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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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Sky-Monkey (author) 2 years 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.

KMR1 Sky-Monkey5 months ago

Hi Sky-Monkey :) Like all your other commenters, I love the tutorial! I was hoping i could pick your brain about how you selected metal for your ppg. I've done a lot of research (maybe even too much), but thought I would reach out to the online community. As someone that has built a badass ppg unit, I'd love suggestions and appreciate the reply! Thanks again! Kelly Reynolds (kelmarrey@gmail.com)

How do i get ahold of sky monkey concerning the redhead 280 ?
I need the information to order it, I cant get a solid email, adress or anything, I have researched the engine and thats my pic, and great price
180 , Im about to build my paramoter, Sky monkey i need your help, Mark Beldock. carbarn21@gmail.com. thank you
animeguard1 month ago

this is amazing

Luke weaver made it!1 year 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

What did you use for a prop hub? How much mods too your engine?

Hey Luke,
the design is AMAZING
I will be more than happy if you don't mind sending me the design and dimensions and if you have some tips from your experience will be helpful
my mail is : wael.elbayoumy@hotmail.com
thanks in advance :)
wael
KMR1 Luke weaver5 months ago

Hey Luke! Awesome unit. I'm building one of my own and wanted to ask about how you selected your metal. Could you email me? kelmarrey@gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from you soon!

jguilbert3 months ago

Hi SkyMonkey! it has been my dream for some time now to enter the world of paramotors! Although, with school and work it has made it's way to the back back burner. I finally have some free time again and would love to start this project! Your instructable was very useful and solidified me wanting to make my own. One quick question, could you possibly send me the CAD files you have drawn. I understand if you do not want to but I have access to CNC machines at school and this would be an awesome excuse for me to get more CNC time as well! Thanks in advance Sky Monkey! My email is... jacob_guilbert@my.uri.edu

Hey Skymonkey,

Thank you for your effort for this article .. it is really useful

however, i cant download the pdf file , i will be glad if you can send me the dimentions and the design on my email

wael.elbayoumy@hotmail.com

thanks in advance

wael

caballoviejo4 months ago

Hi,

Where I can find the Helmet intructions?

Thank you!

Ironman 3844 months ago
I was very inspired by this video and love the design of this paramotor iv seen a lot of them home built but none like yours I'm a union iron worker and have thought about building a paramotor for a while but when I saw this video I guess I never realized how easy this would be I would greatly appreciate it if you can send me the cad file sherrera0801@gmail.com thank you
iwanmanew4 months ago

Hi ! This is a very good project ! I want to ask something about the wing's In-Flight-Weight. How it should be, because I have lots of experience with similar construction techniques, but I don't know so much about paramotors ?

For example:

Pilot - 180 lbs
Paramotor - 60 lbs
Fuel - 15 lbs
Wing - 15 lbs
Any extra gear - 5 lbs

Total - 275 lbs

So the wing's In-Flight-Weight should be at least 275lbs, or it is different for the paramotor, because of engine?
Thanks in advance! It's time to live my dream! :)

Sky-Monkey (author)  iwanmanew4 months ago
There are many factors that play into choosing the correct wing beyond what you listed - wind speed, motor strength, fabric porosity, and many more. I will not go into details on these here. Choosing the correct wing should be done with a qualified instructor. Although it might seem simple, these decisions should not be made lightly. Please get training and talk with someone who has experience with these things before getting involved.
jaybirdf5 months ago

I would like to see/hear more about the helmet :)

pradipatel6 months ago
Hello sky monkey...
Very good project. I just loved it. It is my dream and with yr help I m gonna fullfill it.
I have some query regarding my engine. I from india and in india this sport is not much popular. I want to use one gasoline engine with 160 cc. I am sending one photo regarding specification of engine. Kindly instruct me to select my engine.
image.jpg
don.doughty.57 months ago

Thank you Sky Monkey. Happy landings.

bbbobbb8 months ago

You are a genus !!!!!!!! great artical and instructions. I'm a toolmaker in PA/NJ and wanted to get into the sport. I've been thinking about making my own rig also but thinking it was too much work. You did a great job documenting all your steps. You really inspired me to go ahead with building my own PPG. I would like to keep in touch with you about any other mods you do to your set up. Thanks Bob

dialpasha8 months ago

Hi

Is it possible I could have your cad file for the Paramotor you made please.

My email is dialpasha@aol.com thanks

Pasha

alinlucaci8 months ago
Hi can I have the CAD files you made? It will be great for me to save me allot of time to try to make them! Can you send them to my email @: alinlucaci@hotmail.com
Thank you so much!

Kind Regards,
Alin
jon.burke.9408 months ago

Hello, I am a Master's Student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute studying structural engineering and for one of my classes I was asked to do a finite element analysis of something of my choosing. For my project I decided to analyze the frame of a powered paraglider and I stumbled on your designs. It would be extremely helpful if you could send me the CAD files you made, as this would save me a few hours of trying to replicate them. If could send them to jon.burke07@gmail.com I would really appreciate it! Thanks.

RustyRenn129 months ago
Hey sky monkey, the simple design is genius. Would you mind emailing me the cad files @ rusty.renn12@houghton.edu?

Hello Sky-Money! So f******* awesome, you're great.

Could you please send me the CAD-files for your frame and seat?

thanks

simon

(simon.gutheinz@gmail.com)

Cimei10 months ago

Hello Sky-Monkey! This is an awesome project!

I do want to replicate it here, but i will take some time for the preparations.

If you don't mind, I would like to ask some questions: What kind of welding did you use? The through-holes for the netting went in the both sides of the tube?

Thanks!


jwatkins910 months ago
Hey Sky-Monkey,
I only have one question,
To fly this, is there any aviation license that you need? If so where can i get one?
Best regards,
Jordan
buithai.giang11 months ago

I am interested in your paramotor, can you please send me (via email: giangbt.hn@gmail.com) the drawings for frame design. I am very appreciated it. Thankyou and cheers

kindly e-mail me the dimensions....a great lesson

muhammadsohail39@gmail.com

PeteF111 months ago

hi, have you any drawings available yet. It looks good.

Regards

Pete

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

Jee6661 year 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.

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 weaver1 year 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.

throwapot1 year 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)  throwapot1 year 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 A1 year ago
Thanks for making this, one day i will make one and when I do I want to meet you
Andrew A1 year ago
And where did you get the tools to build
Andrew A1 year 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
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