A good temperature-controlled soldering iron
such as this one from Stahl Tools is critical to a
well-built quadcopter that flies well.
Before you begin, lay out all of your parts to
make sure everything is there. Then do a test fit
to ensure you have room for each component.
have their specialties and strengths. They
also have their weaknesses.
Frames can measure anywhere from
2 to 7 inches (named for the maximum
propeller size they can support). With
the right motors, you can usually count
on the larger frame sizes having a higher
top speed, but they will likely be less
nimble. Likewise, the smaller frames
will have lower top speeds, but can
maneuver tight courses easier.
To make things more confusing,
you’ll need to choose a shape. The
three most popular frame shapes today
are the H-frame, the True-X frame,
and the Stretched-X frame. Like the
sizes, these shapes have their strengths
and weaknesses. H-frames, such as a
Blackout Mini, are favored by pilots who
specialize in freestyle and who like to
carry a GoPro or similar HD camera on
their aircraft. They also generally utilize
a top-mounted battery configuration.
True-X frames, such as an AWK210
from Strix, are favored by racing pilots
who prefer a tighter center of gravity
(CG) for more neutral maneuvering.
These aircraft often utilize a bottom-mounted battery configuration.
Finally, the Stretched-X frame
is the latest style to come onto the
marketplace and is favored by racers to
replace the True-X. The advantage of
this frame is that it offers more stable
forward flight and tighter rolls for
There’s a reason why I’ve made
this first on the list: The frame you
choose can dictate some of your other
components. H-frames offer more
room for bigger components. X-frames
typically utilize a stacked configuration
and will lend themselves to smaller
In the end, you need to choose a
frame based on your needs.
A Test Fit Is a Good Fit
It’s easy to gather all of your parts
and start diving into a build. After all,
the quicker you finish building, the
sooner you can be flying! However, it’s
a good practice to test fit each of your
components to ensure everything fits
neatly inside of your frame.
You might find that your video
transmitter doesn’t fit the way it should
and needs longer standoffs for your top
plate. You could also discover that your
wiring gets in the way of your camera.
These types of problems can easily be
fixed if you know about them before
you begin assembly.
It has frequently been stated that you
should have the right tools for the job.
54 Model Aviation JULY 2017 www.ModelAviation.com