Wooden quadcopters are nothing new, but in my review career, the PeasantCopter is my first mini quad frame that is completely made of plywood.
The PeasantCopter frame is designed by a high school-er John McNelly. With affordability, durability and customizability in mind, he finally started selling his frame after many months of testing and development.
Get your PeasanCopter Mini Quad frame from John’s website.
The frame is nicely packaged, and all the parts are clearly lablled. In this frame you can choose either 5 or 6 inch arms depends on your choice of propellers.
And here is the introduction of the plywood mini quad frame that comes with it.
To make this frame durable and able to stand against crashes, some beefy plywood is used here. From what I read on his development post on RCGroups, John also redesigned the shapes and positions of the holes/cut-outs many times, to ensure there is as fewer weak points as possible.
The arms are really thick, over 5.7mm.
The frame plates are also pretty thick at 3mm.
Although the frame is almost completely made of wood, it’s not quite as light as I would have imagined, probably because of the thick plywood used. The whole frame weights almost 170 grams when I finished assembly.
Before I put this frame together, I looked everywhere and couldn’t find any instructions or manual on assembling the frame. Anyway it wasn’t particularly difficult, but it would be nice to have some kind of instructions just to avoid any confusion.
Update – John pointed out the link to the manual is on a piece of paper that comes with the frame. I must have missed it :) Anyway here it is: http://peasantcopter.com/downloads/
Firstly put all the standoffs and side plates on the body bottom plate. And then install the arms and sandwiched by another bottom plate.
And then the top plates, that’s it!
I really like this frame, it’s fun, unique and will definitely make you the centre of attention in a FPV meetup. Everyone is on the black and dull carbon fibre, and your are the only cheerful and environmental-friendly plywood!
On PeasantCopter’s Youtube channel there is a durability test video, the guy just dropped the wooden mini quad on the ground and nothing seem to break. In a real life situation, I would imagine the impact would be MUCH, MUCH bigger when you crash during a flight, than just dropping it to the ground from 2 feet high. I cannot say how tough this frame is yet as I have no parts to put into this frame, but I will definitely report back when I do! I think keeping the weight down would also help durability too.
The front cage not only allow you to use a FPV camera, it’s big enough to house a GoPro in there!
I especially like working with plywood, they are rigid, light, yet easy to drill holes on them. Let’s say you need to install the VTX on the top plate, you can just drill 2 little holes (with a screw driver or a knife?) to put a zip tie through it and secure the VTX there. There is no way you can do that easily with Carbon fibre without some proper tools. However too many holes can considerably weaken the strength of the wooden material, so try to avoid holes if you can.
However I think these ideas can make this frame even better.
- Nylon screws for flight controller
- Power distribution board
- FPV board Camera mount – I know they suggest to use FPV camera that comes with a swivel mount. But it would be nice to enable the use of normal board camera.
- Use Nylon stand-offs instead of aluminium? – Not only lighter it also puts less stress on the plywood plates in crashes.
Caution: Avoid DYS SN20A ESC or KISS ESC on this frame… LOL (just kidding)