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AeroQuad Cyclone Frame

This page is a chapter in 'AeroQuad Frames'

AeroQuad Cyclone Frame Build Instructions

Welcome to the build instructions for the AeroQuad Cyclone frame kit. This is a tough aluminum frame designed to be user configurable for whatever mission you want need your AeroQuad to accomplish! This frame features an anti-vibration design, which separates the vibration of your motors from your flight sensors and video/photography equipment. This will provide a quiet environment for your on-board sensors to provide rock solid flight performance and allow you to take video with no rolling shutter effects.

Also, this frame is highly configurable. You can keep it as light as possible for acrobatic flying, or if you want to use it for FPV there are included frame plates to mount your video equipment. This frame will grow with you for any missions you want to achieve! In the harshest crashes, this frame can be easily fixed as the critical components can be replaced at your local hardware store for quick repair turnarounds!
This frame supports all of the AeroQuad boards (v1.x, v2.x and Mini) in + and X mode. There are dedicated mounting points for ESC's, battery mounting, and landing gear. AND all the wires can be hidden for safety and a clean look. There is also an optional GoPro camera mount available.

What is included:
  • 2x Arm mounting plates with anti-vibration grommets
  • 1x ESC plate with anti-vibration grommets
  • 2x Accessory plates for mounting batteries and video equipment
  • 1x Flight control board mount plate (supports standard 45mm mount holes and all AeroQuad boards)
  • 1x Top cover plate with AeroQuad logo
  • 4x Motor mounts
  • 4x Landing gears

This version of the frame sacrifices weight for durability. Please note that if you want to carry additional payloads such as cameras and wireless video equipment, you will need to use larger propellers and motors. We are actively working on identifying lighter material for the future to reduce the frame weight.

Tested configurations

Small Acrobatic AeroQuad (6:00 typical flight time)

  • 9” Aluminum Arms
  • BP 2213 motors
  • 18A ESCs
  • 8x3.8 propellers
  • No landing gear (to save weight)
  • 2100mAh 20C 3S LiPo battery

Medium General Purpose AeroQuad (10:00 typical flight time)

  • 12” Aluminum Arms
  • BP 2217 motors
  • 30A ESCs (18A are suitable also)
  • 10x4.5 propellers
  • With landing gear
  • 4000mAh 20C 3S LiPo battery

Camera Ship AeroQuad (7:00 typical flight time)

  • 12” Aluminum Arms
  • E-flite 450 890 kV motors
  • 30A ESCs
  • 12x3.8 propellers
  • With landing gear, GoPro camera, 900MHz wireless video transmitter, Eagle Tree Logger and OSD
  • 5000mAh 20C 3S LiPo battery

Please understand that multicopters can be very dangerous if not treated and flown with great care and common sense. Serious bodily injury can occur if contact is made with the spinning propellers. During your build and when testing only install the propellers when the flight control board has been fully bench checked with the Configurator. Please observe extreme care, caution and common sense when flying your AeroQuad. Always fly in wide open areas, away from crowds and preferably at an AMA (Academy of Model Aircraft) sanctioned flying area. By building an AeroQuad you agree that Carancho Engineering LLC and the AeroQuad open source project shall not be held responsible for any property damage or physical injury.

Assembly Instructions

This document will outline the required steps to build up your AeroQuad Cyclone frame. Remember, you can customize the layout of your frame to suit your needs, so feel free to experiment! For more information and help with this kit please join us on AeroQuad.com and ask your questions on the forums or the IRC #aeroquad chat room.
Pictured below are the two smaller circular plates used for connecting the AeroQuad arms together. These plates allow for vibration isolation between the arm assembly and the main frame that holds the electronics and other vibration sensitive equipment. One plate will have blue anti-vibration grommets already installed. This plate is considered the top arm plate, while the plate without the grommets is the bottom arm plate.

For the experienced pilot, instead of using screws as described in the next steps try using double sided tape and threading zip ties through the arm plate screw holes to fasten the arms to the arm plates. You’ll find that the zip ties will break first before the arms in a crash and saves weight.
  1. Use the 1” 4-40 screws and insert them into each of the holes on the top arm plate and through to the bottom arm plate. Insert each arm into the guides created by the 4-40 screws.

  2. Hand tighten the 4-40 nylon lined nuts on the bottom arm plate. Insert the aluminum arms into the guides created by the screws. Then use a hex socket wrench or equivalent and an electric screwdriver with a Phillips head to tighten each nut. Be careful! Do not over tighten or you might break the screw or bend the aluminum arms. You will be surprised at how little pressure is required to maintain a very strong grip on each of the aluminum arms while isolating vibrations. A good gauge of how tight to screw them down is to look for 2-3 threads visible past each nut.

  3. Now install four of the ¾ inch 8-32 screws through the anti-vibration grommets of the top plate. Put two black anti-vibration washers on each of the screws.

  4. Place the ESC mounting plate on top of the 4 screws through the anti-vibration grommets of the large accessory plate. The key to the anti-vibration design is to tighten the 8-32 screws just enough to keep the top arm plate and the larger accessory plate together, but as loose as possible. Now tighten the 8-32 nylon lined nut. It’s recommended to show around 1-2 threads of the 8-32 screw past the nylon lining of the nut. Go as loose as possible while still keeping the two plates securely affixed.

