Funded! This project was successfully funded on September 22, 2012.

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The Techpod . A high performance, low cost small unmanned aircraft for the hobbyist and student pilot.

Hi everyone, I am Wayne Garris and this is my big idea: 

The Techpod:

A high performance remote control airplane for first person view (FPV) flying and the Umanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) hobbyist. Designed from the ground up to have an enclosed pan and tilt camera mounted in the nose for a completely unencumbered point of view. All wrapped up in a super slick fuselage with high aspect ratio wings, a high efficiency airfoil and room to swing up to a 12 inch propeller.

techpod hobby uav
techpod hobby uav

The problem:

     Like my airplane? Want it for your self? Well, you can't have it! Sorry, I only have one. I would love to make a whole bunch of Techpods for as cheap as possible so that everyone can have one if they want. The problem is that this Techpod is just a prototype made out of CNC cut styrofoam and was very time consuming to make and assemble. 

The answer:

Molded expanded polyolefin (EPO) foam. Very tough and flexible. Very fast to reproduce. I have been talking with the guys at  world Models they have been making RC airplanes for years and offered to prototype and produce the Techpod. They offer a turn key solution for producing r/c airplane kits .

The road block:

The aluminum molds needed to make an airplane out of EPO the size of mine, are $12,000+ each and I need two. Plus, the minimum quantity for an order is $45,000 to have a bunch of in-the -box kits ready to ship with all the parts and hardware (no electronics included). 

$45,000! I work for a living and don't have that much money laying around.

To the rescue !:

This is where you come in. I figure if I can get 225 people to pre-order, the road block will be gone! Then everyone can enjoy the Techpod. Everyone from hobby FPVers to college students working on a degree related to U.A.V.s. Rescue aid workers in remote parts of the world can use this platform to deliver medicine and medical samples across miles of impassable terrain. Rescue workers wanting an inexpensive way to quickly map out a recent disaster zone can outfit the Techpod with a high resolution camera and get real time information.

Happiness:

After I receive the funds, I can place the order.  Airborne Models says it will take them 100 days to fill the order, add a couple weeks for the container to arrive from china . Then I can ship the Techpods out to all my awesome  supporters !

Sadness:

If you don't help it won't be a success !  

Well, I think it can still be successful but I will have to go to Mr.Moneybags for financing. I don't want to do that!  He is just going to want all the money and it will jack up the price hugely. That makes me sad :'-( which would make you sad too because you don't have this awesome airplane. I don't like that kind of thing, I want EVERYONE to be able to afford it!  :-)

This is how I created the Techpod:

The first step was to select the airfoils. I use Xfoil to select it here is a picture of the polar graphs generated by it.

xfoil analysys
xfoil analysys

After extensive reiterative analysis using many different combinations of renyolds numbers and alpha. The aerodynamic bodies can be fleshed out.

XFLR5
XFLR5

After i was satisfied with the results, I proceeded to flesh things out in CAD. I wanted to reduce drag so I made some initial rough drafts and after about 300 plus hours of compute time utilizing Navier-Stokes analysis.

  I settled on this form for the fuselage and wings.

It features a clear dome attached to the nose with a pan and tilt camera system mounted directly behind it. Giving the camera an unobstructed 180 degree view out the front. No prop, no fuselage in the shot, plus a nice aerodynamic cover so your cool camera and gear is not out flapping in the wind.  

The all important specs:

  • Cruise Speed: 32knots
  • Max speed – 55knots
  • stall speed @4.5lbs about 11 knots
  • Climb Rate – 2000 ft/min
  • Wingspan = 102 in
  • wing area =  605 sq in
  • Wing loading = 1.191 lbs per sq ft @ 5 lbs 
  • Fuselage Length = 45 in
  • Dry weight = 2.75 lbs*
  • loaded weight =5.0lbs (2.25 lbs of battery/payload) 
  • EPO Wings and fusalage contruction
  • Carbon Fiber Tail Boom and wing spars
  • flight times well in excess of 1 hour. make that 2 hours!
  • assembly time 5 hours 

Required for flight, not included:

  • Motor : E-flight Power 10 brushless in runner
  • ESC : Castle creation Thunderbird-54
  • Batteries: Thunderpower Pro Light v2 3S 2600 mah x2 wired parallel
  • Servos:
  • 6x hitec HS-81 (elevator,rudder,ailerons,flaps)
  • 2x HS-55 (pan,tilt)
  • TX & RX Spectrum DX-7
  • Prop: APC E11x7
  • Camera: CCD Killer Camera Micro NTSC Camera
  • or equivalent components
  • Here are all the cool stuff you get in a kit:

    Now that you have read and seen a lot about the techpod , please allow me to clearly describe how and who will be making them .

