Early self build drones without controllers

My inroduction to drone flying was back in 2010 when, Fran my model flying buddy, decided to have a go at making a tricopter. This machine was made of balsa and lightply, had three brushles motors and was controled via three servos, a reciever and three gyros. No controllers for drones in those days.
We spent many hours ,sharing the flying, while trying to iron out many problems.
Eventually we suceeded and went on to build a Quadcopter and Hexacopter.
two videos exist on Youtube via these links.

Fran still flies the quad version but now fitted with Naza V2 controller while I fly a flame wheel quad fitted with Tarot controller and a flame wheel hex fitted with Naza V2 controller.
We both fly model helicopters and Fran has built a large Chinnook twin rotor machine.
I have bought a Mavic air 2 but lockdown has prevented me from flying t other than a couple of test hovers.


A tricopter?

That’s the work of the devil surely? I thought that rotors had to be paired?

Never seen anything like that before.


1 Like

Surely you just need to match the anticlockwise and clockwise moments?

cant think how an odd number rotors works, unless its just down the one rotor going the “other” way is a set amount faster.

EDIT, found this which answers my own question (you tilt one)


This is one of the most successful TriCopter build kits


There is a tricopter 6 motor version, the DJI Assistant for Naza V2 has the abilty to set up such a machine.

1 Like

There are several machines around, some are kits for FPV racing.

1 Like

Not on a three mptor setup. the rear motor needs to be able to rock left and right for yaw.

Tats a good description, I have’nt seen that before

1 Like

Brings back memories, …“Back to the Future”

I built these with Futaba GY401 gyros then advanced to Naza after my mate showed his off to me having been secretive about his build…

My next 3D printed project will be around my mothballed Naza.

I’m disappointed that tricopters were not more popular. They are great filming rigs if you don’t want to faff around with a gimble.

I’ve only come across two “Y” configurations that were made commercially. One was a Kickstarter project called the Pocket Drone. This was based around a Mini-APM and had the flight characteristics of a brick and like the majority of crowd funded drone projects it failed catastrophically. The other was from 3DRobotics which was a Y-6. Even though it had more motors than a traditional tricopter the YAW motion was easier to achieve as the motors interacted in a coaxial fashion which negated the need for a tail servo and the problems associated with such an assembly.

For a long time I’ve intended to add/build a tricopter into my collection but I’ve just never gotten round to it.

1 Like

The gyros Fran used were csm but Fran spent a lot of time on the phone to CSM at the time to get information on how to change some of the settings in the gyro.
Eventually he got the gyros to do what he wanted and our flying tests started to produce results leading to the video of the tricopter flying.
A real handfull and very lively when I flew it last.

1 Like

Still got my CSM, forgot to mention I tried a Helicommand too which I sold to fund my Naza.

Video Testing Helicommand Trex 600 FPV