    ABOVE: The grommets both black and blue will help reduce the vibrations coming from the motors and propellers. Think of the arms lifting the AeroQuad and the black washers sandwiched between the blue grommets absorbing any vibration from the arms and motors.

    Note for Cyclone frame v2.1:

    To lighten the v2.1 frame weight, new 2mm white faced plates are now used. Use the smaller blue vibration washer for the white ESC plate and the larger vibration washer for the arm plate as pictured below.

  5. You can now install your Electronic Speed Controllers to the ESC plate. Use the included zip ties to securely affix the ESCs to this plate. It is highly recommended to take time to neatly plan where all the wires go and terminate all the ends as long as you have the open space. Use the pictures below as an example:

  6. In the next step you should install the motor mounts on the end of each aluminum arm.

    Cyclone Frame v1:

    Use the 1 inch 4-40 screws and nuts, being careful not to over tighten them! Use the 4 included 3mm motor screws to connect the motors to the motor mounts. Mount the motors BEFORE you build the rest of the mount to get access to all 4 motor screws. It is highly advised to use Loc-Tite BLUE (RED if you never want them to come off) on these screws to make sure they don’t come loose during flight. Then slide the motor mounts on as far as they will go and tighten them.

    Cyclone Frame v2.1:

    Fasten the motor to the top motor mount (shown below) using the black 3mm screws. It is highly recommended to use Loctite.

    Place the mid motor mount underneath the top motor mount and place them on top of the arm. Position the bottom motor mount underneath the arm and fasten everything together with the 4-40 1” screws and nylon lock nut (no Loctite required).

    This is what the completed motor mount assembly will look like. Thread the motor wiring through the wire protector for crash protection.
    If you have motors with the shaft sticking out the bottom, either cut the shaft or drill a hole into the top of the arm.

    You can even build a Cyclone Octo with the same frame. You just need to get extra AeroQuad Motor Mounts from the AeroQuad store!

    When mounting the motors, it is advisable to run the wires away from the outside edges of the Cyclone frame to protect the motor wires from being damaged during a crash. When doing this you will find that it is difficult to get access to one of the 4-40 screws. To get around this you should thread the screws first through the motor mount holes. Then mount the motors afterwards.
    Route your ESC extension wires from the motors through the inside of the aluminum arms and up through the large middle holes of the top arm plate and the accessory plate. Double check for any sharp edges that might rub the wires and protect them.
    If you don’t want the hassle of building your own power harness, consider purchasing motor extension wires (pre-soldered and heat shrinked with 3mm bullet connectors) and power harness from the AeroQuad Store. The power harness is pictured in Step 5 and the motor ESC extension wires are pictured below.

  7. Install the Arduino / flight control board on the top deck with the short plastic standoffs and short 4-40 screws, making sure to thread the ESC connectors through the middle plate hole. Again double check for sharp edges and if needed, protect your wires from them. These will eventually connect to your flight control shield.

  8. You can now use the 8-32 aluminum standoffs to stack an optional camera mount or additional accessory plates for items like wireless video, GPS, receiver, etc. You can use two 1” 8-32 standoffs to mount the battery tray at the bottom of your frame. The AeroQuad Cyclone frame gives you the freedom to choose how to configure the decks to suit your personal needs. Below is a bottom view of the cyclone frame with the accessory plate in place.

  9. Use the included foam and attach the battery to the accessory tray. Thread the Velcro strips through the shorter slots. The idea is that the foam allows you to push down on your battery, so that you can firmly fasten your battery to the battery tray.

  10. The next step is to connect your motor wires to your ESCs / ESC extension wires and mount the AeroQuad shield onto the Arduino. Connect your ESCs to the appropriate pins of the flight control board. Use the Configurator to test the correct rotation of the motors (more detailed instructions can be found here). Once everything is configured correctly, protect the flight control board by mounting the cover plate on top.

  11. Mount the landing gear on the arms now. Be sure to remove the protective paper on the legs. Here is another place where you can customize the Cyclone frame to your specific needs. Use 1 or 2 leg sides for different looks and weight holding abilities. The landing gear can be mounted far out by the motors for maximum stability or moved towards the middle if needed to allow a unrestricted camera view or for other reasons.

    Note for Cyclone Frame v2.1:

    The new landing gear comes with nylon screws and nuts. Alternatively, you can use zip ties to affix the landing gear to the arm. Using this lighter approach allows less damage to the arms during a hard landing

Plate names

Camera Mounting PlateAccessory Plate
Top Protective PlateFlight Controller Plate v1 (pre-drilled for +/x mounting for Mega/Mini)
Flight Controller Plate v2.1 (see table below for mounting references)

Schematics for mounting arms on Flight Controller Plate v2.1 (click on image for higher resolution)
Quad Plus or XTri or Y6

Options (Available from the AeroQuad Store)

ESC Wire Harness
Power Harness with connectors

Schematics and Weight

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