Know How... 122 (Transcript)

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On this episode of know how the future in one word; plastics. Also fixing your Wi-Fi again and quad copter integration.

Father Robert Ballecer: Welcome to know how it is the twit show where we build, bend, break and upgrade. I’m Father Robert Ballecer.

Bryan Burnett: And I’m Bryan Burnett.

Fr. Robert: And for the next hour or so we are going to show you some of the projects that we’ve been working on so that you can take it home and be a weekend warrior geek.

Bryan: That’s right. You can surprise all your other geek friends with the knowledge.

Fr. Robert: You can fill their knowledge holes with your no hole knowledge.

Bryan: That’s right. Be afraid.

Fr. Robert: But before we get to that, we got a little science here. A little engineering.

Bryan: So this is a pretty cool story that you picked up because 3-D printing is pretty big, it is getting more and more popular. But now we are going to space.

Fr. Robert: The promise of 3-D printing has been the ability to fast prototype things. As long as you've got the design and you’ve got the raw materials you could create something. Maybe a part that you need. Well, there are a couple of things that are in the way of having that be really possible because the materials aren’t yet as strong as we need them to be.

Bryan: There was a question a few episodes back where someone asked if they could 3-D print props for quad copters. But you kind of need those to be a little bit more structurally sound.

Fr. Robert: You could probably 3-D print the frame for a quad copter but the prop? They undergo so much stress when it is spinning around at thousands of times per minute it would just disintegrate. However, thankfully we’ve got a space program because they are taking 3-D printing to a whole new level. This story comes to us straight from NASA. Just two weeks ago, right before Thanksgiving, the day 3-D printed their very first part on the international space station. Now the print is the results of the international space Station 3-D printer project, it was from NASA’s Marshall’s base flight Center. Now the printer was created by a California-based company called made in space. I think we have a video that we can play that shows what they are using. And the kind of setup that they've got. Because obviously 3-D printing in space is a little different. No gravity.

Bryan: You've got to take that into consideration.

Fr. Robert: You've also got to worry about uses flying off into the very confines of a space station. They’ve got this set up that uses a very nice, very precise printing head. Along with the sealed environment. They set this thing up at the beginning of November, it was installed November 17 and they did their first test page on November 17 and they sent the images from that first test to the ground. Now the ISS 3-D printer team looked at the data and they sent back in structure and student IIS as to realign the printhead. Which we both know is calibrating.

Bryan: And it is a pain in the butt.

Fr. Robert: Oh my goodness, yes. It is horrible. Now the second test was done on November 20 and the results were actually good. Everything lined up. So on November 24 round control the Senate demands to the printer and it created a spare part for the 3-D printer.

Bryan: That is cool.

Fr. Robert: Now this is very cool science because they are finding out that trying to 3-D print in very near zero gravity and trying to do it in a place where you have to worry about any remnants wandering off into critical components of the ISS. There are some challenges that they had to overcome so that technology will eventually make it way back into our printers, which is awesome.

Bryan: That’s not the first time that space reaches has trickled down to other cool things. But I thought it was pretty interesting that they mentioned in the article that it actually bonds better in space.

Fr. Robert: They totally didn’t expect that. They thought if anything it would be hard to compress the layers. Because here we rely on gravity to pull the layers down against each other so that you get a strong bond. They found that in 0G the part was actually sticking to the tray. They had trouble getting it off the tray because in microgravity, the AVS actually bonds are stronger. So you could make much stronger parts in 0G then you can in regular gravity.

Bryan: Right. And it seems to me that having a 3-D printer in space or on the space station would be pretty handy considering if you break something or you need a part for something you are probably not going to get another one sent up anytime soon. So having something like that on hand would help a lot.

Fr. Robert: I see that as a act of progression. You’ve go from a place of necessity, a place like the ISS where they are isolated. And a spare part is going to cost you a couple million dollars because you have to put it on a rocket. So it is obvious that they are going to want the ability to make a part, a fine part. Even if it is not the same strength as the original part it can be something that will make do until you can get a part. But once you've got that technology down and it is trickling into the printers that we can actually buy and make ourselves, then you get into a situation where it is not just places where you absolutely need it but places where you just want to quickly. Or, the dream is to make a self-sufficient community. Where you don’t have to have that 10,000 mile supply chain. You don’t have to buy the part from China you just get the design and it prints.

Bryan: The problem that I am experiencing right now is ordering a part for my drown. It is shipping from China and I saw it say that it was shipping January 15. And I thought that can’t be right. It must be December 15, but no it was January.

Fr. Robert: I’m sure Amazon will beyond this. You get to the point where you buy the design and then we will print it over here.

Bryan: Or the self-replicating 3D printers. A 3-D printer that builds a 3-D printer.

Fr. Robert: You’ve gone too far Bryan. Now, let’s go ahead and talk about something that is a little easier than 3-D printing. Because both of us have played with 3-D printers and…. they can be frustrating. It is not just a lining. Imagine this. Every time we wanted to move the 3-D printer, if you move that you’ve got to realign it, recalibrate it. Otherwise the printhead will be off and nothing ever lined up right.

Bryan: Something always seemed to break.

Fr. Robert: And even if you got it perfectly aligned and you never moved it, a lot of the software is not super user-friendly.

