NERFrame

I recently built a NERF-dart based FPV-drone - aka the NERFrame - and here's the build write-up!

Before you get started, full disclosure: it doesn't fly brilliantly. With this much cross-section it's stable and docile, but it's certainly no high-precision racer :)

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions.


Supplies

This build assumes you have the parts to an existing drone that want to fit into this frame. The drone I have used is an Eachine QX95. I can use it as parts because I embarrassingly crashed it learning flips over bitumen :(

For this build you will need something similar, the key requirement being motors with a diameter around 5-8.5mm (eg the 8520 series motors).

Aside from the drone, you will need:
  • 16 NERF darts, though I'd suggest 20 or so in case you make a mistake
  • Hot glue gun + glue sticks
  • Sharp knife/hobby scalpel
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Small screwdriver/skewer to make the motor wire holes in the side of the four motor-holding darts

Dart preparation

When cutting the darts make sure you cut from the back end as the rubber cap extends a fair distance into the dart and you will end up with lots of unnecessary weight.



Start by cutting twelve darts 35mm (1 3/8") long and four darts 50mm (2") long. I'll use "short" and "long" to refer to these dart lengths for the rest of the article.


Next, cut (what I think is called) a "saddle cut" in one end of only eight of the twelve short darts. This is cut should be about 5mm (3/16") deep and should allow these darts to sit nicely against the side of another dart at 90 degrees.



Now prepare the four long darts, making the same saddle cut at one end of two of them. The other two need saddle cuts at both ends, but turned 90 degrees from each other.





You should now have only four short darts that haven't yet been modified. These need to be prepared to have a motor installed.

Firstly, make a small hole half way along to allow the motor wire to exit. Secondly, if you have an 8520 motor you will need to enlarge one end of each dart with a pencil to fit the motor.



Build

Now it's time to join it all together. I won't document every step but the end result you're aiming for is a "X" shape base with four upright darts to hold the motors and four sides to make up the square frame.



Firstly, join the eight saddle-cut short darts back-to-batch, ensuring the saddle cuts are aligned. These form the four sides of the basic square shape of the frame.




Now assemble the X-shaped base of the frame out of the four long darts. The two darts that still have a flat end are glued together as above. The other two darts are glued placing their saddle cuts over that join, at 90 degrees. Ensure the saddle cuts are all angled to allow gluing the four remaining short darts vertically at the tips of the X.



Finally, join it all together using the four motor-holding short darts and the four sides of the frame. Ensure the motor wires holes are not covered. Here's another angle of the finished frame after I'd mounted the motors, flight controller/receiver and camera (using rubber bands).





As I said, let me know in the comments if you have any questions and I am happy to elaborate if you're stuck.

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