Seagull Update

By The Van on Jun 06, 2019

23  749  14

This is a revised prototype.

Hey folks! It's been a short while & I think it's worth noting some changes to this frame, as well as the status on availability.

To answer the latter in short - pre-orders will go up the second I'm completely happy with our samples. It's getting really close but there are just a couple more tweaks to make before everything's peachy. At the current state, I expect to be accepting pre-orders within about 2-3 weeks from this posting.

I approached development on this frame a bit differently from the Raven. Whereas the Raven was designed around the idea of getting a tighter CG in a bottom mount frame - the Seagull has its own solutions for a different set of problems. As mostly a cruising pilot myself, I really wanted to remove the props from HD video (a common want); but if that's the only stipulation there are hundreds of frames which fit the bill. I'm also interested in cinematic flying, so the idea of being able to easily adjust both cameras for different filming scenarios is really appealing. I thought of other frames that do this, and came up with only the Chameleon & now the Rooster which appear to allow about 15-20° of adjustment. This strikes me as more of a 'set it & leave it' feature than anything, so I decided this design should start at 0° and end higher than 40° - without seeing props at either end. This way, slow cinematic shots a-la-Squirt are achievable, as well as high-speed chasing & freestyle.

Alt Tag
I always start projects on paper. Sometimes it takes 100 sketches, sometimes it takes 1. The Seagull had a few, but this is the one that mattered - where I decided to have a side-rail construction that dips below the base plate to protect a camera cage up front.

With these side rails, thin arms, hinged parts, I knew that durability testing would be paramount - and it has been. A few rounds of prototypes later & everything I expected to break is fine, everything I expected to be fine has broken. So, let's go over some changes:

  • The arms have been shortened from accepting 5.5" to 5" props (longer arms more prone to wobbles & breaking)
  • The arms are now split up individually, vs boomerang style where proper fiber directions weren't possible
  • A 4th arm screw towards the center stack was removed, after feedback that it could obstruct the 4in1 connector (Thanks Alessandro!)
  • Added more ziptie slots in the base plate
  • Converted slot-joints from rounded rectangle to dogbone inserts. This might not mean much to you, but it means the siderails resist developing play over time.
  • Added a standoff to the top, removing the need for a heavy TPU top part & bettering functionality for 'toilet tank' style battery mounting.
  • Greatly reduced material in TPU parts

Expandability is another point I'm trying to cover pretty well. I've been keeping up with optional parts for various antenna mounts, XT60 mounts, front & rear camera mounts (HD & FPV). This gives the lower bits of the A-frame a lot more utility - not only do they create a clean system for modular attachments, but also they naturally add protected areas to the frame.



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Dave_C FPV   Jun 07, 2019  

Congrats Van! This is one of the smartest designs I have seen in a long time (or maybe ever). I'm looking to build a long range cruiser and would love to see a 7" version of the Seagull in the future. The combionation of a lot of build space, good spot to mount the immortal-T and FPV antenna plus the adjustable camera angles would be perfect for a cinematic long range rig!

The Van   Jun 07, 2019 

Thanks a ton man! Definitely will be doing a 7" model (with 6mm arms, most likely) - can't wait to see some scenic cruises :)

QuadX   Jun 08, 2019 

And 6" please!!!

thumbtwiddler   Jun 07, 2019  

btw how much are you gonna sell these bad boys for? I'd love to fly one

The Van   Jun 07, 2019 

Still holding out on an exact price, but it should be at least a little shy of $100

QuadX   Jun 08, 2019 

Good price point n my opinion! Make sure to include chamfered edges though ;)

BirdbrainRC   Jun 06, 2019  

Really like your approach to designing! Always interesting to read how others do it, I'd say I design a bit more reactively, there's a lot of chaos in there (my Solidworks files are especially disgusting in the way I virtually hack bits off and add them onto parts!)

How are you finding the front camera block holds up in bumps, get any angle change or loosening in big hits?

The Van   Jun 06, 2019 

Thanks! There's definitely a lot of what I'd call 'distilling' that happens during my process. My files aren't necessarily the cleanest either haha - that was interesting about the Junco. Since it was meant to be open-source from the start, I tried real hard to keep a clean workflow & learned a lot. Now, I have to remind myself sometimes 'it's ok, other people aren't going to edit this' when it's easier to do something quick & dirty.

The camera cage holds up really well. Fully tightened, it's very tough for it to move. It can in a hard enough crash of course - and for that reason I may introduce notches, at the cost of having to remove screws fully during adjustment. Think that's an okay tradeoff?

BirdbrainRC   Jun 06, 2019 

I'd probably lean towatds leaving it alone, then again I have some builds with infinitely adjustable cameras which I'm endlessly tweaking and some with completely fixed cameras that I just get used to without complaint, so I might not be the best to give an opinion on that!

QuadX   Jun 08, 2019 

I'd definitely leave it infinitely adjustable. It means that the camera can at least move a bit in a crash, rather than just being forced to break.

thumbtwiddler   Jun 07, 2019  

kinda hot 😳😳😳

e_z_chee_z   Jun 07, 2019  

Your drawings remind me of the drawings in the game "Myst"

The Van   Jun 07, 2019 

Haha nice! That and the sequel 'Riven' were the first CD-ROM games I played as a kid :)

Rice_Bowl   Jun 07, 2019  

Same man. Id prefer drawing it out first on paper. Also having the design done first try is super rare for me! Sleek looking design dude!

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