Assembling our frame is where things really begin to take shape in our quadcopter build with the Pixhawk flight controller! For this build we are going to use the WMC X-Mode Alien quadcopter frame for a few reasons; first of all it is a very simple frame that anyone can easily put together, secondly, it is inexpensive and thirdly, there is alot of room inside this frame to position your components and add fpv or other video equipment. So let's have a look at the components that come with the kit (below photo).
- 1 Top Plate
- 2 Bottom Plate: Notice that the bottom plate has the extension on the front for mounting a video camera.
- 3 Video Camera Mounting Plate
- 4 Rubber Vibration Dampeners
- 5 Front and Rear Booms
- 6 Mounting Hardware for Booms
- 7 Lightweight Nylon Mounting Hardware for Standoffs
- 8 Aluminum Standoffs
- 9 Mounting Hardware for Motors
Our first step in the frame assembly is to add a bit of a custom flair by spray painting the booms a nice glossy black on the front and a bright yellow on the rear to give our quadcopter a really cool bumblebee look (first photo)! We really don't know how the paint will hold up but it is certainly worth a try!
If you decide to paint yours (and we hope you do) and get a way from the common and very drab red and white booms, be sure to protect the mounting holes by either covering them with some masking tape or using a few spare fasteners (above photo). Once the solvent from the spray paint had flashed off and the parts were still a little sticky to the touch we popped them in the oven at 75C (170F) for about an hour to really bake the paint on there.
The first step in assembling the frame is to mount the booms using the supplied fasteners (these are the smaller of the two, the larger fasteners are for mounting the motors) to the top plate which requires four fasteners per boom (below photo). For starters just turn all fasteners a little less than finger tight until all of the mounting holes are aligned and at the end of the assembly come back and tighten everything up. By the way, you'll have to have your own set of allen keys because none come with the kit.
Next fasten the camera mounting plate to the bottom using the rubber vibration dampeners (top photo). To do this just pinch each dampener and push it through the slot for each hole.
Now turn over the top plate sub-assembly and mount the bottom plate to the booms using two fasteners each (below photo).
When fastening the bottom plate, make sure that the camera mounting plate will be right side up when the assembly is complete as shown in the photo below.
Finally, fasten the standoffs between the top and bottom plates using the supplied fasteners (ours happen to be lightweight nylon). This will form the battery compartment, at the rear of the frame (above photo). You will now have a really cool "bumblebee" quadcopter frame!