Catalyst Machineworks Superlight Norris

By flux_fpv on Jun 10, 2018

4  324  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.


Part List



Flight Controller



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


HQ DURABLE PROP 5x4.3x3 V1S (2CW+2CCW) (355 builds)

FPV Camera

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


Frsky R-XSR Micro Receiver (2 builds)
Show stores (3)


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Jodie Froster   Jun 10, 2018  

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.

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