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3D Printing Projects

3D Printing Projects

Multirotor pilots and builders love 3D printing. They also love sharing the parts and objects that they design for their aircraft. Some contributors come up with awesome mods and fixes, a sample of which I will be sharing with you in this list. If you own or have access to a 3D printer, these projects will make you glad that you have a working understanding of fused deposition modeling. I found each of these designs on Thingiverse.com, and they are some of the most popular downloads among drone/quadcopter/FPV enthusiasts who use the website.

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Simple fix for FPV Goggles
We sometimes endure little annoyances that, through virtue of repetition, reduce our overall enjoyment of our favorite hobby. Consider, for instance, the button placement on the top side of Skyzone FPV Goggles. Some people complain about the accidental pressing of said buttons when trying to position the goggles or when handing them to a friend, causing an unwanted change to the settings. This Thingiverse contributor invented a simple frame to prevent that.

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Homemade helical antennae
Helical antennae are what expert long-range FPV pilots use. They are highly directional, high-gain antennae that can boost a signal to reach across several kilometers. They sell online from about $40 to as much as $80. You can save some money by making your own with this 3D-printed frame (some soldering required). Once again, make sure that you are allowed to fly beyond the line of sight in your country and don’t break any laws.

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A roof for every circuit board
Circuit boards were not meant to be flown naked. Print this case for your Naze32 to keep it safe from dirt, grass, water, short circuits, bumps, scratches, and the occasional crash. 3D printable cases are available for most flight controllers. You just have to do a quick search on Thingiverse.

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Tilt the motors and race faster
This modification is for hard-core fans of performance racing. Tilting the motors forward reduces drag during flight by keeping the frame level. There is also the added benefit of keeping the camera pointing ahead, instead of always looking at the ground. You can find adapters like this for most common airframes. I recommend printing them, however, with ABS filament rather than PLA. Brushless motors can get warm when pushed to the limit, and PLA is more susceptible to heat.

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Proper antenna support
Aircraft receiver antennae have to be kept vertical or in a V position for maximum effectiveness. You can use tape and Popsicle sticks, or you can print a custom, reliable, elegant antenna mount. This one is designed for the FrSky D4R receiver, but if you search Thingiverse for your receiver model or airframe, then there is a good chance that you will find what you need. Antenna tubing is sold separately.

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Antenna range booster
These small parabolic dishes were made specifically for DJI Phantom 3 and Inspire 1 radios. They reflect radio signals back toward the antenna, like aluminum rabbit ears, increasing the range and quality of your control link. You could make something similar out of cardboard, but plastic is more durable and the parabolic curve will stay consistent. Coat the inside of the dish with aluminum adhesive tape and you’re done. People who have tested these have reported a range increase of up to 30 percent. Just make sure that you don’t break any “line of sight” regulation that might exist in your country.

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Solid FPV camera mount
This adapter allows easy installation of your Fat Shark camera on a Lumenier QAV250 airframe. If you’re using a different kind of camera or airframe, then you can do a search for that and you will likely find the right part for your setup. For instance, someone invented a GoPro HERO3 mount for the ZMR 250 airframe; somebody else designed a Mobius mount for the ImmersionRC Vortex. All are elegant solutions that beat just using tape and Popsicle sticks.

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