What? HQProp 5x4x4 propellers
Where? Local flying area
Why? For Science!
If you are part of any of the Facebook groups surrounding miniquads, then you will have already likely seen or heard about the new 4 blade propellers HQProp have been working on. Freestyle and racing both demand the most you can get from your setup, pushing every single component to its' limits. Last year we saw the rise of the Tri-blades (mainly 5x4x3), and so now we have a natural progression into 4 blades.
Now, I must admit, I wasn't that much of a fan of triblades when they first came out. I had already got the Shrike at this point, running a happy 5040 prop and it flies superbly. There's been a few changes to my Shrike over the past few weeks as you may well see from the picture - most obvious one being it now has a GoPro attached to the top. I decided if I was going to use the Shrike as a full-time quad, it needs to be able to record for the videos I make on YouTube, so I set about designing a top plate replacement to do just that. With the extra weight on the Shrike now, the Triblades actually feel very nice, and are very usable props. Before, I was struggling to not gain altitude even with low throttle punches (at 40+ degrees camera angle), which was a bit of a pain. Now, it's not so bad at all... :)
I'm through to the third iteration now of the design and it's performing amazing. I've not broke it once yet, and it does everything I need. At this point I'd say it's probably complete. If you are running a Shrike you can check the item out here. I've been a little lazy when it comes to writing up my 3d Printing posts, but I will be back-filling these over the coming days so please check back.. If you are in the UK I can print you one if you do not have anyone that can do it for you, just get in touch.
Anyway, I've got sidetracked - back onto the PROPS! So how do they feel? Well, very nice is the answer. Compared to 5x4x3, there is a noticeable power increase on full throttle as you would expect, they seem to glide a lot nicer and are apparently more efficient at a lower RPM, but I have no idea how (edit: see this Instagram post by MultiRotorParts here). I did notice that on my Shrike which is a fairly lightweight quad (they would work amazing on heavier quads), trying to descend would be a bit of an issue when racing so I'm not sure I'd run them for racing, but for all out freestyle they would be great. I am using Revolectrix 1500mAh 4s HV as my primary Lipo right now, so these definitely take a punch as being regarded of one of the best in the business right now. They do come down a little warm, but nothing concerning, and no puffing in sight!
After spending a while finding my GoPro when it was ejected on my last crash, I came to the conclusion that they are roughly as durable as the 3 blades, in the sense that they do not take crashes well, and unlike 2 blades - if you chip them you really need to replace them. The same can be said for the 4 blades - they are more susceptible to damage, but they fly extremely nice - so if you have the funds to get them, I would certainly give them a go and see what you think.
Here's my video from today of them. I'd have more footage but the Xiaomi Yi started acting up, and wouldn't record anymore so you'll have to put up with my extremely mediocre Freestyle flying. :) I think I will be getting some more for sure. They will be available at your usual HQProp retailers over the next coming days/weeks if not already.