Drones, Engineering Podcast, MEP, Polystack, Quadcopters, Scott Shawcroft

MEP EP#22: Quirky Quadcopters with Scott Shawcroft

Download: MP3
RSS Feed: Link

Runtime: (54:29)

Parker Dillmann
Stephen Kraig

Scott Shawcroft

Podcast Notes

  • Scott Shawcroft of Chickadee Tech (see Figure 1) is our guest on this weeks podcast. He is working on a modular flight control system called Polystack. It has 13 different boards that can be stacked together. Similar to shields for the Arduino platform. See Figure 2A and 2B.
  • Scott is down here in Houston visiting MacroFab to see his production-run being built, while working on his test fixture with us (See Figure 2).
  • Scott is a member of the Seattle Multi Rotors community.
  • The software stack is based of off Beta Flight which is a fork of Clean Flight which is a fork of BaseFlight. The very first flight controllers were based of the Wii Nunchuck. Scott uses custom pin mappings and uses a larger ST MCU which required another fork.
  • Scott got into Quadcoptors after watching the video Crash Session!!! His first quad was from Flite Test.
  • The Tiny Whoop is a small FPV quad that is easy to build.
  • Chickadee Tech is Scott’s first step into the hardware world. His first build was a lap timer using the radio strength signal. Scott self-taught himself KiCad.
  • AutoDesk purchased CadSoft from Farnell. Autodesk EAGLE – The perfect tool to designing stuff for PIC16MEGA32u4.
  • The FR4 Machine Shield we mentioned in a previous podcast has a Kickstarter now. It’s an Arduino “shield” CNC machine. It comes on a 18” x 22” PCB panel. Motor controllers are called “Swap Drives”. Driver chips are on PCB cards that go into edge connectors.
  • The FAA released new rules for operating rules for unmanned aircraft (Quads).

PCB Test Jig
Figure 1: Scott Shawcroft of @chickadee_tech checking out the fresh “just out the reflow” panels.

PCB Test Jig
Figure 2A: Four of the Polystack boards. There are 13 boards in total and can be stacked up to 7 at once.

PCB Test Jig
Figure 2B: Four Polystack boards stacked together.


Figure 3: Test fixture for the Polystack boards.

Special thanks to whixr over at Tymkrs for the intro and outro theme!