Instructables

Build and Fly a Paramotor - safely and inexpensively

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Live the dream:
Ever since I was a little kid, I dreamed of flying. My first attempt around age 8, resembled an oversized kite made of tree branches and black plastic. Needless to say  It was an unsuccessful attempt at flight, and fortunately for me, the hills near where I grew up weren’t very steep. Since then my desire to fly has only grown stronger, and I have gained the knowledge and saved up enough money to enter the world of powered paragliding (ppg).

To me there is no other feeling like flying. It is the most natural and mind freeing sensation there is. I do enjoy flying in planes (both large and small), but the openness and simplicity of flying a paramotor is second to none. I look forward to new and future forms of flying that allow for even greater freedom, but for now, ppg is pretty darn good.

If nothing else, I think you will enjoy watching the video - even if you have no desire to fly, build a "flying machine", or read an instructable about building a flying machine.

Build and Fly a Paramotor (safely and for cheap) from Sky-Monkey on Vimeo.


Whats the Point?
Paramotoring is primarily done for recreation, however there are a number of practical uses for paramotors. Search and rescue teams have used paramotors for getting into remote areas and flying low to the ground in searches, the Florida Police department utilizes paramotors for beach patrol, they are used for aerial photography, and videography, they are used for advertising, and for entertaining spectators among others things.

How much and How difficult?
Since buying a rather expensive paramotor and taking a number of lessons, I have come to realize how simple paramotors really are. They may appear complicated at first glance, but they are really just a combination of multiple simple pieces that work together.
I built the Frame, Harness, Throttle, Reserve Parachute deployment bag, and Fuel system in under two weeks of evenings and weekends while working a full-time job.
Excluding the engine, propellor, reserve parachute, and parglider (the stuff most people cant make themselves), the project cost under $200 USD. The things I didn't build range broadly based on new/used from $2000 - $5000+ USD

This instructable is meant to be an overview of how I went about making my own paramotor, and to hopefully give others some ideas and inspiration for creating their own (or even just to get people interested in and aware of the sport). A good deal of experience with similar construction techniques is highly recommended as is a good deal of time and patience. Cost is highly variable, however, for this demonstration, I am attempting to do everything for the least possible cost.


I constantly find myself printing out templates from my computer, spray mounting them to plastic, pressboard, foam, and other materials and cutting everything out by hand. I would also love to have something that would cut fabrics for some of the composite and textile projects that I work on. Beyond that, I enjoy making stencils for spraying t-shirts, and graphics onto the stuff I build. Because of this, I would like to be entered into the 4th Epilog laser contest. I am hopeful that this project is viewed by others with as much enthusiasm as I have for making stuff, and for personal flight.

 
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Luke weaver4 months ago

also if you cant see, the ring will go all the way past the prop. i have a new wing and i don't want to blend it up! hahah

Luke weaver made it!4 months ago

Here they are! I'm using the Predator 212 engine with an Xoar 34x10 prop. I have arms where my free flight harness connects into. i came up with a design to make sure i am safely hooked in. You can see the two pieces of webbing: the red one goes to my harness and the black to my wing. The red one is threaded through the black one like it is in the picture. That way even if the bar was gone, i would still be attached to my wing. I think "red your dead" if i can see that part of the red webbing, i know i'm hooked in wrong.

I'm about half done right now, but wont be able to weld for 3 more weeks :( the wait is killing me!!

If anyone wants dimensions or any plans or info, just send me a message!

-Luke

photo 1.JPGphoto 2.JPGphoto 3.JPGphoto 4.JPGphoto 5.JPGphoto 2 (1).JPGphoto 1 (1).JPG
Jee6664 months ago

Hi skymonky

I have the plans off the web for a skybolt v2 paramotor frame.

Just put in skybolt v2 and it will be the on the page some where.

Just thought i'd let you knoe for your readers.

Luke weaver4 months ago

hi skymonkey, another quick question. by drilling holes for your net, did that make the metal too weak? the metal is allready not the strongest out their.

thanks

Luke

Sky-Monkey (author)  Luke weaver4 months ago

Hey Luke, the holes for the netting are fairly small, and did not seem to signifigantly weaken the tubing. Over time, i have had a couple small vibrational cracks form near the welded joints that I had to touch-up with the TIG, but no issues near the holes for the netting. If you'd prefer, you can attach a woven netting like some of the commercially available paramotors, however in my opinion there is a much greater chance of a net like that loosening up and getting caught in your prop than the string run through the tube. Like anything - there are many ways to go about it, and no one way is the "right way". Please take pictures and share your project - I'd love to see it.

throwapot4 months ago

Hi Sky-monkey,

thank you for the excellent instructable, I am a free flyer and am in the process of collecting the necessary components to build a paramotor around a Honda GX-200 engine. I was curious about your harness, where did you get the adjustment bits, I am not sure what to call them, but I see them as quite necessary for scratch building a harness. Also, I am considering re-purposing an older lightweight free flight harness and wonder if you thought that might be a good way to go after all the sewing was said and done?

also, how far behind your frame does the prop protrude? after watching some videos on the blackhawk Vs Lightwing, I am concerned about frame stiffness and prop clearance.