    The Factory :

       I have been working with Fia over at Airborn Models based out of Livermore, California. They are the North American distributors for The World Models,  which has its headquarters in Hong Kong. They have been making ready to fly airplanes since 1993 and offer a turn-key solution. The Techpods will be produced in China and shipped to me via shipping container.  I will rent a storage unit to store the units and get busy shipping them out as soon as they arrive.

    Here are just some of the people who have been helping me along the way :

    Dave skala

    Zak Venturo

    Nick Weber

    Alen Hoornstra

    Ken Reid

    My video producer - Kasi Reid

    Most of all my beautiful wife, Diane Garris.

    Special thanks to all my friends and supporters at DIYdrones.com

    and a big thanks to Chris Anderson for creating an industry

    Thank you so much, guys !!! 

    And did I tell you it won an award recently? :-)

    MAR/C
    MAR/C

    FAQ:

    - Can you mount a GoPro in the nose ?

     - yes you can .

    gopro
    gopro

    Tell me more about how the wings mount:

    the main spar consists of a single 9mm OD x 7mm ID tube . one for each wing    extending to about 3 inches away from the wing tip .this is fully glued and embedded into the wing .  The two wing halves are joined by a 4 foot long solid carbon fiber rod that is 7mm and slides into the main spars . There is a brass sleeve glued over the inboard end of the carbon fiber tubes to keep the ends from splitting or exploding

    end of spar with brass sleeve and 7mm connecting spar
    end of spar with brass sleeve and 7mm connecting spar

    this is slide through the "capture box" in the fuselage . then it is clamped down by a alen head screw accessed through a small hole in the top of the fulelage after the second wing spare is slide over the 7mm rod and into the capture box .

    capture box with clamping screw
    capture box with clamping screw
    wing slide together and clamped down with allen driver
    wing slide together and clamped down with allen driver

    Test flight video :

    one hour long test flight , FPV  . Fast forwarded in the middle to fit on youtube .

    used 5400 milliamps from 3x 2200 mah 3s lipos .

    Fun at the beach.

    Two hour long test flight.

    For people who want to design your Techpod layout in CAD here is an iges file you can download. Techpod internal stowage area

    FAQ

    Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

    Ask a question
    114
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    $49,192
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    • Pledge $5 or more
      You selected

      20 backers

      Do you think the Techpod is cool and want to see it be successful? Would you like to help get this project off the ground? We will send you a personal thank you email and you will be added to the list of supporters on hobbyuav.com

      Estimated delivery:
    • Pledge $25 or more
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      5 backers

      All of the benefits of the $5 level plus an a 8 x 10 glossy print of a picture of the techpod in flight . Shipping included.

      Estimated delivery:
    • Pledge $240 or more
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      52 backers Limited (298 left of 350)

      One complete Techpod kit shipped to you. This includes shipping to US , international backers please add $30 to your pledge.

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    • Pledge $460 or more
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      10 backers Limited (40 left of 50)

      Two complete Techpod kits shipped to you.This includes shipping to US , international backers please add $60 to your pledge.

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    • Pledge $750 or more
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      7 backers Limited (3 left of 10)

      techpod kit and all the gear . including : 1 x techpod kit 6 x hs-81 servo for control surfaces 2 x htx 9g servos for camera pan / tilt 1 x .10 turnigy BLDC motor 1 70amp esc 1 5 amp switch mode BEC 1 complete 900mhz camera/tx/rx set up all in a box ready to assemble . international backers please add $30 to your pledge.

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    • Pledge $950 or more
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      10 backers All gone!

      all the gear , tested and ready to fly includes everything from the $750 level installed in a fully assembled Techpod . ready to fly and fully ground checked .international backers please add $30 to your pledge.

      Estimated delivery:
    • Pledge $1,875 or more
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      1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)

      Would you like to distribute the Techpod? this level gets you 10 Techpods and your company badge on the front page of hobbyuav.com. and a personally written thank you letter. Shipping not included , I will email you with the shipping cost and will ship when funds received or use your own shipping method .

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    • Pledge $6,000 or more
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      0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

      So , you have the latest , greatest autopilot ? interested having me integrate it into the Techpod ? I will take your functional autopilot (you supply) and fully integrate and test your autopilot with the techpod . This process should take about a month to complete . you will receive a fully assembled and tested techpod with your autopilot installed , all the servos , an esc/motor/prop , all related AP set up files and a XFLR5 file fully detailing all aerodynamic forces created by the flying and control surfaces as well as a full inertial description . This XFLR5 file will be used for initial PID loop gain estimate . Your company badge will be displayed prominently on our front page .

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    Funding period

    - (30 days)