I am a big fan of 3-inch builds and I regularly check vendors for new frames and components. Few weeks ago a new frame popped up on amazon for very attractive price. It was iFlight Ultra Lite 3 inch X-lite frame, and it was listed on amazon for $12.99 (the price has gone up to $15.99 since then). At such an inexpensive price, I had to order one to check it out. It looks like there are two other versions of this frame with arms to mount 4 inch and 5 inch props. With amazon prime, the quad parts arrive in 2 days, which is nice compared to chinese vendors.
The first thing that was striking about this frame was the packaging it arrives in. Usually the micro frames arrive in a small unlabeled bag with no instructions and no markings other than sticker showing the part number. The iFlight frame arrived in a very nice box, the contents of the box were sandwiched between layers of foam. The box included very nicely color-printed instructions and some stickers – very impressive for a cheap micro quad frame.
The frame consists of 4 individual arms which are sandwiched in between two bottom plates and a top plate which is mounted with 4 standoffs. The carbon is very nice quality in this one, and the arms are properly cut to maximize stiffness and strength (grain going in correct direction). On one of the bottom sandwich plates there is a mount for an antenna (which goes on the side of the quad). The holes for stack-mounting screws on the bottom plate are recessed, which is very nice. Built frame feels very solid with very little flex. I think this is going to be a very strong frame. The carbon is of following thickness:
|Top plate||2.03 mm|
|Bottom plate sandwich (top)||2.04 mm|
|Bottom plate sandwich (bottom)||2.05 mm|
The frame is very easily top together, however there are some issues with the design. First of all, this frame is designed to fit both 30×30 or 20×20 size stacks, but they did not think the mounting for 20×20 stack through. The holes that are made to mount the 20×20 stack are for M3 screws. This choice seems odd, as most 20×20 stacks use M2 screws to fit into the existing standoffs. iFlight also did not include any M2 screws to mount the 20×20 stack. When I tried using M2 screws to mount the stack but putting the screw into the top sandwich plate only, it was not possible either, as the head of the screw did not fit due to the way arms are attached to the body. One would need at least a 12mm M2 screw to mount it to the bottom plate. With this way, however the head of the screw will look ugly in the recessed hole.
The 30×30 stack had some mounting issues as well. The screws that iFlight included with the frame to mount the stack were too long, and the plastic standoffs included in the kit were too short. Therefore, the screw could not be screwed all the way into the standoff, making the standoff un-necessarily too long and ugly.
The frame will not take 11XX motors. Instead it is designed for 13XX and 14XX motors.
Overall, this is a very nice frame for a very good price, however the user should expect some issues when it comes to mounting stack components to the frame. Also, I would not use this frame for a very light build, as the frame is rather heavy, and it is appears most optimized to use with 30×30 stack. The 20×20 stack compatibility appears to be an afterthought and is not very well designed.