The indoor First-Person-View quadcopter.
The emerging popularity of hobby-level quadcopters and drone racing has created a demand for an indoor, first-person-view (FPV) flying solution, especially during inclement weather and for indoor flying.
The Tiny Whoop found a way to address this demand. In early 2016, it gained popularity for its relatively low cost and straightforward assembly. However, the platform had its shortcomings; its reliance on the Blade Inductrix's injection-molded frame proved frustrating for many pilots due to its poor durability, especially with the added weight of an FPV camera.
Other entries into the nano-FPV market happend in the second half of 2016, but still suffered from a lack of durability and poor access to replacement parts. Even Blade's own Inductrix FPV utilized the same frame as its original Inductrix... no improved durability!
In early 2017, I started teaching a workshop series at the Idea Foundry in Columbus, OH for my drone racing team Safety Third Racing. This series was based on "hacking" a Blade Inductrix into a Tiny Whoop. Not only was this process fun, it also provided an educational exposure to the world of drones, robotics, and a variety of STEM topics.
As my student pilots started inevitably breaking their frames, I wanted to be able to provide a better nano-FPV frame to replace their stock frames. And, having access to 3D printers at the Idea Foundry, I set out developing a new nano-FPV frame from the ground up.
A new nano-FPV frame - the S3 Ninja Star
Before setting out to design my own frame, I established the following design requirements:
1 - The frame must be durable. So durable, it can fall from 20 feet onto a hardwood floor without breaking.
2 - The frame must remain lightweight. Original frame = 3.0g, other 3D printed options easily pass 6.0g. I'm shooting for </= 4.0g.
3 - The frame must be enable faster/easier assembly and component swapping than the original Inductrix frame.
4 - The frame must be 3D printable. More specifically, it should be printable using standard hobby-level settings and nozzle sizes to make it easy for anyone to print in a common material like PLA.
The following is a collection of development photos.