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RC VTOL F-35 Parkjet

Free plans, .stls, and code to build and fly your own VTOL F-35

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This is a full-VTOL F-35 radio controlled parkjet. It uses conventional miniquad/drone components and a fully custom flight controller for smooth transitions between hover, where it flies just like a regular multirotor drone, to forward flight, where it flies like a foamie parkjet. Active stabilization and aileron-mounted motors for thrust vectoring makes for impressive maneuverability and control, not to mention speed in excess of 80 mph. No RC plane in existence is as fun or as capable as this.

Full Tutorial and Flight Footage:

Flight Controller: dRehmFlight VTOL

VTOL is notoriously difficult to get working in the RC world due to flight controller limitations. But I wrote my own easy to understand flight controller code, dRehmFlight VTOL, that this project uses: https://github.com/nickrehm/dRehmFlight

Tutorials to set up your flight controller hardware and hook up your radio receiver to talk to the flight controller are available here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLTSCOv-lGtMax-oA4Pnq8OTxd4fTucrjQ

While the code is fairly easy to modify for this platform, I am also providing the exact same modified version of dRehmFlight that I fly on my F-35. You should only need to change some of the servo offset variables in the control mixer to level the surfaces prior to flight. Control gains have already been tuned to fly well. Available here: https://github.com/nickrehm/dRehmFlight-F-35

~~~THIS AIRPLANE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO HOVER OR TAKEOFF VERTICALLY WITHOUT THE FLIGHT CONTROLLER~~~


Parts I've used and recommend: 

Motors: https://amzn.to/3qXXIU7

Propellers: https://amzn.to/3dMu52E

ESC: https://amzn.to/3ATYQgW

Battery: https://amzn.to/2TEVEEp

Servos: https://amzn.to/3AO9s0V

Teensy 4.0: https://amzn.to/3i5Zwqn

IMU: https://amzn.to/3htnU6a

VTOL_F35_plans_sheet1_FULL.pdf

Sheet 1 of the F-35 plans, full size.

Adobe Portable Document Format - 53.29 kB - 07/06/2021 at 18:24

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VTOL_F35_plans_sheet1_FULL_NOGRID.pdf

Sheet 1 of the F-35 plans, full size and without the grid for laser cutting.

Adobe Portable Document Format - 45.66 kB - 07/09/2021 at 18:46

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VTOL_F35_plans_sheet1_A4.pdf

Sheet 1 of the F-35 plans, ready to print on A4 paper.

Adobe Portable Document Format - 45.94 kB - 07/06/2021 at 18:24

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VTOL_F35_plans_sheet2_FULL.pdf

Sheet 2 of the F-35 plans, full size.

Adobe Portable Document Format - 53.17 kB - 07/06/2021 at 18:24

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VTOL_F35_plans_sheet2_FULL_NOGRID.pdf

Sheet 2 of the F-35 plans, full size and without the grid for laser cutting.

Adobe Portable Document Format - 45.59 kB - 07/09/2021 at 18:46

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Discussions

mrrmgee wrote 10/27/2022 at 23:25 point

I'm almost done with the project but I keep stumbling on this one problem. When I plug in the battery, most of the time only the central lift fan motor will arm and spin. The other two will not. Also, sometimes none of the motors will arm, and sometimes only two will arm. However, when I plug into the Teensie 4.1 and reflash the code, it will arm all three after it reboots. Then I can unplug my laptop and fly it. Any suggestions?

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Nick Rehm wrote 10/27/2022 at 23:33 point

Uncomment some of the longer delays in the void setup() and add 1-2 more commandMotors() calls in there with short delays between. Discussion of this issue starts here in this rcgroups thread: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?3580135-Profile-F-35-Tricopter/page18

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mrrmgee wrote 10/27/2022 at 23:44 point

Thanks for the fast comment! I'll try and do what you said tomorrow, but if worst comes to worst I'll transfer over to PWM.

  Are you sure? yes | no

mrrmgee wrote 11/01/2022 at 14:00 point

This worked! Thanks! I do notice one last problem, however. In all of the modes, it seems that one of our motors is spinning faster than the others. The third motor is spinning much faster and I looked at the motor commands to troubleshoot. It seems that the motor commands going to motor three are higher than the other two. Motor three on ours is the left aileron, which should be correct. All of the IMU data is correct so what could be the problem?

