The Skyward X 210 Prototype Frame - Build Instructions

 

 

 

Frame Components

 

Qty Description Purpose
4 Arm Frame arms
2 Frame Plate Frame arms and frame plate assembly
1 Battery Plate Mounts underneath frame to support battery
1 Camera Pod Plate Mounts on top of frame (with standoffs) to support mounting of the Camera Pod
2 Camera Pod Side Mount Mount to either side of the Camera Pod Plate via tabs and hold the camera pod via M3 screws (adjustable at rear)
2 Camera Pod Side The sides of the Camera Pod.  Tabbed for the GoPro Mount Plate, the FPV Camera Mount Plate and the VTX Mount Plate
2 FPV Cam & VTX Mount Plate Tabbed plate that mounts in the Camera Pod.  One in the front to mount the HS1177 Camera, one on bottom to mount the VTX
1 GoPro Mount Plate Tabbed plate that mounts in the Camer Pod. Mounts on top and is designed for GoPro Session or GoPro Hero 3 or 4

Hardware List

Qty

Description

Purpose

8

M3 x 12mm titanium screws

Main arm and frame plate assembly

16

M3 x 8mm titanium screws

Motor mounting screws

4

M3 x 10mm titanium screws

Hold camera pod assembly together - install horizontally through sides into crossbar standoffs

4

M3 x 24mm titanium screws

Battery plate/PDB/Flight Controller assembly

4

M3 x 5mm titanium screws

Mount camera pod bottom plate to frame standoffs

2

M2 x 8mm aluminum screws

HS1177 camera mounting

4

M3 aluminum nut w/nylon insert

Main arm/frame plate assembly (left and right sides)

4

M3 x 10mm threaded aluminum hex standoff

Main arm/frame plate assembly (front and rear) – Camera pod bottom plate mounts to these standoffs

4

M3 x 12mm threaded aluminum hex standoff – longer option

Main arm/frame plate assembly (front and rear) – Camera pod bottom plate mounts to these standoffs – slightly taller standoffs for more room for the flight controller

20

M3 nylon nut – black

Used as spacers and to secure the battery plate, PDB, frame plates, and flight controller sandwich

4

5mm nylon spacer

Used as spacers between the frame plates in the PDB/flight controller sandwich.  These hold the frame plates at 5mm so arms can be removed/installed as necessary without affecting the sandwich

1

6 pin micro connector

Used to make a pluggable connection between the main frame and camera pod.  We typically break the connectors out of the plastic housing and install them like bullet connectors with a piece of shrink tube on each one to insulate.

Finishing the Carbon Fiber Edges

The first step is to file/sand the sharp edges of all the carbon fiber pieces. A diamond file is recommended but sandpaper will work fine as well.  We also prefer to wet file/sand the components because the water rinses the carbon dust away and out of the file/sandpaper.  If you choose to wet sand we recommend using silicon carbide as it is waterproof.

Pay special attention to areas where wires will be run and may rub against the carbon fiber.  This includes the triangular holes in the camera mount bottom plate.  At a minimum, power for your camera pod will route through these holes.  If you are using an OSD then you may have separate wires for your VTX and Camera routing through here.  Your RX antenna wires may also route through here if you choose to mount them in tubes on the camera pod as we do.

Also pay special attention to areas where battery or camera straps will be run.  These are the strap slots in the battery plate and the strap slots in the GoPro mount plate.

NOTE that some relief of the carbon fiber frame plate and/or PDB and/or Battery Plate may be required in order to route the battery leads out of the bottom of the frame. There is only 2mm of space here vertically but potentially more space horizontally depending on the PDB in use.  A small bit of carbon removed will allow the battery leads to exit without tension against the frame.  At a minimum the carbon fiber should be smoothed and rounded anywhere that wire comes in contact with these components.

 

Electronics Layout

Decide how your electronic components will be arranged on the frame. The Skyward X was designed to support a “sandwich” build configuration with the PDB mounted below the frame (in between the battery plate and the frame), and the flight controller mounted above the frame (in between the frame and camera pod).  The compact sandwich build requires advanced building techniques and may not be realistic for all builders.  The sandwich may not work with all possible combinations of components.  If you are using a FrSky XSR or Spektrum/LemonRX satellite receiver, typically the receiver will fit inside the frame – in between the PDB and flight controller.  Placement of any voltage regulator and wiring requires careful planning in order for everything to fit.  We build custom pin headers and cut and crimp all wires to length in order to keep the wiring as clean as possible.

We like to use flight controllers that take direct LiPo voltage in order to further reduce the number of components and wiring/space requirements.  The Flyduino KISS FC and the MotoMoto Cyclone FC are good examples.  With this configuration only a single voltage regulator (for video TX and camera) is typically required.  An integrated PDB/voltage regulator is also a good solution.

 

ESC/Motor Wiring

Now determine your ESC and motor wiring layout.  The frame arms are slotted so your PDB to ESC wiring can pass through if you choose.  ESC wiring can be run directly off the PDB along the bottom of the frame and through the arms or you can even mount the ESCs on the bottom of the arms and pass the motor wires through the arms.  We find most of our crash impacts happen to the top of the frame when pushing the limits so this config offers a little more protection for the ESC.

