Previously we reviewed and built a FPV Micro quad based on Beef flight controller and 8.5mm brushed motors, and today we are going to review the 3Dfly Micro Quad kit from Hovership that also comes with the same FC and motors.
Flight video of the micro quad:
3DFly Micro Quad Review
3DFly micro quad kit contains nearly all the parts necessary to build a micro quad. The only thing that you need is an airframe, which you can get the design from here and print it yourself. Hovership mentioned they might include pre-printed frame in the package in the future.
Oscar has done several tutorials explaining the process of building indoor FPV micro quads, and how to choose the right components. However it can be frustrating and time consuming to find the right parts.
Thanks to Hovership I had a chance to look closely at this Micro Quad bundle that was created to make it a lot easier to build, and avoid all the troubles of finding the right components myself.
What’s in the box?
- Beef’s Brushed Board
- 4 x 8.5mm brushed motors (8.5mm diameter – 2 clockwise, 2 counter-clockwise rotation)
- 2 sets of propellers (4 clockwise, 4 counter-clockwise rotation) – random colour
- CP2102 USB to serial programmer with with 4-pin jumper cable
- MicroFrX FrSky compatible receiver or LemonRX DSMX Spektrum compatible satellite receiver
- 2 x 1S 380mAh LiPo battery
- 6-port USB LiPo battery charger
- 8cm 3:1 clear heat shrink tubing with heat activated adhesive to hold motors in airframe sockets
What else are still needed?
- Radio transmitter
- 3D printed frame
- Double sided tape (to hold the flight controller to frame)
- Rubber band or velcro (to hold the battery to frame)
- FPV Setup
I had mine printed by my colleague. It took about 2.5hrs to do and I went with bright green colour, so the quad would be easier to find if I crash it.
The frame is specially designed to fit the Beef FC and 8.5mm motors. Motor-to-motor distance is 105mm. In the frame centre there are clinches on each side where the rubber band should be attached to hold the battery.
Build in steps
There is a great detailed assembly guide on Hovership website. It clearly shows all the steps to build this micro quad, even beginners should have no problem.
1.) Started the build with installing motors onto the frame. CW motors have BLACK&WHITE cables, CCW motors have RED&BLACK cables. It is very important to get that part right. I didn’t use supplied heat shrink tube, but instead used zip ties to secure motors in the mounting holes.
2.) Next I prepared Beef FC and MicroFrX. Soldered power cable to FC. I did solder motor connectors reversed to the board by mistake. To correct it, I had to reverse cables in the tiny JST plug from each motor. It all worked in the end but of course I learned the hard way.
Soldered cables directly to the radio receiver and then to the board. Pads on the RX and the board are in the same order.
3.) Using supplied CP2102 USB to serial programmer I have connected the board to the computer and flashed it with Cleanflight. To do so I flashed it with Baseflight first and then with Cleanflight – easiest way of putting our favourite multi rotor firmware.
4.) With all cables connected, I used hot glue to keep cables organised on the tiny frame. Also hot glued the FC to the frame but will replace it with the 3M double sided foam tape for more security.
Installed the rubber band and the battery.
5.) I wanted this micro quad to be able to fly with FPV gear on. I used AltitudeRC 25mW Video Transmiter with Mini Wide Angle FPV Camera. FPV gear was connected to the board with just the power cable and hot glued to the frame.
To keep COG (Centre of gravity) of the frame under the FC with the FPV gear on, battery needed to be moved underneath but towards back of the frame. Otherwise weight distribution wouldn’t be even across the frame.
Finished build weights 45g without the battery and 58g with the battery. 10g less without FPV gear on.
I used PIDC 1 for this quad. Configured switches to arm the board and change flight mode between Rate/Angle/Horizon. Since this little flier will be used mostly indoors I decided to use self levelling to help flying in a very tight spaces. Didn’t want to rely on acro stick moves to level the quad.
One important note: default mid stick point is around 1540 with the MicroFrX, so trim on the radio while connected to CF is required to make it work correctly.
My CleanFlight tabs:
Quite important for potential buyers – how is the price of the whole kit comparing to buying everything bit by bit.
I did a bit of a math. Rough prices based on online retailers:
- Beef CF – $69
- Micro FrX – $15
- Motors – $15
- Charger – $6
- Props – $3
- USB Programmer – $4
- Batteries – $5
Hovership sells 3Dfly for $108 which corresponds to the sum of all components amazingly!
I had an opportunity to compare this build against CJMCU micro quad built by Oscar. Thanks to bigger motors and frame it is much more powerful. It flies even better without FPV gear.
Positive things about 3DFly:
- Nearly everything needed to build is in one box from one retailer
- Superb assembly guide
- Flight controller runs on Cleanflight!
- Attractive price + one postage vs. multiple postage from multiple retailers
- If frame breaks, you can simply print another one
Negative things about 3DFly:
- 3D frame needs printing, so it adds to the price if someone doesn’t have their own 3D printer
I really like this idea of a kit with everything to build a micro quad. Perfect project for coming winter. Definitely saves a lot of hassle with researching for components, prices & retailers.