Bryan: I worked with a lot of AutoCAD and Solid Works and it still wasn’t any better.

Fr. Robert: Well how about this. Would you like the ability to fast prototype stuff but without the 3-D printer? How about just by using your hand as lumps of clay? We got something for you. This stuff is called Instamorph. This is 34 ounces of it and you can buy it on Amazon for about $40. This has become very popular in the modeling community. The idea is that these plastic pellets soften up when you expose them to hot water, temperatures of 150° or more. And then you can mold it. It becomes like clay. It is malleable. Here is a demonstration. Here is some hopefully hot enough water, we are going to take some of this Instamorph and pour it into this water. What is going to happen is that you are going to start to see it turn transparent it will go from white to this clear color. And when it becomes the clear color it means that it is ready for you to mold. The cool thing about this is that you can use it like clay. Once it becomes malleable you can cut it, you can squish it, you can scratch it and you can form it into any shape that you need in order to make the form that you are trying to make. This is so much faster than 3-D printing because it is no longer, I have to make the design and then print it and then re-print it when the design is not right. It is like kindergarten.

Bryan: As long as you are good at making clay things.

Fr. Robert: I’ve got one that we started a while back, it might actually have cooled off but I don’t know. Let me see. We’ve got to drain the excess water. You take this and start molding that.

Bryan: Whoa. That’s crazy. Ewww.

Fr. Robert: It will start becoming like a putty. This is a little too cold, we didn't quite get it up to the operating temperature. But the nice thing about this is that you can cut it, you can slice it, you can squish it. And I have seen some absolutely gorgeous designs made with Instamorph. some people use it for masking. What you do is you make a mask of someone’s face and then you can mold what you want on the outside. It is great for cause play because you can get…

Bryan: It really does feel like clay. But it doesn’t break apart as easily.

Fr. Robert: Exactly. And that’s not even at the right temperature so that is still a little bit too cold. But when it cools down… oh wait we have more hot water coming in.

Bryan: I think Alex knows what I’m making right now. We used to do this a lot in elementary school.

Alex: And in high school.

Fr. Robert: Okay that did it. See that is what it should look like. All transparent. Very clear. Now with this material, here is the best part. If I put die into this water it would take the color of the die. So you can dye colors into this thing if you want to do color designs. And you can cool it off. So if we had a tab of water you could flash cool it. Or you could use a heat gun if you need to just get a bit more.

Bryan: Can I dip it back in the hot water?

Fr. Robert: You can recycle it, so if your design doesn’t work out just go ahead and put it back in. This is great. I can do this now.

Bryan: What are you going to make?

Fr. Robert: A cross. That is what I do. That is my deal. Mine is good. Ouch. Mine is hot. Show them your design.

Bryan: This is pretty easy to make actually. If you have any experience messing with clay, like I have done a lot it is pretty much like that. It is so cool how it sticks together so well and it feels like plastic. It has that smooth texture to it.

Fr. Robert: If you like it you should have put a ring on it.

Bryan: What is that? Is yours that much clearer because…..

Fr. Robert: When I was a kid I made a lot of ashtrays. It started as something else and then ended up as an ashtray. Here is the issue though. Instamorph is great but if you have no creative skills it is still going to look like this versus that.

Bryan: I’m going to start making some stuff with this. So is yours this much clearer because it is still hot?

Fr. Robert: Yes. As it gets colder it is going to get more and more opaque. And eventually it will become stiff. This is still pretty easy to move, but if I were to put it in my drinking water it will cool off. It actually becomes hard plastic. People have made chassis for quad copters along with face masks. A essentially anything that you want to make available the shape or that holds an edge, Instamorph is perfect for it. It is cheap because the idea behind this is that once you are done with your design, if you don’t like it you just put it back in the hot water and it will turn back into this opaque stuff.

Bryan: I guess that is one thing you have to be careful of though. If you make a quad copter frame out of it and it gets too hot?

Fr. Robert: It turns back into modeling putty at about 150°. It starts to soften at about 100°. So you do have to be careful. But you have a lot of time to model. See we could still stretch this thing out.

Bryan: Padre, your creativity is showing up.

Fr. Robert: You could make orthodontia bite plates with this stuff. Patrick Delahanty could make baby groots face with this stuff.

Bryan: And if you had a mold you could just press it in to a mold and then pull it out.

Fr. Robert: User 2422 says “how many times can it be used”? It is endless. It Doesn’t lose any of elasticity. The worst thing that can then is that it gets dirty. If you happen to heated up when it is covered in filth that stuff is like Clay is sticks. But you can always add new virgin material to increase the strength of it if it is a little sticky or tacky. I use the same bits of Instamorph over and over for probably two or three months. I have a little holder on my computer for a camera because I want to keep it at a certain level. And I made it out of this. So, if you want to do some fast prototyping or 3-D printer set up this is a very good alternative because it is cheap, super easy to work with and it is pretty much good for all occasions.

Bryan: Especially if you don’t have a drafting background or you are not used to extrude in models and making a 3-D thing. But you have worked with Clay and you just want to make something simple.

