Flight Test Video - Click on the pictures below for flight test video of our current prototype.
Ducted Fan Research and Acquisition - In our initial design we planned on using a ducted fan to lift our vehicle vertically in the air, this was to be our propulsion system. We believed through our research and prior calculations that the ducted fan would be able to provide the proper thrust to lift our vehicle. However, as we dived deeper in our research and testing we found that the ducted fan could not provide enough thrust to lift it's own weight. Because of this discovery, we went with an alternative approach...Propellers. Click on the link below to view the parts list and pictures of the ducted fan along with it's components.
Programmable Interrupt Controller (PIC) - The PIC is a microchip device that prioritizes interrupt requests generated by keyboards, serial ports, and other devices that pass them on to the CPU in PC in order of highest priority. We have decided to use the PIC16F84A, as the controller for our aerial vehicle due to many beneficial factors. The most important factor being that our advisor has students with in-depth knowledge and experience with the PIC. The memory size is more than suitable for the development of the controller logic and the cost is inexpensive for it's application. Click on the link below for the PIC's data sheet, video, part's list, etc.
Click on the Pictures above for Video
Accelerometer - The accelerometer is sensor (ADXL202E) which shall measure the pitch, roll, and/or yaw of vehicle while it is in vertical hover. The purpose of integrating the accelerometer into our design is for the control and stabilization of the vehicle in mid-hover. As the vehicle in mid-hover pitches, rolls, and/or yaws, the accelerometer shall detect this instability and relay it's information to the PIC. In return the PIC shall process this information and direct the servos, which control the baffles underneath the vehicle, to pivot accordingly to stabilize the vehicle. Please click on the link for Demo and Pictures.
Test Rigs - Testing is an extremely important phase of any design, therefore effort must be placed upon the design of test rigs and testing procedure. In our project we must develop testing rigs that will display and validate the vehicles ability to lift itself (thrust v. weight), it's ability hover, as well the vehicles stabilization. In the links below, are our proposed test rigs as well as test rigs which we built, along with demonstrations.
Simulations and Controls - During the end of the Winter Term and the beginning of the Spring Term, we have come to realization that the development and manufacturing process of the system as a whole is much more difficult than originally assumed. Because of this difficult, we have come to that the design and implementation of the control system may not be achieved. Because we have never proposed that the control system must be embedded into our final prototype, we have decided to take another root to the control architecture issue. The approach in which we are taking is that of simulating the motor/propeller/power supply system in regards to thrust and lift and designing a controller to bring the system to zero steady-state error @ minimal overshoot and minimal settling time. In doing this we must complete the following:
Helicopter Dynamics - This scope of this project involves the development of a Aerial Vehicle which shall have a controllable hover. We are aware of current technologies today which allow for controllable hover. In our research we came about the mathematical model of a DC Helicopter with a main propeller and side rotor, we also found the references to the tandem configuration (Chinook) helicopter. Since the helicopter dynamics are completely non-linear, it has been very hard to evaluate their dynamics and obtain useful equations for our modeling with our current undergraduate skill set. However, we are aware that the hover-and-control dynamics of a helicopter is very similar to that of the inverted pendulum-cart experiment which a portion of the team members are familiar with. In modeling the inverted pendulum and well as completing the inverted pendulum experiment, we are able to better grasp hover-and-control dynamics by understanding the inverted pendulum stabilization dynamics.
Carbon Fiber (CF) Propellers - During our design we came across ideas for manufacturing propellers. Research was provided by Dr. Oh pertaining to CF propeller molding an article was written by Gordon Johnson, "Molding Carbon Fiber Propellers". In following Mr. Johnson article we were able to manufacture our own propellers. View the Tutorial section for an outline of our procedure as well as pictures. In manufacturing these CF propellers we then tested them and compared their performance to hobbyist propellers which were store bought.
Theoretical v. Actual Propeller Performance - This paper discusses the performance of the plastic hobbyist propeller to CF propellers. It analyzes the differences between them and how these differences will effect their overall performance.
Propeller Comparison Data - Data from the plastic hobbyist and CF propellers
Quad CF Propeller - During out two blade CF propeller fabrication we saw that the motor/prop combination did not provide as much thrust as the hobbyist plastic propellers. From this, we thought of fabricating a quad prop (4 blade propeller) and compare it's thrust to the dual blade prop. In order for us to do this we had to take two dual blade props and engineer it from two to four blades. Then following the Tutorial on CF prop molding, we are able to fabricate the quad prop. Click on the pictures below for a larger image.
Nacelle Construction - In our design we wish to enclose the propellers so as to protect objects within the vehicle's immediate environment. We also wish to shroud the "guts" of the vehicle (motors, batteries, control system, etc.). In order to accomplish this task, we need to be able to fabricate a nacelle. From the Styrofoam Manufacturing Technique Presentation, it explains our reasons for fabrication with Styrofoam. To briefly state the reasons, the Styrofoam can conform to any shape an size we desire, lightweight, durable, easily mass produced and a wealth of information regarding fabrication with Styrofoam. Click on the link(s) below for pictures of our nacelle fabrication.
