Today I received my Hex Combo Set from the Hex copter Kickstarter project.
Upon opening the package I was greeted by 2 very well presented multi-copters, and in this post I'll be opening and constructing the hexacopter, a multicopter with 6 motors.
The following was inside the box:
- 1x Instruction manual
- 1x Hexacopter
- 2x 3.7v 500mah batteries
- 6x motor & propeller combos
- 2x spare motors and propellers
- and 1 Flexbot story and thank you card
To build the hexacopter I removed the protective cap from the frame.
Starting with the top right motor, work anti-clockwise and insert the motors into the clips provided.
Following the instructions resulted in a fully assembled hexacopter minus battery.
But it's not like installing the battery was hard.
After attaching the battery to the battery holder, and the battery holder to the multicopter assembly is complete.
Flight test videos
These videos are showing how easy it is to control with little to no experience with multicopters.
Note: All testing was done with the original firmware.
The frame of the hexacopter has been printed from a 3D printer which means that it's a little rough. The sides are smooth but flat surfaces look like a child learning to colour in between the lines.
However the frame is incredibly flexible compared to moulded plastic, which comes in handy when you have a crash, and if you're brand new to multicopters (like I am) you'll crash often.
The propellers are surprisingly durable considering the comments on the kickstarters page, multiple times the blades have come into contact with solid objects and only been scuffed by the contact.
The hexacopter is controlled by a smartphone (iOS or Android) over bluetooth.
Connecting sometimes takes a minute or two, other times it connects in seconds.
After a connection has been made controlling the flight of the hexacopter is incredibly responsive, almost like a dedicated remote control.
I had no trouble flying the hexacopter around my backyard which is about 300m squared. Since the overall size is rather small it's possible to lose sight of the hexacopter before it reaches the end of the 50m BLE single range.
The Flexbot has an advertised flight time of 7 minutes. My flight times average 6 minutes which is nearly spot on.
The only problem is that it takes 30 minutes to charge a battery to full capacity, so repetitive flights (and therefore fun) is somewhat lacking.
Considering the negative feedback from Kickstarter I was expecting a horrible time with something that didn't work and spontaneously broke into a few million pieces but I was pleasantly surprised with a working product. The product might have a few issues but it's still impressive considering everything is open source, including the hardware and design.
I'm certainly happy with it, and if Flexbot continue to upgrade the design I'll be happy to recommend it to people who are interested in something a little different and completely hackable.