If all goes well, I would like to make an instructable around my build just so that there is something available for four stroke motors. I really appreciate the deapth you went into with your page, you definitely saved me a ton of time, and you can totally take inspirational credit for anything I come up with.

regards

-Layne

hey layne i am making a gx200 paramotor right now also, i am about half done building it. my design enables me to use my normal free flight harness. if you want any pictures just pm me, it might help you out if you wanted to keep your freeflight harness.

Sky-Monkey (author)  throwapot4 months ago
Hi Throwapot,

The metal webbing adjusters are called "triglides"
A free-flight harness could certainly work. There are some differences between the two. Many free flight harnesses have a foam or air bag for crash protection, which may be bulky and interfere with a PPG setup - this might be able to be removed depending on the harness, You will also need to come up with a way of attaching the harness to the paramotor frame so that you can carry the unit and the glider properly supports the rig - if you do not have much industrial sewing experience, it would save a good amount of work, but you will likely still need to do a decent bit of modifying and adapting. Just make sure that the modifications you do are of the same high quality as the sewing and materials of the harness.
Best of luck
Andrew A6 months ago
Thanks for making this, one day i will make one and when I do I want to meet you
Andrew A6 months ago
And where did you get the tools to build
Andrew A6 months ago
Sky-monkey do you need a pilots license to fly one and I would love to make one but what do you think the all together price range would be
Luke weaver6 months ago

Hi sky monkey,
Thank you for the instructable! I am in the proses of building my paramotor right now. I just have a quick question. What type of thread did you use for the harness? And what type of foam did you use inside the harness?

Thank you so much

Sky-Monkey (author)  Luke weaver6 months ago

Hey Luke, you will need to use a heavy duty thread - the most readily available is bonded Nylon which is used for upholstery - It is significantly stronger than a typical clothing thread. If you wrap a piece around each of your hands and try to break it by pulling apart, it should start to cut into your hands before it will break. The foam that i used was some waterproof carpet pad that I had lying around. You'll want something that is fairly dense, maybe something like a roll-up foam sleeping pad could work too.

Good Luck, and let me know how it turns out

gkern7 months ago
Great video.
Stone_UFO9 months ago
That's crazy man, you're awesome!
keverett45842910 months ago
So what percent of the people who fly these things end up walking with a permanent limp? Just kidding. This is one of the most professional and well done Instructables I've seen. Very nice and very interesting --and again, very well done. You've raised the bar.
wriesterer10 months ago
Amazing article. Thanks :) I'm currently paragliding "free-fly" style, but would like to get into powered flight as the nearest flyable ridge is about an hour's drive from my house.

Where can I buy the tubing roller from? I have asked stores all over Australia and most people either didn't know what I was talking about, or they mentioned that the tube size (0.5") was too small for their "powered" units that cost over $1800.

I would really love to have my own roller. I considered making my own, but this is impractical in all honesty.

Your help would be much appreciated :)
Sky-Monkey (author)  wriesterer10 months ago
My tubing roller was purchased from a junky tool store in the states called Harbor Freight. Its OK in quality - more than sufficient for rolling the lightweight conduit. I'm not sure where all they have stores, but i'm sure that shipping on something that large would be cost prohibitive. If you have the talent to build the frame, I sure you could make a roller setup from scratch if you want to save money. I also imagine that if you do some more asking and looking that you'll find someone who already has one that you can use/borrow for the few bends that you need to make. Best of luck
iechaurren11 months ago
Hi Sky-Monkey, this is Ignacio, from Chile! Could you please email me the 3D files? I'm gonna give it a try and make one for my self, and after watching your vimeo video looks like it can actually be done! Im using Autodesk Inventor, I would really appreciate if you could send me the either .ipt or .dwg file for your paramotor. Thanks a lot!!

P.S: My email is echaurren@gmail.com

Best regards,
Ignacio
Sky-Monkey (author) 1 year ago
To all readers looking for and requesting "plans" - they do not exist. I made a basic 3d model to determine sizes and locations of tubes and mounting brackets, and that is it. If you are seriously considering building one, feel that you have the necessary skills and experience, and believe that looking at the model I made would be helpful, then send me a private message with your email address, and I will send you the model.