Fr. Robert: If you like to work with your hands. If you are a visual person this is a better medium because unlike a 3-D printer where you have to have everything finalized before you start printing, you can change the design as you go. In fact when I have seen some more advanced 3-D printer guys do is that they use something like this to make the first design and then they will either 3-D scan it or they will draw their CAD from that design. So they can get the final version on the 3-D printer.

Bryan: Mine is getting harder.

Fr. Robert: It will get harder and harder until it becomes like hard plastic. It will become the same consistency as these beads. If you feel this, it is going to end up this strength.

Alex: Bryan, can we see your guy?

Bryan: See?

Fr. Robert: So this is something that you did a lot?

Bryan: I was wondering if you would find those pictures. Yep that was actually in my drafting class. Back in high school. I have a lot of practice at making these old guys.

Fr. Robert: The longer that you play with it, the harder it gets.

Bryan: That’s terrible.

Fr. Robert: You know, this is why we can’t have nice things. This is a great thing to have in your toolkit. It is something that you should have on your shelf if you are any sort of DIYer or maker. It comes in as handy as my modeling clay and duct tape. You know what else is really good to have in your DIY kit?

Bryan: Something that you can use to fix stuff?

Fr. Robert: I’m thinking fixing things with proper tools.

Bryan: That makes all the difference. It saves so much time and frustration. I’m thinking of iFixit when we are talking about that.

Fr. Robert: I think so.

Bryan: I’m also thinking about the wide that I had to take apart and all the little screws and how there are magnetic tips on the end of the iFixit kit. Is it out here?

Fr. Robert: Exactly. IFixit is the place to go when you want all those special drivers in order to get your gadgets and your gizmos open so you can fix them. Now you know iFixit from their tear down on the iPhone six and other gadgets and now you will fall in love with their line of professional electronic tools. iFixit’s tools are designed by the teardown engineers who have torn apart hundreds of devices and built thousands of repair guides. They know what it takes to work on gadgets and this holiday season they want to arm you and everyone on your list with the right tools that you need to tackle electronic repair work. Or to hack. I fix it offers the perfect one-two punch, the ProTech toolkit and magnetic project management. With these you can fix just about anything and stay organized while doing it. Right now I fix it is offering both the special holiday bundle for only $74.95. The Pro Tech toolkit is 70 tools to assist you with any mod malfunction or misfortune. It is the gold standard for electronics work used by garage hackers and the FBI. More importantly their unique tools are used by repair technicians everywhere. It includes iFixit 54 bit driver With 54 standard specialty and security bit. Swivel top precision drivers, flex extensions for hard-to-reach screws, ESD precision tweezers, nylon sponges, and metal sponges, plastic opening tools, it is lightweight, compact and it comes in a tool role that makes it the on the go choice for repair professionals and amateurs alike. High BS and home DIY fixers also use the ProTech toolkit for doorknobs, eyeglasses, doors, sink fixtures and more. Now this magnetic project Matt, both of us have gotten a lot of use out of it. It allows you to take the screws out and label them so you never forget where they go. It is an original iFixit invention that lets you organize your repair work. The magnetic surface holds tiny screws, it is safe for hard drives, the dry erase surface lets you draw your instructions so you will never lose another screw again. Now, iFixit has something for every DIY, hacker or geek on your list. Head on over to to check out their holiday deals including the ProTech toolkit and magnetic mat bundle for only $74.95. And when you enter the code know-how at checkout, you will save $10 off any purchase of $50 or more. That is a And use the code know-how at check out. And we thank iFixit for their support of Know How.

Fr. Robert: My plastic is no longer soft.

Bryan: What is it? A terrible onion ring? You got an A plus for effort Padre. In This is the saddest thing I’ve ever seen.

Fr. Robert: Now, you know we’ve been doing project quad for the last couple of weeks. And we've been doing it the long way. There are a lot of people that say why don’t you just get to the building. This is the thing that both the virus feel very deeply about.

Bryan: I was in the same boat and it didn’t work out so well for the DJI.

Fr. Robert: And that is actually the problem. You have a lot of people who are buying high-performance drones, high-performance quad copters. They don’t know how it works, they don’t know how it flies and they end up crashing or what really bothers me is they end up doing stupid things with it.

Bryan: Or hurting someone.

Fr. Robert: Right. Like flying it up to 4000 feet in air traffic. Above the cloud level. That is just not the right way to do it so what we have been doing is we’ve been giving you the slow approach so that you understand all the tech that goes into the quad copter and then we are going to teach you how to fly it responsibly so that you would be a quad copter expert rather than just a quad copter amateur. But now it is time for my favorite part. It is integration.