 

The ESC wiring can also be brought out the top of the frame along the sides of the flight controller, there is plenty of room between the FC and frame plate.

 

Internal Components and Wiring

Now determine how the internal components will be laid out and mock up the stack.  There are two ways of doing this:

Option 1: Build up the center section of the quad including the battery plate, PDB, frame plate, spacers, 2nd frame plate, and FC so you can see how everything fits.  With this configuration the arms can be slipped in and out in order to verify the fit of everything.  Now plan the component, power wiring, esc signal wiring layout.

     

    Option 2: Build the sandwich outside of the frame using the nylon nuts to provide the correct spacing of the stack.  We typically use a combination of the two techniques, option 1 for planning and option 2 for building.  Option 2 provides  more working room and easier access for the soldering, etc.  In the below example we used the Lumenier 4 Power Quick Swap PDB mounted upside down on the bottom of the frame to allow quick changing of the arms in the field.  The downside to using this config is the extra weight and bulk

     

    On another build we used the Flyduino KISS 24a PDB/ESC carrier and cut it down to fit on the bottom of the frame.  The advantage of using the KISS PDB is the single cable connection between the KISS FC and the KISS PDB that carries power, ESC signals, and telemetry.  This greatly reduces the amount of wiring from the FC and inside the frame.  In this case we brought the ESC wiring up and out the top of the frame.  It required a little creative wire routing and soldering:

     

    We were able to fit the pololu 12v regulator on the KISS PDB which is used for 12v up to the camera pod.  The FrSky XSR receiver is mounted with double sided tape to the bottom of the KISS FC.  The only soldered connections to the KISS FC are power, signal, and telemetry.  The result is a clean and compact build that is still surprisingly easy to work on.  Pop off the camera mount plate and FC and you have direct access to the internals for any required maintenance.

     

     Frame Assembly

     

    The Skyward X 210 frame is designed to be a very snug fit at the point where the arms meet between the two frame plates.  As a result it can be difficult to line up the screw holes or insert the screws if the arms are not lined up exactly correct.  We have found the following procedure works best for frame assembly:

    • Install just the front two and rear two screws through the bottom frame plate, arms, and then top frame plate.  This results in just 1 screw per arm in place allowing the arms to rotate slightly so that about 1/16 to 1/8 of arm is protruding from under the frame plate..  Secure the screws with the 10mm threaded aluminum standoffs but DO NOT tighten them at this point.  You're just trying to hold the arms in place
    • Turn the frame so that you are looking at one of the sides where the two arms rotate together and meet.  Now rotate both arms so they are both barely protruding and then back under the frame plate making sure the the two arms are perfectly alighned as they rotate back into the frame.
    • Check the hole alignment looking down through the frame plates and arms.  You will have to apply pressure to push the arms in so the holes will line up.  You will still not be able to simply push the M3 screw the hole, you will have to screw it in.

     

     

     Camera Pod

    The camera pod is designed to be easy to remove and install so that field repair of components or replacement of the pod can be accomplished quickly.  The top plate of the camera pod is designed to mount a GoPro Session or GoPro Hero 3 or 4 camera.  The angle of the camera pod is adjustable from 20 to 40 degrees using the adjustment holes at the rear of the outer side mounts.  The side plates and GoPro mounting plate have large access holes cut to allow easy access to the wiring inside the pod.  

     

    The outer sides of the camera pod (with the adjustment holes) should fit snugly to the bottom plate tabs, but not so tight that it's difficult to pop off when the screws are loosened.  It may be necessary to slightly file/sand the radius where the tabs meet the main bottom plate, or the tab slots on the outer mount plates in order to fit the parts.  It helps to use a rubber mallet to gently tap the parts together and then gently pry apart using a small flat blade screwdriver. 

    Once you are happy with the fit of the side mounts on the bottom plate tabs, separate them and set aside the bottom plate.  You will now build up the pod starting with the outer side mounts.

    Insert the M3x10mm titanium screws through the outer and inner side plates and into the 35mm standoffs.  Be sure to align the adjustable side of the outer plate (with the caterpillar holes) with the rear of the main side plate as shown:

    Mount your HS1177 or compatible FPV camera to one of the FPV/VTX mount plates using the 2 x M2x8mm screws.  The Runcam Swift may require grinding or filing a larger cutout for the plugs.

    Mount your VTX on the other FPV/VTX mount plates.  Align the SMA connector with the cutout as shown.  Use double sided sticky tape  to hold the VTX in place.  We also recommend using a couple of cable ties for extra security.  Don't pull the cable ties tight, they are just there in case the double sided tape lets loose in a big crash.

    Now insert the GoPro mount plate, the FPV mount plate, and the VTX mount plate into the unused side plate.  Make sure you insert them with the correct orientation to mate with the other side plate assembly from the previous step.  These should slip in fairly easily without too much resistance.  A light tap with a rubber mallet or the handle of a screwdriver should be all it takes.

    Now combine the two assemblies.  You may have to manipulate the mount plates a bit to get all the tabs to line up and slide into place.  Insert the other two screws through the other outer side mount, through the inner side mount and into the standoffs.  Once again make sure the outer side plate is oriented with the adjustable holes to the rear.  Snug down the screws while squeezing everything together ensuring all the tabs seat completely.

    Now you can begin planning the wiring harness for the camera pod.