Le Puffin

By Straw Hat Sam on Apr 06, 2022

4  1,306  0

This is the cutest drone I have designed yet. It squeals through the air and is hilariously fun to fly. It definitely flies like a whoop with ducts on and if you remove the ducts, it glides through the air like it's on rails. Le Puffin is meant for slower speed shoots especially around people and fragile/expensive things. If you take this thing up in the air on set, people feel quite comfortable around it. The multi-bladed props help a ton with the noise reduction and in some cases Le Puffin, when fully loaded, can be quieter than some GoPro cinewhoops. Here's how it flies:

To purchase this frame kit visit www.strawhataerial.com

I have not tested as wide a range of components with Le Puffin as I have with Le Pigeon, but I do have some recommendations!

MOTORS
The only motor I have tried on Le Puffin is the Brother Hobby 2207.5 1750kV motors because I just happened to get it perfect on the first try. They are lower kV than you would expect because Le Puffin works best with multi-blade 4 inch props like the HQ 4x4x6 which have a lot of rotational intertia and require extra torque. I am sure any 2207-2408 size motor would work just fine in the same kV range. It's enough speed to keep up with a 5 inch quad crusing around, but torquey enough to get a good tune and not overheat.

PROPELLORS
I have only tested the HQ 4x4x6 hex props and they have served me quite well. The 5inch versions are already getting a bad reputation for being very fragile, but the case is not the same with the original 4 inch version. The smaller diameter reduces the stress on the plastic and, at least on Le Puffin, they can take a good tumble without breaking because the carbon fiber rings provide excellent protection right at the prop line. Gemfan is working on some prototype 4 and 5 inch penta blade props (5 blades) which I will be trying out and comparing to the HQ hex props so stay tuned for that showdown...

ESCs
Here are the ESCs I have tested with Le Puffin

  • RushFPV 50A Sport
  • RushFPV 60A Super
  • Hobbywing 60A (30x30)
  • Aikon 35A V3

When using a RushFPV 60A Super ESC I had no issues and it flew amazing. On the other hand, with the 50A Sport variety I flew one test flight in my apartment, then when I went to the field it immediately caught fire and burned everything inside my drone, destroying my flight controller, DJI Air Unit, and reciever. So I am steering clear of RushFPV for a while.

The hobbywing 60A ESCs seem to still be serving me well. I know others have had issues, but I haven't had a single one that has given me any serious problems. Pairing this ESC with the HobbyWing convertible F7 FC is a good choice.

The Aikon 35A V3 ESC worked, but it seemed a little noisy to me when I inspected the blackbox. Since the 55A version works great with Le Pigeon, I would probably go with that one instead of cheaping out with the 35A version.

One ESC I haven't tested, but I am sure would work great is the Foxeer Reaper 65A 3-8S ESC. Also the T-motor 55A ESC may be good too.

I use the same ESC settings as Le Pigeon for Le Puffin:
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FLIGHT CONTROLLERS

With Le Puffin you can totally get away with ICM gyros because this frame is on LOCK. Because it incorporates the same damping regime as Le Pigeon, but only spinning 4 inch props, the gyro noise is incredibly low (assuming hardware is not faulty). For this reason, an MPU 6000 gyro is not necessary. I recommend the HobbyWing F7 convertible, RUSHFPV Blade F7, and Aikon F722 V2 flight controllers because I have used these three with success.

PID TUNING
Below are screenshots of my current tune for a Puffin with the HobbyWing 60A F7 convertible stack. Use this as a guidepost only for your own tuning process.
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REGULATORS
I have begun using the Pololu 4.5a 12V BEC for Le Pigeon and Le Puffin because Pololu jacked the price waaaaay up on the 2.4A regulators almost doubling the price. So now it makes sense to purchase a single 12V 4.5a BEC and have it power both your DJI Air Unit (if you have one) and the Blackmagic naked camera. Just make sure to solder a little capacitor to the power IN sides of the regulator to filter noise coming from battery voltage.

BATTERIES

With Le Puffin, battery choice is not super critical and you don't need the best and highest C rating out there. My personal favorite is the RDQ 1800mah 6S packs. They are nice and light and will have plenty of punch and they last a long time. 2200mah works great too, so if you have both Le Pigeon and Le Puffin and want only one battery for both, get some 2200mah packs.

LENSES
I have personally used the following five lenses that I recommend on this page. My favorite is the Laowa 7.5mm (ultralight red version) because it is so wide, crisp, and makes your flights seem dynamic and exciting. My only gripe with this lens is that it could be even lighter and also the rectilinear stretch, although favored over the fisheye effect, noticeably distorts the image at the corners. The best ND filter for this lens is the NiSi pro 46mm which screws directly into the front and causes minimal vignetting due to its slim outer ring.

