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    Dreams DO come true - The making of the Ummakwad Remix

    Dreams DO come true - The making of the Ummakwad Remix

    On a windy day in July of 2017, six men met in Huntington Beach, CA to turn a dream into a reality.

    After nearly a year of testing and prototyping Tommy was finally satisfied with the "Ummakwad" frame or what would later be known as "The Remix". Tommy goes through the history of all the prototypes in his video here. The final frame design was incredibly detailed, complex, and demanding to manufacture.

    Max and Kelvin from Newbeedrone met with Chad, Drew, and Tommy from Rotor Riot with a final prototype frame to finalize what needed to be done in order to put Ummagawd's dream frame into production.

    Of course no Newbeedrone meeting is complete without some Acrobee flying and flipping. Coincidentally, this time, with the final prototype of the Beebrain v2! Tommy and Drew had a blast entertaining the little kids running around the outdoor mall.

    As is to be expected, a meeting between two drone companies has to conclude with 5" fun and you can't forget the Korean BBQ afterwards too!

     

    Back to The Remix, after some minor tweaks to increase strength at impact points, reduce CNC complexity, and simplify the assembly we arrived at this:

     

     

    Above all else, both Newbeedrone and Rotor Riot strive for quality and attention to detail. Tommy has gone into a lot of detail in the product description for the frame as to the features and design choices behind the frame but there is so much more going on behind the scenes that you don't immediately see in the finished product.

    Newbeedrone made three different molds for the battery and session pads, one each for foam, rubber, and TPU. Each of these materials was meticulously tested and tweaked before making a final decision. Several different anodizing processes were tested to get the perfect color on the aluminum parts. 

     

    Different grades of aluminum, stainless steel, and titanium were tested for hardware. Several versions of custom standoffs, washers, press-nuts, and other hardware were made in order to achieve the fit and finish that you find on the final product.

    The arm slots are pocketed to increase structural rigidity. The camera mounting holes are both counter-sunk and internally chamfered to make sure the bolts and camera are centered during assembly. Chamfered arms are not only good to the touch, but also reduce de-lamination. Carbon fiber orientation is laid out correctly to increase strength and reduce flexibility. Even the battery strap slots are chamfered to increase the longevity of battery straps!

    So many people put so much thought, energy, and effort into this project! Not to mention the quality of the materials and components, for the price, this frame really is a steal!

    In the end, it's always worth it to be able to turn a dream into a reality!

    We also made a custom RGB LED tail plate to really complete the look.

     

    You can purchase The Remix and LED's here:

    Newbeedrone: Remix Page   LED Page

    Rotor Riot: Remix Page

     

     

    Build Log: AcroBee featuring BeeBrain v2

    Build Log: AcroBee featuring BeeBrain v2

    I have to admit, the only experience I have with this size quad is the original Inductrix which I kept breaking until it was eventually unflyable.  Acro mode on that Flight Controller (FC) was really bad and I was quickly turned off by it.  1 year later, enter the AcroBee, featuring the new BeeBrain v2 FC.  Aside from the listed specs, I don't know much about the FC, so I'm going to build this without expectations and discover its quirks as I go.

     

    Parts List

    • BeeBrain v2 Set
      • Integrated FrSky Receiver (Rx)
      • Integrated 1mw/25mw Video Transmitter (VTx)
      • Camera w/holder
     

       

     
     
     
     
     

    Build Prep

    * Good news!  By the looks of it, THERE IS NO SOLDERING INVOLVED.  All of the components plug into each other, how cool is that?

    As a rule of thumb, I always test as many of the electronic components before installing them onto the frame.

     

    Test the Flight Controller

    Start BetaFlight Configurator and plug the USB cable into the connector at the bottom of the FC.  You should be able to connect to the board and see the graphical model move while you move the FC in your hand.

    Since I had the FC connected I went through all of the tabs and noticed that all of the important settings have already be pre-configured!

    Flash the Firmware

    Since everything is already configured, I opted to keep everything as-is.  The installed Betaflight version is 3.1.7.  Good enough!

