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Description

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Tweaker

The Tweaker is a 180mm micro racing quad with built-in camera tilt and plenty of room for electronics.

Ryan Gury of Dronekraft had been getting after me for months to design a micro, and I kept resisting for several reasons. One, I hate pico fpv gear. Two, I don’t feel the need to design a simple carbon H quad just to have an entry in a category. Three, you need a microsurgeon’s skills to build one of them. And four, I wasn’t convinced that they fly as well as 250’s, which I think have the perfect blend of power for agility and inertia for smooth carving.

Then my friend Josh started showing up to the field with an Armattan Morphite, and as he worked out the kinks over a few days of flying and tuning I noticed that it was getting faster and faster. Then one day we ran a couple of impromptu laps just before my battery died. I let him start in front thinking I’d get some nice video of him first, then pass him with ease – I had the Fast Forward and a couple years flying experience on him, should be no problem, right?

Well, much to my surprise I never got in front of the Morphite, and as I calmly congratulated Josh I started to freak out inside. How could that tiny little toy with 1306 motors beat my Fast Forward? Did he just invalidate my design?

I watched the video later in a cold sweat and was relieved to find that Josh and I hadn’t agreed on a course, and he was skipping a pole that kept putting me behind. Still, the Morphite was extremely quick in the turns, only losing ground in the straightaway. It would be faster than a 250 on the right course. Maybe I should design a 180 after all?

I set down some parameters. It had to take normal components: full size FC, 200mw VTX, and at the very least a FatShark 600tvl fpv cam. It had to be easy to build. It should have some fpv cam tilt built in, I hate it when cam tilt is treated as an afterthought. And it had to take 1300 as well as 1800 motors, and maybe even 2200’s for the freaks.

My first thought was to cut it all out of 1.6mm carbon. The arms would be doubled up so that they’re 3.2mm, and the second layer would be attached by the motor screws at the ends and standoff screws in the middle. I hoped that this would be lighter and possibly cheaper to manufacture.

The frame’s small enough so that it only needs 6 standoffs, and with the body at 36mm (the same width as the FC) the middle standoffs would have to be offset fore or aft of the FC. The rear arms would run straight across and use the screws on the rear standoffs, while the front arms would sweep back to use standoff screws just in front of the FC. I did a quick sketch.

Happy with the look, I next drew it up for real in Illustrator – it’s a simple 2 layer quad, no need to visualize it in 3d, and Illustrator has Bezier curves to make beautiful lines. I did use Sketchup to map out a 20 degree tilt cam mount. It’d be really cool to be able to figure it out with just trigonometry but I tried for a few minutes and got a headache so I just drew it instead.

My CNC guy is so good the tilt mount sits between the plates perfectly flush. 

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