TANKY: Professional Ready-to-Fly FPV Racing Drone
TANKY: Professional Ready-to-Fly FPV Racing Drone
Experience incredible SPEED! See the world like NEVER BEFORE! True RACING TECHNOLOGY in the palm of your hand!
Experience incredible SPEED! See the world like NEVER BEFORE! True RACING TECHNOLOGY in the palm of your hand! Read more
About this project
Photography drones, such as the DJI Phantom, are perfect for doing what they do—take smooth and steady videos—but you don’t get to fly them, they fly themselves. You merely get to suggest where they should go. If you want to push a camera around through the air those drones are perfect. However, Tanky is different!
We built Tanky to give YOU full control. Tanky does exactly what you want it to do, when you want it. It can go incredibly fast, flip, roll, and race through the trees. Tanky lets you truly experience flight, not just observe it.
Think of it this way, it is the difference between driving a stick shift sports car or a cargo van. It’s not like one is better than the other, both are necessary, but you don’t buy a cargo van to have fun. Tanky was designed to be fun, pure fun through and through.
- 30% lighter than other similarly equipped Ready-to-Fly racing drones, such as the Vortex 250-Pro. And much faster!
- Can easily compete against high end custom built racing FPV drones. Same weight, same power, more features!
- Remotely Tiltable FPV camera that lets you go as slow as you like, or hit breakneck speeds.
- Ultra tough carbon fiber and injection molded composite thermoplastic frame. Crash it over and over again!
- Fully assembled, professionally tuned, and ready to fly and race.
- Runs latest CleanFlight, BetaFlight, or RaceFlight software.
- Compatible with any currently available FPV goggles and FPV screens.
- Comes with vibration isolated camera mount for GoPro Session, Polaroid Cube, or Mobius Action Camera.
Pod racing is the stuff of SciFi, but today it's a reality. FPV flying combines the ultimate thrill of incredible speed with an amazing out of body experience. Try it once and you will be hooked. Unfortunately, the fastest FPV drones need to be custom built. But you don't need to build your own sports car or motorcycle to enjoy motor racing, why should you have to build your own drone to enjoy drone racing? We've built a high end FPV racing drone so you don't have to.
Tanky is lightning fast, built tough, fully assembled and ready-to-fly and RACE. With Tanky, you don't need to spend hours learning about electronics, soldering, FPV systems, radio systems, and tuning PIDs, just to get up in the air. Tanky is lightweight, aerodynamically designed, and perfectly tuned straight out of the box, so you can concentrate on flying!
If you have the skills, Tanky will help you get that first place finish at the racetrack every time. But you don't need to be an FPV racer to enjoy Tanky because it is pure adrenaline-packed fun no matter where you fly it! Speed through the air, soar like a bird, and experience the world like never before.
Off-the-shelf drones are flimsy, clunky, or outright slow. By contrast, Tanky is durable, responsive, and capable of shredding through the sky like no other drone. Tanky’s impressive power to weight ratio and an obstruction free thrust column make it the fastest ready-to-fly FPV drone on the market.
Like a high-end sports car, Tanky is designed with superb attention to detail. Its weight is perfectly distributed and centrally allocated on an X-shaped frame, which means Tanky flips and turns with ease and agility.
Sitting on top of a 3.0mm single plate carbon fiber skeleton, a nearly indestructible composite thermoplastic skin shields Tanky's vital components like the motors and ESC's.
Tanky also features a remotely tiltable FPV camera that's perfect for visibility in any situation. The tiltable camera allows you to remotely point it down to land gracefully or point upwards to really lean in and hit incredible speeds.
We've mounted on Tanky the best in class electronics and powered it with a custom flight controller, Tanky CoreFC. Because superb attention to detail demands it, with Tanky you can tune PIDs directly from your remote control. But why stop there? The skins come in a variety of colors so you can really stand out from the crowd!
Tanky was designed to allow you to learn how to fly, become good, become really good, and then dominate at the racetrack or your local flying field! It is suited for the beginner, but it is designed for the experts. While most racing drones are naked carbon fiber frames with motors and wires going all over the place, we dreamt of something more, a truly clean and elegant design.
Why an X-shape? Why not an H-shape? Isn’t that better and more aerodynamic? NO! In fact, if you look at any recent FPV race you will notice that most of the custom-made FPV racing drone frames are X-shaped. There are several good reasons for this.
