Should I buy a drone or build one?? One question that often puzzles drone hobbyists and enthusiasts alike. The fun in making a drone all by yourself compares to none if you like making it. Though drones are available in the market and ready to fly, building one will give you the joy of tweaking and experimenting with things. Building a drone from scratch allows you the freedom to design it how you want and modify any parts you want along the way. A DIY drone it is, let’s begin.
- Frame: To make your own frame you need something light. You can use metal, plastic, wood slats which are about 2.5cm thick.
- Motors: For a quadcopter you will need 4 motors. Use brushless motors as they are lighter on battery. You can buy a kit from the market.
- ESCs or electronic speed control are responsible for delivering power to the motors. Their number depends on the number of arms on the drone.
- Propellers: Choose ones that fit well
- Connectors: 3.5mm connectors to weld the motor and ESCs and 4.5 mm connectors for power distribution board.
- Power distribution board
- Batteries: Li-Po batteries
- Battery monitor
- Mounting pad helps improve flight and reduces vibrations
- RC receiver
- USB key
- Frame: If you select wood for the frame, find a wood board that is longer than 60 cm and about 25-30 mm thick. Cut up this board in such a way to get two laths which are 60cm long and 30mm wide. These two lengths are required to make a structure of your future quad. Crossing these two laths you’ll make the X frame. Also, you will need a wooden sheet in order to make and add a rectangular piece in the central part of this frame. Its size should be 6×15 cm, and about 2mm thick. Connect the parts with nails and glue.
- Propellers, Electronic speed controllers and motors: These must be in accordance with the size of your drone. Buy the metal 9-inch props, these are durable and won’t bend so easily if the drone hits something during flight. Buy a 4in1 controller for ESCs.
- Assembling: Drill the holes in the frame for the motors, according to the distance between the screws holes on the motors. It would be good to make another hole that will allow the clip and shaft the motor to move freely. Put the motor in the appropriate place and fix it to the frame using the screws and a screwdriver.
- Mount the ESCs: Connect the speed controllers on the bottom side of the frame. Use zipties to secure the ESCs.
- Add the landing gear: Find a metal pipe (about 6 inches in diameter) and cut off (with the appropriate tools) 4 rings that will be 1-2 cm thick. The size of these rings should be in accordance with the general size of your drone. You can use duct tape to fix these pieces to the frame.
- Flight controller: This electronic system allows a drone to be stable in the air while flying and processes all the shifts and changes in direction and wind. There are many ready to use controllers available in the market for this.
- Choosing the right remote control system: There are many RC control systems. You’ll also need few channels for yaw, pitch, throttle and roll.
- Mount the flight controller: Place it on the top of the frame in a certain direction, but you need to make sure that all the components are fixed well before calibrating your drone. Put a small piece of sponge on the underside of the flight controller because it absorbs and reduces the vibrations from the motors.
- Connect the open pilot to the drone: Configure and connect the flight controller to the electronic speed controllers. Also, you have to connect it to the remote control.
- Before taking off, the battery must be well connected and all the components must be fixed in place. For the test flight, you need to choose a location carefully, since this aircraft can cause serious damages and can be damaged as well.
- Your DIY drone is ready to take flight.