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Picture of Quintcopter Plywood Design. Does it fly?

Relativity simple multicopter, built using 3mm plywood and using the very common and cheap A2212 motor with 30 Amp brushless controller. Propellers are 1045 the flight controller is the simple KK2.1.5. Powered by a 3000mAh 3 cell lipo the whole model cost around £100.

Purely a model to address my curiosity of “why are there no Multicopters with 5 motors?”

5Hub.pdf121 KB
arms.pdf162 KB

Step 1: How a Tricopter Works and the Difference to a Quad/hex/oct.

Picture of How a Tricopter Works and the Difference to a Quad/hex/oct.
multicopter setup03.jpg
multicopter setup04.jpg
multicopter setup02.jpg

(or put another way why you don't get quints!)

So let’s start this Instructables with the obvious question WHY? Why would you build a 5 motor drone? (or skip this section and accept it’s because “I CAN!”)

To answer this I am just going to explain how a Tricopter works and how a quad/hex/oct work. The flight controller (which is the heart of the drone) takes in the 4 channels from the receiver and works out what power to give to each motor. The transmitter is set up for a plane so the 4 channels are throttle, rudder, elevator and aileron. And the 4 channels do the following.

Throttle causes a change in altitude (up and down)

Rudder causes the model to spin on its axis (yaw)

Elevator causes the nose of the model to go up or down causing the model to fly forward or backwards.

And lastly Aileron cause the right or left side to go up or down making the model fly left or right.

SO now let’s look at the TRICOPTER. The throttle, elevator and aileron cause the 3 motors to change power and move the model. However the rudder (yaw) is connected to a servo which physically adjust the angle on one of the motors and causes the model to spin. The 3 motors can all rotate the same direction (either clockwise or anti) OR you can have two rotate one direction and the last the opposite. I prefer to do the later as I believe if you have all 3 turning in the same direction then the angle of the servo motor will be greater. Finally let’s have a look at the settings within the Flight controller. The 3 motors have different values for Pitch and Roll (or Elevator and Aileron whichever you prefer). The values are calculated by using the following equations. (Considering all motors are on the same radius)

Pitch (P) = cos(angle) * 100

Roll (R) = sin(angle) * 100

Where the angle is measured from the front going clockwise.

Take a look at one of the photos for more detail. With the flight controller it doesn’t matter which motor goes where as long as you program the correct P and R values for the position the motor is in, also each motor has a setting of 100 for the throttle. The rudder value for each motor is set to zero, that’s because the 3 motors have no effect on the yaw. Lastly we come to the servo, the servo is solely response for the rudder (yaw) and nothing else. In the settings the servo is given 100% rudder and an offset of 50. The yaw direction can be reversed by changing the sign (I.E -100%). Finally the servo can be placed on any arm as it only does the yaw so it really doesn’t matter if it’s at the front or back etc.

So now let’s look at the Quad/Hex/Oct. The first (and most obvious) thing to say is that the number of motors in each case is EVEN! And this is important but more important is that half of the motors will turn clockwise and the other half anticlockwise, and just as important is that the motors alternate around the frame. This is where the difference is between a tricopter where the yaw is controlled by the servo and a quad/hex/oct where the yaw is controlled by changing the speed of the motors. So what does that mean??? It’s very simple let’s consider a quadcopter, two motors will go clockwise and two will go anticlockwise. If you wish to make the model spin on its axis (Yaw) then you increase the speed of the clockwise motors and at the same time decrease the speed of the Anticlockwise motors, by doing this you have maintained the overall power of the motors and hence not changed altitude BUT crucially you now have a turning force because two motors are spinning quicker than the others.

So now let’s take a look at the flight controller. Its the same as the tricopter the Pitch and roll are going to be set the same depending on where each motor is, however for each motor the value of rudder is now set to 100 for the clockwise motors and -100 for the anticlockwise motors.

So where does that leave my Quint??

Its good and inspire.
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id like to Nox Vidmate VLC spray the moss on my 2 storey house. could it lift a payload of 1kg?
mr_fid (author)  martinedward43235 days ago
I think it would easyly lift 1 KG, I will give it a try over the weekend. A hex would be better tho!
pripup88986 days ago
very great project!
Treaney11 days ago
great project! id like to spray the moss on my 2 storey house. could it lift a payload of 1kg?
mr_fid (author)  Treaney6 days ago
This would easy lift 1Kg, i will give it a try and let you know how much it can lift
Treaney mr_fid6 days ago
thanks a lot, i appreciate it.
BG1711 days ago
Crazy project, astonished that you got it to work so well.
mr_fid (author)  BG176 days ago
I think it is only because i have been flying the tricopter for over a year that i can handle the "NOT PERFECT" handling!
BG17 mr_fid6 days ago
That makes sense. I remember Douglas Adams' definition of flight as aiming for the ground and missing or something like that. Must be similar flying the tricopter!
Way to go 110% :) good job
mr_fid (author)  InstructorMike6 days ago
Thanks for your kind comment!
it was really interesting reading about your project, and great you posted videos from all versions. thanks!
mr_fid (author)  paocomgeleia20106 days ago
Glad you liked the project, and hopefully i have shouwn you lots of reasons to never make one!
I think the best design is a 3 armed copter with 2 motors per arm (one up and one down) that balance the rotational torque. The reason why is so that the arms are 120 degrees apart keeping them out of the way of a body mounted camera (so they won't be in frame during videos).
mr_fid (author)  instructaspark6 days ago
I am going to convert this model into a hex. i have always wondered about the Y3 model you serjest, i wasn't sure if the motor underneath would interfere with the motor above. The design of the arms i use does allow for a motor to be placed underneth as well so i may try it out? Y3 or HEX and see what the difference is.
JurajP111 days ago
Man, you are crazy great! Good job!
mr_fid (author)  JurajP16 days ago
Thanks for the compliment, my next purchase will be a laser cutter! i am getting so fed up with cutting out these bits!
IgorF27 days ago
Good job! :D
Do you know the estimated payload of this quintocopter?
mr_fid (author)  IgorF26 days ago
Its a good question... Each motor/propellor will generate up to 1KG of force, but once you take the weight of all the bits and the fact that the motors can't run normally at 100% due to the lack of control, you are probably looking at 1Kg for the model. I made a Hex a while ago using the same motors and propellers and that could lift 1.5 Kg comfortably. if i get a chance over the coming weekend i will see what it can do!
tnx for this!
CraftAndu10 days ago
NeilP4313 days ago
That's a great experiment! I'm really glad you posted the videos to show how it flies with the different configurations. I've never seen a 5-rotor before, and from your experiments I can see there's a number of challenges to overcome. Great fun though and nice modular chassis allowing for quick changes!
Oh and well done on flying this line of sight - it must take quite some concentration to work out the orientation! I have a small hexa (RotoX Raiju) and with all props the same colour it can be hard work to fly around line of sight!
mr_fid (author)  NeilP4312 days ago
Thanks for your kind comments. As for flying line of sight, all i can say is it has taken me a long time to get the hang off, and the tricopter helped no end. This type of construction has been the strongest model i have ever made or brought, the plywood arms held in with the cable ties has just enough flex to not break on crashes! (and i have tried lots)
seamster13 days ago
This was a fun read, and very interesting. Glad you made it and shared how it went!