Picture of Cheap, Sturdy, 1-Hour Quadcopter
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Here's a quadcopter build that we did in under an hour to win a bet.  We've got some experience building and took some shortcuts (such as using a flight controller from another unit, saving us the time of having to configure it), but I think it's reasonable to say that most makers could build this frame and get everything installed in a day, and still have some time left over to start flying it.

The frame is made from wood... 3/4" x 3/4" fir for the arms, and 1/4" plywood for the body.  It's cheap and sturdy... It will take some pretty serious abuse, and if you break it it's easy to repair.  The power system (motors, motor controllers, battery) is pretty standard, and uses easily obtainable parts.  The flight controller board is an Ardupilot Mega.

About us:  We're Mark Harrison and Andreas Oesterer.  We've been flying planes, multicopters, and assorted drones for a couple of years.  If you like this instructable, come visit us and see what else we're up to!



(photo note)
Almost all the images here have interesting and laboriously typed  "image notes" -- mousing over them gives details about what is being shown.  The default view of little pictures don't show the image notes, but you can see them if you embiggen them by clicking on the first image of each set.
tl;dr: click on the first image of each set to see photo commentary.)
(end photo note)

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Sam Vivian11 days ago

where did you get the 1/2" soft foam?

marhar (author)  Sam Vivian11 days ago
It's some scrap packing foam, I pulled it out of a recycle bin. I think often PCs and other electronics equipment is shipped using that kind of foam in the box.

ok thankyou

VasilisT9 months ago

Hi i build one very easy. Follow me or contact me if you need any help :) I LOVE this project and i ll eb glad to help you out :) https://www.facebook.com/billy.tziv/media_set?set=a.661193940645977.1073741828.100002661302461&type=3

thanks bro
VasilisT VasilisT9 months ago

here is when it flies... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Owe9xYcIFCk

vinay07452 months ago

can i make quadcopter with wired......but how can i move forward or backwards

paulsantony62 months ago

how this think will be cheap

trivedidron2 months ago

Can I have the circuit diagram please...??

smart jjai3 months ago

what thinks do i need to make this one

sdas524 months ago
sir is your copter unstable at home at low height mine is unstable...or plzz guide me
happysethiya5 months ago
it was cool

how can i get a perfect video of yours?

n8schwemmer10 months ago
I ordered the parts you put in the link but the motor shafts are reversed. Any help on how to solve this problem??
JesseE111 months ago

Awesome !

PavloV111 months ago

What if my ESC don't connect to the motors? I have four ESCs and none of their respective three wires have connectors to the brushless motors... Any ideas? Was it a manufacturing error or something?

PavloV111 months ago

Very cool, but what brand of motor mounts did you use? Also, I might have over looked this while reading, but I don't see a link for the motor mounts anywhere. If possible could you add a link for that? Thanks!

I had purchases all the parts and forgot to order the motor mounts.

vgangwar11 year ago

m using 1400 KV Bldc

30 A ESC
3S 20C 2500mAh Lipo
kkmulticopter flight control board
and flysky Ct6b and r6b tx rx..

unable to get it to fly..?
it weighs...760 gms without lipo...add another 200 gms of lipo...


I really want to build this with my grandsons. I have ordered the radio equipment, etc. and I would like to be in a position to commence the project once we have all of the parts. Here is my quandary. How do I "program" Turnigy 9XR Transmitter Mode 2 (No Module) and related suggested module? Could you provide a little more detail on that. Thanks!

TeamC21 year ago
What is the software you used to make the templates?
marhar (author)  TeamC21 year ago
Microsoft Word.

hey instructables! First off let me say that this is a wonderful guide and it's what convinced me to take the leap into mulitrotors. So I purchased the battery, motors(1100kv) and escs(40a) specified in this instructable. Along with a 550mm frame, some 10"4.5 props, a kk2.1.5 fc, and the turnigy 9xr. Being completely new to this, I got these parts based upon hours of reading and what not. But there's nothing quite like some real world feed back from the community. Does anybody see any holes in this setup? Advice, recommendations, words. Thanks!