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Nick Rehm wrote 11/01/2022 at 14:46 point

If you've calibrated the IMU, my next question is if you've calibrated the radio endpoints? And might also be worth calibrating the ESC after checking that.

  Are you sure? yes | no

mrrmgee wrote 11/01/2022 at 14:49 point

I have calibrated the radio endpoints too. How would I go about calibrating the ESC using Arduino? Would that be something specific to the ESC? Also thanks for the quick responses.

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mrrmgee wrote 11/01/2022 at 15:28 point

Oh nevermind I found the calibrateESCs() in the code, will try!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Steve Quinn wrote 10/01/2022 at 12:26 point

I created some 3d printed models for the flaperons and ailerons that include integrated hinges.  They work well and provide a little longer lasting hinge (not that it matters since I seem pretty good at crashing :) ).  https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5545326

  Are you sure? yes | no

mrrmgee wrote 09/15/2022 at 14:05 point

Hey, I am new to the custom drone thing and am a high schooler taking a course called Drones 2. We decided that this looked like a cool project and the 4 of us started. We are making good progress, but I am now stuck on the ESC. We bought the Lumenier 60A 4 in 1 BLHeli_32 and I don't know where to go from here. It came with a capacitor, but I don't see one on the ESC in the vid, so should we attach it? Also, how do you even set up a custom ESC? Does it come with software pre-installed? I only have experience with the individual ESC per motor.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Steve Quinn wrote 09/20/2022 at 23:31 point

You put the cap across the battery connections on the input, that's really about it.  I'm not sure if that one has a BEC on it, the 4 in 1 I purchased did not so I had to add a BEC for 5v.  I left the ESC with it's default firmware and it flies fine.

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mrrmgee wrote 09/21/2022 at 12:19 point

Thank you! One last question. Do you know what ESC you used, and also do you know how the FC gets power? I assume its the three-pin male header on the teensie but it's hard to tell.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Steve Quinn wrote 09/22/2022 at 23:36 point

Here is the one I used: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09J3LMW3K?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details.  The ESC takes care of it's own power, it just does not supply 5v offboard.  I connected a BEC from the vbat output on the ESC on the small connector (in addition to the motor control outputs) and ran that to the 5v input to the teensie (and to the rx and gyro).  The 5v "bus" is created with the two pin connectors on the 5v input on the teensie.

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Steve Quinn wrote 09/10/2022 at 10:07 point

Got mine hovering yesterday, can't wait to get out to the field to try out the forward modes.  Thanks Nick!  I ended up using 3mm plywood (laser cut) for the wing motor mounts, I could just not seem to get the form to cooperate there, it only adds .2g so it should be OK.  I used the foam boards from Dollar Tree, but I hate that the paper won't stay put.  Has anyone else found a better material?  I laser cut the foam, it works pretty well with low power and high speed on my C02 cutter, way easier than using the hobby knife!  I modified the angle version of the code to use channel 5 as a three position with 0 being disarmed, 1 being armed-angle and 2 being armed-rate.

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Nick Rehm wrote 05/05/2022 at 23:42 point

A pwm, ppm, or sbus compatible receiver will work right away with the flight controller code on the teensy 4 microcontroller: https://github.com/nickrehm/dRehmFlight

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alfonsadenbroeder wrote 04/26/2022 at 15:50 point

Hi Nicholas, great work!. I got mine flying without any issues. Three things: first, I want to send some money your way, to me this was great value :) Do you have a paypal account? Secondly, I seem to have some occillation like 10 hertz in roll in hoover, seems gains for aileron motors are too strong, which variables should I lower? Thirdly, I'm working on a larger version, width 1 meter , 3 EDF64mm. Maths work out, the setup is very comparable to the standard F35 (thrustvectors instead of aileron/motor combo), but any preliminary thought on changes in the controller settings?

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Nick Rehm wrote 05/01/2022 at 19:12 point