Fr. Robert: For our integration tutorial we want to build that everybody could do. That meant no soldering, the simplest and strongest frame that we could get. A flight controller that did need a computer for programming and all the little knickknacks at an affordable price. We decided on the FVP 250 from Hobby King because it is a decently priced kit that includes all the hardware that you need, except for a flight controller, radio and battery charger. Still, the overall procedure that we are going to give you work on pretty much any set of hardware. Like this to 30 class quad that I made mostly with parts from ready to fly Once you are comfortable with soldering and feel competent enough to choose your own parts you can use these steps to assemble any size of quad. In the box for the FVP 250 you will find a one-piece glass fiber body with detachable landing struts. Four multi star 1704 motors, a set of 5.3.3 propellers, four afro version 3 twelve amp speed controllers, a power distribution harness, a 1000 ml amp Turnigy Lipo battery, servo leads and the hardware for a FVP mount. To complete the build you will need a 4 to 6 channel radio, a flight controller, and a battery charger. We chose a fly sky T6 radio, a KK .1.5 flight controller and an imax v6 lipo charger. On the tool side you will want a small Phillips screwdriver, a set of Allen wrenches to tighten the hex bolts, a tube of Lock tight glue, zip ties, and some snaps. Since this is a Moto frame assembly is easy. The first step is to run the included Velcro strap through the slot at the bottom of the cage at the center of the frame. This strap will be used to hold batteries, wires and other equipment to the bottom of the quad. Next up is the flight controller. Our KK goes into the cage to protect it and keep it at the center of the combined rest of the moderates. When installing the board, make a note as to which way you want to be the front of your quad. With this frame, the front of the quad is typically the shelf with the cutout for the FVP mount. But as we are not using the FVP in this build, forward can be any direction. As long as we know which way we are building. This is important because flight controllers need to be pointed in the right direction in order to control the craft. On the KK the buttons are always towards the rear of the quad. But all controllers will have some way to tell which way should be pointed forward. Four screws secure the controller and a roll cage gives it a measure of protection in the event of a crash. The landing struts are friction held on to the end of each arm so that you can put them on and take them off during construction as needed to gauge clearance. Once you are done with integration little dab of CA can keep them from vibrating free or popping out after hard landings. The kit includes four multi-star1740 1900 KV outrunning motors that mount directly under the frame with the included M2 6 mm bolts and washers. It is very important if you ever need to replace the bolts that you do not use the bolts that are too long. In this case longer than 6 mm. Longer bolts risk penetrating too far into the can and making contact with the windings destroying the motor. Before you install the bolts, dab some Loctite blue onto the threads. You need only a very thin film towards the bottom of the bolt. The Loctite will keep the bolt from vibrating out of the mount, while allowing you to remove them when needed. Do not use Loctite red as that will effectively fuse the bolt to the motor. With the motor is mounted it is time to get wired up. The frame uses a honeycomb lattice and I prefer to keep my wiring neat by dropping the motors through the bullet connectors so that I can keep the top clear for the ESC’s. All of the following instructions will assume that you were looking at the KK board with the buttons towards the bottom. You will see two rows of 3 pen headers to the left and right of the board. The radio receiver leads will connect to the left while the ESC leads will connect to the right. The kit includes three servo leads which will allow you to connect five panels between the receiver and the KK flight controller. I know that sounds strange but you only need the full three pins connected for the first channel. One pen provides the signal for Channel one. While the other two pens will feed power from the controller to the receiver. Taking a look at the receiver you will find the schematic for which pens are signal and which are power. Plug the full lead into the receiver pins for Channel one making sure to use the white or yellow wire for signal. Take the other side of the lead and plug it into the top most set of pans on the left side of the controller with a white or yellow signal cable toward the inside of the KK. To connect the other channel take another leave and connected to the signal pens on channels two through four on the receiver. Note the color of the wire connected to channel to, now connect the other end of that lead to the KK, remembering what color channels to wire is. And making sure to connect only to the signal pens towards the inside of the board. Use the last lead to connect channel 5 from the receiver to the controller. Now that you have connected the receiver, let’s connect the KK alarm. You should have a small two wire buzzer with your KK. On the top left of the KK you will see two pins labeled buzzer. Connect the buzzer making sure to connect the red to the positive and the black to the negative. The ESC’s will be connected to the row of pans to the right of the KK. With the top most set of pins for the ESC one, the second set for ESC to and so forth. Looking at the frame, the number of the ESC and the motor is as follows: front left is never one, from right’s number two, bottom right is number three, bottom left is number four. Make sure that the ground wire is to the outside of the board. The positive wire is in the middle and the signal cable, usually yellow or white, is to the inside. Special note: be careful with how you connect your ESC leave, B.Sc. includes a battery eliminator circuit that provides power to the flight controller and the receiver from the main battery. But they can fry electronics if incorrectly connected. Check and double check your connections before you apply power. Another note: the KK 2.1.5 can accept all for ESC’s each with their own BEC and only take power from ciao one. However, some flight controllers will fry if you connect them to more than one BEC equipped ESC. If you are using such a flight controller, snip the red center wire on ESC’s other than the first, or just pop it out of the plug and wrap it to keep it from making contact with anything else. To read the leads from the ESC down through the frame so that they can be connected to the motor leads. Connect each motor to its corresponding speed controller, remembering the number. There are three leaves from each motor and three bullet plugs from each speed controller. It doesn’t matter what order you plug them in, just make sure that each motor is connected to only one speed controller. With the ESC’s connected we can power up the craft and check motor rotation. The kit includes a power distribution harness. Connect the four red wires from the ESC’s to the red block and the four black wires from the ESC’s to the Black block. Take a moment to look over your connections to make sure everything is plugged in correctly. If any connections are incorrect then the next step could smoke your electronics. Once you are satisfied that you are wired correctly, turn on your transmitter and connect the power plug to your battery. After a few beeps you should see the flight controller and receiver power up. Let’s first make sure that the flight controller is receiving input from your radio. Hit the rightmost key on the KK to enter the menu and then scroll to receiver tests and hit the rightmost key again. You we'll see values from inputs for your receiver. Move your stick to make sure that the controlling the right channel. With a mode to transmitter moving the right stick up and down should change the value for elevator while left and right should change tell your on. Moving the left stick up and down should change throttle while left and right should change router. Refer to the last segment on transmitters if your input is reversed. If you are getting no more missing input from your receiver then do the following: one, check to see if the receiver is on. If it is not you may have reversed the channel one cable. Two, make sure the channels two through five are connected to the signal pens on both the receiver and flight controller. Disconnect the battery and make sure your transmitter is on once you have conserved the proper input lets check the rotation of your motors. It can be difficult to see which way the motors are spending so I put a piece of tape on the shaft to help me see the rotation. With the KK screen in safe mode pulled the throttle all the way back into the right and the KK should arm. Now gently cycle the motors to get them spending and watch the tape as they spend down. Motors one and three should be spinning clockwise, motors two and four should be spinning counterclockwise. Make a note of any motor that has to be in reverse and then disconnect the battery. If you have motors that need reversing simply swapped any two of the three motor connectors for that motor and ESC. It doesn’t matter which color, just remember to swap the motor connectors and not the controller or power leads. Power it up and try the test again. When you are satisfied that they are turning the right way the last electrical step is to calibrate the ESC’s so they all have the same values for start and stop. With the quads battery disconnected, turn on your transmitter and advanced the throttle to full. Hold down buttons one and four on the KK and keep holding them. Connect the quads battery, the controller will go into throttle pass-through mode and you should hear a beep that will verify that all for ESC’s have calibrated 100% throttle. Continuing to hold the KK buttons, move the throttle to off. You will hear another set of beats to confirm calibration of 0% model. Release the KK buttons and disconnect the battery. Use zip ties to lock down the ESC’s, cables and receivers. Screw the cage top onto the frame and tidy up your wiring so that no connections are overstressed. With everything tidy, install the propellers on each motor remembering that you want clockwise props on motors one in three and counterclockwise on two and four. If you get confused, install the product so that t•hey will turn in a way that their pitch will push air down. Use the washers and nuts to lock the props and your system integration is now complete.

