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Here’s a quadcopter that I designed and built in response to a CrashCast challenge to build a flyable quadcopter as cheap and as sturdy as possible.

From a construction standpoint multicopters are interesting because (unlike helicopters) they have no moving parts and (unlike airplanes) do not depend on an aerodynamic body to fly.  As a result, we see multicopters made from a wide variety of materials and construction techniques.

I had seen photos of a pool noodle unit previously and wanted to try one for myself for a couple of reasons:

  • Pool noodles are cheap.
  • It would be a good training unit when friends wanted to try flying.  I can’t imagine much you can to do break a pool noodle!
  • It would be highly visible.  My main quadcopter has really thin arms and is hard to see at a distance.
  • It would be easy to light up for night and evening flying.
  • I wanted to see how simply a working frame could be built.  For example, the motors are simply taped to the frame.
  • Let’s face it, it’s just funny to think of flying pool noodles!

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In keeping with the spirit of a pool noodle quadcopter, I wanted the construction to be as simple as possible (for example, the motors are taped onto the arms).  I bodged it together in an evening with materials that were at hand. While originally done as an experiment in minimal design and construction, I was happy enough with the results that I fly it regularly and use it as a trainer when somebody wants to try flying.

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If you build something like this, I encourage you to keep to the original spirit of the thing: improvise, have fun, and don’t be afraid to try out new ideas!

This video shows autonomous flight — I took the video myself while hands off on the radio.