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Flying is something that has been part of man's wish forever. We have wanted to take to the sky ever since we first saw a bird fly and with the advent of technology we can travel by air across the world. However a personal flight experience is something unique and the closes we have come to a personal flying vehicle is an RC aircraft.

RC hobby has taken the world by storm and with electronics getting cheaper, getting into the hobby is easier than ever. A quadcopter is something that can take flight, hold it's position in air and you have do a lot with one. However the bigger they become, the more expensive it gets and in this tutorial I highlight the step I took to create my own quadcopter.

I made the frame from scrap wood, got the motors, props, RC transmitter/receiver and flightcontroller from ebay and put everything together at my convenience. This is my first quad and prolly not my last and I hope you can get something out of my experience.

Step 1: Making the Frame

The first thing to do is make the frame. In my case I started with scrap wood board which was 24mm thick. First we cut up two lengths which are 30mm thick and 2 feet long. From one of the two lengths, we cut off a 30mm length from a 2feet arm so that we may form the required structure.

Using the three pieces we form the X and to hold it in place, I used a rectangular piece of wooden sheet (2mmthick) 60mm x 150mm with nails and glue. Let the glue dry for a few hours depending on the type of glue.

Step 2: Getting the Motors and Props

Depending upon the size of the quad, we need motors, props and Electronic Speed Controllers. In my case, I have used EMAX MT2213 935kv Motors and 10inch props from ebay. For the speed control, I bought the EMAX 4in1 esc which has 4 ESCs in one.

Step 3: Mounting the Motors

Depending on what kind of motors you purchased, this step will vary a bit. I used a vernier calliper to measure the distance between the mounting screw holes on the motors and drilled holes accordingly.

I also drilled a hole to allow the shaft and clip of the motor to move freely. This is applicable for these kind of motors and if your motors came with mountings then you may skip this part.

Finally I used appropriate screws to secure the motors in place.

Step 4: Mounting the ESC

Once the motors are mounted, I connected the ESC on the bottom side and I used zip ties to fix everything. I will be hanging the battery under the quad as well but the ESC is tied down and secured.

Step 5: The Landing Gear

For the landing gear, I cut 20mm thick pieces of 6inch diameter pipe. I have four pieces that are essentially rings and used duct tape to fix them there. They are not only cheap but also help in absorbing the shock when the quadcopter lands.

Step 6: Choosing a Flight Controller

In order to control the quadcopter and make the whole thing stable in air, we need to have an electronic system that can take care of everything. This computer is called the flight controller and we need to either make one or buy one. There are a number of open source flight controller projects out there and the more popular names are as follows.

1. ArduPilot I have followed this project for some number of years and it started as a shield for an arduino which was called an ‘oil pan’ and later was upgraded to bigger hardware and is currently one of the most expensive hardware for RC airframes. The GUI is great and the performance is great as well. It has automated flight modes etc but to a beginner its just too much.

2. DJI NAZA I have read good things about this one and the full featured version is called the DJI NAZA M V2 which is a costlier than the Ardupilot, is closed source but is the absolute best at what it does. Bucket load of features for a bucket load of money. There is also a DJI Naza Lite which is much cheaper but again closed source.

3. OpenPilot CC3D The best open source hardware I have read about is the CC3D which is based on an STM32 based chip and has the MPU6000 and 6 channels. Its open source and you can install your own firmware on this one like base flight and clean flight(more on this later). It was originally a kickstarter project but is now available from a number of sources. I recently bought one of these and I have to say its the EASIEST to setup as the software has a wizard to guide you through all the steps the first time around. You can mess with the advanced controls later.

4. NAZE32 The NAZE32 is the next best thing to the CC3D and is a bit more flexible BUT its a bit more difficult to setup as opposed to the CC3D. Its used by advanced fliers who have control over the controls and want their quads to do more tricks.

