The Porta-Quad is the world’s most compact full-featured folding quadcopter. All models include long range FPV,and the Autonomous Porta-Quads feature full navigation programmablecapabilities using Pixhawk flight controllers, all in a package that can be folded about the size of a small camera case.  Perfect for scouting out what’s over the next hill.  (NOTE: this page archived from 2014 design pages)

The Zippy Folding Mini-Quad is designed for 5″ propellers. It’s called the Zippy because it zips into a tiny waterproof case, and it zips around in flight!

Zippy Folding Quad

The Porta-Quad was originally designed with the requirement of getting to remote places without the need for large protective carrying cases, and quick unfolding for deployability (i.e. no need to install props, etc.--just unfold and go).


Unique overlapping folding arm design.

Foldable mini-quad for easy pack and go!

High motors for stability and minimal propeller breakage.

Aligned center of gravity for super-stable flight–minimal tuning required.

Lightweight G10 frame design (129grams) able to take hard hits.

Drilled mounting holes for ESC’s and flight controller.

Designed for 1806 2300KV motors.

Clean wiring options.  Fully FPVcapable.    GoPro or Mobius.

Please note that this frame is designed for 1806 motors, and is best built with the recommended 4-in-1 12A ESC.

animated unpacking of the porta-quad


We’ve made commercial versions but now the design is open source. DXF files available.  We also made prototypes of an 8″ propeller model with gimballed camera.This is ageoreferencing/mapping/programmable aerial search vehicle and the complete kit WITH controller and programming tablet all fit into a single Pelican 1300 box.

Original Porta-Quad (6″)

The Porta-Quad 6" is made of super tough G10 material (3mm for main frame and arms, 1.5mm for mid-plate and bottom-plate). The frame kit includes allhardware and 4 rubber vibration isolation bumpers.This frame kit is easy to build intoa standard FPV quadcopter, with plenty of room for everything. To build the fully autonomous version, experience with mini quadcopters is recommended as it requires some planning to get everything into the compact frame. Once assembled, it flies like a dream and is ready for any adventure.

Autonomous Porta-Quad Frame for 6″ Propellers

The most compact, full featured folding quadcopter yet…This quadcopter is designed to carry all the equipment needed for fully autonomous GPS guided FPV flight. It folds and fits into the smallest waterproof Pelican 1120 case, which measures 7.5″ x 5″ x 3.3″ 

(18.9 x 12.6 x 8.5 cm). 

Yet the Porta-Quad 2is capable of running 6″ propellers and four powerful 1960KV-2300KV motors totalling over 2000 grams of thrust–the total weight of Porta-Quad 2 fully loaded with FPVcamera, Pixhawk, 3DR radio, GPS and long range 2200mAh 3S battery is 750grams.

I used Autodesk Inventor to optimise the overlapping arm design, then built a series of balsa models prior to making the first prototype G10 frames.

Recommended Equipment:

APM or Pixhawk

FrSky RX

Cobra 2204 1960KV motors (also flies well with 2300KV motors)

12A Escs (or Afro Slim 20A)

6030 or 6045 props.

Vibration Mounting foam for FC.

Because of the small space to fit all this, shielding (copper tape) and noise reducers (ferrite rings) also recommended for electronics.


3DR radio—with 900MHz 1/2 Wave 2dBi Antenna w/SMA Male Connector (ReadyMade#ANT-916-CW-HWR-SMA). 

FPV equipment: (good source:—very good addition to FPV system:LC Power Filter (ReadyMade# LETSFPV-LCFILTER)

GPS foldable stand (GPS/compass needs to be set higher to prevent interference)

OSD (MimimOSD)

Please reference according to Open Source GPL license John Middendorf and Porta-Quad as the original designer if used for commercial purposes. Here are images of the design files:

Autonomous Zippy V2 (5″/6″)

The Zippy V2 is made for 5″ or 6″ propellers. It is designed for 1806 motors, and folds up into a tiny case. It can carry a GoPro or a Mobius, as well as full FPV gear. It’s simply the strongest, most portable quadcopter available anywhere.


Comes with all hardware to build the frame.

 $75 USD plus $15 worldwide shipping.


 4 Red rubber M3 vibration isolation bumpers (10mm).

 4 M3 x 8mm hex bolts (for attaching bumpers to 3mm frame).

 4 M3x10mm bolts and 4 M3 Nylock Nuts (for main arm pivot).

 4 M3x12mm bolts, 4 washers, and 4 M3 Wingnuts (for folding arm pivot slot).

 4 M3 Brass spacers, 4 M3 Nylon spacers, and 4 M3 nylon nuts (for breakaway spacer system).


MOTORS:2204 or 2206 1960KV-2300KV motors

 Recommended Brands: Tiger (2300KV), Hobbyking Baby Beast (2150KV), Cobra 1960KV.

