If you enjoy our forum, why not join us? :) Login removes all the ads too! Click here to register in a few simple steps

Login to remove this ad | Register Here
Thread Rating:
  • 2 Vote(s) - 5 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Design Your frame - Armattan Will Cut It
#1
So, you have this killer design for a quad floating around in your head, and you wish you knew somebody who would make it for you.  However, you know it would cost a fortune, so you put it out of your mind, and go with something that may be close, but  is already out there.

Not so fast there!  It's not as expensive as you might think.  (In fact, you can probably get your frame for less than the one that doesn't quite fulfill your dreams.)

I know many of you have heard of Armattan Quads, and this is not meant to be an advertisement for them.  But the "machine" behind Armattan Quads is Armattan Productions.  I know there are other carbon fiber-cutting companies out there, maybe some local to your area, but after doing a little looking around, I decided to give Armattan a try.  This "how-to" is just a brief intro into what you need to do, and what to expect.

What's good:
1. Armattan will cut as few as one (1) iteration of your design and sell it to you for cost + 3.5% processing fee, and ship it to you anywhere in the world for roughly $5.00 per $35.00 of product. (Actually, up to $34.99 is $5, $35 to $69.99 is $10, and so on.)
2. You can market your design on Armattan Productions website (with a profit markup if desired), and they will take care of the selling and shipping for you.

What's not as good (but not really bad):
1. It takes time.
2. It takes a little more time.
When you are really excited to see and feel your very own quad frame - one that you designed, the wait can seem interminable.  However, I registered on Armattan's website on October 19,  and I got the shipping notice yesterday (November 15) that my frames are on the way.  That's really not too bad considering it was probably a week or two or more before I had my designs successfully submitted, approved, and ordered.

Great! Where do I start?
Well, in no particular order:
* You need to put your design into your favorite 2D cad program (or at least put it down to paper - and find someone else to put it in the proper format).  Armattan accepts .dxf, .dwg, .step, .igs, and .stp files.
* Visit Armattan's website - especially the FAQ page (lot's of good information there).  You might as well register while you are at it.

By the way, I put this into the How-to section instead of the Review section because I will detail below the process and experience of creating and having my own frames produced.  Once the frames arrive, I may do a separate review (or just let this thread morph into howto/review).


I have a day job I have to go to now, but more coming soon...


Attached Files Thumbnail(s)
   
[-] The following 7 users Like sloscotty's post:
  • PaulMek, Tom BD Bad, BigglesFPV, Kerni_fpv, Grisha0, sirdude, Oscar
#2
What design software do you use? And what's the percentage on profit if we sell frames on their platform do you know?
(and 3 points for your contest entry right there Smile hehe )
Don't be a LOS'er, be a FPV'er :) -- My Fleet
[-] The following 1 user Likes Oscar's post:
  • sloscotty
Reply
#3
(16-Nov-2016, 11:35 PM)Oscar Wrote: What design software do you use? And what's the percentage on profit if we sell frames on their platform do you know?
(and 3 points for your contest entry right there Smile hehe )

I've been using QCad Pro for the last couple of years for various projects (mostly non-quad related), so it's what I know best.  There is a free version, and it's actually what Armattan recommends.  But I also use OpenSCAD for my 3D projects which turned out to be important for helping to design these as well (I'll explain more in my next post).

As far as profit goes, you set your own margin.  Armattan takes adds 3.5% processing fee to the sale price and takes that and the manufacturing cost off the top of the sale price, and puts the rest in your PayPal account.  For example, one of my frames manufacturing cost was $30.80.  I might set the sale price at $40.  If someone buys it, Armattan collects $40 + $10 shipping, keeps $30.80 + $1.40 processing fee (3.5% of $40) + the shipping fee, and I get $7.80 profit (all without lifting a finger or packing a box).  CORRECTION:  Armattan would collect $40 + $1.40 processing fee + $10 shipping.  They would keep $30.80 + $1.40 + the shipping fee, and I would get $9.20 profit.

