Design Principles

Before we start, let's talk about what a released frame really means.

Any typical "ready for the public" design is no less than 3-5 carbon fiber cuts based on many discovery builds

  • A discovery build is a frame, power train, or some partial or total configuration of gear we are investigating. We experiment with motor/prop combinations, mounting configurations, and sometimes others designs in PCB and CF. It is hard to design for a new format or untested gear, so we as a team or a team member go down that rabbit hole and breathe in the essence of the build, bottle it, and use it as after shave.

Paper Drone

Each cut iteration generally has 20 or more revisions on screen, paper, or off the 3D printer.

  • During the process we may 3D print frames, cut them from card board, or use paper dolls to prototype hardware layout.

Once we "release" a frame, you can count on hundreds of flights, if not thousands. We are in no rush to get anything out to market.

  • Expected flight should generally be par with the handling, performance, punch, and flight time of a well tuned 5" freestyle drone. All flights are great, but that is not enough!
  • Hover tests, high speed film (slowed down) from both on board HD and LoS footage is used to tune and analyze flight details.

Repairability

Focus on maintainability. Avoid unnecessary complexity. Always be able to disassemble, prioritize access to hardware. Never discourage upgrades, inspection, and management access to all components.

Simple Parts

Minimize the variations of parts necessary for a build. Use parts in common or standard increments. Do not encourage or design vendor lock in or use proprietary components.

No Hype

The frame is a small component in the overall picture. We like to under value the frame at 10-15% of the total flying equation. We have seen flying dead cat drones, lego drones, and chocolate bar drones that cement how drone technology (computer, motors, sensors) can be put on damn near anything and it will fly. So the frame is really a container for parts to go FPV, fine. Quality of flight and the underlying performance is a combination of power train (motor and prop), tuning, layout, power handling, quality of build, and so on. The frame is but one of many important components, none a true majority, all required. A perfect example of our no hype operation.

Open Source

Frames are licensed under CC SA NC 4.0. In brief, this allows anyone to download, use and fly our frame designs. Any commercial (for profit) use is prohibited, like selling cut versions of a frame. Also, keep the original open source license.

Cut-to-order frames can be as little as 50-25% the cost of a typical retail frame. Any builder should shop smart, buy in bulk, and work to leverage get great savings in maintaining a fleet.

The reason we do not use a less restrictive license is because we are aware of companies such as DJI and Hobby King who steal and sell open source designs. We use the license as an explicit means to provide a legitimate legal barrier to such unscrupulous activities.

Please contact us regarding a commercial license for any frame, you would be shocked at how reasonable we can be.