The Shrike is a super lightweight, minimalist, x-shaped racing quadcopter frame. When built with the right components, it provides a ludicrous 11:1 thrust to weight ratio, and the symmetrical design offers nimble handling and the smallest possible size for 5" propellers. But the design doesn't include much space to mount a HD recording camera. And what's the point of zipping around the sky at 70 mph if I can't share my flights in glorious HD?
Back in January, I brought my Morphite 155 quad-copter on a trip with my family to Nevada and Utah with the intent of exploring the beautiful landscapes from a birds-eye view. I had my first opportunity to take flight just outside the Valley of Fire state park. And what a flight it was! As I soared past sandstone and brush from the virtual cockpit of my palm-sized robotic flying steed, I was reminded of just how rewarding this hobby can be. Unfortunately, my first flight was also my last flight of the trip, as I crashed the little guy into a tree and broke a solder joint on the antenna, rendering the video feedback useless.
As much as I love building and flying my drones, I can't deny that they are fragile creatures. And flying without crashing would be about as interesting as playing a video game and staying at the spawn point. So I set out to make my drone as near-indestructible as possible.
The plan was simple - to build a 3D-printable enclosure to protect the electronics, and provide strain relief for the video transmitter's antenna. Armattan was nice enough to provide CAD files for the frame, making the job of modelling the machine digitally a whole lot easier. The first step was to measure and model all of the components and place them in a Solidworks assembly.
Google's Nexus 5 is a great phone running vanilla Android, but it could never really hold its own in the battery department. I "upgraded" to Samsung's Galaxy S6 a few months back, but I have found myself missing the stock Android experience, so when I found my old Nexus sitting unused in my desk I got to thinking. After reading a post on Reddit about fitting the battery from LG's G2 into the Nexus 5, I couldn't resist a little side project that could breathe new life into my old phone.