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Propel Star Wars X-Wing mod project  

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Spyder
(@spyder)
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Okay, fine, it's Star Wars and not Star Trek. I'm not gonna get involved in that argument. The fact is that it's simply the best $50 quadcopter I've ever had, and that's all I care about

It could've been a flying Care Bear for all I care. (Well, okay, I probably wouldn't have spent $50 on a flying Care Bear)

But it still flies great

So, the mod...

I want to add a camera to it, but, will it fly with that extra weight ?

I dunno. Let's find out. So I tied a string to an esp32cam, a dc-dc boost converter, and a Lumenier 205mah rechargable lipo, and turned it on, and lifted off

It got to the end of the string and stopped. But it was in "baby mode" which means that all safety protocols are in effect, which means it's kinda on auto-don't-get-too-crazy mode. But it will still respond if I push up the UP joystick.

So I did

And it lifted the pile of parts up off the ground !

Now, I didn't want the string to get caught up in the props, so I made the string about 2 feet long, and set it as far back as it would go before I lifted it off, so, when it got off the ground, the payload was swinging wildly back and forth as I struggled to keep the thing level while using the drone about as far from its intended use as it can get, which is dangling a weight 2 feet from the bottom of the COG while it's swinging back and forth and round and round

I tried to grab my phone to snap a picture of it flying, which turned out to be a bad idea because as soon as I looked away to reach for my phone I expertly crashed into the couch and executed a perfect one point landing in a kinda upside down position

But it was a soft landing, and I didn't break anything

Here's what I had going on (yes, I'm holding it in my hand. No it's not flying. Just use yer imagination. I did mention crashing while reaching for my phone, didn't I ?)

xwingandpayload

So, step 1. Yes. It can support the added weight of the camera and battery

Step 2. Figure out how to actually MOUNT the parts in a remotely stable position that won't throw off the balance and doesn't add too much weight

My first thought is 3D printing something, but, that's more added weight. My second thought is... currently nonexistent and still forming

Yea. This is gonna be fun


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Robo Pi
(@robo-pi)
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Posts: 1909
 
Posted by: @spyder

My second thought is... currently nonexistent and still forming

That's what I'm hoping to hear my robot say some day. ? 

DroneBot Workshop Robotics Engineer
James


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Spyder
(@spyder)
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Posted by: @robo-pi

That's what I'm hoping to hear my robot say some day. ? 

Well, you know what I always say (ok, you probably don't know cuz I haven't told you yet, so I will)

"Impossible is a word used by people who give up too quickly"


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Robo Pi
(@robo-pi)
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My thoughts are nonexistent
but my neurons are persistent
I'll soon respond
like a barroom blond
with chatter inconsistent

They'll say that my intelligence
is as artificial as can be
but in a bout of childish petulance
I'll decree I disagree

The drone has flown its payload
almost two feet off the ground
before it crashed upon the couch
in a harmless soft rebound

The project lives for future tests
as Spyder thinks his thoughts
and no one knows from whence they come
these prototyping plots

DroneBot Workshop Robotics Engineer
James


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Spyder
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@robo-pi

LOL !


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Spyder
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Okay, so I've decided to do this scientifically (You can tell this conversation is gonna end well)

First, I weighed the circuit boards by putting them on a scale

espweight

Um, okay, it's not a scale. It's a pencil sharpener

pencilsharpener

But I did prove that they weigh more than Marvin

So, I needed to find out how much Marvin weighs. So I opened up IdeaMaker and checked how much Marvin weighs at 20% infill...

marvinweight

2.8 grams, which means that the circuit boards weigh exactly... more than that

Next we weigh the battery. I'm gonna be a little more scientific about this one. I went to the web site and checked out the specs...

lumenier

5.8 grams. Good. 2.8 plus 5.8 plus... more equals... um... Boy, that's a lot isn't it ?

Now the problem is that the battery charger (for the drone battery) has the back end of the battery taken up, which means that the cam battery is gonna have to be mounted up front

Let's see what that looks like...

espxwing

That looks like it's gonna be kinda nose heavy, doesn't it ?

Yea, yer right, it does. I should try something else. Maybe on the bottom, and a little further back

But heck, it's already mounted, I'm gonna try it anyway...

...

Um. Yeah. Nose heavy

Plan B coming up


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Spyder
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On to Plan B. B for Battery Back Behind, so I guess that would be plan BBB

I started moving the battery back to try to return the CG back to the craft itself so it would have some semblance of whatever it would refer to as normalcy in the world of flying things that you've just made completely UN-flight-worthy

Eventually the battery ended up BEHIND the drone.

xwingCG

Apparently the circuit boards are heavier than the battery.

