SCALAR Novel 3D printed Tri-Copter Concept Karel van Leeuwe and Daan Höppener, Master Students Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering, TU Delft Both fascinated by the emerging drone technologies, we started a project to develop a unique drone concept. We wanted to learn about the practical aspects of designing and producing an unmanned aerial system. Also, we took a look at what it would take to be a successful drone-related company. In this article we introduce our functional prototype and the steps we took to create it.
ast year we started a project in which we set out to build a unique tri-copter drone. We both had our reasons for this project. Daniel had already planned on doing his MSc thesis at the faculty’s Micro Aerial Vehicle Laboratory (MAVLab), so he wanted to learn more about the hardware used in drones which lead to his decision to build one. Since product design is a hobby of his, the drone had to look esthetically pleasing.
DESIGN PROCESS We went for a tri-copter configuration because it was more challenging and unique than designing a quad-copter. With a tri-copter, there are two clockwise, and one counter clockwise rotating propellers. This creates a
Karel was interested in how UAV systems are widely used in the USA for geomapping and crop surveillance. He wanted to know more about the technology of such systems, and a good way to do that was to start building a drone himself. Together we set out to build a drone with a serious attitude in which the finished product would serve as a prototype for a drone-related business case. For us, the emphasis was on learning the practical aspects of designing and producing an unmanned aerial system including auto-pilot features and the ability to carry a GoPro camera. It needed to have comparable capabilities to that of a DJI Phantom III, the best selling consumer drone 10
N°2 2016 LEONARDO TIMES
Primary test flights.
moment imbalance due to propellor drag. The solution is to enable thrust vectoring by tilting the aft propellor. To achieve this, a servo and a tilting mechanism are required. With thrust vectoring, yaw control is more direct than compared to a quad-copter, as a quad-copter relies on differences in angular velocities of the clockwise and counter-clockwise propellors to generate a yawing moment. To make the design as integrated as possible, we first selected the components which were required and built everything else aroud them.