Blade 180 CFX Helicopter: Part 2 -- First Repair

Well, I found the weak point ...

During the first flight, the tail rotor made contact with the grass and I lost all tail rotation. Examining the heli, I noticed that the main gear and tail rotor were totally disengaged from each other. Apparently, they went to a plastic torque tube in the 180. When the rotation of the tail rotor was impeded, the motor was easily powerful enough to twist the end of the shaft right off.

I thought about replacing it with a metal one but decided against it. Something has to give, and if it isn't the torque tube, what will it be? I learned this with the 130, if you start changing everything out to metal, you can start bashing the helicopter up really bad in crashes. The torque tube is so easy to change out, you can do it in less than a minute.

After removing one screw in the side of the tail fin, you pull off the whole tail assembly and the torque tube falls right out. I found this pack of 2 for about $13 on Amazon. The shaft rides inside a bearing that fits inside the tail boom, and the new ones come with the bearing already on the shaft.

I'll try to post a flight video soon. Stay tuned.

Arduino Robot Project: Part 3 -- Building the Parts of the Line Robot

There were a few components of the robot that I had to make or modify. There was the sensor board that I had to make with the sensors, resistors, and the perforated board. I also had to modify the servos to convert them to geared DC motors. Once that was done, I used a plastic container to enclose all these parts. I had to cut holes for the sensors and the motors.  I will be going though in the making of these several parts of the robot. Then I will assemble them together.

Sensor Board:

For the sensor board I used the sensors that I ordered along with the perforated board and resistors. I also needed some wiring to connect all the grounds together and the power together. 

So I started off first by placing the sensors on top of the board with some spacing in between them so they won't interfere with each other. The blue led is the IR emitter while the black led is the IR detector. The spacing was about half of inch. I had some trouble trying to stick the sensors pins through the hole because in between the pins there was some kind of plastic that protruded out. So I tried my best to stick the pins through the holes.

Arduino Robot Project: Part 2 -- Pre-Build


For the design of the line robot I will be using a plastic container that I found at a thrift store for a dollar. I plan on putting the two motors towards the rear of the container with the caster wheel at the front using some L brackets to connect them together. The design will be similar to the one that was used in the manual. I will have the sensor board towards the front with a cutout at the bottom so the sensors can read the floor. The container I have chosen is listed below along with a picture of it. I chose this since it’s clear and I would like to see the "guts" of the robot. I think it's a cool look and I could add some LEDs inside to make it look a little cooler in my opinion.

Material List and Cost

For this project I ordered some of the parts online. To start I bought an Arduino clone on eBay from a seller named 16hertzelectronics. The price for this Arduino Uno was $14.99 with free shipping.  The link to the Arduino is:

Blade 180 CFX Helicopter: Part 1 -- Opening

Boca Bearings is the proud owner of a shiny new Blade 180 CFX! We've been selling quite a few of the bearing kits for this thing, so we figured we'd get one to try out. For science!


We're gonna test fly it, put some some new bearings in it, fly it some more, shoot a few videos, etc. We'll probably do some Microheli upgrades at some point. Our only experience with flying helicopters so far has been the 130X, so that is our point of comparison.


First Impression

Right out of the box it looks like a really nice machine. It is far more robust than the 130X. In terms of length and width it is only slightly larger, but everything on it is beefier and feels way more solid. It's heavier, and I love the stock carbon fiber frame.

A few things I noticed right off the bat:

It has radial servos throughout, 4 in total. It doesn't use those linear servos like on the 130 that are prone to failure. You can also see the 5800kv brushless motor that is shorter and fatter than the 130x motor.

This new box tail design looks much more sturdy. Hopefully it is easy to work on.

Plastic swash just like on the 130, but it looks plenty strong enough. I'll upgrade to the aluminum one at some point.

180 CFX battery (below) compare to 130x battery (above)
3-cell 450mah battery

I've gone ahead and set up my DX6i for it. Now all that's left is to bind it and fly it......

Arduino Robot Project: Part 1 -- The Sensor Board

Gerardo Ramos is working on a robot from scratch. Introducing below is the sensor board. The red wires are the power wires. The green wires are ground and the blue wires are the feedback wires from the sensors. It's my first time soldering.

        I am waiting for other parts which I am receiving shortly. More updates to come.

Scan-o-tron project: Kinect attached

The Scan-o-tron journey continues: 
  • The Kinect has been attached to the trolley
  • Reworking the trolley cable to accept a counterweight to allow for smoother transition of the Kinect.
  • Ready to procure a laptop capable of processing the 3D image
Making things happen -- our Boca Bearing Company Scanotron build is a little closer to being finished with the addition of a counterweight pulley system. Works like a charm and the Kinect stays put wherever we stop it. Needs a little custom wiring, some programming and a good paint job and we'll be set for Gulf Coast MakerCon Gulf Coast Makers.

Researched the processing requirements and have discovered the performance need is being driven as much by the 3D processing software as by the Kinect itself. There are several likely candidate laptops that could be used. Decision has to be made which one is best.

Modified Bike Project: Part 2 -- Frame set up

Progress on the Modified Bike project:

The 1976 Cimatto frame with a 1967 triumph motorcycle hard tail. The hard tail was cut down in sections and then fully welded. This hard tail will lower the rear of the bike, and stretch it out giving the bike a very aggressive stance.

The next step for this bike is to be sanded down then prepped for a wild metal flake paint job!