First, the even spacing between all four motors makes the quadcopter a lot more tunable, and more responsive. It also improves the yaw performance of the drone.
Second, the X-shape centralizes the mass of the drone in the cross section point between the four motors. This means, your drone has to use significantly less power(more efficient) when performing flips, rolls, and yaw maneuvers.
Finally, the X-shape naturally reduces the forward facing profile of the drone when it is flying at top speed. Allowing for better aerodynamics.
A lot of people have the misconception that drones fly relatively level and parallel to the ground. That's not the case at all. In fact, at top speeds quadcopters tend to pitch forward at extreme angles, some of the competition crafts, like Tanky, pitch forward by as much as 70 to 80 degrees during full throttle acceleration. In the corners you will often see the best FPV pilots go almost perpendicular to the ground.
This means that at top speed, when an aerodynamic profile matters the most, the long and wide shape of an H-quad experiences the most amount of drag.
An H-quad looks aerodynamic when it’s sitting flat on a table, but it quickly becomes an inverse flying wing when you pitch forward by 45 degrees or more in flight. Not only does it have poor aerodynamics, but an H-quad’s shape creates down force. Down force is great in a race car, but exactly the opposite of what you want in a quadcopter. This means, not only do the motors of an H-Quad have to fight against significant air resistance to propel the craft forward, but they also have to fight the downforce generated by the frame to keep the craft up, robbing them of precious energy and speed.
By contrast, Tanky was designed with an X-Shaped frame. The more you lean it over, as you accelerate, the more aerodynamic it becomes. With Tanky leaned over by 45 degrees it actually provides a slight amount of lift, which means more of the motors' energy can be redirected to forward momentum.
Finally, Tanky was designed to have slim arms and an obstruction free thrust column. This means a lot more thrust is directed downward, to provide lift, instead of fighting and beating against the arms and fuselage of the drone.
With competition drones cooling is important, and the part that suffers the most thermal stress on any drone is the electronic speed controller (ESC). In Tanky the ESCs are mounted inside the arms, directly under the propellers. Unlike most other drones, we do not wrap the ESCs in shrink tubing, as they are already protected by the arm covers. This means, all that cool air from the props is directly washed over the MOSFETs, the part of the ESC that generates the most heat.
From the ESCs the cool air is redirected through the power distribution board and the flight controller, to cool down those components as well.
When you need something tough, but shaped into a complex shape, it’s hard to beat injection molded composite thermoplastics. We are still experimenting between Polyamide (Nylon), Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene, Polypropylene, and Polycarbonate as the options for Tanky’s skin. All of the above mentioned thermoplastics are extremely tough and are commonly used in the automotive and aerospace industries to produce lightweight and extremely impact resistant parts. The final shell material is going to be similar to the material of the famous unbreakable DAL props. The parts might bend and scuff a bit, but will not break, even in a severe crash.
While Tanky's frame is tough, during extremely fast impacts electronics inside the head can get damaged from the shock alone, even if the frame survives the impact completely unscathed. To protect the electronics, and the HD camera you may have mounted on top of Tanky, in the most severe of crashes, Tanky's head is designed to separate from the lower frame.
Yes Tanky can survive decapitation! Four Nylon screws attaching the head to the rest of the frame are designed to shear and observe most of the impact energy in the process. Of course, if this happens, all you have to do is reattached the head with a set of four new Nylon screws, and you are back in the air. We of course provide a whole bag of spare screws. It's better to replace 15 cents worth of screws then having to buy a new GoPro or Flight Controller.
To really make Tanky stand out from the crowd all of the shell parts are going to be available in several beautiful colors. As our backers, you will help us select the best color combinations when we go into production.
Racing drones lean over by 45 to almost 90 degrees when flying at top speeds. As a result, most FPV pilots point their drone's camera straight up so they can see where they are going when they are leaning over to hit those break neck speeds. However, this means you never have an option to slow down and look around, and you can’t see where you are landing. This compromise wasn’t acceptable to us, so we gave Tanky a remotely tiltable camera.
In fact, that’s where the name Tanky comes from. The camera remotely goes up and down, much like the barrel on a tank.
With a tiltable camera you have the option to control your speed by remotely adjusting the angle of the camera. As you get more and more comfortable, you can continue to increase the angle of the camera and go faster and faster. If something happens, for example, if you lose orientation, it's not a big deal. Just flip into the gyroscopically stabilized mode and tilt the camera down. The drone will level itself out, and you can look around, figure out where you are, and lean in again for a fast pass.