Fr. Robert: Now that gave you instructions for assembling one of these. This is a FPV 250 from Hobby King. We’ve both done this, we both have our distinct builds.

Bryan:This is the one I’ve moved up from the Syma X5.

Fr. Robert: You did your trainer days and now you’ve actually got something that is the next level. On the next episode we are going to be doing some flying and you get to see these things in the air. It is impressive. But I will say even though we gave you instructions for assembling the 250, the same basic instructions work for pretty much any size quad copter. This is a 230 class that I built from the parts I got from In fact Paul Baxter is in our chat room right now, he runs Ready to Fly Quads. Now, he is a cool guy. He is passionate about it. He puts his heart and soul into making the parts he ships out. He can't be making a whole light of money for it. So it is just his love for the field in the craft. His stuff is top notch. I built this 230 using the same steps as I did to build this 250.

Bryan: Right. And we were talking earlier about how once you have the basic setup, you can always just get another frame and rewire it if you wanted to do something different.

Fr. Robert: Exactly. We are going to be talking about this during the feedback issue. But this is something that I also got from This is a 230 aggressive class. it is designed to stretch out the wheelbase of bit more so you get more thrust. You can really make this thing move. If we wanted to we could take the components off of the 250, put it in here and it handles like a brand-new quad copter. Completely different craft with a $20 frame. I like the Lego thing. I’m done with this, what do we have next?

Bryan: What is the next thing we can build? This one is pretty flexible for the different things that you want to do.

Fr. Robert: I like this because this thing is kind of like the Sema in that it is really hard to kill. I have crashed this into a lot of things.

Bryan: Props come and go but the frame lasts forever.

Fr. Robert: Exactly. So it is a nice balance between performance and durability.

Bryan: And I jankily attached a go Pro to the bottom of it. And it worked. It wasn’t great but it was a lot better than I thought it would be.

Fr. Robert: A few things. So first thing is heat shrink is your friend. You’re going to see a live of connections like these like this. I've done a pretty good job of making sure it the heat shrink goes all the way so that you don’t see the bullet itself. But, you also can have things like this where the motor connection didn’t go all the way. So you can actually see a little bit of gold. If you take a little piece of heat shrink and you put it over that before you put the bullets together and then shrink the heat shrink it will make sure that these never make contact. It won’t on this quiet but be careful because if any of these connections ever touch, you are going to blow something out. A battery, and ESC or the flight controller. But there is this debate between bullets and soldering. There are people who like to solder everything because it means that you can remove all that excess cable. And wire adds weight.

Bryan: A few grams makes a pretty big difference.

Fr. Robert: It does. It changes the way that it flies. On this 230 class you could go straight from the motor to the ESC like to the flight controller and power distribution board. But on the bottom you see all this cable that I bundled up. I could get rid of that if I soldered it. And I could get rid of the weight of the bullets if I soldered, but I kind of like the whole leg opening. I like being able to pull things apart. If I built something purely for performance, if I knew I was going to be racing it. I would probably go with straight solder and get every ounce of weight off of the craft.

