It’s been a while since I last seen a new frame and thought ‘thats different.. I want it!’ but when Stefan over at Thug frames posted some pictures of their new HDPE frame that all changed (maybe it was the Instagram filter or something..)
So I pre-ordered one at £75. Yes its the price of a premium frame but it does come with their life time warranty on the base plate (which I doubt I will have to use!). I calculated at the rate I run through QAV-X clones, if the THUG lasts a year then its worth it.
The frame arrived 2 days after their release. Packaging is ‘efficient’ which is a good thing! Enough with the over-wrapped amazon packages coming with an additional cubic meter of air that I didn’t order.
Taking it out the jiffy bag, the frame is nicely sealed in a plastic bag. It came pre-assembled with the pod on the HDPE base plate and screws in place. Also a nice set of stickers which always come in handy 🙂
On taking the frame out of the packaging my initial thoughts were that it felt solid and a little weighty. At a quoted 130g (base plate and pod) weight its perhaps slightly heavier than its carbon competitors (which typically come in around 100g mark). However, it does feel absolutely solid!
There’s a little flex vertically in the arms but I wouldnt say it was much, if any more, than a carbon frame. Horizontally there is zero flex as you’d expect. Even with the flex though it feels sturdy and i’m sure will probably be more robust than a carbon base plate.
The quality of the HDPE is good, nice and smooth finish on the top and bottom, the cut is clean too. There’s a little plastic swarf that needs cleaned up around the small cutouts but they are cut through fully, just needs a little scrape to remove.
The underside of the frame has some nice vents / weight saving holes cutout in it. Not much to see beyond that. What you will notice is that it uses a double sided allen head bolt arrangement for assembly of the frame. This is great as it removes any issues around bonded or frictional inserts which can get pulled out over time.
The arms are nicely designed with a countersunk cutout for the motor and a nice little channel for the motor wires. The arms are very distinctive in design with the large cutout design. I like it.
The pod print quality is good, its not the highest quality of printing i’ve seen but the overall dimensions look spot on. The layers are clearly visible but this is with good reason! It is likely down to limitations of the filament they have selected and associated layer size / temperature / print speed. The pod is printed from a Nylon filament material (Taulman Engineering 680 Nylon). From the specification on the Taulman website this plastic has a high tensile strength (for a plastic) and a very high ultimate elongation of 34% (the amount it can ‘stretch’ before breaking, this makes it massively robust!
it feels tough as nails and a video posted by Stefan from THUG shows him battering the daylight out of a poor little pod with a hammer! The hammer simply bounces off the pod, heres the video!
At the back end there’s a nice little hole for the antenna and battery wire to come out from, as well as holes on the sides of the pod for the motor / esc wires to go through. On the nose of the pod theres a nice big space for an HS1177 type camera and some screw holes for the camera.
There’s also an angled platform (about 30deg inclined) for an HD camera to sit on and holes for a strap to secure it. The rest of the pod is nice and flat so you can strap a battery on top if thats where you want to place it.
Currently the pod only comes in natural (white) and the base plate can come Black or Black/White sandwich. All in all the frame looks great! Its well designed and manufactured and I think it looks hot!
UPDATE: I’ve since seen on the Thug Facebook group that it is possible to dye the colour of the pod using RIT dyes (usually used for textiles and clothing). Its an inexpensive way of customising the pod to your liking and should be much more robust that a spray paint. They work by simply adding the Dye powder to boiling water then dipping the part in. Having checked the specification of the plastic, it has a glass transition temperature of 93C, so it should have much of an issue with boiling water, however it would be safest to keep the temperature of the plastic below this to avoid any chance of change in shape.
Very pleased so far with it, now to get building! Check in again soon to see how I get on.