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Putting everything together

This page is a chapter in 'Setup and Calibration'

Putting everything together

This step is not discussed in detail as it involves the construction of a frame, which is completely up to the user. However, some recommendations regarding the construction of a frame are made.

Moreover, you are able to purchase some frames from the AeroQuad store.

A good frame should have the following:
  • Landing gear – for medium to larger sized quads (1 kg and over) the T-Rex 600 helicopter landing gear set can be used. These can be obtained online or from a local hobby shop for around $15 for the complete set. For smaller quads, such as under 1kg, the smaller T-Rex 450 helicopter landing gear set can be used, costing around $10.
  • A housing for the electronics – the electronics housing can be anything from an aluminum cage consisting of two strips of aluminum covering the electronics to a full pledged box of some sort. A good place to start is to use a styrofoam faucet cover, which provides a smooth, lightweight, and strong protective cover. The housing is there to protect the electronics from crash damage, such as flips and falls, as well as the elements when it is stored.
  • Battery compartment – this part is a little trickier, but with some work, can be made very effectively. A recommended design is to use Velcro underneath the belly of the quad, incorporating it into the structure of the quad. This will provide a strong battery compartment while still allowing for an easy battery removal and replacement in the field.
  • Arm extensions – these can be used to ensure safer operation of the quad, especially during first test flights or experiments. The arm extensions could simply extend beyond the propeller length or they can also protrude upwards, thereby providing protection for the motors and propellers during flips.

More information on choosing the right frame material can be found at our dedicated page.

Motor-to-motor distances

Which motor to motor distance to pick is perhaps one of the most widely asked question in the multirotor community. The simple answer is that there is no one best distance, unless talking about one particular multicopter with all its dimensions and specifications known. Here’s some information regarding the motor-to-motor distances:
  • Generally, the larger the distance between the motors, the more stable is the quad. The shorter is the distance, the quicker is the quad to respond. In other words, a larger armed quad will have slower response times to movements and a smaller armed one will be able to make agile movements and acrobatic maneuvers. Most aerial video and photography quads will tend to have larger distances than those for acrobatics.
  • A good motor distance to start with is around 50-60cm. This however, depends totally on what the user wants.
  • The motor distances should be made identical as accurately as possible

X versus Plus (+) Configuration

This refers to the configuration of the frame. In the X configuration, the quad has two motors on each of the four sides, while still having 4 motors total. Weird? Not really. This simply means that the front of the quad is between two of the front motors, the rear between two of the rear motors, and so on. In the plus configuration, the location of the front is simply the front motor, the rear is the rear motor, and so on. The plus configuration is generally the more common for beginners. The X configuration is more useful for aerial photography where the camera needs to be positioned as close to the center of the frame as possible while still having an open view. The same applies of course for Hexa and Octo X / Plus - configurations.

Flight controller orientation

The correct way to secure the Arduino Mega and Uno (which also has the shield and the sensors on top of it) is to have the USB connector side of it representing the rear side of your AeroQuad. On the AeroQuad32 board the mini-USB connector is representing the front side of your AeroQuad.
On the v1.0 mini shield the two holes in the 6DOF sensor are pointing towards the front side of your AeroQuad.

Flight controller orientation
AeroQuad32 v2 boardAeroQuad32 v1 board
Arduino Mega (same for Uno)v1.0 mini shield

For the plus (+) flying mode, the front of the flight controller faces the front motor and the rear of the flight controller faces the rear motor. For the X flying mode, the flight controller must be mounted in such a way so as to have its front facing the two front motors and its rear facing the two rear motors.

Connecting everything together

The next step is to simply connect all the electronics together, after mounting them to their respective locations of course. DO NOT install the propellers yet.
  • Motors should be clamped, bolted, or otherwise secured to the arms. Quads generate lots of vibrations. There should be NO screw or bolt on the machine that has not been secured with Locktite or a Nylon locking nut, and this especially includes the screws that mount and are in your motors.
  • The ESCs should be connected to the motors and also secured either on the arms, inside the arms if large enough (though not recommended for heat dissipation issues), or inside of the electronics housing/box. The ESCs should also be connected to the main power line.
  • The flight controller and all its components (shield, sensors, etc.) should be secured at the center of the frame. It is common for beginners to use mounting tape or even scotch tape to secure their electronics. This is not a good practice as all those things will loosen and induce vibrations and instability. A good thing to do is to use bolts and nuts.
  • The shield should mate onto the Arduino and also have the receiver channels connected to it.


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