Bryan: But because we are kind of playing around with it and a bunch of different models we want to be able to plug-and-play.

Fr. Robert: Also I want to say this. If you do buy ESC from, they are not going to come with bullets. The reason for that is because he can’t solder the thousands of bullets that would be required. Something else. You can always add something like this. This is cool this actually attaches to the 250. It gives you a little camera cage and that is where the FPV would go. It would also give you a place instead of hanging the battery off the bottom of the craft it would be somewhat protected. But remember, any time you do this you are going to be adding weight.

Bryan: You will be reducing your flight time, you will be reducing the response. But it is all part of the trade-off. If you are going to be doing FPV or you are going to have a data read and go Pro, I would recommend having it because it will balance it out.

Fr. Robert: Weight is your enemy. You always have to be countering the added functionality of how much weight is it going to be adding to your craft.

Bryan: That is part of the fun.

Fr. Robert: It is that Lego mentality. Something else. Buy a lot of props. You are going to be replacing a ton of props. Buy way more props than you think you’re going to need and they won’t go to waste. I promise you. Now on the 250 that we built. These are actually super flexible props. The reason why they are three bladed is because of this motor configuration. It can’t really take advantage of a two bladed prop. You would never be able to get a big enough props to maximize out the motor. The three blade is also like this. There are stability issues if you did two bladed props on this. But when you start going up to these big crafts you will go to eight, 10 and 11 inch bladed props. And we will actually show you how to balance them in a future episode. We are coming to the end of this arc for quad copters. When we get into the advanced lessons balancing props is one of the very first episodes.

Bryan: These are the props that you don’t want to get hit with.

Fr. Robert: These will hurt you.

Bryan: Decapitation! This is pretty hard plastic.

Fr. Robert: One last bit before we move on. The center of gravity. It is not as important with a quad copter as it is with a plane. If you make a plane tale heavy it will crash. Quad copters can compensate because the flight controller will increase thrust on one side or the other in order to keep the thing level. But here is the thing. If you have your center of gravity set too far forward it means that your quad copter is going to have to increase the rust on the front motors in order to keep it level. It has to compensate. Which means, that you are going to have less thrust range available out of the front motors. If the front motors have to operate it 80% just to keep it level and the rear motors are operating at 40% then you are going to be able to go faster in one direction than another. So what you want to do is to remember that your flight controller is your center of gravity. My flight controller is located here, this is the brains of the craft. The thing that will tell the quad copter what to do with its motors in order to keep it level. So what I want is a center of gravity that if I were to put a skewer through the middle of the flight controller, I've balanced out the go Pro and the battery and I can move this battery for word and back so that I can keep this thing level. If I remove the go Pro, I have to move the battery closer to the middle otherwise it will be tail heavy. You can do the same thing with the small ones. It is a little harder because they don’t have natural CG point. But just imagine if I had skewers right in the center of this craft here and once I attach my battery I can figure out where I would have to put it to level out that CG.

Bryan: I bet there is something we could come up with in order to test the balance before we start flying.

Fr. Robert: We will be testing this way because we are assuming that you are building it asymmetrically. Now, when we come back we are going to be taking some feedback. We are going to go over some of your questions and comments from our Google plus group. But before we do that, let’s take a moment and thank our second sponsor of this episode of know-how. Do you have a portfolio or a website? Or a project that you want to put online?

Bryan: I do. I have been using it a lot more lately because I’ve been getting back into photography and my squarespace site. I have just been hosting a lot of my photos on there. And I just share the link from there, instead of posting it to a bunch of different social networks.

Fr. Robert: And the nice thing about that is that you buy one account. You pay one fee per month or yearly and then you don’t have to worry about the backend. I worry about who was hosting it and who is taking care of your domain. Who is doing your front end. You don’t have to go out and get a word press framework and spend forever configuring it. It just looks beautiful from the start.

Bryan: And they keep upgrading it and I’ve never had to pay more. They just keep making it better.

