Helicopter/Howard Community College/Spring2012/p3502JASS
Problem Statement 
Build a helicopter to maneuver autonomously. To this end, create an aircraft structure, control multiple ESC's, balance the structure via a gimbal mechanism, design for a payload and power supply, and develop flight control software.
Team Members 
We're building an autonomous quadcopter. The quadcopter will be a kind of helicopter that is balanced by four equally powered motors. By giving it software to control its movements and act independently, we hope to give it "a mind of its own."
During this project, we worked on different subcomponents as well as smaller projects that help with understanding the principles at work. Amir worked on designing and constructing a gimbal. Jromanch0088 worked on setting up and understanding the use of Bluetooth with the Arduino. Spark93 looked through previous teams' documentation of existing quadcopters in order to understand their mechanisms. Shatton8111 tried to balance the seesaw using PID controllers and an IMU.
Decision List 
Material List 
We used the following materials during the course of our project. For materials for which examples could not be found, facsimiles have been substituted.
|Electronics Explorer Board||Helpful, but not important.||1||$599.00|
|Hacker A10-13L Brushless motors||These are strong, despite their weight and size.||4||~$54.00|
|Thunderbird 9 ESC||Thunderbird 9||4||$29.95|
|Arduino Uno||Uno (any revision)||1||$29.95|
|Jumper Wires Premium 12" M/M Pack of 10||Male to male||2||$4.50|
|Breadboard Small Self-Adhesive||5x5 pins or more||1||$5.95|
|E&L Instruments PS-01 or facsimile||12 volt, 1 Amp DC power supply||1||N/A|
|Ratcheting wire crimper||Multi-gauged or variable gauge (see Ratchet Crimper 22-10 AWG)||1||~$65.09|
|Wire strippers||Multi-gauged or variable||1||~$12.76|
|A Bluetooth module for the Arduino||This would be Bluetooth transceiver on the helicopter, and would allow the helicopter to be controlled wirelessly.||1 - 2||$64.95|
|A Bluetooth module for a computer||This makes it easy to talk to the helicopter by Bluetooth. This would preferably be for a USB port.||1||$20.00|
|A 3-axis gyroscopic sensor||This would allow the Arduino to control the helicopter's orientation by software.||1||$49.95|
In order to continue this project and progress to further goals, the following kind of materials are recommended. The specific items are just examples.
|A lightweight power supply||This would need to be 12 volts, 1 Amp, DC, and possibly lithium-polymer. It should also be light, since it would be on the helicopter.||1 - 2||~$39.99|
|Wood||This could be cut into various shapes, creating a structure that supports the weight of the parts.||1||$8.92|
|Foam||This could provide a structural shell for the aircraft and provide limited protection. Various kinds, such as EPS or insulation foam, could be used.||1||$11.98|
Software List 
Next Steps 
The next steps involve finishing balancing the seesaw with PID controllers; getting all four motors hooked up to a single arduino; constructing the actual frame with motors, batteries, ESCs, and the Arduino; and then testing the functional quadcopter.