Manufacturing an aluminium kit in australia


I was wondering if anyone would be interested in an all aluminium frame cut in Australia (Sydney). I’m currently working in the aircraft maintenance industry and run a small cnc machine on the side to cut aluminium plates for aircraft use.

I was thinking that for beginners and those not seeking max performance that a slightly heavier aluminium frame would be beneficial due to the lower material cost and the ease of manufacturing. There is also the fact that aluminium may well be more forgiving in a crash.

I don’t want to steal or compete for PD’s market since he has put so much work into this project, instead to run a different variant of the open source design for those in Australia (lower shipping and no GST/Import duties). I don’t plan on making the electronics with it at this time (possibility?) so instead referring to PD or another alternative source for the motors etc.

Any thoughts/interest?


I think it’s a good idea. I wonder how much heavier/cheaper the aluminium version would be…


I’m very curious too. Will have to wait on PD’s thoughts as I think he has worked on an aluminum design in the prototyping phase. I’m thinking maybe a 3-10% increase to the all up weight as the majority of the weight is in the battery, motors, gooseneck bars, harness etc.


Is the issue with the CF the cost of materials, the machining issues, or something else?


The issue I see with CF is the high cost in Australia compared to aluminium, the safety considerations when cutting carbon fibre and the fine dust particles that are thrown up (can be worked out but a consideration), the increased machining difficulty compared to aluminium and as a final product the benefits of CF in terms of weight might be outweighed for a beginner because of its tendency to crack under shock loads (such as a hard landing). That’s my primary concerns/thoughts on the issues. CF is more costly and difficult to construct a frame out of and the weight difference might not be felt by those not seeking the max performance. Would love to hear PD’s thoughts thou


I would certainly like to see the frame when you get it cut. Be sure to get some pics of it fully assembled. I haven’t had any problems with shock cracking with this CF. Also think about why there are not any racing drone that are aluminum and those things see a 100x the impacts then this is seeing. As far as material cost have you worked up what it would cost to cut out the frame from aluminum? Let us know what its going to cost.


The cost of material would differ based on how many units were made in a run. Ill try to find some costs for making a run of 5. How many sheets/how much material do you go through when making the frame? Also with regards to drones, the mass is significantly less with far less lever distance to apply force to the CF, also I believe they are also 3mm CF but real world is better than just guessing. Any hard crashes/landings on her yet? Thanks for your reply PD Ill keep it posted with what ever I find.


@RBEM ’m in. Put me down for one of those run of five. I’ll PM you with my email and mobile. I live in Brisbane. Another cost benefit that us Aussies may have from joining your subgroup is that dreaded import tax. Anything posted into Australia valued over AUD$1k is subject to tax. If @Pdwhite can supply motors, ESC’s and a throttle assembly for under $1k that would be great. I’m planning on getting batteries from HobbyKing along with my charger and I’ve got props, CW & CCW, from a supplier in Slovenia who I’d definitely use again :slight_smile:


Hi Paul - Who was the prop supplier?

On that note, I’ve been thinking about approaching T-Motor and asking for a custom prop set to be made to our specs (once the kits are out and start getting it dialed). If there is enough interest they may just do it.

I know of a local guy that did a factory tour there. Am considering approaching him and asking who his contact was - Just thinking out aloud.
Here’s his video of the factory tour:


These guys @Lukas (I’m not sure what size we’re going to need so I guesstimated a 20”)
The pair I ordered for my (currently shelved) project were a matched CW & CCW pair and I was pleasantly surprised on their general quality, I’d expected them to bit a bit rough considering the price but I couldn’t fault them.


Ya thats roughly the same price i have the replacement 22x10 props for

@Lukas supplier is Gemfan


I would be interested in getting an aluminium set cut. I can get a quote at my local laser cutter if any one has a nested file. What is the carbon thickness? I can work out an equivalent in ali.


HI… It’s Peter up on the Sunny Coast. I would be interested too in a frame.


Note that some of the dimensions for the arm hinges depend on a 3mm(?) depth for the arm pieces.


Hey @RBEM, any progress to report? I’m still interested in putting up funds to buy an Ozzie produced frame. Motors and control systems we’d still get from @Pdwhite, maybe props from Slovenia and batteries and a charger I’ve already got through HobbyKing


Sorry for the lack of updates, have been organising a new machine to cut aluminium to the depth of 3-4mm. Should be arriving today and being setup this week. Will need to look into what parts need to be changed to suit the different strength characteristics. Have the CAD files been finalised and all bugs removed?


Yup, step files are good. STL and SolidWorks files are not yet updated, however


Using fusion 360, Ill load it up tonight or tomorrow and start going through the files.


Hi there, I’ve just found the OpenPPG forum, loving it so far - I’m in Brisbane, and would be interested in knowing more about the aluminium option. Any updates?


According to the link ( the prop supplier is actually a Czech company. I’m Czech, so if you guys needed any help in communicating let me know. I sympathise with a “local-machined” approach. The import tax threshold we have here is even worse (anything over USD 100), plus we pay a 21% VAT…