Hi, I'm 15 and I'm looking to build a quadcopter, I have never made one before. I've read through your instructable, and I find it very interesting, it has motivated me to try and build my own.
Here is my question:
I am on a limited budget and I am trying to build this quadcopter as inexpensively as possible. And I am wondering if I could use the HobbyKing 4ch Tx Rx remote instead of the more expensive ones you recommended. Do you think this would be an issue with the quadcopter or if it wouldn't send a signal far enough, or are there any other issues that could be a problem? Any other suggestions for someone who hasn't built anything like this before,

Here are some parts that I found that may be useful (I haven't built a quadcopter yet) :

Motors: SunnySky Angel A2212 980KV; link: http://www.hobbywow.com/en-sunnysky-angel-a2212-98... x4

Propellers: hobbyking propellers, pick your own, there are many varieties; link: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__562__50...

Flight control system: Hobbyking KK2.1.5 Multi-rotor LCD Flight Control Board With 6050MPU And Atmel 644PA (I would reccomend a mini arduino board and an MPU-6050 gyroscopic sensor, link to both: http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/131141127299?lpid=82 (arduino) ; http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/251413239297?lpid=82 (gyroscopic sensor))

Power distribution board: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__28255__...

Battery: just find a good one that will work judging from specs

Controller: get the one you want to use

Frame: make it out of pvc pipe.


Nice project!

Stan1y1 year ago
I'll vouch for electric motors and props being dangerous I have a miss shaped index finger thanks to an early experiment with electric flight
elliot42061 year ago

is it a problem to have motors that are over 1100kv?

elliot42061 year ago

How much did the total build cost, and how long can the quadcopter run for?

robertabt2 years ago
Hi, i've been wanting to buy/make a quadcopter for quite a while now so when i saw this i did a bit of research on the parts you say to use, i went for the most expensive first, and my question is do you think this ( http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__37328__HKPilot_Mega_V2_5_Flight_Controller_USB_GYRO_ACC_MAG_BARO.html ) is good value or not? be great to hear back from you.

oesti robertabt2 years ago
That HK board is a clone of the 3DR original. Clones are OK since the HW and SW of the APM are open sourced. The only question is whether it works 100% like the original. They might have used different components. Might be advisable to look for feedback from previous buyers. You should not expect any support from the diydrones.com community if you have problems with your clone. Please remember that you also need the GPS module for fully autonomous operation (and return to home features).

The great thing about the APM is that you can use it in a x-copter, helicopter, plane, flying wing, boat or car. There is no other autopilot on the market with similar broad capabilities.
why should people expect no support through diydrones.com.?. is it solely the house organ of 3drobotics.com or is it a truly open diydrones site(hint its the latter).. no matter who founded it... All flight controllers are discussed there as well as the clones, we even welcome old paparazzi folk like myself..
rcgroups.com is another place you can get help....


karan111 year ago
hey..your instructables are really helpful..but i have a little doubt..how do you control the current to the brushless motors so that the motors don't burn. I am using 1270kv outrunner with max watt- 204W and max current- 20A ratings and im using 3s LIPO battery..i need aprox 500 gm of thrust from one motor. So how do i make sure i don't burn my motor? please help.
Wormeater1 year ago
does the size of the arms matter because i can find a 3/4 by 3/4 piece of wood
can i get more information about power distribution
since i m in mechanical field so i don't know the ic circuits !
response will be appreciated.
rply asap
agoaga1 year ago
cool, hope i can make it too (from indonesia)
Hi, is there anyway to build this with custom flight computer? we have to do this from scratch in an MEng group project. - I.e. we have to write the control program in C
eriknf2 years ago
What is the run time for your model?
AndrewAF12 years ago
Looks good!! What was the total price.
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