The first quad-copter build day was held at Tokyo HackerSpace on the 26th of January, 2014. Yves had been collecting parts for the build for some time, but was hesitant to get started. An aversion to power tools as well as realizing the absolute power the motors and blades he chose made him opt to wait till he had all the safety considerations in place before proceeding.
But finally he set a date, and invited all the members down to help/watch him start his adventure.
The results so far can be seen above.
I promised a photo blog with some play by play commentary of the day (lots of fun), so here it is:
After some discussion and planning with the group, Yves got down to business with some gratuitious chop sawing action. It became clear to everyone that aluminum is like butter in the hands of the abrasive saw.
This was followed by a quick grinding lesson with the sander disk to clean up the rough edges, then a bit of hand finish work with the files.
Once the major frame pieces were measured, cut and cleaned up, the next step is to take care of the top and bottom plates. These plates will serve two purposes. First, they provide a stable base to mount controllers, batteries and sensors. Second, they make the frame more ridged by locking the arms together.
The perforated alluminum plates should make it easy to place screws, attach electronics, and hang a payload.
It was about this point that Ben and I got distracted. I had been tidying up code for the membership payment box, fixing an issue with the printer falling to sleep (and subsequently not waking up when people made payments), as well as making the auditing menu more clear for us administrators. As a test, everyone who attended offered to make a 1000 yen donation! So kind! We always need the cash. The complaint was immediately risen that I did not offer receipts for donations. Thankfully, I had already anticipated that, and wrote the code to do it. I just had not enabled it. "Quick fix! Ok try it now!" Well the second complaint was that the recept did not have some awesome ascii art. So Ben and I made several attempts and printing ascii art receipts. We had some success, but everything looked skewed on the actual receipt. We tried big smily faces, dinasuars, and considered the pros and cons of an ascii art badger. Nothing worked on paper. Finally we settled for a very simple imogi. To prove that we put our full efforts into it before giving up, here is a shot of Ben looking all hacker at the terminal:
On the other end of the bench, Daniel was equally distracted by building a shotgun microphone amplifier circuit, from a pervy Japanese electronics hacker book (really.. all kinds of cool surveilance and spy gear, including shoe camers and eavsdroping devices disquised as a flip phone). Op-amps can be a pain, and the books instructions were not totally clear. You gotta have that negative supply!
By now, the rest of the crew was cranking away on the copter pretty hard, and was getting a lot of work done. The bench was also stacked with just about every tool THS owns! They put the space to work.
Success! The first round of the build is complete. The next step is to mount electronics, batteries and perform some basic tests. After which, the machine will need to be mounted down so that it can be safely trained, before finally taking it out for it's first flight. Ben has graciously offered his farmland west of Tokyo as a safe flying zone. It was time to celebrate. Yves also happened to bring his baby copter, which gave us all the idea that the big copter needs a cradle for the lil' guy.
There it is, in the middle of the black base plate.
We did some flying, but it was challenging to catch the little thing on camera, and it moved pretty fast. Most of the shots just show everyone jumping out of the way. Here a few that turned out ok: