Bandwagon's Drones Thread

Bandwagon

Drones and stuff
<Donors Crew>
5,061
21d 13h 58m
Reactions
12,729 2,173 0 0
#1
EDIT - 11/07/18 - quick update/summary in the original post.

I started a business in late 2015/early 2016, got an exemption 333, and partnered up with two other people (agronomist & commercial pilot). We started getting quite a bit of work doing multispectral agriculture flights, but most of it was R&D working for universities of government projects and I didn't see it lasting. I started looking for engineering/surveying customers and ended up getting hired on by one of them after performing a few jobs for them. I felt that this was the right decision to make because A.) They're a multi-discipline firm and they could teach me a lot about potential applications for drones, and B.) the other two guys I was working with weren't pulling their weight and I felt that we were squandering opportunity. I figured that I'd try working for this firm for a year and if I was unhappy, at least I'd have gained a deeper understanding of surveying/engineering and could put that knowledge to use with my business. I've been here for a little over two years now and have been happy with the company and the people I work with. We now have 5 people licensed to fly across the pacific NW, with 4 more studying for the test. I consider myself lucky to have gotten this position, and developing methods to fit drones into exisiting workflows by working side by side with surveyors/engineers is an insanely valuable experience that most other people doing what I'm doing haven't been able to benefit from. I was initially concerned that I made the wrong choice by essentially abandoning my business just as we making enough to let me quit my main job, but that concern is gone now.


EDIT- 8/29/16 - The exemption 333 requirement for commercial operations is no longer needed, as of today. The new requirement is a UAS operator certificate, outlined in Part 107.

I made a thread in the business & finance forum for a project I was looking for help on, specifically building an Indiegogo campaign to help start fund a business for drones. My main interest is using them for work, which is emergency medical & firefighting. Since then, I've spent enough time reading to be comfortable building my own platform and I thought I'd share some info with the RR community. Information and developments on this hobby/business/technology is advancing VERY quick and I'd love to have more people from rerolled involved.

I'll try to keep a good, updated list of the resources I use in the OP and update periodically with my personal project(s).

*If anyone wants to "participate" without making any kind of financial commitment, download mission plannerhere. Telemetry logs (like the one in the first screenshot) can be easily shared and have a ridiculous amount of information in them.

edit Feb2016 - I never really clarified that I decided not to do any kind of crowdfunding because I didn't want it to be directly tied to the fire department. Also, I started figuring out that a lot of what I was trying to do could be done with a lot less money and a lot more soldering & late nights. Info below needs to be updated, I'll try to get on that soon.


Drone Communities:
DIY Drones-THEresource for drones/uavs/uas. The founder of DIY drones is Chris Anderson, who went on to create 3DRobotics. 3DR has some of the more affordable ready-to-fly platforms for aerial mapping, like the X8-M and Aero-M. Last week, 3DR also introduced a new quadcopter.

FlightRiotWhile there are forums on flightriot, they're pretty inactive. The website is more of a blog with some great information from one guy that has building DIY mapping platforms. I've spent a lot of time following tips and videos from geobduffy on this website. I also had a few conversations with him on the phone and was about to buy one of his personal mapping kits, before I decided to build one my self.

RCgroupsThe most active RC community on the web. Once you start getting deeper into the flight controller/autopilot software, you won't find a lot of support here, but it is a great resource for general info and tips on different hardware.

FPVlabSame as above, but with a focus on video equipment, as well as long range capabilities (1-8km, up to and over 25km)

Other sites:
Public LabOpen source community dealing with a lot of information on cameras, NDVI imaging and drone mapping.

CHDK WikiCanon Hack Development Kit wiki - amazing tool for canon cameras

APM WikiArdupilot wiki (copters). Ardupilot is the software I use for my fixed-wing UAV. There are many flight controllers out there, but I decided to go with APM and a Pixhawk(3DR) clone(HKPilot32).

