Hexcoptor frames

I’ve built a 5" FPV quad but now fancy a hexcoptor to use for photography, and to play with Pixhawk/Ardupilot. I’ve trawled the internet and found a few frames, but wondered if anybody had any experience or recommendations. They seem to range in price from £60 for this: S550 Hexacopter Frame - Unmanned Tech UK FPV Shop upwards. Firstly, I’m not sure the frame shown will accept a Pixhawk as standard. Secondly, I’m not sure if having a foldable frame would be a good idea as it is going to be a larger Drone, and thirdly, is a PCB style centre plate a good idea?

Are there any other specific considerations that I might not have thought about, never having built or owned anything like this before? My aim is to get the drone built and gain some experience and then add a 2/3 axis gimbal and camera, but I haven’t decided on a camera yet either.

I have a S500 quad frame which I’ve installed a Pixhawk into. It’s propulsion system is made up of DJI 30Amp Opto ESC’s and DJI 2212 motors swinging 10inch props. Once tuned it’s a very stable platform. The Holybro S500 and s550 frames are well made, they are light and strong. I’ve built a DJIF550 and while it is a strong frame it is significantly heavier. More so with all the additional stuff I’ve bolted to it.

I have a couple of larger hex’s, based on the Tarot 680Pro and Tarot x6 frames.

Thanks Nidge,

Lots of builds then. I like the look of the Tarot 680 too. I’ll investigate that further. Having looked a bit more, I can see that some of the higher end frames have skids that retract after take-off. Have you got/had anything like that? Do you think it is a good thing or can you get the video you need by rotating the drone rather than just the camera

I have retracts on my Yuneec Typhoon H, they’re needed as the camera rotates 360 degrees independently of the drones direction. This is really handy as it means the drone can orbit a target of interest while flying forward all the time, or do a dronie while flying forward, and thus only needs obstacle avoidance sensors mounted on the front.

My RCLogger 350 also has retracts, again because the camera can be rotated on the yaw axis.

The Tarot 680pro and X6 have retracts just because I think they look cool, but also there is less pendulum effect when slowing abruptly.

Sometimes retracts can be more trouble than they’re worth. There’s nothing more sketchy than trying to hand catch a Tarot X6 when one or more of the retracts fail to deploy when landing.

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Hi Tony
I’ve got a Walkera Tali H500 hexacopter gathering dust on the shelf. It’s got retracts and a 3D gimbal. It’s controlled by a version of Ardupilot using Mission Planner.
The only thing missing is a battery which is a 6S 22.2 volt, you can still get them but they cost £150 each.
If you’re interested, I’d like about £150 for it (which is what you’d pay for the 6 motors, retracts flight controller and gimbal alone without having to build it.
Let me know if you’re interested.

Hi Hotrodspike,

At the moment I feel I want to build from the ground up; for me it’s as much about the building as the flying. I’ll be doing some research over the next month before committing to any components, so if I change my mind I’ll let you know. Thanks for the offer though.

I used to spend all of my spare time building, then realised I never had any time to fly!