I used to recommend the SLR Magic 8mm because it is so light and inexpensive, but the issue with it is that it is difficult to get a perfect image out of it. The sweet spot for aperture range is narrow (around 5.6-8). In addition the rear element is quite small because it is not a "fast" lens. This means that if you stop down the aperture too much, any tiny speck of dust is going to cause glare or blurry spots. If the aperture is too wide, then the image gets soft around the edges. Also, the front lens element bulges out and may touch your filter even with a step up ring so that is a whole problem to figure out in itself.

I have used the Samyang 12mm and it's on the heavy side at 255g. You can do a lot with this lens, but the flight performance and efficiency may suffer a bit. I love the image though and it is great value for the money.

A better alternative to the Samyang is the Olympus 12mm, but at $700 you really pay for it. I got mine used for $400-500. At 130g it is one of the lightest lens options and its low light performance is spectacular. 12mm is too tight for most FPV style shots, but I always like to keep a narrower lens for getting "closer" to the subject if need be.

I used the Laowa 9mm zero-D cine lens once on set and the image is fantastic, but it is still on the heavy side at 247g. The compact form factor does help with optimizing the center of gravity though. I think 9mm is the ideal focal length for most people if they had to choose just one lens.

The Laowa 10mm lens is a popular choice for Le Pigeon, but I have not used it myeself. A known issue with this lens is compatibility issues with the BMPCC4K due to the firmware on the lens. It's a crap shoot, you may get lucky and get one with the correct firmware which is compatible with your pocket 4K. Or you will get a lens that does not communicate with the camera and all the functions like aperture and focus are disabled. To fix this, you have to send it back to Laowa and they will either replace it or load new firmware and send it back.

Lenses I have used:

Other lenses to consider:

Le Puffin Frame Assembly


Le Puffin Design Overview

BMPCC4K Disassembly

BMPCC4K Cage Assembly

Photos

Part List

Frame

BMPCC4K Naked Cage Kit (2 builds)
Strawhataerial.com
$499.00

Frame

Le Puffin Frame Kit
Strawhataerial.com
$159.00

Flight Controller

Aikon F7 V2 30x30 Flight Controller for DJI
Pyrodrone.com
$58.00

Flight Controller

Foxeer F722 V2 FPV Flight Controller MPU6000 BetaFlight - 30x30mm
Pyrodrone.com
$56.90

Flight Controller

HobbyWing XRotor Convertible F7 Flight Controller HD DJI Plug and Play - 30x30 & 20x20mm (2 builds)
Pyrodrone.com
$49.99

ESCs

HobbyWing XROTOR 4IN1 ESC FOR FPV RACING - MICRO 60A BLHELI32 DSHOT1200 (3-6S) (17 builds)
Pyrodrone.com
$84.99

ESCs

Aikon AK32 V3 55A 4in1 6S ESC - 30x30mm (11 builds)
Pyrodrone.com
$74.99

ESCs

Foxeer Reaper 96K 32Bit 65A 3-8S 4in1 ESC - 30x30mm
Pyrodrone.com
$105.90

Motors

4 x BrotherHobby GOM 2207.5 1750KV
Pyrodrone.com
$87.96

Propellers

HQ Prop Duct-4X4X6 for Cinewhoop Prop 4 Pack - Gray (2 builds)
Racedayquads.com
$2.99

FPV Camera

Caddx DJI Digital HD FPV Air Unit Kit (165 builds)
Getfpv.com
$199.99

FPV Camera

Caddx Polar Micro Digital FPV Air Unit Camera Kit - Silver (2 builds)
Pyrodrone.com
$174.00

Antenna

TrueRC Singularity 5.8GHz Long 90° MMCX Antenna - Choose Your Polarization
Racedayquads.com
$19.99

Antenna

TrueRC OCP 5.8GHz Long 90 Degree MMCX Antenna - Choose Your Polarization (2 builds)
Racedayquads.com
$12.99

Batteries

CNHL G+PLUS 2200mAh 22.2V 6S 55C Lipo Battery XT60 Plug for RC Drone FPV Racing
Usa.banggood.com
$58.99

Batteries

RDQ Series 22.2V 6S 1800mAh 100C LiPo Battery - XT60 (6 builds)
Racedayquads.com
$44.99

Batteries

Auline 22.2V 6S 1800mAh EX 120C LiPo Battery - XT60
Pyrodrone.com
$42.90
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