Following on from part 1 where I covered the ins and outs of the initial design and test print for my QAV X pod last week, I have made some progress.
Even in the last week I’ve seen 2 additional quads on the market now complete with 3D Printed or Plastic Molded pod designs. The hype train is going full steam ahead!
This week I made various adjustments to the design including:
- Overall shape adjusted to give more clearance with props (the initial model in part 1 was only a few mm off the props).
- Correction to the camera mounting sizes to increase the friction with the camera (so it doesn’t rotate in flight).
- Antenna mount hole moved slightly to give more clearance for the pigtail.
- ESC/Wiring side holes made slightly deeper to give more clearance.
- Frame mounting holes adjusted to fit the QAV X Realacc X210 clone frame.
Also this week I test printed the Pod in Bioflex (Flexible PLA) for the first time. Overall results were good, however there are some difficulties when printing the unsupported overhang sections. These were fine in rigid PLA but I guess the flexible stuff doesnt have enough to support its weight, hence the print goes a little ‘off piste’ there. Nonetheless it prints okay and serves its purpose.
The thickness of the walls has been designed to suit a 0.4mm nozzle diameter, and to be thick enough for rigidity of the flexible PLA but thin enough to allow some give in the event of the inevitable crash.
Adding flexibility to parts allows them to absorb energy in a crash, think of a crumple zone in a car expect this one springs back. The flex not only saves the pod from shattering into a thousand pieces when it crashes, but also will absorb some (not all!) of the energy during a crash in the deforming of the pod itself. This will hopefully reduce the amount of energy left to do damage to the more costly components inside the pod.
Heres a quick clip showing the flexibility of the part:
To fit the pod, just remove the top deck including the standoffs, mount the cam, VTx and Antenna into the pod. To secure the Pod I used 4x M4 nuts (non-nyloc) which I glued to the inside of the Pod feet.
I used a zip tie through the holes in the top of the pod to hold the VTx in place and the antenna uses an SMA bulk head pig tail.
First impressions are that it fits very nicely! However a word of warning: this Pod has been designed with minimum clearance in mind. Its a snug fit under the hood, the PDB is mounted directly above the lower plate using 1mm plastic washers, above that the FC sits using 5mm Nylon standoffs.
The FC also has been direct soldered to ESCs and Power using no pins to save space. Same with the Rx which has been de-pinned to save room. With all these mods, the contents fit perfectly in the Pod.
Clearances look spot on for my build, the pod just clears the ESCs and wires, the mounting holes are spot on with my frame and the antenna position and hole is good!
There are a few things left to do to refine this, on the to do list are:
- Add hole for FC USB Connector
- Add hole for VTX adjustment (at the moment mine has a Immersion RC Tramp HV installed which has built in NFC for changing channels)
- Add hex nut holes on the attachment feet (so to remove the need for glue)
- Make a version with larger profile for those who don’t want as tight a build.
Download the STL and print your own!
Now the part that all you 3D printer buffs out there are waiting for. People have already asked for the STL even though this is very much still in work.
Below is a link to the STL free for everyone to download and print. This has been done as a free project and to discourage people from trying to print and sell this on for profit we have embossed our website URL on the sides.
We printed ours on a Prusa i3 using Bioflex filament. We added supports to the print only for the lower overhung section where the ESC gap is and under the camera mount features. The rest of the pod was printed unsupported.
Thanks for reading! I will be making further changes as mentioned above and updating this post as I go, so bookmark us and check in again for updates to the design 🙂
Feel free to comment and get in touch with updates of how you get on with your prints. We’re also open to suggestions for mods to the design and things that could make it better.