This instructable was never meant to be a set of foolproof plans so that anyone, with no similar experience could successfully build one it was meant to be an overview of how I went about making mine, and to hopefully give others some ideas and inspiration. Again, a good deal of experience with similar construction techniques is necessary for attempting a project like this.

jon-paul1 year ago
hi
can you email me the plans for this unit as id like to build one with some students,pdf good or cad if possible.

regards jon
jonsealey@hotmail.com
Sky-Monkey (author)  jon-paul1 year ago
Hi Jon,

Are you a teacher? if so what grade and subject? Tell me a bit about what your plans are.

Thanks for the interest,

Sky-Monkey
Edymaico1 year ago
Hi, I have the design in 3D, builds with measures of SkyMonkey, he's in SolidWorks. If someone wants ..
harrydw1 year ago
Is it possible for me to get hold of the 3D frame design??
Sky-Monkey (author)  harrydw1 year ago
Send me a private message with your email address and what file 3D file formats you can read
Hey, I have an old Paraglider in my roof...somewhere...
lkryger1 year ago
I want one
TruthHunter2 years ago
After looking at the Eggmotor project and some gokart sites, it looks like its possible to get about 14 hp out of the Honda clone engines for under $500. 14 Hp should get you up ok unless your a big boy.

You have to add a new header and air intake, re jet the carb, polish the ports, increase the compression by using a gx160 head, advance the timing by filing the flywheel key, and a few other minor tweaks. You should (they say) replace the
standard flywheel with an aluminum one. You don't want the flywheel to disintegrate at 7000 rpm!
It might be possible to dispense with the flywheel to save weight, but you would
have to add a battery. see http://www.carrprecision.com/Pages/prod02.htm

The big issue is reduction drive. Eggmotor sells one for ~300 BP. Raket sells
one that might be adapted for 200 Euros. I did a search to see if I could find stock pulleys and belts etc, but didn't have much luck. Learning curve was a bit steep.
I couldn't find where the 180 Redhead was available. It ought to be importable for paramotoring but isn't legal for other apps.

BTW, if you want to fly cheaper, you might consider a nano-trike. The wing might be easier to build than sewing a parasail. It might be easier to get right!
Hello, I'm Eggmotor member...if you still looking for a reduction drive, I can make it for you, for any ratio..:)
you can contact me at arifdarmawan9@yahoo.com. Thanks
please, please, please do the instructable on the helmet. It looks soooooooooo cool!
Vilém1 year ago
Hi, How thick wall pipe?
Sky-Monkey (author)  Vilém1 year ago
EMT conduit is about 0.050" (1.3mm) thick wall steel tubing.

Depending on the design of the frame and the material that you are using, heavier or thinner may be better. ( Aluminum would need to be thicker )

merseyless1 year ago
Excellent instructable! Would it be possible to get the 3D model you used to make this Paramotor?
Sky-Monkey (author)  merseyless1 year ago
Send me a private message with your email address and the type of 3D software you will be using.
JFreitas1 year ago
Hi there,
I'm a paragliding pilot and a student of Aerospace engeneering. I saw your project and I realy like it.
Me and my group have to make a solidworkds project and we are thinking to make a project of a paramotor. I would like to ask if you can send me the measures of your paramotor (all rights will be reserved). We will not copy. We just want a general idea of a paramotor project.
Then we can share an ideas.
Please contact me: jfgfreitas@gmail.com
Best Regards.
Congrats.
ryanrall102 years ago
sky Monkey , GREAT VIDEO !!Expertly edited . Iam going to builld one :^)
Sky-Monkey (author)  ryanrall101 year ago
Glad to hear. I'd love to see pictures/videos of it and/or with it. Best of luck, and please ask if you have any questions
I have two question. I see you use a Sky Glider. As far as i know most of the paramotoring Glides/wings are the same used for paragliding (and viceversa).

I have an ATIS Sky XS (DHV 1-2) 2003 model
Here you can see the specs: http://www.para2000.org/wings/sky/atis.html

My questions are:
How much does this kit weight?
Can i use this with my glider? (its a 55-75kg glider and i weight 55kg)

Thanks and sorry for my bad english!
Sky-Monkey (author)  pabros1 year ago
The complete frame with engine, prop, reserve parachute, and harness weighs about 25kg once you add fuel figure around 30kg.

The only real difference between paragliding gliders and powered paragliding gliders is the riser - that being said they can be used interchangeably

As a very generalized rule of thumb, you can figure the smaller the wing and the heavier the weight loading, the faster it will fly and the more power you will need to climb.

Also with a faster wing the take-off and landing speeds are proportionately faster, and more difficult for a new pilot.

To answer your question, Yes you could fly your glider with a paramotor, however I would recommend learning on a bit larger wing that will be a bit slower and more forgiving of learning.

Best of luck, and please ask if you have any further questions.
heavyair522 years ago
Hi Sky-Monkey! One of the best DIY paramotor cages I've seen. How much does the cage weigh without engine? Also, what brand of engine are you using? Thanks!
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