I think there's still a paypal link in the github repo, it's not necessary but I appreciate the gesture :) 

Yes control gains may vary depending on motor/prop/ESC combo. They're all adjustable in the control mixer function--each 'flight mode' has a different set of controller gains. Start by lowering the roll P gain by 10% and see if that kills the oscillation. You may want to go ahead and lower by the same amount in transition, and by equivalent amount for forward flight yaw.

I did a little bit of hacky code for the flight mode /fading setup on this project, so if you intend to deviate at all in fundamental design, I might recommend just starting with a clean version of dRehmflight and building up the mixing yourself. That way you'd avoid my very F-35 specific code that is only intended to work with this platform. Custom control mixing is not too tricky: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_n5GBudUf5Q

You can follow along with others modifying the code and post any questions you have here: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?3706571-dRehmFlight-VTOL-Teensy-Flight-Controller-and-Stabilization

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sevans wrote 03/31/2022 at 06:51 point

Hi there great project.

But as already stated the 4 in 1 esc seems not to be avaliable has anyone got sujjestions for an alternative that they have used for this project ??.

Thanks

  Are you sure? yes | no

Steve Quinn wrote 09/10/2022 at 10:04 point

This one worked well for me: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09J3LMW3K?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details, 

you will need a BEC though since it does not have one.

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barrydillon wrote 10/15/2021 at 11:07 point

the 4 in 1 esc is no longer available, what can I use in its place and does any code need changing

  Are you sure? yes | no

Steve Quinn wrote 09/10/2022 at 10:05 point

This one worked well for me: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09J3LMW3K?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details, you will need a BEC though since it does not have one.

  Are you sure? yes | no

George G Shemaka wrote 08/05/2021 at 01:41 point

Spliced in a single ESC to one of the motors and Teensy and it worked fine.  New Lumineir 4 in  1 ESC appears to be bad.  

Your software built in diagnostics was a big help.

  Are you sure? yes | no

George G Shemaka wrote 08/04/2021 at 18:48 point

Also, checked and I'm showing motor commands between 120 and 250.  Channel 5 reduces all command to 120 so do I have a ESC configuration problem?

  Are you sure? yes | no

George G Shemaka wrote 08/04/2021 at 18:24 point

Little problem.  Have complete servo control but no motor when ch 5 invoked.  Checked print radio data and channel 5 switches between 1000 and 2000.  Does the Lumenier 50Ax4 require some separate set up?  Thanks.

  Are you sure? yes | no

George G Shemaka wrote 08/03/2021 at 00:40 point

Build almost complete.  Electronics and software worked as advertised.  3D printed ailerons.

Instructions and videos first class. Impressive work.  Thank you!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Steve Quinn wrote 09/21/2022 at 09:26 point

I 3d printed the flapperons and ailerons as well with hinges, I could not seem to get the glue method to hold well (paper kept lifting on the foam).

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Adam Hale wrote 07/09/2021 at 17:20 point

Would it be possible to upload plans without gridlines? We use a laser cutter in my aeronautics group and those tend to interfere. 

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Nick Rehm wrote 07/09/2021 at 17:59 point

Yes I'll upload a version without the grid shortly!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Nick Rehm wrote 07/09/2021 at 18:48 point

Updated to include no grid version in files section. Cheers

  Are you sure? yes | no

Steve Quinn wrote 09/10/2022 at 10:11 point

Worked great with my laser cutter by the way.  Thanks!  Take care to remove the line on the canopy though, ask me how I know :) .

  Are you sure? yes | no

Mike Szczys wrote 07/02/2021 at 15:58 point

Looks tasty, can't wait to see the details!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Nick Rehm wrote 07/09/2021 at 14:28 point

Thanks Mike! Everything is available now

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Mike Szczys wrote 07/09/2021 at 14:35 point

Those aileron-mounted motors are wild!

  Are you sure? yes | no

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