EDIT:  BTW, If you buy your own design, you pay the manufacturing cost + 3.5% + shipping.  For the above example, that would be 30.80+1.08+5.00 (under 35.00) or $36.88.
[-] The following 1 user Likes sloscotty's post:
  • fftunes
Reply
Login to remove this ad | Register Here
#4
Call me a sucker for following your link from the contest page, but after reading this, happy to give an extra 2 points with a nothing comment!
This Armattan service sounds cool! Looking forward to seeing what you came up with...
[-] The following 1 user Likes Tom BD Bad's post:
  • sloscotty
Reply
#5
Like I mentioned above, I use QCad Pro for 2D designing.  My first stab at a design was a 190-size quad main plate designed around 1806 motors running 5 inch props.  This is what it looked like in QCad:


Looks like it could fly right?  Well I thought so too, so I uploaded it to Armattan to have it cut out of 4mm cf and began the wait.  Now I should mention something about my prior experience with 2D design and cutting services.  I designed a 3D printer (using QCad) and submitted it to a local laser-cutting service and got a call from a guy there who said they couldn't cut it because it had too many poly-lines that he couldn't convert without charging me a lot.  He suggested I redo it myself, conveting all of the poly-lines to arcs and resubmit.  So with lesson learned, I avoided poly-lines the the design shown above.  Everything was done with circles, arcs and straight lines.  (Not sure Armattan's cnc cutters would have a problem with poly-lines, but I didn't want to take a chance.)

While I was waiting, I wanted to design some 3D printed parts for my quad, so this is where OpenSCAD comes in handy.  I opened the .dxf file with OpenSCAD (it automatically "imports" it) and hit the render button - and had my first "oops".


Damn, I had forgotten that hidden design layer containing the prop arcs and battery outline!  So first tip:  Delete all of your extra design layers (or do a "copy layer" and save it to a new file) before submitting your design.  However, notice that the prop arcs aren't the only problem.  The ends of the arms had some non-contiguous spots that wouldn't cut either.  Second tip:  Use OpenSCAD or a similar 3D program to import and extrude your .dxf file to check for all problems before you submit your design.


Now I knew Armattan wouldn't approve my submission as it was, and according to the FAQ, I could not delete my submission, but I could "mark it for deletion" and they would take care of it (more on that later).

I set about correcting my mistakes in QCad, imported it into OpenSCAD to check, and finally ended up with a design that worked and was finally approved.  The problems had been that some of my tangents weren't truly tangent.  Third tip:  Check those tangents!


Just in case there is interest, here is the design in QCad showing my design layer:


More later on the submission, approval, and ordering process.
[-] The following 2 users Like sloscotty's post:
  • KonradS, fftunes
Reply
#6
So your killer frame is designed, and you are ready to submit it and order a prototype (or put it out there for the world to make you a quadcopter millionaire Wink ).

After you register and login to Armattan's website, you click on the "My Store" tab.  You are then presented with the area for uploading your design, editing your store, etc.


Click "Create Product/Kit" and you will be presented with the following screen where you choose your design file and product image,  then select the category, prop size (this is new since I submitted my designs), and so on.  A couple of notes here:  Armattan suggests putting the CF thickness size in the name of your design file - but you will still need to select that thickness from the drop-down menu below (which won't appear until you select "Carbon Fiber" under material - your only choice).  Also, you won't be able to continue from this page until you select a product image.  Since you don't have your product yet, you'll need to take a screen shot of your design or something.  Armattan suggests a size of 600x600 - otherwise your image will look "stretched".  (You will be able to change the product image later.)  Your default Shop Category is "Product 1", but that can be changed later by using the "Edit My Store" tab (shown above).  (And no, there are not other CF color choices besides black.)


When you click "Next", you will be able to provide more information about your design.  By default, the product heading which shows on the website will be the name of your product image file.  You can edit this now or later to make it whatever you want.  I had mentioned above that you will not be able to delete a submission until it's gone through the approval process, but Armattan could delete it for you.  If you realize (after submission) that you made some mistakes, or just are no longer interested, you change the product heading to "DELETE" and Armattan will take care of it for you.  (You will still get an email notice that your design was rejected.)


After you have provided your description, you click "Submit for Approval" (which is at the bottom of that page), and you are taken back to your store and begin the "Waitting" for approval....  Armattan says that the process can be completed in 24-48 business hours, but if you submit late in the week, don't expect approval (or rejection) before Tuesday or Wednesday.


Once approved, you will get an email notification from Armattan, and you get the very satisfying view below.  From here you can edit your product description, delete your product, or most importantly: BUY IT!


An important note: By default, your product is private.  No one else can see or buy it until you make it public.  This gives you a chance to get a prototype, test it, redesign it, etc before you offer it to the world.  I'll talk about how to do that next time...
[-] The following 4 users Like sloscotty's post:
  • Tom BD Bad, BigglesFPV, oyvinla, Oscar
Reply
Login to remove this ad | Register Here
#7
Thanks a lot for all this.

