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On the weekend, myself and a friend want to make a quadcopter (aka quadrocopter) for something fun to do. However, we're wondering about things like weight/thrust ratios of different fan blades and motors etc. And we realised we'd like to create a basic model of a quadcopter in a 3D simulation software to test different efficiencies.

What software would be suitable for this?

I can't find anything after some Googling. We'd love to build many things besides quadcopters too in it.

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Although there are quite some Quadcopter kits on the market, and "how-to"s I don't think it is easy to create one from the scratch. Therefore I agree that first simulating the Quadcopter is a good start, although I am not sure until what detail you can simulate it (i.e. with the weights of the motors and rotors, etc).

You can use ROS (Robot Operating System) with the Gazebo simulator as explained here: Using ROS Gazebo simulator with ArduCopter. And see the tutorial Using ROS/Gazebo Simulator with SIT, or the official Gazebo tutorial. Gazebo already has a large list of models of objects and robots, among which a simple Quadrotor. Furthermore hector_quadrotor might be useful since it:

contains packages related to modeling, control and simulation of quadrotor UAV systems


In another related question v-rep was mentioned as simulator. And in this answer the author refers to a simulator he made: bettercopter.

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    That was all brilliant information for me to start off with. I'm off to go check it all out. Thanks heaps. – Joshua Michael Dec 4 '15 at 22:12

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