And of course, landing with a tiltable camera is a snap. No more circling and clunky landings just tilt the camera down and land perfectly every time.
With Tanky, No more tuning or researching the forums for the best PID and flight controller settings, we've done the work for you. Tanky comes fully tuned and programmed with three different profiles. The “Docile” profile, for beginners, the “Smooth” profile, for intermediate pilots and for shooting smooth video, and the “Extreme” profile, for expert pilots who need the fastest response time during a race.
That said, Tanky is customizable, it’s not a toy. If you don’t like something about how it flies, change it! Tanky ships stock with a custom made and very powerful 32-bit flight controller, Tanky CoreFC, loaded with CleanFlight, an amazingly stable and versatile, 32-bit and open source firmware. It is the firmware of choice for most drone pilots and racers. However, if you want to live on the edge, you can easily switch to BetaFlight or any other firmware developed in the future.
BetaFlight is a fork of CleanFlight, and is used by drone pilots to experiment with new and yet-to-be-fully-tested features. It is designed for the expert pilots who need that last bit of edge while competing, and are willing to take the risk that comes with running bleeding edge software.
Upgrading the firmware is as simple as plugging in a USB cord.
Tanky is equipped with a full on screen display (OSD) system that provides you vital information, such as your battery voltage, signal strength, and flight time directly in the video feed. Feel just like a fighter pilot piloting an F16! PID tuning and many other settings can be changed using the radio controller and the OSD without the need of connecting a computer or phone to Tanky. This makes it incredibly convenient to dial in Tanky's performance right in the field.
Tanky is incredibly fun to fly with the TBS Tango Controller (included in the RTF Kit). The world has enough landfills, and we didn't want to add to it by shipping a controller that would be quickly abandoned in favor of a higher quality radio system. TBS Tango is a professional grade controller with incredibly precise gimbals (joysticks) and perfect ergonomics. It is nothing like the toy grade controller commonly included with RTF kits. Check out the official TBS Tango video below:
Not only is it a high quality controller, the Tango is also the world's first RC controller with integrated FPV screen, integrated 40ch (including Raceband) video receiver with amazing range, and a goggles port for optional video goggles (goggles sold separately).
The bind-and-fly (BNF) version of Tanky comes with an integrated FrSky 16ch SBUS receiver, compatible with FrSky XJT transmitter module and the latest FrSky Taranis and Horus radio systems. With an FrSky compatible system, Tanky will feed full telemetry, including battery status and signal strength, directly to your radio.
For a fully immersive experience, once you’re comfortable with line of sight flying, we recommend purchasing (SOLD SEPARATELY) FPV Goggles, such as the Headplay HD, FatShark Dominator HD V2, or any other model of your choice. Tanky works with all goggles currently available on the market.
Are you a speed demon with a competitive streak? Then you need to try FPV racing! FPV racing is the motor sport of the 21st century. It's inexpensive to get into, and now with Tanky, it's also incredibly simple, and yet insanely exciting and adrenaline-packed!
Out of Body Experience
Flying FPV is like nothing else, and with the speed, ease and agility that Tanky offers, it feels truly amazing. Discover the world around you and see what the drone sees as you fly. See the world like never before. You will love it!
Shoot Awesome Videos
Mount a GoPro, a Mobius, or a Polaroid Cube on top of Tanky and take amazing videos. And, of course, share with your family and friends afterwards. Video drones like the DJI Inspire are unbeatable videography machines that can shoot amazingly smooth and stable aerial video. But can they dive down the side of a cliff or speed through a canyon, or follow a sports car around a track at full speed? Nope, but Tanky can!
Fly with Friends
Get together with friends and fly together or race around your local park. It's a fun way to hang out with your friends outdoors and a great way to meet new people as well.
Ok, while this one's a joke, please keep in mind that Tanky is outrageously fast and incredibly tough. A collision with a human at full speed will cause grave injuries. Please fly responsibly and safely, and keep this sport alive and thriving. And of course, never use Tanky for Evil!
- Size: 202mm motor-to-motor distance
- Weight: 282 grams (plus battery and antenna). That's 33% lighter than Vortex 250 Pro.
