L.I.F.E. stands for:

  • L (symbolizes the Glider in Conway's Game of Life) I nverse F rame E xperience

... and of course for life and all around it!!!

Around the time of building my MK (early 2K8) i was quite hooked on Conway's Life, hence the acronym... never came around to the actual inverted design since it would have collided with some of the purposes i want to use my MK for. Informal nicknames of my mikrokopter include 'the styro dome' or the 'flying helmet'. Based on the standard MK setup (FlightCtrl 1.0, BL-Ctrl 1.1 with hi-power MOSFETs, NaviCtrl) with some improvements.


  • 27/05/09
  • it's been a while and after a complete re-build of my MK now it's time to share some of the things i did on and with it.


drilled out the alu profiles to save weight and to pull the motor cables through. problem from experience: the more you drill out, the easier the arms get bent when crashing. my 'undrilled' arms have survived many crashes without even a scratch. 3 mm holes seem to be a good compromise, leaves enough stiff material and they can be used to attach all kinds of payload or landing gear to the MK. cut the original thick roxxy cable short and replaced them by thinner silicon cable which are easy to guide through the inside of the arms.

additional 7805 5V converter for servo supply or light applications

For aerial photography I am using a Canon Powershot SD750 (a.k.a. Ixus 75, 7MP) with the alternative firmware CHDK running. This allows many additional features such as USB remote camera control via J16 / J17, scripting of camera behaviour etc.

Note: I chose this camera because it does not have an optical image stabilizer (OIS) which I have found to render another camera (Samsung NV24HD) quite useless for the MK. got the samsung for the very good 720p video feature but had to learn that an OIS is not made for MK vibrations.

PhilSU's camera mount proved to be quite sturdy and reliable so far.

As a preview video downlink I use the 10 mW Fatshark video transmitter and (so far) a cheap china receiver connected to this little gadget that i shot at ebay for 7€ as a monitor. Not perfect but enough for aiming the camera.

  • 10/03/08
  • on sunday we had a MK fly-in in a the rosental park, about 5 hectar of lawn. i took it quite to the limit (speaking of distance...) but managed to do without losses or even damage. others were not that lucky... for not even a week after my first flight, it's going really well. started nose flying, which was easier than expected; maybe just reviving my 20 year old rc plane skills?

  • the foam tube / styro cap design (fixed with zip ties and velcro) proved really practical, low cost, lightweight and durable (survived 1 1/2 crashes with no visible damage, only the antenna now has a sportier angle ;-) ). visibility is really good as well though up to now only the antenna position and a white piece of paper mark the front

  • i started flying with the lower styro protection ring but left it off after a while: it has to be taken off for battery change, and so far no glue has prooven stronger than velcro. another drawback: in windy conditions it seems to increase the drag quite a bit.

  • weight with lipo: 690g (without: 563g)

  • I'll upload some pics soon...

  • 07/03/08
  • yesterday in the afternoon i became quite courageous and took another flight in quite gusty wind. in was better than the first time, but i managed to let it drift away quite far and had to take 2 emergency landings: controlled fast sinking and not too hard landing, once out of sight.

    changed the design a bit. yesterday it was a ramshackle gaffa improvisation, but now the cap and the battery protector ring are firmly held in place by bits of velcro tape, easy to take off. the "noodles" (actually heating pipe insulation) are now very tightly fixed with zip ties. the whole cap-ring-landing gear stuff adds just 70 grams to the weight. and the whole thing looks really FAT in the air ;-)

  • weight without lipo: 580g

  • 05/03/08
  • had a finishing session last night and now it's official: it was worth it all! exactly 4 weeks of work (and fun), and in the morning today i had a first outdoor flight in the rosental park. there was a quite gusty wind so the drift was a pain in the ass, but i managed to do a few tipsy laps. tonite as the (for now) final act the lower styro ring will be fixed.

the cap is a 20cm styro half sphere (16 grams), feet from insulation foam (26 grams)

  • 03/03/08
  • last night at 1 a.m. sharp my kopter did its maiden flight. after ~8 hours of wicked wiring it took off in the living room and hung there for about 3 minutes (there was quite limited space). everything seems to be as it has to. did a few hops as well. now for the cap and some landing gear, think for a start it'll be the noodle style for me.
  • #&% weather!!! supposed to stay like this for 2 weeks now.

  • 29/02/08
  • on this rarest day of them all, my frame is getting in shape! I decided to start out with the ordinary (non-inverted) frame to test everything and learn to fly...

  • 28/02/08
  • tested and flashed FlightCtrl, everything OK here too. And now for the frame...

  • 22/02/08
  • tested and flashed BLctrl, all 4 thumbs up!!!

  • 18/02/08
  • almost done with BL-Ctrl!!!

  • 14/02/08
  • soldering for a week now, in what little spare time i have; not too bad, getting routine

  • 06/02/08
  • got me all the parts and a MC-16/20, started soldering (first time SMD)