top of page

cöpter union


Class: Engineering Design & Problem Solving (EID 101)

Year: Fall 2015

Goal: design a drone from scratch that is able to pick up vials of different sizes and weight and transport them to different locations, given a budget and weight limitation of 1 kg.


  • 1st place in the competition of transporting vials

  • stayed under the budget by $200

  • carbon-fiber frame, 3D printed body reinforced with sheet metal

  • total weight of only 660g, heaviest being the frame

  • direct user input (controller)


Technical Details

As this is the first engineering course students at the Cooper Union takes, a lot of the students lack CAD or other previous experiences. Thus, most designs were first created by hand, and then modeled using SolidWorks. The models were then 3D printed or machined, to reduce cost and weight.

Required voltage, weight, thrust, and others were hand calculated with safety in mind. for example, the required thrust was calculated with the ideal thrust to weight ratio of 2:1.

All parts, both mechanical and electric, were tested and calibrated individually and once assembled. For example, the motor strength was measured with the scale for the real-world thrust.

Once the quadcopter was assembled, the flight controller was calibrated for user input using a controller software. The program was debugged to eliminate the tendency to yaw, and the design was reconsidered for stability and strength. For example, the 3D Printed prototype was reinforced with sheet metal that was plasma cut and bent. 

The quadcopter successfully picked up all vials and was able to transport them during the competition. The "grasping mechanism," consisting of the slider, was efficient as it was angle-independent, unlike most existing claw mechanisms.

The quadcopter was then demoed in front of over 150 students and faculty. The final presentation was delivered by me on that same day.

bottom of page