5. KK2.1 This is one of the first boards you will find online when you search for quadcopter controllers. It has an LCD which allows you to set it up without a PC and is based on the AVR controllers. It used the MPU6050 as a sensor and you may write your own firmware for it but you will need a AVR ISP programmer since it does not have one on board. Its cheap but requires manual tuning and is better for the more advanced flier.

6. KKMulticontroller Yes! its different… well almost. Its based on the Atmel AVR (168p) as well but I think the support for this one has been discontinued. Their website kkmulicopter com is gone and I think the makers have moved to making 32bit flightcontrollers or something. Its a bit outdated and used Murata Gyros only for measuring the orientation. No sensor fusion and the gyros themselves are analog and you have trims to set the offsets. Pretty neat but highly outdated.

I chose the OpenPilot CC3D due to it's simple configuration.

Step 7: Choosing a RC Tx Rx

In order to control the quadcopter in the air without wires, we need a wireless remote control system. There are number of option from Futaba, Spektrum etc which are very expensive and some other like Turnigy and FlySky that are cheaper.

The number of channels on the remote means the amount of control signals that you individually send to the aircraft. We need at least 4 channels for

  • Throttle
  • Yaw
  • Pitch
  • Roll

In addition to these we may need channels for any camera control later. Hence I chose the flysky 6 channel which is cheap but not recommended for long range flying. Pick one according to your budget

Step 8: Mounting the Flight Controller

Before we calibrate the quadcopter, we need to fix everything. I mounted the flight controller on the top with the heading arrow in the X direction. It was fixed using zip ties the same as the ESC on the bottom. One major difference is the addition of a piece of sponge under the Flight Controller. This allows to absorb vibrations from the motors.

Step 9: Connecting the OpenPilot

We need to connect and configure the Flight controller to our ESC as well as to the Remote control. I have not been able to upload a video of my own due to bandwidth restriction at my end so I found a tutorial video which is quite good and to the point.

Additionally, there is a video on how to configure the Flysky remote and if you have a different remote, you will need to make the necessary changes accordingly.

Step 10: Testing Everything

Before we take flight, we need to verify using the OpenPilot GCS that everything is working right. GCS has a display to test the sensors etc. Take off the propellors and test with your remote to verify that everything works well.

I also tested the range by placing the quad at a location and moving away to a significant distance. The props make enough noise when ON to let you know that they are working well.

Step 11: Finally: Taking Flight

The quad is a dangerous machine and cause serious damage if not careful. Connect the battery and place the quad on the ground in an open place. From a safe distance, arm the flight controller and slowly throttle up. If you feel its trying to drift in a direction, use the trims to make the necessary correction. Once its stable, experiment and learn how the quad responds to the various inputs. You can tweak the various PID values till you get the desired response from the quad.

Congratulations you just built your own quadcopter from scratch! Be safe!

