How it Began
This project began with a chat with two local South African freestyle pilots, Bryan and Sean, they both wanted something simple, light, that flew like it was on rails and could take a real good knock.
Simple enough I thought, but then we carried on chatting about flying, hitting some secret bandos, awesome new motors which were just about to launch, PIDS and the rest of the usual FPV pilot talk. As we carried on talking the general theme of simple, reliable and amazing flight characteristics kept coming up again and again. That then became the core idea for Pango. What kept throwing a spanner in the proverbial works were the requests for insanely pilot specific details. I love it when a pilot says he wants something extremely specific in a frame, it gives you a target to hit. The only problem with pilot specific requests is the complexity it adds to a design, that design complexity then leads to added weight and we still land up with a product which is versatile and extremely flexible, but it still doesn't fulfil the needs of the individual pilot wanting to customise a frame for their exact needs. Its a viscous circle of design complexity, weight and damage tolerance.
With pilots knowing exactly what they want, how do we make it possible to give everyone what they want? Impossible? Probably, yes, but I thought I'd give it a go anyway.
Ordinarily I create carbon parts fastened together with steel and aluminium hardware and then decorate them with 3-D printed parts. The 3-D printed parts are great as they give you different options for mounting and using differing electronics. The problem is, regardless of how adjustable and versatile the prints are, there will always be a need for parts specific to your own individual piloting needs.
The most complex part of a freestyle frame is the front end, without a doubt. There is limited space and a stack of adjustment required for both your FPV and HD recording cameras, not to mention the complexity of trying to secure all sorts of HD cameras to the front of your quad. What compounds the problem further is the adjust, you might want to fly at 25deg camera angle and 30deg HD camera angle, your best friend may fly both cameras at 10deg.
So everyone wants it there own way, how do we ever try and accommodate that kind of request?
This is where the crazy and unorthodox design of Pango comes in!
Instead of trying to make an infinite number of different print options available for the frame, we release it as a single option. Yes, Pango is available in only one option! Great, how does this fix any of our problems you ask! We make a frame flexible enough so pilots can design their own parts for it.
We condensed all the intricate FPV and HD camera functionality and adjustment down into a single 3-D printable part. We made similar printable parts for the VTX and control antennas.
In effect we chopped off the front of the frame entirely and replaced it with a single printable part. Complexity 0 - Possibilities 1 Bijillion!
Looking at the carbon frame itself, we have only made allowance for the dual 20X20 and 30.5X30.5mm stacks, that's it! There are some really useful zip-tie slots cut into the top and main plates but besides that there is no further complexity in the carbon. We put in some lightening cut-outs to pull out any unnecessary frame weight but besides that, the rest of the frame is entirely up to you.
All the electronics fit, functionality and intricacy is entirely up to you. You now have an incredible tough and rigorously tested carbon fibre chassis and back-bone from which you can, if you want, adapt and change the 3-D printed parts for what ever your imagination can conceive.
We chose to go this route, as our community of pilots are tinkerers and designers by nature. Cutting carbon fiber is tricky and the dust it generates is down-right dangerous, but our worldwide pilot community have a massive group collective of 3-D printers available and a staggering amount of experience using them. It only makes sense to encourage the design and manufacture of custom 3-D printed parts that you the pilot can make and incorporate into a tested and proven carbon backbone.
Pango - Technical Specification
Pango is a top-mounted battery frame for carrying an HD or multiple HD cameras.
It has beefy 4mm thick carbon arms and a 3mm thick main chassis plate. These are braced together with an arm integrated 2mm thick carbon bottom chassis plate. The arms are butt joined together in the centre of the chassis and are secured in place with 3 bolts per arm.
Yip, three bolts! Arm movement, what’s that!
The motor layout is a compressed-x configuration with a spacing of 228mm on the diagonal from motor-to-motor. The carbon and frame hardware weigh in at 99grams, and the prints we have developed typically weigh between 20 and 35grams depending on what you use and how much print infill you prefer. Pango has space to run dual 20 X 20 or 30.5 X 30.5 mm stacks, with a 25mm high build volume allowing for ample space to build and space out components however you see fit. Having the option to move the VTX away from the FC and ESC for mid-range flights is always a good thing.
The rest of the frame is comprised of 3-D printed TPU parts. This is where the inner designer in you can run wild, you have the option now to design parts specific for what you want and your flying needs.
Pango - What is it not?
Pango encourages the tinkerers mind and customisation and optimisation for your own specific freestyle and cinematic needs. Pango is versatile and it takes one heck of a beating. This is without a doubt our toughest frame yet.
You decide what Pango is not!