Catalyst Machineworks Superlight Norris

By flux_fpv on Jun 10, 2018

4  322  2

I wouldn't say that all of my past builds have been heavy, but I can definitely say they aren't necessarily light. I have a handful of freestyle 5" builds that typically have thicker carbon, metal frame components, GoPro mount, etc., and I've made no real effort to shave weight. I'm no racer, but wanted the challenge of trying to build a super-light rig. I considered a few frames including the Floss and Ghost, but ultimately went with a frame named 'Superlight.' I don't know if it makes for the lightest possible build out there, but to my eye the frame by Catalyst Machineworks is the most aesthetically appealing of the racer breed, so figured I'd give it a try.

My goal was a dry weight of 200g but missed it by a fair bit at 223g. By removing optional carbon fiber pieces - the cross braces between the arms and the two small vertical pieces near the camera - I could cut the wieght by 13g. Also, by using RK5038 props I could have also shaved a few grames. Finally, I could have been a little more frugal with my XT-60 leads and also skipped the large cap. I should note that I will likely add a battery pad of a few grams to keep the fastener heads from eating my Lipos, so in the end I think it could be setup as a legit sub-210g build after these considerations. That being said, I would like a bit of durability so I will leave the optional parts in place.

Motors - The Xnova motors are beautiful. I looked a long time for 2204 lightweight motors and these are about as good as it gets, coming in right at 24g out of the box with long wires (no prop nut). One thing, the wires point down from the bell severely and there is a little clip that keeps them from getting up into the bell. Rather than bending them by screwing the motor down to the arm as I would normally do, I raised the motors on the cross braces, giving plenty of room for the wires as they are. It does make some sense to raise the back motors in any case, but I don't like how it looks up front. I may bend those wires and get the front brace underneath.

Stack - I have read some horror stories about the little HGLRC stacks, but I wanted a light, compact, 20x20, 32-bit ESC stack that can handle (at least on paper) a 4S 5" build. This is the one. It really is a well thought out stack and goes together so cleanly. I am hoping my 2204-2350kv motors and old-man flying style will bless it with a long life, but I have mentally prepared myself for it to fail at some point.

I really enjoyed my attempt at a Superlight. I liked the look of the frame so much I am building another one, but caring less about weight. It'll have a 30.5x30.5 stack, 2205 motors, canopy, micro Eagle, etc. I think adding a few grams everywhere with the heavier components will likely bring it up to about 250g. Given my abilities, I likely will not be able to tell the difference in the air. I guess I won't know for sure 'til I get that one built and flying. Until then, I'll look forward to the maiden of my Norris in the next few days and hope I can still enjoy crusing around with my other big 5" freestyle frames. Thanks for looking, I hope you enjoy it.

Photos

Part List

Frame

SUPERLIGHT 5 INCH (NORRIS EDITION) (7 builds)
Catalystmachineworks.com
$79.99

Flight Controller

HGLRC XJB F440-TX20 V2
Goodventuredrones.com
$102.99

Motors

Xnova Lightning 2204-2350KV FPV 4 Motor Racing Combo
Fpvdirect.com
See Site

Propellers

HQ DURABLE PROP 5x4.3x3 V1S (2CW+2CCW) (356 builds)
Catalystmachineworks.com
$3.69

FPV Camera

Foxeer Arrow Micro Pro 600TVL FPV Camera With OSD - NTSC - Red (2 builds)
Fpvdirect.com
See Site

Receiver

Frsky R-XSR Micro Receiver (2 builds)
Goodventuredrones.com
$19.99
Show stores (3)

Discussion

Sign in to comment

Jodie Froster   Jun 10, 2018  
1

She looks beautiful. You probably don't need the extra braces with 24g motors.

flux_fpv   Jun 10, 2018 

Thanks, I am happy with the result! I think you are right about the braces. I went back and forth on whether to use them as I have never had a frame with them. They must add to the strength, but to my eyes they take away a bit from the look, and add significant weight. I may try without at some point soon.

Guides & Reviews

Jun 21, 2021

AirbladeUAV has done it again and this time they've brought long range to the 5" class! Based on the popular Transformer Mini, the new Transformer 5" Ultralight adopts a lot of the same design philosophies with larger props and more payload capacity. It can fly upwards of 20 minutes on a 4 cell Li-Ion battery pack and in ideal conditions it's got a range of over 4 to 5 miles. In this guide I'll walk..

Read more
Mar 04, 2021

With the release of the DJI FPV Drone cinematic FPV has become a lot more accessible, but you certainly don't want to crash a $750 drone! The QAV-CINE Freybott is a compact, lightweight cinematic FPV drone that can take a hit and keep going. It's a lot safer to fly indoors and around people. With a naked GoPro or the SMO 4k you can capture some great stabilized footage. In this guide I'll show you..

Read more