Helicopter Possibility?

Just wanted to get some other opinions here. Who think it is possible to make a helicopter (or quadcopter) built out of all VEX parts and polycarbonate?

That certainly would be a fun project, but I doubt that it would be possible. The VEX motors and batteries and cortex are so heavy that they likely would not be able to lift themselves off of the ground.

The vex motors do not have enough torque to move the gear ratio required to spin the props fast enough to generate lift. I tried back in high school. You could probably make an ornithopter out of vex parts and polycarbonate though…

Hmm…What about a planetary system having all the motors centralized and then that gearbox output onto four shafts (for a quadcopter) going to the four rotors, on a universal joint.

This idea obviously couldn’t control the quadcopter because the speeds of the rotors couldn’t be separately adjusted, but just an idea. Just something to get it off the ground would be awesome to see.

I might CAD it out for the fun of it.

a planetary gear is pretty heavy made of vex stuff. I am actually messing with my planetary gear now. You could possibly use vex metal and motors, retrofit helicopter props and use an arduino as your microcontroller.

What is the limit of the Cortex microcontroller?

I don’t have much knowledge in arduino besides knowing that it is another form of microcontroller, so I don’t know its advantages.

you could easily use a cortex to control it. It is just more than you would need. You could get an arduino to save alot of weight. or you can remove the case on the cortex.

I would think not just because the motors you find in model helicopters spin a very high rpm which (even using gears) would not be attainable using the vex system.

A large glider on the other hand…

Those who are interested in flying robots in general might be interested in this site:

I doubt it would work, but it would be cool to try anyway (just don’t go out and spend a lot of money on it).

This was discussed in-depth a couple of years ago… I can’t find the thread right now. I think it was determined by popular opinion (not necessarily science :stuck_out_tongue: ) that it was impossible.

EDIT: Found it: https://vexforum.com/t/helicopter-swash-plate/13004/1&highlight=Helicopter

We (two of us on the team) also spent about two full months working on this during the Summer and after Worlds last year. We read through a couple of Statics/Dynamics books, bugged a couple of people, and did a ton of math. You just can’t do it. The motors don’t generate enough power to lift even themselves, let alone the battery and Cortex.

We even tried the math with these because they had a lower profile and still a decent amount of power. As far as we could tell, it wasn’t possible. Kudos to anyone who can do it, seriously. The math never came out to let it lift. I can try to dig up the notebook I scratched some notes down in, but I think I tossed it after we got discouraged and gave up.

Sounds like it couldn’t happen because of the power limits on the vex motors. Might be worth a shot, just for fun though.

On a side note - Can a DC motor be programmed through the cortex? Do they come with the same wires?

Are the VEX motors not DC?

I meant like a standard DC motor off an RC hobbyist site or something.

Do the standard DC motors off an RC hobbyists site come with the same wires that the VEX motors use?*

yes and no. you could use ‘brushed’ (as apposed to brushless) motors with the vex system. But, with more power comes more current which basically limits motor upgradability within the system:(

Honestly, at that point you might as well just stop using the cortex in favor of some other microcontroller.

Impossible even without cortex casing, the use of any metal except axels, any of the larger heavier motor, and running off a 9v backup battery?

I’ve bought a grand total of two (!) types of DC gearhead motors that were non-VEX. (Yeah… I’m still starting out in that sort of robotics. :wink: ) They came with tabs on the back where you could solder on any type of wire you wish. It is possible to get the same connectors as VEX uses, so you could wire it to a 2-wire port. Current draw, though, would limit the power of the motor.

Not too sure what you’re saying here… but I’m pretty sure the answer is yes. The problem that Ephemeral_Being brought up is that the motor cannot generate enough power to lift itself, much less the parts. I’d love to run the math myself, though.


The 2 wire motors are DC, much like ones you would buy at the hobby store. you can try to use the VEX motor controllers to power a hobby motor but I think the motor controller would catch on fire from over current. DC motor controllers are easy to find can be programmed through the cortex.

i would love to see it, but doubt it would ever work or even lift off … :frowning: