When I fly my Helimax 1SQ around the apartment, I crash into things. This has taken a toll on the canopy, which has turned out to be a bit flimsier than it ought to be. The plastic is very lightweight, and prone to cracking – especially around the part where the canopy connects to the quadcopter’s cross-pieces. At left is a picture with an example of the problem. As you can see, the tabs that connect the canopy to the cross-pieces are prone to breaking. I’ve done my best to repare it with tape.
I’m now on my second canopy, and its already got a big crack next to one of the connector tabs. At $9.95 apiece, I feel like I’m not getting a lot of value out of these canopies. Its a shame, because I think, as far as quadcopter canopies go, I think these 1SQ stock canopies are among the coolest looking (I do think the Nine Eagles Alien canopy is a little cooler – its the same aggressively-shaped canopy as this one, but a black and red color scheme instead.)
So I’ve been experimenting with home-built canopies out of household materials. So far, I’ve built a couple out of heavy-weight paper, and one out of plastic cut from a coke bottle, together with some rubber bands.
First paper canopy design
Second paper canopy design
The paper canopies have the advantage of being very lightweight – even lighter than the stock plastic canopy. But they are do not seem particularly durrable, and are attached to the quadcopter using tape – which must be quite carefully removed when taking the canopy off the quad, lest there be ripping.
This idea has some potential, however, for being dirt-cheap and low effort.
My next stab at putting together a home-baked canopy was made by using the very bottom of a 20 OZ Diet cCoke bottle, and attaching it to the frame with rubber bands.
The rubber bands also act as shock-absorbers. I wanted that shock-absorption because I’m concerned that the extra rigidity of the bottle-plastic would result in more force from crash impacts being transferred to the frame than would be the case with the the stock canopy. The stock-canopy – for all its flimsiness – is actually quite good at protecting the frame from shocks, because the flexibility of the light plastic absorbs shocks in its own right.
I’ve been flying this Coke-bottle and rubber-band canopy for a few days now, and its come through a number of crashes without any damage. And I think it looks cool, because the affect of the red LEDs shining, slightly diffused, through the clear canopy is pretty sweet. On the other hand, it weighs a good four grams more than the stock canopy.
Still, its a design that shows some promise, and I will be exploring it further.