My only problem is, i only have a crappy old xp laptop to work with... Will check those free versions later.
[-] The following 1 user Likes fftunes's post:
  • sloscotty
Reply
#8
Scotty.....GREAT post. I am curious though......why is it such a big deal to convert polylines to 2D line or Arcs, etc? If you want line segments, just explode the polylines and you can trace over the polyline converting them to 3 point arcs fairly easily....at least you can in AutoCAD and I think in Micro station. I am not familiar with Q-Cad, but these are pretty basic functions, no?
"Damn the torpedoes!!!  Full speed ahead!!!"
[-] The following 1 user Likes sirdude's post:
  • sloscotty
Reply
#9
(18-Nov-2016, 12:28 PM)fftunes Wrote: Thanks a lot for all this.

My only problem is, i only have a crappy old xp laptop to work with... Will check those free versions later.

Both QCad and OpenSCAD will work on XP.  As far as horsepower goes,  I don't think QCad will take much, and for just importing and extruding a .dxf file, OpenSCAD doesn't take much.

(18-Nov-2016, 01:00 PM)sirdude Wrote: Scotty.....GREAT post.  I am curious though......why is it such a big deal to convert polylines to 2D line or Arcs, etc?  If you want line segments, just explode the polylines and you can trace over the polyline converting them to 3 point arcs fairly easily....at least you can in AutoCAD and I think in Micro station.  I am not familiar with Q-Cad, but these are pretty basic functions, no?

Thanks!  Polylines may be just fine for Armattan's CNC cutters,  I just know I had to redo my files for my 3D printer a couple of years ago.  QCad may be capable of what you suggest ("exploding polylines" is that a function, or do you mean just zoom in?), but I looked for documentation for an easy way to do it and didn't find much (and I'm still not a cad expert).  It turned out not to be too difficult to replace my polylines with arcs, and now I just always design with arcs, circles, and lines to avoid the problem.  I might have to look at it further, but I've already forgotten how I ended up with all of those polylines in the first place Big Grin
[-] The following 1 user Likes sloscotty's post:
  • fftunes
Reply
Login to remove this ad | Register Here
#10
A polyline is just a line with a number of vertex's (more then two) where as a line is basically just two points located in two dimensions (3D lines/polylines in three dimensions). In AutoCAD there is a command (EXPLODE typed in at the command line) that will take a selected polyline or group of polylines and separate them into line segments where each segment of a polyline becomes a line segment. Don't know if QCad has a similar function.......select a poly line, type in "Explode" on the command line and see what happens. It's a pretty basic command and I would be surprised of QDad doesn't have it.
"Damn the torpedoes!!!  Full speed ahead!!!"
[-] The following 1 user Likes sirdude's post:
  • sloscotty
Reply
#11
have you received your designed frame from Armattan yet? would love to see the quality of their cuts Smile
Don't be a LOS'er, be a FPV'er :) -- My Fleet
[-] The following 1 user Likes Oscar's post:
  • sloscotty
Reply
#12
(18-Nov-2016, 03:59 PM)Oscar Wrote: have you received your designed frame from Armattan yet? would love to see the quality of their cuts Smile

I have not received my frames yet.  Armattan says that CNC production takes 7-14 days depending on the number of orders they have to submit.  I ordered mine on November 1, and got a shipping notice (with tracking number) on November 15.  I haven't been able to figure out how to use the tracking number yet.  I just know that it is coming from Taiwan.  I suspect it will be another week before they arrive.

I will post photos of the actual frames (with commentary, no doubt  Big Grin ) in this thread when they arrive.
Reply
Login to remove this ad | Register Here
#13
So you have all of the kinks worked out of your design, you've test flown the 3rd prototype, and you are ready to share your creation with the world (with a bit of profit kicked in for your retirement fund).

Now I haven't done any of those things yet, but I wanted to figure out the process for myself, and record it here.  This post will probably be rather lengthy, but there are a lot of details here that Armattan's FAQ doesn't address. (One thing I was curious about was if I added a profit margin, would I still be able to buy my own stuff at cost - answer: YES.)

On Armattan's website, you can offer Products and/or Kits for sale. A "product" is an individual component that you designed (main-plate, top-plate, etc).  A "kit" is what it sounds like (your CF components, along with spacers, screws, etc if desired).

Let's say I want to sell my 190 main plate.  In the "My Store" design list, you will notice a row of buttons below each design.  Edit, Access, and Buy.  With "Edit" you can change the product name, description, image, etc.  The little "Key" button is what we want: "Change Access".


When you click it, you get a little pop-up, where you can select to make you design "Open Source", which will allow anyone to download your .dxf file, or select "Sell This Product".


Now I don't really want anyone to download my design, but I do want to offer it for sale.  Click on "Yes" and it pops up a place for you to enter your "Commission Rate" (profit markup).  Now I wanted to test something else here (to see if shipping charges were based on the total, or on the total plus Armattan's processing fee - answer: only the total), so I entered 4.19 to set the selling price to $34.99.


