SCOUT is a micro UAS with decent flight time, speed, and technical capability. Designed for Search and Rescue Operation Assistance.
SCOUT has been a fairly simple build, however I'm striving for near perfection as far as CAD files and internal wiring is concerned, so it has taken longer than most of my personal quad builds. I'm also working on some issues with SCOUT's firmware. Once those are sorted, we'll be ready for a flight test, and Ill release the CAD files as FOSS, as well as any mods or upgrades I may make.
Starting out, there will be a single wide angle daylight camera on it. However I intend to swap this with a NoIR camera and high intensity IR LEDs, and add a FliR Lepton with the option to overlay that feed on the IR/daylight video for contextual awareness.
To my knowledge, SCOUT is more advanced than most similar class military quadcopters currently deployed (however not as rugged, of course.) And I only intend to make it a bit smaller and more efficient yet :)
So, Ive been wanting to try an 18650 cell based quad build for a while. 18650 Lithium Ion cells are far safer than LiPo packs, and some are more energy dense as well. The problem comes in getting the power out of the cells, or the C rating. Most cant cope. However 3000mah LG HG2 cells have a rated continuous output of 20a. 3 in series, and you get a 33wh pack, with a ~220w continuous, ~385w peak discharge. This is pretty darn good, given its ~145g weight. For SCOUT, I have added an integrated balance circuit to make charging easier (just plug into a 3d printed dock or 12.6v wall wart), as well as added a hard case, to make transport and installation quick and simple as well. No connectors or cables to fiddle with.
While SCOUT is intended to be a long endurance UAS, at least by micro quad standards, its not intended to be long range. It will be operating using 2.4ghz WiFi for telemetry, control, and FPV (with a standard 2.4ghz radio as a backup, of course)
However if longer range is desired, yagi antennas are your friend :)
This whole kit can easily be carried in your average laptop bag, with relative ease. I will be putting together a custom all in one control unit, and it could also be flown via a laptop or smart phone.
I still need to put a somewhat proper debug kit together for projects like this. Something compact and neat...my desk all too often looks like this:
The PXFmini is an interesting and *very* capable flight controller, however it has its quirks, and Im still putting together an image to make initial setup a breeze. Theres often a couple hours spent setting up a new image in each time, so I'm working to make an easily deployable image, to remove/reduce time spent on it.
SCOUTs chassis has already gone through many iterations, to help make ease of assembly (and more importantly, disassembly/repairs) a breeze. My goal is to be able to print the chassis, and using a set kit of hardware, assemble it. No need to modify or post process the printed parts, come up with custom hardware, etc. Print. Build. Fly.
I will be releasing these on or around the first test flight.
Only the Lower Chassis requires support material.
This frame isnt strong enough to be a proper race quad, however swap out the LG HG2 cells for a proper LiPo, and you could still probably get some pretty decent speeds.