FAA UAS pageFootdraggers

DroneDeployI don't have any experience with dronedeploy, but they just launched services recently. If I get a camera that they support, or if they add support for the canon S100, I'll give them a shot.

Phone apps- I have an android, but I think all of these are available I , iPhone as well.

Hover- I mainly use this for a general estimate on wind, but I've also been using it to log flights. You can email the flight log to yourself with GPS cords and weather conditions.

Survey-it - create a grid and return price estimate on a per acre basis. There might be a better option, but I haven't looked yet.

3Dr services- Required for tower

Tower- phone and tablet mission planner.


Feel free to suggest any links to add to this post. I'll update below with my project.
 
Last edited:

Bandwagon

Drones and stuff
<Donors Crew>
5,061
21d 13h 58m
Reactions
12,729 2,173 0 0
#2
I've been flying helicopters for years and quads recently. I got a Dromida Kodo awhile back to terrorize the dog and made a (big) upgrade to a Yuneec Q500...after selling a motorcycle. I made my money back on the Q500 in a round-a-bout way with current FAA regulations and got interested in some different options for firefighting and EMS. To recoup costs, I've been trying to get set up (physically and legally) to do some Near-infrared mapping for agriculture. I just had my first Autonomous flight 2 days ago.

I could still see the aircraft and had telemetry contact, but was out of range for radio contact. I flew it to a friends house, circled for about 3 minutes before the failsafe kicked in, then had it fly back to launch. One of the attached pictures is of the ground control software at the start of the flight.
GCS screenshot
 

Bandwagon

Drones and stuff
<Donors Crew>
5,061
21d 13h 58m
Reactions
12,729 2,173 0 0
#3
This is a terrible color index from a RGB camera. No infrared and I didn't edit out the oblique shots from the camera, so the stitch is also bad. I'm just starting to mess with Fiji/ImageJ, So i'm pretty inexperienced with this part.
 

Bandwagon

Drones and stuff
<Donors Crew>
5,061
21d 13h 58m
Reactions
12,729 2,173 0 0
#4
Current build on the Fixed Wing:
ReadymadeRC Finwing Penguin airframe
HKPilot32 Flight Controller (pixhawk Clone)
Turnigy9x Transmitter(tx) w/ 8channel receiver & PPMsum encoder(3dr)
CanonS100 camera with CHDK installed
Zippy 3cell Lipo 5800MAH battery, soon to be 2x 3s 5400MAH.
Tiger 2815 motor w/ 9" prop
APM 3.1 with Mission Planner GCS

If anyone is interested, I can go through some trial & error mods on the penguin I've already done. The foam gets absolutely hammered with a fixed wing pilot as inexperienced as myself, but it's easily fixed and reinforced. I'm currently working on setting up flaperons, to use the Ailerons as flaps for landing. this thing glides forever and has some reeaal long legs on landings.
 

Bandwagon

Drones and stuff
<Donors Crew>
5,061
21d 13h 58m
Reactions
12,729 2,173 0 0
#5
Testing out the autopilot




And just messing around with the Q500's "Follow me" feature
 

Barellron

Knight of the Realm
188
6d 16h 46m
Reactions
53 3 0 0
#6
This is cool as hell.
Can you comment on the recoup of costs via FAA regulations bit?
 

Bandwagon

Drones and stuff
<Donors Crew>
5,061
21d 13h 58m
Reactions
12,729 2,173 0 0
#9
I don't do anything that recreational flyers haven't been doing with RC airplanes for 50 years. I fly well within the AMA guidelines. I am not one of those people that flies to 1500 feet and/or 1000ft away from manned aircraft. Yesterday while flying, I heard an airplane and immediately brought my plane back home and landed.
So, as a person that is overly cautious and respectful of AMA guidelines and manned aircraft, fuck YOU.
 

Bandwagon

Drones and stuff
<Donors Crew>
5,061
21d 13h 58m
Reactions
12,729 2,173 0 0
#10
This is cool as hell.
Can you comment on the recoup of costs via FAA regulations bit?
The FAA prohibits flying a drone for profit. I don't fly it for profit, I rent it for recreational purposes or for research purposes to COA holders.

