Reed-Copter (2014)

Reeds from various grass-like plants share similar characteristics : It is a natural composite material - hollow, foam-like composition inside and rigid and hard material on the outside.

Such characteristic makes reeds a good candidate for lightweight structural application, and this case I wanted to apply and put the structural quality to a test by building a micro brushed multi-copter, which is my weekend hobby.

Cut edge is prone to cracks which could lead to damage structural integrity, thus edges are infused with epoxy, and to avoid using epoxy, I will further test with gluten from sticky rice later.

Motor mounts are 3D printed with Form1+(SLA) and motors are held in place with rubber bands. Tension created by the rubber bands absorbs impact upon crash, giving prolonged life of motor and parts. Center joint is PLA(FFF), which holds the reeds in place.

Being lightweight offers huge advantage in flying machines, and this Reed-Copter is 6.8% lighter(39.6g vs 42.5g) than a comparable vehicle, thus longer flight time and niftier movement.

Phragmites on a river bank, Seoul, Korea

Took some during the hike

Cut, dried and stuck in the center frame with a dab of epoxy.

As always, a little sanding greatly improves adhesion.

A swarm of motor mounts

Post curing process

Assembled, bare weight of 39.6g, 120mm from rotor to rotor

6.8% lighter with 3d printed frame.