Porta-Quad.com sent me a sample of their foldable mini quad frame Zippy to build. Although it took 3 months to arrive (problems with logistics), and by the time I got it they have released version 2, I decided to give it a go anyway.
First impression of the frame is very sturdy, solid, and heavy. The frame is made of thick G10, although the arms are foldable, it’s still very rigid which is good. But it weights over 210 grams which is almost twice as heavy as other carbon fibre frames. Pretty sure it will be considerably lighter if carbon fibre is used.
The design of this frame is different from other frames. The cage that houses the Flight controller and other electronics, are located below the motor level. The bottom plate is connected to the top plate with some rubber spacer and metal spacer for vibration dampening. They also suggest to put nylon spacers to absorb some impact in crashes.
The dimension of the frame allows 5 inch and 6 inch propellers. The locations of the motors form a square shape, it’s about the same width as the ZMR250, but a little longer.
In the Version 1 Porta quad frame, there is no FPV camera mounting option. So I didn’t try to fly this mini quadcopter in FPV, only a few times LOS. It flies pretty well and stable, I can’t really tell the difference form my ZMR250. They made quite a few adjustments in V2, such as FPV camera mounting. For this frame I think I can use the mobius video out for FPV, although I don’t like the delay.
I put this thing within 2 hours, without any planning or measuring, so the wiring and setup might look messy.
It took me a bit more effort to set up this mini quad, than other mini I have ever built. One example would be, where do you put the ESC’s. They cannot sit on/under the arms, as it will affect folding. The only place for them is under the top plate inside the cage, which also means your motor/ESC wires have to be long enough. I didn’t realize this until I zip tie the whole thing, I mounted them under the arm as the motor wires aren’t long enough, and now it doesn’t fold completely. I wish they could have pointed this out in the manual paper.
Here are some picutres I took while building it.
This is how it’s supposed to look like.
It’s recommended to use 4 in 1 ESC for this frame for simplicity.
Overall, I think the idea of foldable mini quad frame is excellent, and it works pretty well. After it’s folded, it’s really handy to carry around! Many improvements still can be made on this frame as mentioned above: Weight, mounting for FPV camera, and so on.