Drones have gained immense popularity in recent years with small commercial units. The new so-called FPV (first person view) technology gave us a unique experience of flying, and the advancement of GPS systems in drones opened a whole new world for passionate individuals. Buying one can oft feel like a dent in the wallet; ever wondered about how to make a drone at home?
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What comes to mind when you hear or read ‘unmanned aerial vehicles’?
Most people will simply buy a drone. On the other side, people who like DIY projects may enjoy building these devices from scratch. If you also like this craft, you can buy drone kits and enjoy piecing them together like a Lego puzzle.
But where does the challenge actually present itself? The real challenge is to construct a drone from scratch without using a special kit. This is a complicated project, as you would have to find the necessary pieces and imagine the drone structure yourself.
Basic Parts | Here’s Everything You Need | How To Make A Drone At Home
First determine a basic list of components for your drone.
- Frame: there are two possibilities when it comes to a frame for your drone.
You can make one yourself, or buy it from an online store.
- Motors: For an ordinary quad, you will need 4 motors in total, but an octocopter requires eight motors to fly. We recommend brushless motors – they are lighter on the battery and, unless you are an engineer who completely understands how a motor works, these pieces should be bought from a store.
- ESC unit: An electronic speed control unit is an important component for any drone assembly. Basically, ESCs deliver power to motors for each propeller.
- Propellers: When looking for the propellers, you must find the ones that match the frame of your drone. Pay attention to materials. Wooden propellers won’t self-materialize – since they’re rare as hell – so get the ones that are a good fit for your design!
- Connectors: You will need 3.5 mm connectors to weld the motors and ESCs, as well as 4.5 mm connectors for the power distribution board.
- The power distribution board – this board connects the electronic speed controls to the battery.
- Batteries: When purchasing the batteries for your drone, you need to consider the capacity of a battery and its type. The most used batteries for this purpose are Li-Po batteries; they’re good on power efficiency.
- Battery monitor: This is not an elementary item, but the monitor is quite useful in warning you when the batteries are close to running out.
- Mounting pad: It reduces the vibrations, and thus improves the flight. This one is very useful especially if you are trying to take pictures or videos with your drone.
- Controller: This device shares the power and commands the motors at the same time.
If you know what you’re doing, then you might as well make it worth your while by using old remote-controls and affix them to your smartphone!
- RC receiver: Of course, if you have a transmitter (which is usually with you), you’ll also have a receiver mounted on the drone.
- Camera: If you want to take aerial photos and record the surroundings while flying your drone, you will need a camera. The best cameras are those that can take the quality 4K videos, but everyone will find one according to their needs.
- USB key: This is necessary to save the photos and videos.
Please Note: Above mentioned items are available in typical toy stores and computer maintenance centers throughout the country. Lest we worry about material shortage!
Instructions | How To Make A Drone At Home
Before we get into the guideline, have a look at some of these awesome suggestions for designing your drone:
- LHI 220-RX FPV Quadcopter Frame (Carbon Fiber)
- Readytosky FPV Drone Frame (Carbon Fiber)
- iFlight XL5 V3 240mm FPV Frame Carbon Fiber
- Mallofusa 4-Axis HJ450 F450 RC QuadCopter Multirotor Airframe
- Usmile X style Carbon Fiber Drone Frame
- Readytosky S500 Quadcopter Frame with Carbon Fiber Landing Gear
Now, let’s get busy!
Step – 1 | Set Frame
No matter what your drone is going to be, it must have a frame.
For this purpose, you can use different materials, such as metal, plastic, or wood. These materials will differ based on how sturdy you intend the drone to be.
- 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 such that you can get two laths that are 60cm long and 30mm wide.
- 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.
You can use other dimensions too, you know? We only recommend these dimensions because they can get you a pretty nice sense of geometry!