ESCS:12A-20A ESCs (HobbyKing Afro Escs work well)

Battery:1800mAh to 3000mAH 3S

Waterproof Case: Pelican 1120

Flight Controller: APM or Pixhawk with 3DR Radio and Android Droidplanner.

FPV Gear

Recommended Equipment:

MOTORS–1806 2300KV

ESC–BL Heli 4-in-1 12A:This is an inexpensive and good quality(andlight) 12A 4-in-1 electronic speedcontroller available here:Favourite Sky III($32)

Waterproof case:This small case (made for a GoPro) fits the Zippy.Order the smallest size for the Zippy. ($8)

Suggested FPV Gear:

Video Transmitter ($25)

FPV Camera: 25mm 600tvl ($35)

BATTERY:Turnigy nano-tech 1300mAh 3S 45~90C Lipo Pack (Mobiuson top)

Flight Controller: Naze32 or OpenPilot CC3D (~$30)

Total cost of components: $185-$250, plus frame and Mobius/GoPro.

FeatherLite (4" props) PortaQuad

Featherlite recommended Motors and ESC (as shown here): DYS 1306 2300KV motors or 1306 3100KV motors,  ESC–Favourite Sky 6A 4-in-1 ESC

frame with hardware 100g

About Page

Portable quadcoptersis the latest design interest of John Middendorf. Trained as a mechanical engineer at Stanford University, and after spending of life exploring the world’s mountains and rivers, the initial interest in quadcopters arose from imagining what it would have been like to have had a full feature FPV quadcopter exploring some of the world’s most remote places. Sometimes, for example, it would take days to find the optimal route through a Karakoram glacier en route to a big wall climb; with a FPV quadcopter, reconnaissance would have been fast and easy!

Now John Middendorf is a full time teacher of mathematics, science, and robotics in Tasmania. 

Here’s some background on the design origin:

Background:Mini quads are great fun. I started with a few mini-quad kits, then started playing around with my own designs. I am an engineer by trade, and have always enjoyed the design process.We go camping a lot, so I needed a way to put my quads in a packed car with kids, (stuff gets moved around a lot en route). My first 8″ prop quads could fit into an inexpensive aluminium case from Hobbyking, but required time-consuming prop removal and assembly each time flying. The nice thing about the Spanky was that with 5″ props it fit into the larger case with the propellers on.

But alas, I like the autonomous features of APM, using a 3DR radio (and Droidplanner on a Nexus tablet), and trying to build a 5″ prop quad with all the stuff just didn’t fly. And of course, every quad I build has to have FPV. Just not enough thrust. I knew I had to go to 6″ props. And the goal to fit into a small case.

Prior to this design I was building a lot of 5″ propellor mini-quads, and went through a learning curve trying many different motor/esc combinations and thrust-to-weight ratios in attempts to lift all the stuff I like to put on my mini-quads (i.e. full-size APM or Pixhawk, 3DR radio, OSD and FPV Tx and board cam, separate HD cam, etc.), and finally came to the conclusion that 5″ props and 2300KV motors just don’t work well with anything over 550 grams. My current mini-quads generally weigh in at about 650 grams (sans battery).

FPV Contest: Reasons for a porta-quad (posted on FPV group, FB, 2015):

And the winner for the best porta-quad comment is Kevin Ryan, for his poetic entry:

“When the need for speed,

need for carrying ease and

need to fly in the breeze come together

– its Porta-Quads for speedy, easy, breezy flying.

Get One today!!”

Other Entries:

I think the best reason for myself to have Porta-quads compact folding frame would be the ability for me to get into FPV and to explore new areas of my town that I may not be able to get into myself. Plus it would be something to show my friends what it really could be like and get them into quads and FPV.

My use for a Porta-quad would be to secretly take an FPV multicopter on family vacations and go fly before everyone wakes up. It’s so small that it easily fits in baggage!

I have a very very small car and i am in great need for a very very small quad.

I am a cyclist, and I am travel to Poland and threw Europe this summer with my bicycle, I would love to bring a quad with me on the whole trip.

Would love to have something to fit in a pack for fpv on the go well traveling florida for those hard to get to flying spots !Plus it’s got some sexy curves.

The most practical reason for having a folding quad is so that it can fold up in a crash and Sasquatch deterrence. It is a proven fact, Sasquatches avoid folding quads. A friend of mine has a folding quad and all of the times we’ve been out flying, we’ve never seen a Sasquatch. Please help me stay safe from Sasquatches and send me this frame!

I need a Porta-quad because I am attempting to put together a team for search and rescue of lost persons. I work for a fire department near Atlanta Georgia, USA. This concept of UAV will give me the capabilities of a more compact frame to allow for packing and hiking through wilderness or urban areas to find the proper deployment location.