    Bind and Test the FrSky Rx 
    1. On the Taranis, create a new model (or make a copy of an existing model) and set the Mode to D8, Channel Range CH1-8.
    2. Start the Bind 
    3. On the FC, plug it into the computer and hold down the little bind button underneath the FC.  Release the button after a few seconds, the red light should be flashing.
    4. Unplug the USB cable from the computer.
    5. On the Taranis, press Enter to stop the Bind.  Press EXIT to get main screen.
    6. Plug the FC back into the computer. In BF Configurator, go to the Receivers tab to see if your stick movements make the bars move.  Bind again if they don't.
    7. Adjust your Set Points from 1000-1500-2000 on all axis.  If you've never done it before, check out this link.
    SET MODES

    Now that your controller has a working connection to the FC, let’s set your switches.  I'll use the following switches for this setup: Arm, Horizon, Acro

    1. Let’s start with the Arm switch. Go to the Receiver tab in Cleanflight Configurator and cycle the switch that you wish to use for Arm.  Take notice of the Aux channel that moves and remember it.
    2. Go to the Modes tab and locate the Arm section
    3. Select Add Range and in the drop-down menu and select the Aux channel from Step 1.
    4. You’ll notice that there is a little green rectangle that moves when you flip the switch on and off.  With the switch in the position for Arm, move the sliders to left and right of the green rectangle.  When you flip the switch to your desired Disarm position, the green rectangle should NOT be in between the sliders.
    5. Repeat Steps 1-4 for any other Modes you wish to configure.

    Assembly

    Take note of the frame orientation, the top is the Front.

    Install the rubber grommets into the corners of the FC

     

    Mount the component stack onto the frame using the included screws. 

    Insert the motors into the frame from the top.  Note that the Blue/Red wire motors go to the Front Left and Rear Right of the frame. I chose to use the Black motors for this build.  Gently press the Clockwise props onto the Blue/Red motors and Counter-Clockwise props onto the Black/White motors.

     Slide the o-ring over the motor to secure the wire to the frame.

     

    Test Video

    I looked for a button to change Band/Channels and noticed that there wasn't one.

    *THE FC IS HOOKED UP TO CONTROL THE VTX THROUGH OSD!!

    1. Plug in a battery to power the VTx
    2. Scan through your Goggle channels to find the channel that it's currently on
    3. Hold Left Yaw and Pitch Up to bring up the OSD menu
    4. Go to Features > VTx to set your Band and Channel
    5. Save and Reboot

    How does it fly?

    The AcroBee is awesome.  It flies really good with the stock BF PIDs and it can only get better minor tuning.  I had to make some Rate and Expo adjustments to get it handling like my 4" and 5" birds but those are trivial adjustments.  The black motors have a LOT of power and moved the quad much faster than my old Inductrix.  

    Final Thoughts

    This build had a few surprises and I'm really impressed with how well integrated the system is.

    • No soldering
    • All settings are pre-configured - All you have to do is bind and set your Modes
    • VTx channel change through OSD 

    The Cockroach frame is super tough, it remains 100% intact after slamming into countless chair legs and tabletops.  I don't notice any bends or creases on the frame.

    The camera mount is stout.  I've landed upside down many times and the camera electronics show no signs of damage.

    I highly recommend this kit for anyone wanting a full-featured high performance 65mm brushed quad.  The flight characteristics are suitable for the beginner pilot and it offers enough adjustability for an expert pilot.

     

    LD Power 1407 4000kv Motors - A 3" powerhouse!

    LD Power 1407 4000kv Motors - A 3" powerhouse!

    I had a chance to try these new motors from LD and I was surprised at how well they performed.  The quad I used was a ShenDrones Flaco 4" X frame with optional 4mm arms that are drilled for the 1407 bolt pattern.  The dry weight of the quad was 191g so I thought it was light enough to try and run a gamut of props to find the right combination of acceleration, cornering ability, and efficiency.  The battery I used was a Nitro Nectar 850mAh 4S.

    They are anodized in the classic LD blue with silver rings at the top of the bell.  If you've seen their other multirotor motor offerings, it's clearly part of the LD family.  I don't know the exact specs of the aluminum or magnets used but the build quality is high.  If you twist the bell in your hand you'll be surprised at how strong these magnets are!  It's like cracking knuckles.

    High quality finishing for a little motor

    The size of a 2206 vs 1407.  

    14.7g with the nut and uncut motor wires.

     

    I tried DAL T4045v2 props but the motors got really hot.  It's definitely too much prop for a motor of this kv.