Step – 2 | Propellers | ESC Unit | Motors
Check out these motors:
- Emax RS2205 2600KV Brushless Motors
- Readytosky GT2205 2205 2300KV Brushless Motor
- HOBBYMATE 2204 QuadCopter Rotors Combo
- AOKFLY 4PCS RV1104 4200KV FPV Brushless Motor
For a suggestion on propellers:
- BTG Quick Release Carbon Fiber Reinforced Propellers
- Myshine 9450 Self-tightening Propeller Props
- Performance 1245 Black Propellers MR Series
- USAQ Carbon Fiber Propellers (2) Pair
- Helistar Propellers 6 Pairs 4730F Colored Quick Release Folding Blades
If you’re wondering about the ESC unit, the following options are typically available:
- AKK 30A 4 IN 1 2-6S Brushless ESC BLHeli_S Electronic Speed Controller DShot150/300/600 Capable for Micro Racing Drones
- Original Airbot Omnibus F4 Nano Flight Controller
Watch this video for setting up these units, for more clarity.
Step – 3 | Assembly | How To Make A Drone At Home
Drill holes in the frame of the motors. It would be good to make another hole that will allow the clip and shaft of the motor to move freely.
Another option would be to place the motor in the appropriate place and fix it to the frame with screws.
Step – 4 | Mount ESC Controls
After mounting the motors, you also have to mount the speed controllers.
- It is wise to connect the speed controllers on the bottom side of the frame due to several reasons which involve the functionality of the drone.
- In order to fix the ESC very well to the frame, you need to use zip ties. This way, your ESCs are tied down and well secured while flying.
Step – 5 | Landing Gear
The landing gear is an important part of the drone. It reduces shock when the drone lands on solid ground!
- 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.
- Use duct tape, or Epoxy glue, to fasten these pieces to the frame.
Hello! If you don’t like this metal pipe idea, you can also use other materials that are flexible but strong, such as some new plastics, or anything that will reduce shock. However, bear in mind that those options might require special care and maintenance.
Step – 6 | Flight Controller | Which One To Get?
Flight controllers allow drones to be stable in the air during flight. All shifts and turns are managed by this little chip!
It’s difficult to make one at home though; just get one of the following and you’re all set:
Step – 7 | Remote Control
In order to control a drone, a remote-control system like the one below is required:
If possible, try getting one of these:
- Futaba 10JH 10-Channel Heli T-FHSS Computer Radio System
- Spektrum DX8 Radio Transmitter
- Turnigy 9X 9Ch Transmitter w/ Module
- Flysky FS-i6X 10CH 2.4GHz AFHDS RC Transmitter w/ FS-iA6B Receiver
Optional: Find an old remote-control box of toy car, install frequency modulators with primitive amplitude settings and attach an antenna to the drone. You decide how to go about this one. It’s up to you.
Step – 8 | Mount Flight Controller | How To Make A Drone At Home
Once you choose the particular flight controller that is best for your needs, you need to mount it.
- You can place it on top of the frame. Make sure other components have been fastened perfectly.
- Use zip ties where appropriate.
- Put a small piece of sponge on the underside of the flight controller because it absorbs and reduces the vibrations. This way, your drone will be more stable while flying, and stability is key to fly a drone.
Step – 9 | Connect Flight Controller To ESC
Configure settings for link-up between flight systems and ESC protocols.
- For connecting the remote-control system here, WATCH THIS VIDEO for clarity.
Check this guide on setting up controllers with Arduino Uno configurations.
Step – 10 | Test Your Drone | How To Make A Drone At Home
Before using your drone, just make sure that everything is functioning perfectly.
To make sure that everything works well, you need to take off the props and make a small experiment with the remote control. This ensures that you can test the drone without risking the potential of breaking it.
For this test, you should find a suitable place and try to move your drone within its control distance. Pay attention to the zip ties to make sure that they are connected well. When everything is okay, your drone is ready to fly!
The final step – 11 – is take off. We’ll leave this one to you!
Well, there you have it tech-crunchies! This was all about how to make a drone at home. If you have any questions, leave a comment in the section provided below.