Introduction: Building a Quadrocopter

Hey guys, I've been into quadrocopters for almost a year now so when I had to choose what I wanted to do for a school personal project I took the opportunity to create a quad! This is my first instructable so I'm going to try my best but my main goal is to show you people how to create a compact and functional quadrocopter. I'm located in Europe so all the measurements will be in metric units and the currency will be in euros unless specified otherwise.

Step 1: Acquire All of Your Materials and Tools

I got most of my materials through the Hobbyking European Warehouse. I took the pictures of the materials after I soldered the electronic components and covered the wire with heat shrink tubing. You don't have to buy the bullet connectors if you just solder the wires directly but you always need heat shrink tubing. The complete list of materials and tools is below.

Materials

- M4 Hex Locknuts (x8)

- 9"x4.5" 3-Blade Propellers (x4)

- DT750 Brushless Outrunner 750kv (x4)

- M4 30mm Bolt (x8)

- M4 hex nuts (x8)

- Turnigy Plush 30amp Speed Controller (x4)

- Quadrocopter Power Distribution Board (x1)

- Multistar High Capacity 3S 4000mAh Multi-Rotor Lipo Pack (x1)

- KK2.1.5 Multi-rotor LCD Flight Control Board (x1)

- 20cm Male to Male Servo Leads (x10)

- 3.5mm x 25mm screws (x10)

- Lipo Low Voltage Alarm 2s~6s (x1) ((this is an extra because the KK2.1.5 comes with a built in voltage alarm))

- Turnigy TGY-i6 AFHDS Transmitter and 6CH Receiver (x1) ((I chose Mode 2 but the choice is up to you))

- 40cm black heat shrink tubing (x1)

- 40cm red heat shrink tubing (x1)

- PolyMax 3.5mm Gold Bullet Connectors 20 PAIRS (x1)

- Lipo Safe Charging Bag (x1)

- B3AC Compact Charger (x1)

- Zip Ties (x50)

- 100mm x 100mm x 3mm Plywood (x2) ((length x width x thickness))

- 380mm x 15mm x 15mm Plywood (x2) ((length x width x thickness))

Tools

- 30 Watt Soldering Iron (x1)

- Soldering Iron Stand (x1)

- 1mm solder (50cm)

- Wood Glue (250g)

- CAD Clamp (x1) ((Any other clamp would be fine))

- Screwdriver

- Plier

- Scroll Saw/Japanese Saw

- Protractor

- Hand/Pillar Drill

- 4mm drill bit

- Sandpaper

Step 2: Creating the Frame

  • I made my frame out of two pieces of 100mm x 100mm x 3mm plywood and two pieces of 380mm x 15mm x 15mm plywood.
  • First acquire the plywood and sand the edges so they are nice and smooth
  • Locate the center of the 380mm x 15mm x 15mm piece of plywood.
  • Cut a notch 15mm wide, 7.5mm on each side from the center and 7.5 mm deep with a Japanese saw. Look at the third picture for a visual representation if needed.
  • Put the wood beams together and then apply wood glue and clamp it for 10 minutes. TIP: Make sure that the two beams are perpendicular by using a protractor or a right angle
  • Next mark out points on the edge of the beams where the motor is going to go.
  • Make sure that the motor mount is completely centered on the edge of the beam before marking
  • Drill the holes with a 4mm drill bit and a pillar or hand drill. TIP: Make sure that the holes aren't too close to the edge
  • After this, glue the first 100mm x 100mm x 3mm plywood piece onto one side with the wood glue.
  • Clamp it down in the center for 20 minutes and make sure that any excessive glue is wiped away with a tissue. After the time is up, glue the other 100mm x 100mm x 3mm piece of plywood in the center on the other side, clamp it down and let it sit for 20 minutes.

Step 3: Attaching the KK2.1.5 to the Frame

  • The first thing to do is to clearly label a front and a back side. I labelled mine by writing the layout of the motors.
  • To reduce vibrations, cut out part of the foam cover that the KK2.1.5 came in and stick it onto the bottom of the board with some double sided adhesive tape. TIP: You don't need to tape it but the foam pieces stick together
  • Next label the center of the top plywood piece. Start by drawing lines with a pencil from corner to corner with a ruler and then mark the center with a small x.
  • Then make some pilot holes along the lines so screw the that screwing in the 3.5mm x 25mm screws wold be easier.
  • Align the holes of the KK2.1.5 to the pilot holes and screw it on the frame securely. TIP: MAKE SURE THAT THE KK2.1.5 BOARD IS SCREWED ON TO THE FRAME PERFECTLY LEVEL OTHERWISE IT COULD PREVENT THE GYROSCOPE FROM DOING IT'S JOB

Step 4: Attaching the Power Distribution Board to the Frame

  • The power distribution board needs to be screwed on next.TIP: Having a power distribution board is not necessary but it helps with organising the wiring of the quad.
  • First have a clearly marked center. Then with a right angle, mark out where the power distribution board is going to go. Make sure that the
  • This is an important step because the key to having a stable quad is balancing out the components. Once the pilot holes are made then you can screw the power distribution board into the frame with the 3.5mm x 25mm screws.