Fr. Robert: And that is the reason why we love squarespace. Squarespace is the one-stop shop on the Internet to go if you want to publish your portfolio, your photographs, your website, your project or whatever it is. Squarespace can help you get the word out. Some of the reasons why you are going to love squarespace as much as we do is that they are constantly improving their platform. Squarespace seven has just been introduced and it makes getting started with your unique web presence even easier. It has a completely redesigned interface, now simpler to navigate and operate in one seamless experience. It has easier editing. They do this brand-new life at it on screen so rather than changing the edit and slightly changing the page and then going to the preview it will show you in real time what your edits are doing to the page. It is the best way to edit. They also give you instant access to professional stock photography from Getty so rather than having to worry about whether or not your images and your sounds are licensed, you get a button, and interface within squarespace that lets you purchase these fantastic pieces of art from Getty and legally put them on your page so there is no muss, no fuss and no worry about compliance. You also get instant branded email set up with Google apps and now you can have branded email for your small business automatically when you sign up for is squarespace account. So that your email doesn’t look generic. It is not a Gmail address it is your domain, and your name is your brand and you have to protect. Squarespace understands that. Also their developer platform is out of beta so you can customize your site exactly as you wish. If you are a developer you have control to the same platform that squarespace uses for its own site and it gives you complete code control. Speaking of complete code control, squarespace also gives you templates that are designed for specific professions and let’s face it, you don’t want your page for medical information to look like the page they are using for food reviews. Squarespace understands that and so they group their templates so that you can choose the one that is appropriate for your content. They also give you e-commerce with all subscription plan levels including the ability to accept donations, which is great for nonprofits, cash, wedding registries and school fund drives. It is also easy to use. But if you need some help, squarespace has live chatting, email, 24 hours a day seven days a week. Plus, there are self-help articles and video workshops for browsing at your leisure. And at just eight dollars a month squarespace is not going to break the bank. And it includes a free domain if you sign up for a year. The squarespace portfolio, mobile, metric and blog apps are on the go extensions of your website. So now you can monitor the performance of your content while you are on the go. And, squarespace takes care of the hosting as we mentioned in the beginning. So you don’t have to. So here is what we want you to do. We want you to start a free two-week trial with no credit card required and start building your website today. When you decide to sign up for squarespace, make sure to use the offer code know how to get 10% off and to show your support for. To begin using squarespace seven, existing customers go to the settings tab to activate all the new features. We thank squarespace for their support of Know How. squarespace, start here and go anywhere.

Bryan: It is super easy to switch over too.

Fr. Robert: Let’s get into some feedback. We have some good questions and we are running out of time.

Bryan: This first question comes from Ronald. He has some Wi-Fi problems. “On several occasions, Padre has stated that the modern mobile devices are smart enough to jump between wireless access points that use the same SS ID. We also know that only three channels in the 2.4 GHz range don’t overlap. My question is this, if I were to set up three wireless access points at my house using the same as as ID, do I set all the wireless access points to the same channel where do I have to switch each access point to its own channel to avoid interference”? Yes, you do.

Fr. Robert: Alright. Next question. No. We get this a lot and I don’t mind covering this a lot because this is a basic set up that everyone needs to know. I’ve told people for a while that you can have multiple access points, all broad casting on the same SS ID. So as you wander through your house your device will switch from one to the next as the signal diminishes on one and then increases on the other.

Bryan: It is like a small version of a wireless cell network.

Fr. Robert: Exactly. Now here is the thing. People have been writing and saying it is not working for me. 90% of the time it is because they haven’t set up the access point correctly. The problem is there are a lot of devices out there that are not actually access points. They are combination routers, access points and maybe evil cable modems. You have to turn off the functionality DHCP server, the gnat and the gateway on all the other devices except for the primary one in the house. So for example, let’s say I have the WRT54G, the old standard. It is only 2.4 ghz. If I had three of them, I would set one for Channel one, one for Channel 6 and one for channel 11. Those over the non-overlapping channels inside the Wi-Fi. They won’t interfere with one another. I would give them all the same SS ID. But only the one that is connected to the cable modem or DSL modem would have its DHCP server turned on.

Bryan: All the others would be off because they are in bridge mode.

Fr. Robert: They should be in bridge mode. Here is the other thing. You have to connect the land ports, the primary router, to the land ports of the routers that you’ve turned into access points. Some people go through the Lan port and that is no good as well because essentially you are still natting. Now there are some routers that let you assign the Wan port to the Lan but most people them like that. Or the router is not smart enough to do that. And so if you have your primary going into the LAN ports of the two routers even though they don’t have their DHCP servers turned on you are still going to get funky addressing in the network.

Bryan: Okay. I think I've been having a problem.

Fr. Robert: If you’ve been doing that, no, no, no. Essentially what you have done is that you still put the nat on top of the nat but you have turned off the DHCP server on that second access point. Devices will connect to it but then they just stop.

Bryan: It is infuriating because you're connected and you're wondering why it doesn’t work.

Fr. Robert: And again 90% of the time that is the issue.

Bryan: I have this WRT standard version and I put DDWRT on the other one to put it into bridge mode.

Fr. Robert: Untoward is saying will it still drop a stream when it is transitioning between two APs? Yes it will. But not necessarily. Here is the thing. It is not like a cell phone network in which the cell phone most of the time will hand off seamlessly. The way it will work on a Wi-Fi network is when you leave one SS ID and it connects to another, it will recognize that it can use the same DHCP address so what won’t request another address, but the network still has to figure out where you went. Unless you are using an enterprise class wireless system which will automatically route you. What is going to happen is that if you are streaming something to your computer the gateway will be calling out to you and then suddenly it will no longer be able to reach you. And it will try it for a while and then it will do what is called a broadcast it will go to the network and say who is this? Now the other AP says he is over here and then it starts routing. Now most of the time, the buffer in your stream via the twit stream, YouTube or Netflix, will be enough that it doesn’t seem like it drops.

Bryan: You won’t see that hick up.

Fr. Robert: but if you are doing a direct stream is going to disconnect. It is a soft drop.

Bryan: In my case the main router where Comcast Comes into the house is on the other side of the bedroom. So I am setting up a router closer to my bedroom, but not necessarily crossing from one house back and forth. I just need a stronger signal on the other side of the house. I probably wouldn’t notice it.