Click Submit, and a brief message appears "Access successfully changed", and you are returned to your design list.  To verify that my product was successfully added to my store for sale, I clicked on "View My Store", and there it was!  But uh-oh, something wasn't right.  It still showed offered for sale at cost.  I even left my store, and just went to Armattan's main page, and there it was under "Latest Products", but still at the "wrong" cost.


It took me quite a while to figure this out (deleting the product and resubmitting with the same result), but it turned out that it was because I was still logged in!  So that answered the question of "Could I still by my own design at cost? - Yes as long as you are logged in when you add it to your cart.  I logged out, went to the main page, and there it was - ready to make me millions of dollars! Big Grin


Also notice, that if you add this to your cart, the shipping charge is $5.00 even though Armattan adds the processing fee.


I also need to mention a correction to a statement I made in post #3 of this thread.  I originally thought Armattan took their processing fee out of the total price (reducing your profit markup), but that's not the case.  The processing fee is added for the buyer to pay - you get to keep all of your markup. (I corrected it in post #3.)

That was the easy one.  Next time I'll show how to put together a "Kit".
[-] The following 2 users Like sloscotty's post:
  • sirdude, Oscar
Reply
#14
Now creating a "kit" containing your design is a little bit more confusing than creating a "product.  Just like before, to get started: login, go to My Store, and click "Create Product/Kit".  The familiar page comes up that contains directions to select a file and so on for creating a product.  Instead of adding another product though, we want to create a kit. If you notice the tabs in the upper left, you will see that there is a "Create Kit" tab (next to the default "Create Product" tab).  Click that tab and you'll see the Create Kit page.


Come up with a name for your Kit, an image, etc.  To continue off of that page, click "Add Product" at the bottom of the page.  I thought that was an odd label for that button, but I finally decided that it meant I should add one of my "products" to my "kit".  I think I would have been less confused along the way if it had been - say "Add to Kit" or "Continue".  More below...)


After clicking "Add Product", you are taken all the way back to Armattan Productions home page. Weird, but there's this additional message highlighted in blue near the top of the page: "You are in kit creation mode......click here to complete".  It was not clear to me what I was supposed to do, so I "clicked here"....


When I clicked "Click Here", I was taken to My Store with the "Kit empty"  and some other messages I found confusing. 


If you look at the photo above, you see that you are still in Kit Creation Mode.  First tip:  When you create a kit, that blue banner will be at the top of every page you visit and you will be in kit creation mode until you successfully create a kit, or cancel out of it.

I still wasn't sure what to do so I cancelled the kit and started over.  I think I got back here a second time before I finally noticed something else different about this view of "My Store"... do you see it?

Now you could continue building your kit from here, but let's do it the right way.   Second tip: After being taken to the Armattan Productions home page in Kit Creation Mode, DON'T "Click Here" , but click "My Store" and start adding items to your kit.


Let's start by adding the frame.  Just in case you didn't notice it above (I didn't twice!), there is no Shopping Cart icon under your frame.  In kit creation mode it is replaced with the "Add to Kit" icon.  Click that, and you will get a brief pop-up (that goes away too quickly to get a screen-shot) telling you that the frame was successfully added.


Now that we have something in the kit, we could do the "Click Here" thing and be taken to My Store (with a successful message) showing your new kit.  You could edit it and add parts later, but let's go ahead and add some hardware while we're here in kit creation mode.  Click the Hardware tab on the left, and select Nylon Hardware.


This takes you to Armattan's nylon hardware page, where you can add hardware to your kit much like you would add to your shopping cart if you were buying hardware.  The selection of hardware you can add is currently limited, but there's enough there to complete this example kit.  As you add each item, you will get the brief pop-up message that says it was successfully added.  (You can make changes in the next step, or later if necessary by editing your kit.)


Now you can go add metal hardware, or other items similarly, but let's say we're done.  NOW you can click "Click Here" in the blue bar at the top of the page, and you will be taken to the Kit Details page.


(No, that's not a real frame - that's a bucket-filled image Smile .) From here you can remove items, update quantities etc.


Click "Save Kit", and you are taken to your My Store page with a "success" message, and you will see a new line showing a Kit List with your new kit.  From here, the same rules apply that apply to designs (except your kit doesn't need to be approved).  You can edit your kit to add a description, change quantities, photo, etc.  You can make your kit "public" (adding a huge profit margin). And you can buy your kit.


