About a year ago, I started trying to figure out how to build a 250-gram cinewhoop capable of carrying a full-sized action camera.
- Must be under 250 grams.
- Must carry a full-size action camera. While still being under 250 grams.
- Must be a 3 inch.
- Must be ducted.
Strong ask, a lot of guys in the hobby told me it might not be possible. So I decided to try it anyway.
My first goal was to design a lightweight carbon fibre frame, I then got a hold of Nick Heppner at CNC madness to figure out how much it would cost to get the frame cut. He offered a great price like he always does so I went with a 4mm frame.
I took inspiration from the Diatone 339 frame which was a 3-inch toothpick style.
Once I got the frame cut, I had to decide on lightweight parts… I decided on going with a combo stack to keep everything together.
- FLYWOO GOKU F722 20X20 STACK – FC, ESC & VTX COMB
- Diatone Mamba 1105 5500kv Micro Motor
- GEPRC Prop Guard – 3″ (4pcs)
- RunCam 5 Orange – HD 4K Action Camera
- Gemfan Hurricane 3016-3 (2CW+2CCW) – 1.5MM Hub
- FrSky XM+ SBUS Mini Receiver
- RunCam Nano 2 – 14×14 700TVL CMOS FPV Camera
- GNB 650mAh HV 3S 60C LiPo XT30 – Long Type
- RVS Cityzen 5/7 Parts – 3D Printed GoPro Session Mount
The frame itself came in just under 15 grams. So all in I was sitting close to 246 grams.
Only problem… The Mamba 1105 5500kv Micro Motors ran extremely hot after a hover test… So I was forced to locate a larger motor… The only issue is 1408 motors tend to weigh double that of an 1105 motor… Yet, I was able to do some research and found that the FLYWOO NIN 1404 ULTRALIGHT – 3750/4850KV MOTORs were half the weight of a normal 1404 at about 8 grams each.
The result was pretty awesome, flying steadily with very little jello which I solved with some tuning… The only issue, it came in at 265 grams, because of the increase in motor size.
So I passed the weight goal with the original motors, failed with the increase of motor size.
That just wouldn’t work!
So I set off designing a new frame to try and shed 15 grams.
The next frame I designed had to be smaller with a stacked camera mount. I literally looked at my Diatone 339 again and figured I could make it work. I centered the FC stack, put the lipo strap in the middle, I used 30mm M3 screws, and even created a custom lightweight TPU mount.
At this point, I was pretty hell-bent on accomplishing my goal that I had my sights on. I got a new frame cut from CNC Madness and waited.
When the frame came in, I had to figure out how to put together my vision.
Reached the goal!
After 3 months I achieved my goal, 250 grams all in ready to fly with a full-sized action camera.
Barely any jello in the video, nothing that couldn’t be fixed with a tune and or camera settings. I was pretty happy!
I was able to average 3-5 minutes of flight depending on how I flew. It did tend to fly a lot better indoors without any wind.
In the end, I did not realize how easy it was to create a frame, and or get one made. The idea sounded crazy, but when you have companies like CNC madness who help support the FPV community anything is possible!
If you are interested in building your own, you can download the frame here. Or you might even be able to reach out to Nick at CNC madness and ask to see if he can print the Travis Bevan X Frame Design if he still has it.
I figured if I can help the community by doing this, then it might help someone create something even better!
The way I look at FPV now is much different than when I first started a year and a half ago. Now that I have ventured into the custom-designed frames. I feel like a BNF is boring. Building my own designs is more exciting than ordered a frame designed by someone else.
I have already started working on Version 3, so stay tuned!
Have you built your own custom designed quad?
I’d love to know if you have designed a quad frame, did you take inspiration from somewhere, how did it turn out?
Comment below, I would love to hear your story!