Monday, July 8, 2013

The Fleet: Noodle Copter

Here's another one for Crash, as he's exploring the cheap, bulletproof quad space.  I got the idea from a post on diydrones.  The frame is pretty cheap... I paid $2/noodle at Target, but the cashier told me she bought some at the dollar store for $1.  I cut the yellow arms and the red and green cross pieces to 15-1/2'' lengths, as that's what the Arcticopter is.
The build is super-easy.  I screwed the motors onto some thin plywood, and just attached the plywood to the arms with zip ties.  Don't tighten it up, or it will compress the foam. I think tape would work just as well, and might not be so compressive on the foam.
I cut the noodles with my hot wire cutter, and glued them with Beacon Foam Tac.  It really works well.  White Gorilla Glue would probably work and might be a bit cheaper.  I cut the curves using a pattern cut by a 2'' circle hole cutter.  I might run some packing tape from the top of the red and green cross braces around the yellow arms back around to the bottom.
I used my handy Wago Connector power distribution system.  It was nice coz I needed a bit of extra length to get the wires down the H frame.  If after flying this looks like a reasonable thing to carry on with, I'll see if I can't run the wires through the noodles and eliminate some of the clutter.
I zip tied my KK2 board in the center, after cutting out a flat spot for it to sit on.  I've got a Flip on order.  I'm using a huge Rx coz it supports CPPM.  I will never use anything else with a flight control board... it's so nice having to manage just one wire!
I cut a slot out underneath for a 3S 2200 mAh battery.  I hadn't planned out the size, but got lucky that it just fit. It's being held on with a velcro strap
The top side of the foam arms and cross braces are reinforced with 3mm CF tube.  It took 4 15'' pieces.  I wanted to try some 1/8'' or 3/16'' fiberglass kite rods, but couldn't find any local suppliers.  So, the most expensive part of the frame is the embedded CF tube.  I taped the bottom of the arms with reinforced packing tape.  I goofed up on the red and green cross pieces and glued them to the yellow arms upside down, with the CF rods on the bottom.  Hope that's OK!
I embedded and glued the CF tube in a slit down the top.  The idea is that the stick will resist compression, and the tape will resist pulling.  The resulting arms are pretty stiff, although there's a bit of X-shaped flex in the overall frame.  Of course, coz it's built from pool noodles!  If it's too bad, I'll add some X bracing.

I'm going to add LED light strips inside the arms.  This should make it a quite colorful night flyer!

I flew it indoors in a quick test... it needs some tuning, but seems to fly without trouble.  I dropped it down from about 6' onto the floor. It was great, it just bounced when it hit.

Even though it looks a bit inelegant to some eyes, I think it might be a great trainer... the colors make it easy to keep visual orientation, you can see it in the evening, and it should take a crash as robustly as any frame can.  I'll post an update and video when I get it into the air.


  1. What is the flying weight of the NoodleCopter?

  2. Replies
    1. Would be awesome to have a parts list, since there's a link to these pages from the Make book: DIY Drone and Quadcopter protects, but no parts list anywhere :(