Once you make your kit public, it will appear on Armattan's main page under Latest Kits.  If someone clicks on it, they will be taken to the page in your store where all the details are shown, and the money will start rolling in Big Grin


This will be the last installment of this How-to until my frames arrive from Armattan.  When they get here, I will review the quality and post some photos.  I will also provide a complete timeline from design submission, to approval, to receiving the frames.

Thanks for reading this far (if you have).
Cheers,
Scotty
[-] The following 4 users Like sloscotty's post:
  • oyvinla, Tom BD Bad, sirdude, Oscar
Reply
#15
(20-Nov-2016, 12:56 PM)sloscotty Wrote: Now creating a "kit" containing your design is a little bit more confusing than creating a "product.  Just like before, to get started: login, go to My Store, and click "Create Product/Kit".  The familiar page comes up that contains directions to select a file and so on for creating a product.  Instead of adding another product though, we want to create a kit. If you notice the tabs in the upper left, you will see that there is a "Create Kit" tab (next to the default "Create Product" tab).  Click that tab and you'll see the Create Kit page.


Come up with a name for your Kit, an image, etc.  To continue off of that page, click "Add Product" at the bottom of the page.  I thought that was an odd label for that button, but I finally decided that it meant I should add one of my "products" to my "kit".  I think I would have been less confused along the way if it had been - say "Add to Kit" or "Continue".  More below...)


After clicking "Add Product", you are taken all the way back to Armattan Productions home page. Weird, but there's this additional message highlighted in blue near the top of the page: "You are in kit creation mode......click here to complete".  It was not clear to me what I was supposed to do, so I "clicked here"....


When I clicked "Click Here", I was taken to My Store with the "Kit empty"  and some other messages I found confusing. 


If you look at the photo above, you see that you are still in Kit Creation Mode.  First tip:  When you create a kit, that blue banner will be at the top of every page you visit and you will be in kit creation mode until you successfully create a kit, or cancel out of it.

I still wasn't sure what to do so I cancelled the kit and started over.  I think I got back here a second time before I finally noticed something else different about this view of "My Store"... do you see it?

Now you could continue building your kit from here, but let's do it the right way.   Second tip: After being taken to the Armattan Productions home page in Kit Creation Mode, DON'T "Click Here" , but click "My Store" and start adding items to your kit.


Let's start by adding the frame.  Just in case you didn't notice it above (I didn't twice!), there is no Shopping Cart icon under your frame.  In kit creation mode it is replaced with the "Add to Kit" icon.  Click that, and you will get a brief pop-up (that goes away too quickly to get a screen-shot) telling you that the frame was successfully added.


Now that we have something in the kit, we could do the "Click Here" thing and be taken to My Store (with a successful message) showing your new kit.  You could edit it and add parts later, but let's go ahead and add some hardware while we're here in kit creation mode.  Click the Hardware tab on the left, and select Nylon Hardware.


This takes you to Armattan's nylon hardware page, where you can add hardware to your kit much like you would add to your shopping cart if you were buying hardware.  The selection of hardware you can add is currently limited, but there's enough there to complete this example kit.  As you add each item, you will get the brief pop-up message that says it was successfully added.  (You can make changes in the next step, or later if necessary by editing your kit.)


Now you can go add metal hardware, or other items similarly, but let's say we're done.  NOW you can click "Click Here" in the blue bar at the top of the page, and you will be taken to the Kit Details page.


(No, that's not a real frame - that's a bucket-filled image Smile .) From here you can remove items, update quantities etc.


Click "Save Kit", and you are taken to your My Store page with a "success" message, and you will see a new line showing a Kit List with your new kit.  From here, the same rules apply that apply to designs (except your kit doesn't need to be approved).  You can edit your kit to add a description, change quantities, photo, etc.  You can make your kit "public" (adding a huge profit margin). And you can buy your kit.


Once you make your kit public, it will appear on Armattan's main page under Latest Kits.  If someone clicks on it, they will be taken to the page in your store where all the details are shown, and the money will start rolling in Big Grin


This will be the last installment of this How-to until my frames arrive from Armattan.  When they get here, I will review the quality and post some photos.  I will also provide a complete timeline from design submission, to approval, to receiving the frames.

Thanks for reading this far (if you have).
Cheers,
Scotty
Scotty.....

VERY well done tutorial!!  I am sure it'll enlighten lots of folks (including me) as to what is involved in designing and producing your own frame.  Thanks for taking the time and effort to do it! Big Grin
"Damn the torpedoes!!!  Full speed ahead!!!"
[-] The following 2 users Like sirdude's post:
  • oyvinla, sloscotty
Reply
Login to remove this ad | Register Here