Step 5: Attaching the Motors

  • The first step is to solder three female connectors onto the motor wires and then slip some heat shrink tubing over it to cover the open wires. TIP: To heat up the shrink tubing use a candle rather than your soldering iron.
  • Then screw a M4 locknut upside down on the motor shaft until it reaches the bottom. This will serve as a stopper so when you are screwing the propellors in, they won't go too low.
  • Next, properly align the motors with the holes in the frame and make sure that the wires are facing outwards.
  • After the motor mount holes are aligned with the holes in the frame, slip the bolts in but make sure to hold the motor in place.
  • Take two M4 nuts and screw them on the M4 bolts. After you have screwed the bolt in with your hand as much as you can, use a plier and tighten it even further. TIP: It should only be tightened until the mount doesn't wiggle and the motor is securely attached to the frame
  • Repeat this step until all of the motors are attached to the frame with the wires pointing outwards.

Step 6: Attaching the ESC to the Frame

The first step of attaching the ESC is to solder all of the connections. There are 5 wires connected to the ESC. Three of them are supposed to be connected to the motor and the other two are going to be connected to the power distribution board.

  • First solder three male bullet connectors to the three wires on one side of the ESC. Cover the open part of the wires with red heat shrink tubing
  • Then, solder two male bullet connectors to the black and red wires on the other side of the ESC. Cover the male connector connected to the black wire with black heat shrink tubing, and the male connector connected to the red wire with red heat shrink tubing.
  • Connect the three motor wires to the three ESC wires, wrap the wires against one side and hold the ESC against the beam where it meets the top part of the frame. Then use two zip ties to fasten the ESC to the frame securely.
  • After the zip ties are tightened, cut off the long ends. Repeat this step four times until all four ESCs are attached to the frame.

Step 7: Connecting the ESC to the Power Distribution Board and the KK2.1.5

  • The first step is to locate the black and red wires of the ESC.
  • Once located, attach the black wire into the black connector of the power distribution board and the red wire in the red connector. This makes sure that the complete circuit can function properly.
  • Then take the thin servo wire coming from each ESC and connect them to the correct slots. TIP: Motor 1 is the top left, motor 2 is the top right, motor 3 is the bottom right and motor four is the bottom left. For example, the ESC wire from motor 1 goes into the slot on the the KK2.1.5 labelled M1 and so on.
  • Connect all 4 ESC motor wires correctly to the KK2.1.5 board for the quad to function properly.

Step 8: Connect the Receiver to the KK2.1.5 Board

This step is very simple but if it is not done right then the transmitter will not be able to tell the quad what to do. First pay close attention to the receiver labelling. There are 5 channels in total on the KK2.1.5 board. Below is how the receiver needs to be connected to the KK2.1.5 board.

ReceiverKK2.1.5

Chanel 1 ---> AIL

Chanel 2 ---> ELE

Chanel 3 ---> THR

Chanel 4 ---> RUD

Chanel 5 ---> AUX

Double check to see if the 2 cm servo wires are connected properly because if you switch even one pair of wires, then the quad motors could immediately start up even if you didn't touch anything on the remote.

Step 9: Adding the Battery Pack, Voltage Alarm and the Propellors

  • To add the battery pack securely, make sure that it is placed in a way so that the propellors do not touch it, and zip tie it down with two zipties. This will make sure that the battery pack doesn't move.
  • Secondly, attach the voltage alarm near the top right part of the frame near the labelled number 2. TIP: Make sure that the wire is tucked away so it can't get snagged by a propellor. Connect the voltage alarm only when flying.
  • The third step is the final step of screwing on the propellors.
  • First choose a proper prop adapter size and then attach that adapter ring to the propellor.
  • Then screw the propellors in the correct places.TIP: CW (clockwise) propellors are attached to motors one and three and CCW (counter clockwise) propellors are attached to motors two and four.

NOTICE: IF THE PROPELLORS ARE ATTACHED IN THE WRONG DIRECTION, THE QUAD WONT FLY

  • If the motor is turning the wrong way, then switch any two of three ESC wires and it will turn in the correct way.
  • After the props are on correctly, screw on a lock tight nut on each motor shaft to make sure that the props don't fly off.
  • If this step is done properly then ..........

Step 10: Happy Flying!

.... the quad is done! Before flying make sure that;

  • the props are on the right motor
  • the motors are spinning in the proper direction

- all nuts and bolts are tightened

- the battery is fully charged

- the transmitter is fully charged

- the ESCs have been calibrated

and you are ready to go!

Comments

author
Elliegirl2 (author)2016-01-24

Any idea how much payload it will lift?

author
BenM75 (author)2016-01-21

How much did it cost you?

author
Lightning1962 (author)BenM752016-01-22

I'd estimate about $250 US

author
Shrekepic (author)Lightning19622016-01-22

Nice estimate by the way!

author

Though I didn't build it, just estimated part costs from hobbyking.com

author
Shrekepic (author)BenM752016-01-22

Hey Ben, the whole project costed me around 230EUR which is basically 250USD.

author
LoganJ3 (author)2016-01-21

great start! haha don't apologize for it being metric, any maker or builder in the US with any sense uses metric anyways

author
ThriftStore Hacker (author)2016-01-20

great project. I don't know how to program stuff but THIS I CAN build. keep up the good work

author
tomatoskins (author)2016-01-20

This is awesome! I need to build a quadrocopter sometime. I've always wanted to.

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