      December 11, 2012

    • Christopher V.

      we have good sources for props, esc, and motors that we will recommend.

      December 11, 2012

  • Steve B.

    Do any of you have any good place to fly indoors. I am good at building them, good at taking off but horrible at landing !!!!

    December 11, 2012

  • Christopher V.

    Some more specs on the kit: -- if you would like to build from the kit, the kit cost is just about $300, which I believe is a very good value. we may do some group-purchasing to reduce shipping and handling costs; all of the part numbers and sources will be noted in a handout at the meeting in case you have your own plans, want to mod, or just curious.

    -- after the indoor fly-in, i have some numbers. the power consumption is 0.25A idle, average 9A when hovering with no additional payload, 10-15A with GoPro, peak 30A at full throttle. in practice with a GoPro payload i seem to have about 30 minutes with 5000 mAh 3S 25C battery. YMMV. Also, I did not need to use a 25C battery, a 10C or maybe even 5C would be good enough which you might be able to find in lighter, cheaper, safer form like lithium-ion. -- you also don't necessarily need to go with 30A ESCs like I did. 10A ESC may be good enough? I may do another test soon.

    December 10, 2012

  • Christopher V.

    Hi there. I will be leading the discussion for the guided build. I just purchased and finished building a full prototype of the kit I propose, check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYgLXhVzcBA

    This kit will cost about $300 or so (without R/C set) and include the powerful, flexible, and programmable ArduPilot multicopter controller, a GPS unit, and wireless telemetry. It will be small and light, but powerful enough to carry a payload such as a GoPro camera and FPV transmitter while still being agile and having a good run time (30+ minutes). The frame arms and body are an exact clone of the inexpensive yet durable DJI F450 flamewheel frame, which means that the parts are interchangeable with genuine DJI parts and you can find all sorts of mods and upgrades available from the drone enthusiast and FPV videography community such as longer arms, chassis plate mods, etc. It also means that you can easily upgrade to a hexacopter by just changing the base plates!

    2 · December 4, 2012

    • Christopher V.

      That question does come up often. My quick answer is, go with the quad.
      -- 1. a quad with 3S lipo and 1045 plastic props will carry a GoPro 3 with case just fine. i know because i've done it.
      -- 2. if you look around, you'll find that a lot of FPV guys are using quads. (google for Team Blacksheep and check out their crazy vids and their quadcopter kit)
      -- 3. a quad is significantly cheaper.
      -- 4. you can upgrade the battery on the quad (at least in my proposed quad kit) from 3S to 4S, giving your platform more "punch" and potentially more payload capacity at the expense of minor increase in volume and weight
      -- 5. quads can be smaller, lighter, and quieter. you also make less damage to anything you crash it into.

      December 5, 2012

    • Christopher V.

      the hexa on the other hand has the following advantages:
      -- 1. robustness against motor failures (a dead motor knocks a quad right out of the sky instantly; for a hexa it starts spiraling down and you potentially have a chance to land it softly)
      -- 2. heavier lifting capability. you are more likely to be able to carry somewhat heavier things like small DSLRs. Unlike GoPro, these cameras have more capabilities such as optical image stabilization, higher resolutions, better ISO, and normal focal lengths (instead of fixed wide focal length). For example, the Sony NEX-7 is a popular small DSLR camera in the aerial photography community.
      -- 3. a Y6 hexacopter configuration (3 arms, two motors per arm) is said to be extremely stable. i don't have any experience with Y6, but I may experiment with it later on.

      December 5, 2012

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