- Battery Connector Type: XT60 or Deans Connector (selected prior to shipment)
- Motors: 2204 2300KV Precision Brushless Motors. Also fits 2205 and 2206 motors.
- ESCs: 20A LittleBee ESCs with BlHeli firmware and OneShot
- Props: Unbreakable 5045 Bullnose Props
- 600TVL Sony Super Had II CCD Sensor (faster than 700TVL in our tests).
- 0.01 Lux Extremely Low Light Sensitivity (fly in the dusk or before dawn)
- 2.1mm 150 degress FOV wide angle lens
- Wide Dynamic Range (see in the shadows)
- Microgimbal for Tiltability
- F3-powered Tanky CoreFC
- Custom Power Distribution Board
- On Screen Display (OSD)
- 2.4Ghz FrSky Receiver
- 5.8Ghz 200mW Video Transmitter (Limited to 200mW due to race regulations).
We moved to the desert in 2014. In the process we had to give up our beloved Corvette and our sport bikes. Sport bikes and cars don't do well in the sand or off road terrain. But instead we discovered FPV drones, and fell in love with the hobby. From the very beginning it appealed to our need to build, develop, and construct things. Not to mention the amazing experience and speed FPV offers.
Tanky was a personal project, that became an obsession to build the lightest, fastest and toughest drone out there. Something unique and new. But what do you do when you build something you really love? You have to share it with the world. So the Tanky Drone project became a Kickstarter idea.
But we couldn't just throw it up on Kickstarter with just a prototype and an idea. We knew how many projects had issues in the past, and that it's one thing to build a one-off drone, and it's a whole different thing to actually have something that could be manufactured. Over the last several months we made connections with manufacturers, suppliers, and partners that will help us make Tanky a reality.
We also found an incredibly talented FPV pilot, Chris, to help us perfect Tanky's design and make it the best drone it could be. After countless prototypes and revisions, we have IT, the ultimate flying machine (to replace Bogdan's ultimate driving machine, the BMW K1200R), Tanky Drone.
Tanky's name, BTW, was inspired by a Sony Playstation game from the 90's called Tiny Tank. (For reference a video from YouTube of the game is linked above.) Tiny Tank was "cute and a killing machine." It's also the reason Tanky's remotely tiltable camera resembles a turret of a tank. We only later realized that Tanky also has a "toughness" connotation. It's an accurate characteristic, but completely coincidental. Above all else Tanky is "cute and a racing machine!"
Now it's time to take the next step, perhaps the scariest one, and release it to the world. We truly hope that you will love Tanky as much as we do!
- Bogdan and Yuki
Thank you for checking out our project and your support! Please send us any feedback or questions, and don't forget to share our project with others. We hope you will have countless hours of fun flying with Tanky!
Also, a very special thank you to David Windestål (RCExplorer.se - maker of the best tricopters in the world) and Jeff Payne (Jeff CaliDrone on YouTube - an amazing FPV pilot) for letting us use short clips from their amazing videos, and Kevin MacLeod for the "Killers" soundtrack we used in our video.
Risks and challenges
As demonstrated in our video, we have functional Tanky prototypes. We made every effort to do our research BEFORE posting this campaign. We have the Tanky design almost finalized, a manufacturing plan, and manufacturing partners standing by to make Tanky a reality. That said, we are aware that unexpected challenges may come up.
Scaling Production: The challenge is to scale from a few units to hundreds, even thousands, while maintaining the level of quality and reliability we demand from our products. We have an experienced manufacturing partner to help us in this process, and we are confident that we can produce 500 to 2,000 units on time without any significant issues. If Tanky becomes a runaway success, we have a contingency plan to bring onboard more manufacturing partners.
International Shipment: FPV is an international phenomenon that we hope to bring to people all across the world. Unfortunately, not every country welcomes fully assembled FPV drones. We have already talked to a few dealers, and we will be arranging alternative distribution channels, and working with DHL, FedEx and UPS to ensure timely delivery of our packages.
Production Delays: Plans are one thing, but reality sometime is messy. We have built in plenty of margin into our production time table to deliver Tanky on time, but unpredictable things can and do happen. We will make every effort to push Tanky into the world as soon as possible.
Our pledge to you is to maintain transparency via constant updates, and to build Tanky to the same incredibly high standard we would build our own personal FPV drone to. Feel free to reach out to us anytime if you have any thoughts, ideas, or questions.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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