Squidgy has been spotted. On the other side of the world!

After years of torment, finally an update on the Squidygate scandal, from across the pond.

In short, IT WAS STEVE!

steve_ted
The perpeTRAITORS and their hapless victim; Steve, Ted and Super-Squidgy

The curly-haired blighter kidnapped Squidgy (or, at least, Super-Squidgy) to take on a jolly across the States, and he’s had the audacity to blog about it. (Warning: this post contains lies!)

There are some great pictures over on Steve and Ted’s blog.

I will be having some strong words when Steve returns next week.

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Landing gear

My tricopter is based on David Windestål’s most recent designs on RCExplorer, with a few tweaks and modifications of my own. I considered doing a build log, but there are already loads of those out there for this particular design, and I’d only have ended up doing something daft like getting epoxy resin on my camera lens.

Instead I’m going to write about the tweaks I made, and what worked (and didn’t) during the build and testing, starting with landing gear. I realise that it’s not the most exciting subject in the world, but several people have commented on the tricopter’s landing gear, so I figure that that counts as popular demand for a blog post.

To be honest, I didn’t expect that landing gear was going to be one of the trickier things to get right, but it turns out that it’s not completely trivial to find something that’s light and rigid, but with enough flex that it doesn’t just shatter on the rougher landings.

The solution I came up with is to use plastic coat hangers. They’ve worked really well, are easy to replace if they do break, are very light (each leg of the finished gear weighs 10g) and (I think) look quite good. Here’s a very simple parts/tools list and how-to:

landing_gear_parts

 

  1. Two plastic coat hangers. I got a pack of 10 from the local 99p store.
  2. 12 zip ties (4 for each arm). Use the small 2.5mm x 100mm type.
  3. RC fuel tubing  or surgical tubing. You’ll need 6 20mm lengths.
  4. A sharp knife.

Each coat hanger will make two bits of landing gear. Cut the coat hangers either side of the curved hook section, and again on the long straight edge. The easiest way I found to cut the coat hangers is to score them with a sharp knife, and use both hands to snap them away from you. If you’ve scored hard enough, that will give a nice clean edge. I also trimmed the little plastic hooks off the ends.

landing_gear_cut

 

Push lengths of fuel tubing over the ends of the coat hanger sections. You’ll probably have to twist them on, as it’s a very tight fit. The idea behind the tubing is to give the zip ties something to bite into; without them, the landing gear can slide up into your prop discs if you land too hard, and ruin your propellers (trust me on this!).

landing_gear

Attach the landing gear on to your tricopter’s arms using two zip ties at every point. Position the zip ties diagonally, so that they form an X on either side of the arm. Pull them fairly tight, so that they grip into the tubing, and trim off the ends. In a crash, the zip ties should break, saving the landing gear and tricopter arms.

landing_gear_attached

That’s it!

ROMChecker, a python script to check for new Android ROMs and notify your phone.

I’ve recently been running the rather excellent PAC-ROM nightlies on my Galaxy Note II, and wrote a simple python script to alert me via Android push notification when a new build is available using the Pushover API.

This gets run as a cron job on one of my servers. It might be a bit niche, but I thought I’d post the code on my GitHub anyway in case anyone else finds it useful:

ROMChecker
A python script to check for new Android ROMs and notify your phone.

Ermahgerd, I blerged!

I’m back! Well, as “back” as I can be seeing as how I never actually went anywhere.

Anyway, I’ve brushed the e-dust off the blog (damn stuff gets everywhere) because I want a place to put a few things:

  • Multirotor stuff. I’ve built a tricopter! It’s based on a these RCExplorer designs, but with a few modifications of my own, which I’d like to document in case they’re useful to anyone else. You’ll be able to read about it here, and see it looming ominously in a patch of sky above you soon.
  • Software. I’m planning to tidy up a few scripts and programs I’ve written and publish them.
  • Squidy! It’s been a while, but the plot thickens.

I’ve also had a bit of a tidy up, fixing broken links and layout issues.

More to come soon!

Tricopter acrobatics, and first BIG crash.

I was playing about with the Self Level mix mode of the KK2 1.6++ firmware, but due to user error, managed to get it to self-level upside down, 60 metres above the ground, which it then proceeded to slam into. Oops.

The tricopter held up surprisingly well considering the height and speed of impact, and the zip ties did their thing and let the motors break away cleanly, but there is still some damage to see to (cracked body, cracked receiver antenna, broken ESC cable). Time to get the tools out again.

The camera did NOT enjoy the crash – I had to recover, then repair the video file from the SD card, and sadly this is all the footage that there is.

Super Simple Gimbal and Mobius ActionCam on my tricopter

This is one of the first videos I shot using the Mobius ActionCam on my tricopter, using my Super Simple Gimbal. It’s shot at 1080p/30fps, and I’ve not done any post processing on this video – I wanted to get a feel for the amount of vibration/rolling shutter distortion I’d get off the bat, in order to work out what tuning/redesigning I might need to do.

The gimbal is currently attached to a carbon fibre plate suspended from the tricopter using RC fuel tube with very stiff coat hanger wire inside. I’m planning to use larger loops of more flexible wire (picture hanging wire) next, to see if I can get rid of some of the shake. In both cases, the battery is attached to the plate, rather than the tricopter frame. I’ll post a comparison video of a similar flight one I’ve had a chance to test the new damping system.

Mobius information: www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t­=1904559
SSG instructions are here: www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t­=1793759