I'm still working on the exemption paperwork, too. Just by tuning the PID values in the mission planner software, I've gathered all the data needed to file an exemption, according to the UAS integration office rep.
 

Bandwagon

Drones and stuff
<Donors Crew>
5,061
21d 13h 58m
Reactions
12,729 2,173 0 0
#11
Just a random picture from a high-wind test flight at a co-workers house today. This is from about 360ft. I ended up landing because a crop duster took off nearby, but I did get plenty of pictures for a good stitch. Once I figure out how to upload/host .kmz files, I'll start posting the geo-referenced google earth files.

I also tried flying with the two 3s 5400 batteries from the Q500 wired in parallel. I think I could get an hour of flight without a problem, but they are pretty damn heavy and the plane was flying at about 65% throttle most of the time.
 

BrutulTM

Good, bad, I'm the guy with the gun.
<Donors Crew>
8,150
6d 4h 58m
Reactions
2,891 197 0 0
#12
The FAA prohibits flying a drone for profit.
How do the movie companies and stock photo places that are using drones now get around that?
 
947
0
Reactions
3 0 0 0
#13
I don't do anything that recreational flyers haven't been doing with RC airplanes for 50 years. I fly well within the AMA guidelines. I am not one of those people that flies to 1500 feet and/or 1000ft away from manned aircraft. Yesterday while flying, I heard an airplane and immediately brought my plane back home and landed.
So, as a person that is overly cautious and respectful of AMA guidelines and manned aircraft, fuck YOU.
No fuck you, fly a real plane and stop being a bitch
 

Junun

Knight of the Realm
158
4d 4h 5m
Reactions
34 9 0 0
#14
Been starting to get a bit interested in racing quad copters when I saw this video. FPV flying looks so bad ass.

And this company is coming out with a pre-build/configured one, for lazy builders like me.
 

BrutulTM

Good, bad, I'm the guy with the gun.
<Donors Crew>
8,150
6d 4h 58m
Reactions
2,891 197 0 0
#15
I bought a little $60 quad copter and I can't fucking fly that thing to save my life. I was pretty good at the little helicopters but the fact that you can't tell the front from the back screws me up and then after you crash it 10 times it's broken. I also almost lost it a couple times because it landed in tall grass.
 

Bandwagon

Drones and stuff
<Donors Crew>
5,061
21d 13h 58m
Reactions
12,729 2,173 0 0
#16
No fuck you, fly a real plane and stop being a bitch
You power trip in a tower all day. I work inside stuff that's on fire. If one of us is a bitch, I'd bet it's the one with coffee-stained cuffs and a calloused ass. In any case, ignored.
 

Bandwagon

Drones and stuff
<Donors Crew>
5,061
21d 13h 58m
Reactions
12,729 2,173 0 0
#17
I bought a little $60 quad copter and I can't fucking fly that thing to save my life. I was pretty good at the little helicopters but the fact that you can't tell the front from the back screws me up and then after you crash it 10 times it's broken. I also almost lost it a couple times because it landed in tall grass.
Brutal, the bigger ones are honestly easier to fly. I suck at fixed wing, so I made a point to set up auto takeoff. If you can get one big enough to add a flight controller, it's a lot easier to control.

Also, add yellow nail polish to the back of the quad, or get different colored props
 

BrutulTM

Good, bad, I'm the guy with the gun.
<Donors Crew>
8,150
6d 4h 58m
Reactions
2,891 197 0 0
#18
I have different colored props but when they're 1 inch in diameter and 50 feet away it's not that obvious. I have thought about painting the whole front or something.
 

Srathor

Molten Core Raider
964
13d 4h 19m
Reactions
822 40 0 0
#19
I crash my Hubsan on a regular basis. Had it over a year and still love the damn thing. Though the FPV stuff looks awesome. Might think about getting one of them setups but I would abuse it and prolly end up on the news or in jail.