Friday, March 11, 2016

Project POD

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.