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Anyone else want to build a "cheap & easy" tricopter?
September 7, 2012
9:24 am
Rochester, NY
Forum Posts: 103
Member Since:
February 7, 2012


Don't tell my wife but I just ordered a GoPro Hero camera for $129, which is an excellent price.  It's the same camera used to make the all the videos in the first post so we can use it on the tricopters. It has a time lapse feature which is something that I've wanted for a long time.  

I'm not sure what you need to make it work but this camera can be used create a "First Person View" from a tricopter or some other remote controlled vehicle. A small radio transmitter is used to send the video from the camera to goggles or a computer monitor so the pilot can see what the camera sees in real time, so it's almost like you're sitting in the model.

I have no idea what the equipment costs but I suspect it's more than I can afford right now.  

September 4, 2012
8:56 pm
Rochester, NY
Forum Posts: 103
Member Since:
February 7, 2012


The motors were purchased from RC Timer and they arrived late last week from Hong Kong. The were $10.99 each and with shipping they totaled $36.19.

The wood for the airframe came to $14.97 and it was purchased from Hobby Lobby in Webster. I probably have enough plywood to build at least three airframes.

The other electronic components and propellers are coming from Hobby King, which is also in China. Some of them were backordered so I'm still waiting for them. I also forgot to order three ESCs (electronic speed controls) so I had to place a second order which also contains some backordered items.

Shipping is pretty inexpensive for small items but it gets expensive for large heavy orders. But you can still save an enormous amount of money.

The first video's YouTube page has a list of all the things you need to build HallStudio's tricopter. It is based on one of RC Explorer's designs. His web site is must read if you want to build a tricopter.

Motors - 2830-8 1300KV Outrunner Brushless Motor Free Mounts

Speed controller - hobby king Hobbyking SS Series 18-20A ESC (card programmable)

Or a little better controller is the Exceed RC Proton 30A Brushless ESC Speed Controller at hobby partz

or plush 30 amp at hobbyking

Controller at hobbyking HobbyKing Multi-Rotor Control Board V2.1 (Atmega168PA)

or the new KKv2 board no need for a programmer or computer.

Programmer at hobby king USBasp AVR Programming Device for ATMEL processors

10CM Male to Male Servo Lead (JR) 26AWG (10pcs/set)

I use 14 gauge wires red black

1/2 inch wood from home depot or Lowes found in the trim area
1/8 inch ply from craft store or hobby shop
4-40x 1 screws blind nuts and washers from Trimcraft Aviation
http://www.trimcraftaviationrc.....#038;cPath... screw

http://www.trimcraftaviationrc.....#038;cPath... washers

http://www.trimcraftaviationrc.....#038;cPath... blind nuts
Zip ties, Velcro and some paint
i also found a piece of ½ x1 ½ x 2 or 3 foot hard wood at home depot I use for the rear pivot I cut into a 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 square.
I have purchased a used drill press so no more crooked stuff.

Props can be had at hobby king if hobby parts is out Hobbypartz hobbyking

I now use a 4MM carbon fiber rod instead of the screw with a wheel collar for the rear pivot. Just drill a hole in the back of the rear arm about an inch deep and glue it in there.

link to template. you will have to enlarge it to build my tri.

low voltage beeper

louder low voltage beeper you connect to ballance taps   "

August 31, 2012
10:10 am
Rochester, NY
Forum Posts: 103
Member Since:
February 7, 2012

 I'll try and buy 1/8-inch plywood and 1/2-inch square pine sticks this weekend so we can get started on the airframes.

August 30, 2012
2:13 pm
Forum Posts: 50
Member Since:
May 8, 2012

I'm game!

August 24, 2012
2:11 pm
Rochester, NY
Forum Posts: 103
Member Since:
February 7, 2012


I've had very little time to work in my workshop since May when we started working on the Rochester Maker Space. I should find time to work on CNC router I've been building but after seeing this video I impulsively ordered almost the parts I need to build a tricopter. It looks it'll be quick and simple project and a lot of fun to play with. It should also be easy to learn how to fly because it has a on-board flight controller that keeps it stable, although I could be wrong about that.

Its owner claims it'll cost about a $100 to build but I think he's assuming you already have a R/C transmitter/receiver, battery and charger. I have those things, although I'm not sure the relatively inexpensive airplane controllers I have will work for this project (thanks to garage sales I have two even though I don't have a strong interest in RC airplanes). 

If the video above isn't quite enough to convince you to build one then look at the videos below.



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