Saturday, August 4, 2012

Marshall and the multi-copter

One of our boat neighbors is Marshall and fiance Alora. He's restoring this ferro cement boat:

On our way to shore this afternoon, he had a mysterious contraption in his dinghy and we asked him about it. It was a multi-copter that he built from commonly available parts.

Rare Earth magnetic motors, about 1 pound each, powered by a lithium polymer battery. The battery weighs about 1.5 lbs and turns the propellers at 14000 rpm.

“Dude, this thing is like a weed whacker, it could cut through the third-layer canopy of these banyan trees.”
It has an onboard computer which controls pitch, roll, and yaw and is managed by remote control with two little joysticks. It has default gyroscopic controls to keep it flying level which Marshall can override in order to turn. As soon as the maneuver is completed, the copter returns to level.
In the past he’s attached a small camera and sent it aloft to take high-definition video.

Each arm has a light, two red and one green, to orient the copter to the controller.

In Dick’s hand: the rare Earth magnetic motor, no open electric contacts, no brushes. Can’t see them on the copter, they’re hidden inside the noodles.

Alora said Marshall plans to make each successive model bigger and more powerful, eventually he’ll make one they can ride together. YOLO! (Apparently this is a current popular phrase: “You only live once.”)
Marshall said you can build one of these yourself following the step-by-step instructions at this website:

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