Nacelle Fabrication: First Time - Pictures of the nacelle fabrication process for our first fabrication attempt.
Analysis - During our design and testing we have compiled data to analyze our motor performance, baffle setups, and other miscellaneous items which fit into our design. Below are a few links which show data or video for our analysis
Speed Controller Issues - During testing we found that the speed controller was not working as desired. The video shows that with the speed controller hooked in-between source and load there is a value of only 8V and 0V provided to the load. There was not in-between voltage able to be provided. View Video 1 & Video 2.
Voltage and Amperage Readings of Motor and Propeller Config. - We wished to know the actual voltage across the motor as well as how much current the motor-propeller configuration draws during runtime. We wished to know this information due to the fact that the Lithium-Poly batteries discharged rather quickly and for testing purposes we wished for a power supply that could emulate the Lithium-Poly. We hoped to evaluate and analysis this information so that we could design and build our own power supply if time permits. View Video 1 and Video 2.
Motor and Baffle Analysis - This excel file contains data which analysis the performance (current draw and power consumption) of the motor with propeller. It also contains data analyzing the airflow through the baffles at different configurations.
DragonFly Batteries Analysis - During our testing of
the motors we found that the Lithium batteries which were recommended with
the purchase of the motors where insufficient for they drained very rapidly
and charging was very slow. Because of this we wished to find a better
power supply to our vehicle. Dr. Oh's students have been research and
toying around with the DragonFly, which is a quad propeller (4 propeller)
system, that takes aerial video. Note that the propellers in this
system are not enclosed. We found from Dr. Oh's research students,
that the DragonFly batteries had a long runtime that the batteries we were
using. Because of this we wanted to try out these batteries and see if
they could provide enough power for lift. Which would mean we need to
know if the batteries are able to supply enough voltage and current to the
motors. In using one DragonFly battery, we saw that it doesn't provide
enough voltage to the motors, however we shall continue testing with
different battery/motor configurations. Click on the Videos below for
>>Motors in Series with One Dragon Fly Battery - Measured voltage across one (1) motor.
>>Motors in Series with One Dragon Fly Battery - Measured voltage across two (2) motors.
>>Motors in Parallel with One Dragon Fly Battery - Measured voltage across one (1) motor.
>>Motors in Parallel with One Dragon Fly Battery - Measured voltage across two (2) motors.
Vectron Ultra Light - This aerial toy was studied because of it's co-axial configuration along with small size, where our design needs to be small in size to be backpackable, as well as the fact that the propellers are shrouded so to not cause damage out the outside environment. During our research we came along this toy and thought it would be a good idea to figure out how the toy works by reverse engineering the toy as well as playing with it to determine whether it would be worth while to go with this type of co-axial configuration (analyzing stability issues, safety to objects within it's environment, and controllability). Although the toy was beneficial in due to small size and enclosed propellers, it ultimately proved too unstable and too uncontrollable for the purpose of our project. Click the links below to view our reverse engineering results and video of the toy.
Presentations - In Senior Design it is valuable to obtain feedback from advisors and consultants. The best way to obtain this feedback is by presenting material which you may have accomplished to that individual or group. Below are multiple presentations which have to given to our advisor, Dr. Oh, and from his feedback we are able to better improve our design and progress pertaining to the Senior Design Project
Motor and Ducted Fan Selection Process Presentation - Presents the reason as why we looked at the ducted fan and why we selected the ducted fan we bought
Styrofoam Manufacturing Technique Presentation - Presents our decision on using Styrofoam as our nacelle, as well as why we choose this type of manufacturing compared to other manufacturing techniques
Propeller Comparison (Compare Carbon Fiber (CF) and Hobbyist Propellers) - Present results from hobbyist propellers which we bought to the CF propellers which we manufactured. Presentation includes pros and cons of each.
Inverted Pendulums Relation to Helicopters Hover-and-Control - Presents the modeling and dynamics of the inverted pendulum and the dc helicopter. Relates the model to each other and analyzes the inverted pendulum so that the helicopter's hover-and-control can be understood.
Wind Tunnel Presentation - Presents the effects of baffles position and how airflow is effected due to the baffles altered position from it's normal position. Equations and data describe the effects
Styrofoam Manufacturing w/ FOAM-IT - Presents the results and procedure of manufacturing miscellaneous item(s) using FOAM-IT Styrofoam.
Baffle Data Presentation - Presents testing information on how different single baffle orientations affects the thrust. This information is critical to the design of the vehicle's control system, for it shall implement these baffle to stabilize the vehicle in mid-hover.
Justification to Infrastructure being Separate from the Nacelle - Presents the pro and cons of the infrastructure being separate from the nacelle and why we ultimately chose to have the infrastructure separate from the nacelle.