<p>Thank you for posting this, this is quite simple compared to other ones.</p>
<p>I am new to this. Where do I buy the propeller and motor, and batteries? I called Home Depot and Ace Hardware, but neither had any.</p>
<p>You can order online at </p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/?tag=amazusnavi-20&hvadid=160386164570&hvpos=1t1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=5644540680428470405&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9032959&hvtargid=kwd-10573980&ref=pd_sl_7j18redljs_e" rel="nofollow">https://www.amazon.com/?tag=amazusnavi-20&amp;hvadid=1...</a> </p><p>or, </p><p><a href="http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2380057.m570.l1313.TR12.TRC2.A0.H0.Xdrone+parts.TRS0&_nkw=drone+parts&_sacat=0" rel="nofollow">http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&amp;_trksid=p...</a></p><p>you can type what you want in the bar at the top.</p>
<p>so if i use the flight controller there would be no use for a microcontroller and code and the control sistem would already be embedded in the flight controller ? all i would need to do would be to simply tune it ? </p>
If i wanted to control the drone from my smart phone and stream video directly to my phone how should i go about doing it ?
<p>and which battery did i use in quadcopter...........????????</p>
<p>Hi, Sir </p><p>I could not find the 'EMAX 4 in 1 ESC' on eBay and the motors are very expensive for me ,,so tell me that where did i find the 'EMAX 4 IN 1 ESC' and the cheap and good motors for quadcopter because my budget is some low.</p><p>Tell me fast.</p>
<p>How much does the drone weigh?</p>
<p>Wow very nice post for diy quadcopter. what's the parts? and would i reprint it to this diy quadcopter blog <a href="http://www.rcdronegood.com/" rel="nofollow">http://www.rcdronegood.com/</a> ? Thank you.</p>
<p>Reprint away.</p>
<p>This is amazing! I been meaning to custom make one for a long time, thank you very much for the bottom of my heart</p>
Hoq can i download the pdf file of project i need
Hello sir i want to ask you is there any sources online to get these at cheap rates or alternative easy and cheaper. <br>
<p>Hello,</p><p>I have decided to build this quadcopter. Purchased EMAX 2213 935 KV motors and an EMAX 4 in 1 ESC. But what about the LiPO. ESC recommended for the motor is 18 A. I decided to get 2200 mAh 15C LiPo. Is it the right choice?</p>
<p>I'm new to drones(RC in general) and would like to know if the following battery would power the controller and motor. Also, if there is a different type to get then what is it called?</p><p>BATTERY</p><p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JNL5EWQ?keywords=hobbico%203c%20battery&qid=1454936798&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1" rel="nofollow">http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JNL5EWQ?keywor...</a></p><p>CHARGER</p><p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Hobbico-Lifesource-AC-Balance-Charger/dp/B004QJTSVS/ref=pd_bxgy_21_img_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=1WBMTHH13XE5KW9YKJ1K" rel="nofollow">http://www.amazon.com/Hobbico-Lifesource-AC-Balanc...</a></p>
<p>How did you adapt the battery to the esc?</p>
<p>How did you adapt the battery to the esc?</p>
<p>How did you adapt the battery to the esc?</p>
Can I use Hubsan transmitter and reciver for my quadcopter.<br>How long will the battery of an average quadcopter last.
<p>Can you share wiring diagram? I cannot wire EMAX multirotor and OpenPilot</p>
<p>Hey, would hubsan work for a controller? if you could tell me soon that would be great. Thanks</p>
Sir <br>I am student and I love this kind of stuff.<br>I want you to ask a question <br>Can we use plastic rulers instead of Wood.
Unfortunately no because the rulers will be too weak and flimsy to bear the force of the lever action. You CAN however stack some together to make the desired arms but it will take a fair bit of work and precision.<br><br>Let me know how it works out.<br>Cheers,<br>IP
<p>Thanks everyone for such a positive response. Because of all the great inputs, I am doing a video tutorial on building an FPV Racing drone from scratch. Its much more challenging BUT for anyone who has a DIY quad, it will be very rewarding. I will post again soon.</p><p>Cheers,</p><p>IP</p>
<p>THIS IS WAY TOO HARD 4 meeee</p>
Well, it will take a bite out of your schedule but its very rewarding to make something that flies and obeys at the same time ;)
<p>i couln't make something that can dive.How the heck i can make one fly</p>
<p>i couln't make something that can dive.How the heck i can make one fly</p>
