Q450 Fiberglass/Nylon Quad Frame Review

June 10, 2012 14:54 | By | 1 Comment

The Q450 frame sold by HobbyKing is a sturdy, cheap frame with a simple construction that can take quite a beating. It’s being marketed as the RM450 V1 by RcTimer for a few bucks more, and both are completely identical. But how does it fare in the air? Find out whether saving money with this DJI-clone is worth it in our review

RcTimer also sells complete sets, like this one with 4×2212 brushless motors and 4x30A HobbyWing ESCs, complete with props for $115.

The boards are made of fiberglass – a good, but not ideal choice as it is rather heavy and there are sturdier composites available. The arms are made of polyamide nylon, which results in a very rigid, sturdy construction. This frame can take quite a beating. When it breaks, the break-off surface is very rough and the broken pieces mesh together well, which is a huge plus if you have to glue broken parts.

Construction is fairly simple, you get two sets of screws, the shorter screws are for the body and the longer screws are for mounting the motors. The holes line up nicely and if you buy the set you won’t have any trouble with the motors either.

This frame comes with no power distribution included, so you’ll have to mount a power PCB either on top or below. Note that there’s a V2 version of this frame which includes an integrated PCB for power distribution as the lower frame board. Quite a nifty construction feature that this version of the frame is lacking. Minor annoyance: Depending on your board you might have to drill holes (or use double sided tape) for mounting the controller/power boards. As seen above, the Crius MultiWii board has the wrong orientation to be flown in X-mode without tape or drilling holes.

There’s two tabs that extend from the lower board, which lend themselves to mounting your gopro or other things. Thanks to the few parts and simple construction, getting a quadcopter ready to fly is done in a jiffy. If you want to mount a camera below you’ll need extra landing struts. What was immediately apparent was the sturdyness of the frame. This quad is a bit on the heavy side, but it feels like made of one piece, nothing bends or wiggles.

There’s little leeway for vibration here, if your controller board is susceptible to interference from vibration, you better use two pieces of stacked double-sided tape. Since there’s no landing gear or struts, hard landings aren’t softened by anything but the four short nylon struts on the edges. It takes a very hard landing to break those off, but the big disadvantage is that in it’s shipped form you cannot mount anything below the quad.

We crashed this frame a couple times, and the verdict is mixed:

Ouch! Rigid frame equals little softening of crashes, but the parts are easily glueable.

In essence, you want to avoid crashes or very hard landings. If you don’t break the frame, the rigid construction means everything from your batteries to your other electronics get to feel the full deceleration. In our tests we flew sideways into the ground, and managed to breakoff one of the little landing struts as well as sever one motor arm right at it’s sleekest point near the motor. There was no damage to any other part. Excellent repair results are achieved with 5-minute Epoxy mixed with fiberglass micro balloons. Just mix the epoxy 1:1, and then add some of the white fiber (don’t touch or inhale them!) and make sure you cover some of the area surrounding the breakpoint. Nylon is not as shock-resistant, but it breaks cleanly with a very large surface area that meshes well together.

Verdict

The lack of an integrated landing strut means you’ll have to buy that extra, but for fun flying and FPV you can do a lot worse than spending $11 bucks at HobbyKing on this frame. It’s sturdy, easy to repair, it has plenty of room for batteries and extra payload, and there are very few parts to put together.

Note that there’s also a Hexacopter version available for a few bucks more, and RcTimer sells a complete set with the RM550 V2 frame with integrated power distribution for $190. Add a Crius MultiWii controller for $50 and you’re golden.

Update: There’s plenty of available struts/feet for allowing a gimbal to be mounted underneath now, so these frames are quite easy to turn into stabilized camera platforms.

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FPVCentral is a private, independent news and review site for all things related to First Person View RC model flight. Covering everything from hobby, commercial and military drones, RC models and electronics related to FPV flight, we are not sponsored by any manufacturer or affiliated with any company or project.

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  1. Tom Lovie says:

    Thanks for the repair tips. I need to do a small repair for an unplanned landing. I like the content on your site, high quality reviews

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