But that's ok. With a little perseverance, and some balsa wood and electric tape, I have returned the CG to the miniature X-Wing which no longer looks exactly like an X-Wing, but rather more like an X-Wing that some scientist with no training in avionics had modified  to do something that very nearly, but didn't quite, pass for flying

Luckily the wings don't actually provide anything in the way of aerodynamic lift or stability, because at this point, they wouldn't have been much help anyway

Aaand... first flight

itflies

It flies. I had to go a bit heavy on the UP button again, but, I expected that, and compensated. Then I accidentally hit a button on the joystick thingy which caused it to do a kick-roll, which was pretty neat, unfortunately I wasn't expecting that, and it recovered somewhat closer to the chair than I had expected

itcrashes

And it made some slight contact with the chair leg, causing it to, um, what's the word you use when an aircraft lands upside down ?

Oh yea, crash, that's the word. It crashed

So, flight test with extra weight... Check

Kick-roll with extra weight... Check

Successful crashing after kick-roll during flight test with extra weight... Check

I'm all set, except that I don't have an extra micro-SD card to record my aerial antics

Does anybody know how to record the live stream from the ESP32Cam ?


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Robo Pi
(@robo-pi)
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Plan BBB is under way
at Spyder Labs Incorporated
but aviation seems to be
slightly less than federated

The CG isn't where it was
and the payload's mighty heavy
the aircraft is an ultralight
being used like a 10-ton Chevy

The gross weight nearly guessed
from data that's suppressed
and if it flies we'll be surprised
at this aviation quest

Lift off finally came
as the drone began to strain
but fly it did
before it skid
to a crash-site filled with shame

Please stay tuned
as the madness is ballooned
until the little tiny dronebot
is eventually marooned

DroneBot Workshop Robotics Engineer
James


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Spyder
(@spyder)
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@robo-pi

HAHAHAHA !!!

Oh that's awesome


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Spyder
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LOL !

It works !

I found a program called Snagit. It's only a 15 day trial, but it's a full version for 15 days. This was actually my second flight. The first time the esp32 lost the wifi signal and I didn't know it til I got back to check the recording

It would be really nice if I could figure out how to get FPV somehow, but the ESP has a limit of only ONE connection. Which means that I can either view it live, or record it. And even if I could figure out how to view it live, I don't have a headset to view it with

So, here's the flight of the X-Bird (well, it's the flight right up until I crashed it onto the roof of the house and had to go get the ladder to get it down)


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robotBuilder
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If I had the spare cash I would buy one of those drones.  I watched a demo where the user placed his smart phone into the control panel to view the hd video being sent back by a little but powerful drone.  The drone would avoid crashing into things and on command or low battery power return itself to where it took off.  The little camera hanging below the drone could be rotated to look in any direction.  One day these GPS navigated, obstacle avoiding self stabilising drones might become a mode of transport for the rich.


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Robo Pi
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Spyder Labs begins to soar
as his project rules the skies
Wall Street traders scream and roar
and the markets reach new highs

Soon he'll be renowned
in Fortune Magazine
and dine forever more
on fancy rich cuisine

What is on his schedule next?
Uber flying cars?
or are these Spyder eyes
looking outward to the stars?

No one knows what's coming next
in Spyder's Lab objectives
and everyone is quite perplexed
even FAA detectives

DroneBot Workshop Robotics Engineer
James


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Spyder
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Posted by: @casey

One day these GPS navigated, obstacle avoiding self stabilizing drones might become a mode of transport for the rich.

Only if yer REALLY REALLY short...

antman

The passenger compartment is...

xwingflitecrew

Oh, wait. There doesn't seem to be one

 


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Spyder
(@spyder)
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Posts: 900
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Posted by: @robo-pi

Soon he'll be renowned
in Fortune Magazine
and dine forever more
on fancy rich cuisine

More than likely, it'll be Ramon noodles

Posted by: @robo-pi

What is on his schedule next?
Uber flying cars?
or are these Spyder eyes
looking outward to the stars?

No one knows what's coming next
in Spyder's Lab objectives
and everyone is quite perplexed
even FAA detectives

I think the FAA can rest easy for now, although, I do indeed have a list of things that are next

I did quite a bit of sanding during the laptop project, and I found a need for some kind of dust protection for which I am currently working on a solution that may not be as entertaining as trying to fly, but should, at least, provide a minor chuckle

Unfortunately, I suspect that the dust solution will be a complete success, and since I can only handle so much success in one day, I'm going to spend a few hours working on failing to build a robot, which may not be as entertaining, but, should provide me with hours and hours of sleep deprived grumpiness

botupgrade

Does anybody know how to program one of these Arduino Nano's into ROS so I can control it with my xbox controller ?

I mean, I can BUILD the thing, but, once its built, it's really nothing more than an interesting looking brick


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robotBuilder
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Posted by: @spyder
Posted by: @casey

One day these GPS navigated, obstacle avoiding self stabilizing drones might become a mode of transport for the rich.

Only if yer REALLY REALLY short...

Or the drone is really big?

Unless they are all fakes there a lot of videos on utube of such devices.


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