<p>Hi again all</p><p>I am using waste stuff but props are pretty critical hence I have bought these out. If you dont need to lift a lot then I suggest looking into CDROM and Harddrive motors. These are BLDCs and can be directly replaced. Mounting them is where your creativity comes in.</p><p>For the battery, I used a 3C but you can go with something smaller. Consult your budget for that one. Batteries comes with a XT60 connector for connecting to the ESCs and the Flight controller takes up power directly from the ESC(if it has a built in converter). If you use individual ESCs then you need a power distribution board etc.</p><p>If you need to lift a LOT of weight, go for a hexcopter and a bigger battery.</p><p>Costs depend on the stuff you buy and where you buy from. Get em from ebay for around 10,000INR which is pretty decent.</p><p>Thanks again all,</p>
<p>Hi again all</p><p>I am using waste stuff but props are pretty critical hence I have bought these out. If you dont need to lift a lot then I suggest looking into CDROM and Harddrive motors. These are BLDCs and can be directly replaced. Mounting them is where your creativity comes in.</p><p>For the battery, I used a 3C but you can go with something smaller. Consult your budget for that one. Batteries comes with a XT60 connector for connecting to the ESCs and the Flight controller takes up power directly from the ESC(if it has a built in converter). If you use individual ESCs then you need a power distribution board etc.</p><p>If you need to lift a LOT of weight, go for a hexcopter and a bigger battery.</p><p>Costs depend on the stuff you buy and where you buy from. Get em from ebay for around 10,000INR which is pretty decent.</p><p>Thanks again all,</p>
Sir can u pls tell how much all this can approximately cost...
<p>hey how many grams this quadcopter will lift. i need to build one copter that need some amount of weight like 800 grams. i need help.......</p><p>please help me</p>
<p>thank u</p>
<p>also do i need a powerhub and battery monitor</p>
<p>what battery is needed and how do I connect all the electronics together with the wiring. How do i connect the rc reciever with the esc flight control board and battery.</p>
<p>I am doing a design project and this seems to be the cheapest design I can find. Unfortunately, My project has to be Eco-friendly and using recyclable materials. Any help?</p><p>Note: So far I've come up with:</p><p>Plastic (water bottle plastic and such) propellers</p><p>Plastic frame</p><p>I would love anyone forever if they could come up with some way to use an old computer or phone in some way because a lot of the project is about e-waste. Thanks!</p>
<p>Hi everyone and thanks for the positive comments and support. Love ya'all!</p><p>So about making one, if there are any steps unclear or missing lemme know and I will help. I am currently not endorsing any vendors for quadcopter parts cause I have not had the time to get into that right now. For your first quad buy parts as cheap as possible is my advice. </p><p>For the weight calculation, I have not exactly done that myself but there are lots of places online that can guide towards the motor+Prop+battery combo for this kind of stuff. My quad does about 800gms but for making videos I have attached an old android phone to the base and streaming it to my laptop. </p><p>Hope this help.</p><p>Cheers,</p><p>IP</p>
Plz reply sir
Hi sir <br>I am a student <br>I am here to ask a question that<br>I am trying to build a quadcopter which can lift extra weights from range 3-5 kg <br>So I am kindly requesting you<br>How it will be done by same framework but change of material
I am a student and cost is a major consideration, can you please suggest where can i buy cheap and best parts excluding the flight controller<br>
<p>Terrific!</p>
<p>Thanks all. </p><p>grayl. Im not sure what the sticky material is &amp; if you find out please let us know as well :)</p><p>We can make our own props using a 3D printer but the quality will depend on the material used and the resolution of the printer I guess.</p><p>If using aluminium, I suggest using square tubing which is quite successful. For frames, anything rectangular and for torque transmission, anything circular or cylindrical.</p>
Can u help me in making quadcopter.i want to make 1.
<p>that's really cool! Would you care to sell one?</p>
<p>Hello. Well I am just a teacher and don't really sell these. Sorry. </p><p>But I would love to help you out if you would like to build one on your own though. :)</p>
<p>Can it ascend higher than one foot?</p>
It can indeed. The video is taken with 5% throttle since I was not sure what it would do. I tested in grounds of our University and it flies pretty well considering the RC Transmitter is not very standard. The current limitation is of the RC TxRx range &amp; I will be posting a few videos with an onboard camera soon.<br>Thanks.
<p>Can it ascend higher than one foot?</p>
very nice tutorial. thanks
<p>I throw away so much aluminum- Could you use aluminum for the frame?</p>

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Bio: I design things, I make them, I reinvent them and teach them. #DIY, #research, #IoT, #embedded, #RaspberryPi, #Arduino, #EEE
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