    Let's switch to 3" props.  I tried RaceKraft 3076 Tri-blade props but it didn't have any cornering ability.  It had good top-end but once you hit a hard corner you would drift past the entry.  You really have to be high up in the throttle to make tight corners and by doing so you waste a lot of power.  

    Let's try the RaceKraft 3054 5-blade props.  They make a wicked sound and have fantastic top-end and cornering grip.  The only problem is that the motors get too hot.  A lower kv would be better for this prop.

    The RaceKraft 3041 Quad-blade props ended up being the best flyer because it had a balanced combination of top-end, cornering, and efficiency.  Below is video of the quad-blades in action.

    Final Thoughts

    Although I had strong performance out of my quad with these motors, I think it would be even better if I used a lighter build and smaller battery.  The high kv wasn't optimal for the weight of my test quad and 850mAh battery so I didn't get the POP out of corners that I like.  I'd like to do another test of these motors but with a real 3" frame built with the lightest of components and 550mAh battery.  I'm almost certain it'll give a 5" a run for it's money on a tight and technical course.  

    New Warehouse Whoohoo!!

    New Warehouse Whoohoo!!

    Thank you for all your love and support! We are expanding to a new larger warehouse in order to better fulfill your needs!

    Orders placed after 11AM PST 9/12/17 will not ship for 2 days. However, when they do ship they will include extra goodies!

    Stay tuned for honeypots and giveaways from new and exciting vendors!

     

    Tips for becoming a better FPV drone racer

    Tips for becoming a better FPV drone racer

    First Person Drone (FPV) drone racing looks easy but it takes many hours to become a proficient pilot. You can make the most out of your practice if you set a goal for each flying session and work hard at building the muscle memory needed to be one step ahead of the competition.  Here are some tips that I hope you find useful to make you a faster, safer, and more confident flyer.

     

     

    VISION IS CRITICAL – If you are going to invest money into your kit, put it into video hardware because it's difficult to fly at your full potential if you can’t see clearly.  Using a brand-name FPV Camera and Video Transmitter (VTx) with a high-quality antenna is a good start.  If the budget allows, a quality Video Receiver (Rx) and goggles will ensure you have the best picture possible.

    BE SMOOTH – Your vision is the most important link to your quad and flying smooth makes it easier to concentrate.  Smoother flying means less disorientation so you can easily spot the next gate or flag which translates to faster lap-times.

    SLOW DOWN – Many pilots build high-end copters that exceed their abilities. If you find yourself getting out of control, over-correcting, or shooting past your corners, set a goal to fly no more than 75% around the race track for a few packs.  By slowing down, you can work on smoother race lines and transitions.  You can increase the speed every other pack to keep it exciting but go back to the slow speed on the next pack.  Repeat this and I think you’ll be very surprised at how much more relaxed and smooth your flying becomes.

    THROTTLE CONTROL –  Set a goal during a flying session to try and stay under a 10ft ceiling.  It’s easy to do in a straight line but if you are on a course that has features such as slaloms, sweeper turns, and hairpins, staying low becomes increasingly difficult.  You will find that it takes a lot of throttle adjustments to maintain consistent altitude.  If the race course features gates, 5’ MultiGP gates for example, fly at gate height because the time wasted letting off the throttle to lower your altitude could have been used to accelerate towards the gate instead and better your time.  This doesn't mean you have to fly under 10' all the time, it means that if you ever have to fly low, you can do it with confidence.

    MEASURE YOUR PROGRESS - A great tool to measure your progression is to use a timing system such as the ImmersionRC LapRF puck which announces your lap-time when you cross the finish line.  If you want to know that the effort you are putting into your technique is working, the LapRF will tell you.

    BE SAFE - Know your flying-field and what’s beyond it.  Safety is of the upmost importance when flying because nobody is immune to a failsafe or hardware failure that can cause your quad to fall out of the sky.  Having a safe place to fly lets you put all your attention into your practice.  If you are dodging dogs or people, pack up immediately.  Not only that, by having an area where you won’t damage property or injure people, it secures a reliable place to practice.  Remember that a bad accident can have a negative effect on all the pilots in your community.

    If you found this to be helpful, let us know!  If there is enough interest, maybe I should create a Tips and Tricks series?

    -Arknabbit