Fr. Robert: I would just put wires everywhere.

Bryan: I do have wires everywhere. I’m just not sure where everything goes because I need to set up a panel and write down where everything goes. Me and my dad didn’t do that like 10 years ago when we wired it.

Fr. Robert: I’ve got some tools that will help you with that. Let’s go to the next one.

Bryan: Okay. The next one comes from Brad, “I want to build my quad. I am looking to build a 230 mm quad copter I’m not sure what kind of motors to use. I would like it to be pretty easy to control but fast and this is my first build”. You want to keep it simple. What are some of the recommendations here Padre?

Fr. Robert: These are all going to be in the show notes so don’t freak out if you don’t catch this right away. I have got a couple of different build possibilities. This would be the inexpensive 230 build. I bought all these parts from And you are going to hear me say it a lot but pretty much if you go anywhere on the internet, this guy has the really good stuff. You could buy motors from Amazon, don’t do that. Seriously. The quality of parts that you are going to get on Amazon, if you really want to put together a great good quad copter, they vary so much that it is not worth it. If you buy store motors and one of them is bunk you just lost any savings that you are going to get. This is a nice one because it is very simple to make. This is the frame. It is a $15 frame, a 230 mm using glass fiber. Super durable. And very easy to put together. That is about $15 and then you’ve got the motorists. These are inexpensive at $10 apiece, 1806 2300 KV. That will cost you $40 there. The props are the son fly five by threes, these are also inexpensive. The ESC’s right here, these are F 12 amp which is more than enough. That is about $31 for four of them. The props cost about $1.20. Buy a lot. This Controller is awesome. It is so incredible. Get this one. It is only $15. And then the receiver and the radio, I’m using the fly sky. That set up is going to run you about $116.

Bryan: And once you have the controller and stuff…

Fr. Robert: Now, if you want to get a performance 230 build that is when I would suggest this. This thing is cool. Because it spreads the motor out a bit more you can get a bit more wiggle into it and a bit more speed. I like the cage because it Gives you a good way to secure all your components. Even if you want to do FPV. This frame is going to cost you about $20. This is the RTF mini frame. The motors, are more advanced. If you buy four of them he actually gives you a deal at $61. The 2208 2300 KV is a fantastic, really nice motor. I Would get the carbon composite props they cost you about $6.20 for a set. The 20 amp speed controllers with 4F batteries is $32. Keep the same flight controller or go up to the Flip 32. It adds things like barometer and compass so you can do things like maintaining its heading. And then the same fly sky receiver and radio. That set up is going to run you about $160. So you are going about $50 more. Not bad. I’ve also got a set up for a 250 class. We will make sure that goes into the show notes. That is what I would suggest. Just go to because not only will you find all those parts, but they've also got a really good deal in case you want to figure out where everything goes.

Bryan: Sounds like a good way to get into it.

Fr. Robert: Last one.

Bryan: All right. This is Jonathan. “Quad copter plus Long exposure equals Tron.” He used his trainer quad and a micro 4/3rd camera and was able to get some pretty awesome pictures by just having the exposure on for a while. And I think if you got really good at this you could probably spell something out.

Fr. Robert: I just clicked it and went crazy. You know what if you practice this it could be awesome. People were saying how come the quiet is not visible? But that is the thing about long exposure it is moving. But the lights are so bright.

Bryan: Have you ever seen those photos where people draw out a word? You don’t see the person they are because they are moving in the light is so bright compared. Unless they stop and then you see the shadows.

Fr. Robert: Of for example on your quad, we’ve got the superbright LEDs and it would look really neat. I would really like to see that.

Bryan: As soon as I saw that….

Fr. Robert: Folks, we know that this was a lot of information. Everything from the instant more to how to fix Wi-Fi to a quad tutorial. We were all over the place. We would like to give you a mix, that is what we do!

Bryan: Keep you on your toes. If anybody missed the previous show you should watch it live.

Fr. Robert: Don’t forget you can get our show notes at and there you’ll find not just all our episodes but also a place where you can subscribe so you get our episodes automatically into your device of choice. If there is something that you want to follow along with, this is how. Don’t forget you can also find us on Google plus. This is actually a great place to go to get your questions answered or to post your projects. If we put it into the show., join us, post your projects…

Bryan: Ask questions, show us your awesome exposure pictures of the quads flying around and stuff. That is why I love it. It is almost 8,000 people.

 Fr. Robert: Don’t forget that is not the only place you can find us on social media. You can find us on Twitter. I’m @PadreSJ.

Bryan: And I’m @cranky_hippo.

Fr. Robert: And our TD, Alex Gumple can be found @anelf3. If you want to find out what he and cranky hippo were like when they were kids watch his feed.

Bryan: You get to see that and more recently was our 70’s detective show!

Fr. Robert: Week is actually our last episode of the year, before we shut it down for the break. But we do have to do one pre-recording next Friday because I am going to be at CES in the new year. But next week we will be covering the first flight. We are going to take our quad copters and show you how to take them to the sky. It will be a fantastic fun filled episode of know-how until then, I’m father Robert Ballecer.

Bryan: And I’m Bryan Burnett.

Fr. Robert: And now that you know how…

Bryan: Go do it!

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