Design, Build, Test, Iterate

Tricopter crash

The Autodesk Oregon FRC Regional happens over two days: today (past) and tomorrow. Last night, I was testing a new control scheme for my tricopter in preparation for the regional when I lost control of the throttle and let the tricopter drop eight feet to a tiled floor.

My mangled and broken tricopter chassis.

My mangled and broken tricopter chassis.

Unfortunately, I was alone in the lab and was not able to record the tests on video. Instead, I mounted a camera to the tricopter itself. This is the video of the crash. Watch the tail motor disappear:

It was 11:00 pm, I was tired, and I had to wake up at 5:00 the next morning. This was about the worst that could happen, but the wooden arms were weakened by screw holes, anyway, so the failure was not surprising. It may even have been a good thing, since I might have tried to fly it at the venue without knowing my throttle could fail to respond.

I epoxied the arms back on, hoping it would cure in time, but that was not meant to be. I ended up reinforcing it at the venue with some JB-Weld (which also did not cure fast enough) that someone helpfully lent me and angle aluminum I hacked on with even more machine screws. Unfortunately, the break made all the arms slightly longer by different amounts, unbalancing the tricopter. I was able to demo it, but only in my hand.

The bite of a rabid tricopter. (And "alumni" should really be "alumnus," but sleep-deprived roboticists have no time for grammar, right?)

The bite of a rabid tricopter. (And "alumni" should really be "alumnus," but sleep-deprived roboticists have no time for grammar, right?)

I guess this is my tricopter’s way of telling me that it is sick of the wooden arms. I will order some aluminum square tubing soon.

More pictures:



One Comment

  1. […] motivation for building a new chassis comes largely from the fact that my old chassis broke after crash landing on rigid plastic feet. To help prevent a reoccurrence of the event, I decided to install shock-absorbing landing gear. […]

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