Indoor Experiments in Zero Gravity

Adapter for the Crazyflie 2.0 Quadcopter, for experimenting with unusual side forces

Similar projects worth following
Hackaday Prize judges: Please save yourself time, this entry has No video.
Anti-tilting quadcopter with horizontal thrusters.
Brainstorming crazy quadcopter ideas!

Like most hackers, I am fascinated by hobby multicopters, but something feels wrong when I see them in action. Then the subconscious mad scientist inside me starts solving problems that don't exist; Why are all multicopters steered by tilting them? You wouldn't drive your car everyday by tilting it (OK maybe some of you would.)

See Car Skiing

Concept: Two part aircraft mashed together. First, a stabilized quadcopter to remove the consequences of gravity, holding just the vertical Y position of an XYZ axis creating a virtual zero gravity vehicle. Second, a horizontal only thrust and break system that allows playing around on the horizontal XZ plane (like an air hockey puck with breaks.)

Unrealistic expectations:

  • Mashing two systems together does not double the weight so that it never leaves the ground.
  • Horizontal thrust and breaking dramatically reduces acceleration and deceleration times.
  • Starting this project will not side track me into a 3D positioning system using something like OpenMV.
  • Pilots can be easily replaced by computers.
  • This is a new concept no one ever thought of before, and even though I have little experience, I will not need much help.

  • Crazyflie 2.0 Exhaust Port Adapter

    frankstripod07/07/2015 at 06:51 1 comment

    This is an adapter for the Crazyflie 2.0 Nano Quadcopter, for experimenting with unusual side forces.

    What is Crazyflie:

    “Aside from being fun to fly, it’s main purpose is to be a versatile development platform that can be used to experiment, develop and explore a lot of different areas of technology.”

    As seen at the Hackaday Store and mentioned in the Wings Wheels and Propellers Contest for the Hackaday Prize!


    1. Open Hardware: I want see if I can cut it at my local hackerspace, and make the files available so anyone can duplicate it.
    2. Use foam core board to keep the weight of the adapter to not much more than the expansion boards sold for it: Qi inductive charging expansion board, and LED-ring expansion board.
    3. Make some crazy videos.

    Here is the layout. Its got three PWM pins!

    All sizes are to scale.

    I used SketchUp to “trace” the size.

    Crazyflie board:
    92x92x29mm board.
    45mm propeller.
    137mm overall width.

    Foam core:
    150x150x45mm estimated foam size, not including feet.
    (I may have to use thicker foam and reduce the number of layers.)

    The top and middle sections hold the Crazyflie board and protect the propellers.

    The bottom section has four flaps that change the direction of the air, and provide enough leakage as not to block the air flow.

    The two servos are mounted underneath are scaled to the SparkFun Servo – Generic (Sub-Micro Size)ROB-09065.
    Upside down view:

    The three sections split up.

    Its going to need feet. Foam core will not be strong enough. I will see if I can find something light weight. Upside down view:

    Assembled together.

    For those who like explosions.

    Cable ties, glue, rubber bands, and fishing line make up the rest.

    I can't wait to see if my idea will come to life!

  • Getting it out of my brain

    frankstripod03/11/2015 at 12:16 0 comments

    This is just a quick rough sketch!

    Nothing is to scale.

    There are major linkage problems inside the model.

    The sub-micro helicopter parts don't exist and may have to be custom made.

    Its brain, heart and guts are missing.

    I may scrap this design for several other variations with tubes/ducts, and or reversible motors.

    SketchUp model available.

    The four prop vertical lift quadcopter portion of this project will maintain stabilization, altitude, and rotation by four flaps on the bottom. The horizontal thrust portion will focus on rapid acceleration and deceleration to a certain distance or point.

    The horizontal thrust concept is based on a variable pitch propeller and motor combination. This one has the push rod through the center of the motor:

    The SketchUp model shows twelve motors and twelve props. I would like a design where one motor and one servo drives four thrust props. This might be needed to reduce the weight, if the linkage doesn't outweigh the motors.

    The flow chart below only shows air flow direction for four props on one axis (X axis movement left and right.) A second four prop setup, overlaid perpendicular, completes the other direction (Z axis movement for forward and back.) All eight props share a common air chamber. I am imagining that air flow pressure and exhaust will equalize, even when moving in two directions.




View all 2 project logs

Enjoy this project?



zakqwy wrote 03/12/2015 at 15:37 point

I'm a big fan of unconventional drone projects. I think you could whip up a rough prototype using glued-together hot-wire-cut foam blocks, or just add a few motors onto an existing quad. Very cool!

  Are you sure? yes | no

frankstripod wrote 03/12/2015 at 16:47 point

You got me. My secret evil plan is to give it two opposing brains. One to maintain stability, and the other to mess with it (aka fans hot glued on a quad.) Your right; I could whip up a quick prototype, and lack of time is an excuse for me, but the real problem is zero parts and money (I don't even have some spare styrofoam.) I like the foam idea a lot. I was thinking coroplastic. Your support is very encouraging, thank you. Now that I'm back again, it won't be long until I'm clogging up your project blogs again.

  Are you sure? yes | no

zakqwy wrote 03/12/2015 at 17:52 point

Hahaha sounds good! If you end up going the foam route, I've heard building a DIY foam wire cutter is pretty easy and cheap--you just need a decent power supply, some Nichrome, and a few bits of wood.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Eric Hertz wrote 03/11/2015 at 20:30 point

"You wouldn't drive your car everyday by tilting it (OK maybe some of you would.)" great laugh, thanks :)

I dig the amount of professional-quality design you put into this "brainstorm"... Wow! Some quick brainstorms of my own... what about a triangular-shape...? Probably not as efficient in terms of actual (horizontal) air-thrust, just something about aerodynamics and weight...(?) Also, vaguely, something about having horizontal-thrusters facing at an angle slightly downward, in part to counteract their additional weight, if it becomes a problem... but gyroscopes don't like being at odd angles, right? Nevermind ;)

  Are you sure? yes | no

frankstripod wrote 03/11/2015 at 23:05 point

Thank you for getting my sense of humor! Its technically dry humor :) I don't think anyone got my 36 Touch Sensor Matrix project. Like the triangle idea a lot, it turns XY positioning into 120 degree vectoring in my head.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Eric Hertz wrote 03/12/2015 at 01:13 point

You think 3 corners sounds fun, try 6!

Is the 36-matrix one is a bit more subtle? Does it have to do with being land-locked in CO?

  Are you sure? yes | no

frankstripod wrote 03/12/2015 at 02:12 point

Yes. Also "main loop came out all at once as one line. If you squint hard and tilt our head to the right, (when spaced correctly in an editor) the shape of the main loop looks like the mountain skyline where I live and I wonder if this is a repressed Freudian sketch to some other problem."

  Are you sure? yes | no

Eric Hertz wrote 03/12/2015 at 02:25 point

Hah, missed that!

  Are you sure? yes | no

davedarko wrote 03/11/2015 at 13:21 point

This reminds me of a coaxial drone I have in my head since I was 16 or so. I'll see the updates anyway, but giving some support I thought I would hit the follow button as well.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Similar Projects

Does this project spark your interest?

Become a member to follow this project and never miss any updates