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Building a hexacopter

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by mediaguru, Feb 20, 2014.

  1. mediaguru

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    I've loved my Phantom and what I've been able to do so far, and my setup is still morphing to one which will be a nice, small, and convenient way of capturing stills and video with a GoPro. That's awesome. The limitations of the craft and especially the camera have driven me to make the choice to build a heavy lifting hexactoper for times when I want to use bigger and better cameras. I rely a lot on still images and frankly, the GoPro blows for that, especially not shooting in raw.

    I've done a lot of research and have ordered about 2/3 of the parts to build my own heavy lifting hexa. When I do something, I don't cut corners. I spent more on the MOTORS alone for this hexa than the entire cost of my phantom. The 3-axis gimbal is the same, a good $250 more than my Phantom. By the end, the rig will probably equal buying 10 Phantoms. Maybe I should just do that, buy 10 Phantoms... Or not. :ugeek:

    I'll keep my phantom for sure. Love it and there are applications where it shines. The hexa though, will be able to get much higher quality gear airborne, and hopefully will be a much more stable platform. I'm looking forward to the results. I'm also looking forward to the learning experience of building this machine. It's a biggie, 1,000mm's across.
     
  2. netphreak

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    What frame did you go with? I want to build an Octo or X8 heavy lift soon.
     
  3. mediaguru

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    I went with the Tarot T960.
     
  4. havasuphoto

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    Aren't the batteries for that about $150 each, and last about 9? minutes?
    I would have thought the Z15? 3-Axis gimble would be around 5 times the price of the current Zen H3-2D. Guess it depends on what camera you're flying.
    Good luck with the build!!!
    Can't wait to see pictures and video from the new Hex.
     
  5. LandYachtMedia

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    I'm personally debating between the S1000 and a Cinestar8.

    Hopefully I'll get to put my hands on some hardware at NAB this year.
     
  6. OI Photography

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    I'm thinking my next platform after my 550 will be a Tarot 810 (same as the 960 just shorter arms). Are you using a NAZA or a Wookong?
     
  7. havasuphoto

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    Why not the S800?
     
  8. LandYachtMedia

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    Looking to carry a Sony FS700. Its about 5lbs. I understand the S800 airframe isn't good for that much load due to flex.
     
  9. mediaguru

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    Just like the Phantom, the flight time depends on many many factors: motors, blades, weight etc.

    I'm not exactly sure what my final weight and setup will be.

    Yes the batteries will be expensive. Nothing coming cheap with a config like this!
     
  10. OI Photography

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    One of the main drawbacks to DJI's non-Phantom platforms to date (from the 450 up to the S800/S800EVO) has been the flexibility of the arms. You can build an 800-class rig that will lift 5lbs, but you'd pretty much need CF arms to do it, which is exactly why I'm looking at the Tarot 810.

    Seems DJI was smart enough to not try the same with the new S1000.
     
  11. havasuphoto

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    I know the camera. And you're correct-you would need an S1000 for that. It's an awesome camera. Saw one go down into the water a few years ago...they don't float, or like getting wet ;)
    What storage solution are you using? Gimbal??

    I haven't looked into the Cinestar 8. For me-it would be almost all about Customer Support. And, from what I've seen from DJI-they could go pound sand. They could have the "miracle drone", capable of light speed, and carrying a Red with a Prime, for less than 1000 bucks, and I still wouldn't buy it.
    They really need to play "catch up"...and step up with their customer support.

    I think I would prefer to buy something "custom", made from some guy in America, with as many American parts as I can find. Price isn't to much an object. It's all about reliability, and parts availability.
    I'm not going to risk a rented Red, on some $40 Chinese motors, with $1 props.......kind of an over-exaggeration, but you get my point.
    The S1000 looks awesome-no doubt there. But, for that kinda money........I dunno. Having a hard time with all the Made in China stuff right now. I'm an American, living in America. I'd rather pay more for that. Guess I'm funny that way.

    EDIT; I think the S1000 has aluminum or titanium arms?? Carbon fiber would flex too much, I imagine.
     
  12. LandYachtMedia

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    I'll be going full tilt with a gimbal and dual controls (camera op plus pilot).

    Recording will be dependent on the client. In camera AVCHD is obviously doable. I also have a NanoFlash in case a broadcast codec is needed. Its not likely I'll strap the Convergent Design 7q to it unless I need to shoot 4k with the FS700. :cool:
     
  13. havasuphoto

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    Why would you shoot at anything less? :)
    A few words of advise; don't build on "spec"-get contracts first. and, don't fly over water. If you do-make sure you get some sort of "equipment insurance" through whatever Production Company you're doing work for.
    Those 2 things for me, are absolutes. I won't build/buy anything without a job first. And, if the client request "over-water", then they need to "insure" against total loss-or no over water flights for me.

    Rental Agencies generally don't insure against their camera's being dropped from a copter into water......unless things have changed. Sure wouldn't want to be on the hook for a Red and a Prime.
     
  14. OI Photography

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    Wouldn't the same be true if it were dropped on to the ground from an aircraft? I'd be nervous as hell putting any rented gear in the air, even if was just over land, unless I knew specifically that was covered.
     
  15. havasuphoto

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    Yep.....that's why you let the Production Company rent the equipment ;)
    You just fly........
     
  16. LandYachtMedia

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    Well in this case I am the owner of the production company and I own the equipment. I will be getting a special hazard policy when I need to shoot something like this.
     
  17. havasuphoto

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    Cool!!! So you do understand the business side of things well :)
    This 1 piece of equipment can replace almost a dozen(that I've counted)......
    Can't wait for the "build" thread.....with pictures, etc.
     
  18. mediaguru

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    I setup my shop in my basement Sunday. Shortly after I started building the hexa. The frame is built. Now working through how I'm going to wire it.

    The wingspan on this beast is 40 inches. The motors alone cost more than my phantom did.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. OI Photography

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    Nice! What motors did you end up getting for it?
     
  20. BruceTS

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    I'm going a different route, using my TBS Discovery with AerialMob arm kit, with 3520 motors and 14" props, this set-up with my GpPro and Tarot gimbal mounted in the nose should give me around a 30 minute flight time when built.

    Boltzman even mounted a GotheliRC VX5 gimbal with a NEX-5 camera http://www.multirotorforums.com/showthr ... post133975 the two he built fit nicely in a backpack for traveling, he posted a video later in that thread.

    Kloner posted a few videos of his flying:
    http://fpvlab.com/forums/showthread.php ... ons/page14


    This is the way mine looks currently doing a test flight making sure the controller is functioning properly, got the new arm kit sitting at my house, now to come up with the funds for the new ESC's, motors and props! Might just install the new arms and run 10" props in the meantime. I'm currently getting an average of 15 minutes of flight time on a 4s 4500, but I still need to install my Vtx , EZOSD and gimbal controller.
     

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