Introduction: DIY DRONE

Picture of DIY DRONE

Hi all ! Welcome to my instructables page!!

In this instructable i will be making a drone prototype. This will not fly, but it will give me an idea of dimensions and wiring of the work i will do in the future. I do a lot of filming with drones but i operate the camera. I dont fly the drones or mess with the wires. So this is very interesting for me.

If this project succeeds i will make a definite version beginnen next year. I am also thinking of using 3d printed parts and wood laser cut parts for the actual drone. Right now i will experiment with these materials first.

Lets get started!

Step 1: Drawing

Picture of Drawing

First I've made drawings of the parts i wanted to cut out on the laser cutter. I already had mane ideas and have done research on other home made drones to see what shapes etc they use for their drones. I decided what shapes i was gonna use and started drawing out on paper first. After that i went to the lab and started using the laser cutter for the first time.

Here you see some drawings by hand. And some illustrator screen shots of the cuts i made.

Step 2: MOSCOW

Picture of MOSCOW

MoSCoW list:


It must have hinges for the landing gear,

and indication lights for front and back of the machine.


Must be more or less accurate to the real thing, so i can compare this to our professional models.


It could turn into a real flying model, i have the parts..


It would be a huge succes it its realistic and if the next version can actually fly.

Step 3: Cutting Out the Frame

Picture of  Cutting Out the Frame

Here you can see the first 2 base parts of the drone. These are the top and bottom part, the bottom has 2 strips cut out on each sides for the landing gear.

Step 4: Printing the Needed Parts

Picture of  Printing the Needed Parts

This is the first time ever that i am going to use a 3d printer. I know that these products come with a trial & error process and i kind of like this because this is the only way you will learn the best way to print, cut, design and what to do afterwards..

The propellers came out pretty good, i printed 6 of them because i knew they would break one day, and 1 has broken till now.

I had to sand a little bit in the middle of the propeller to make it nice and smooth so it can spin easily.

Step 5: The "arms"

Picture of The "arms"

I wanted to 3d print the arms, but to do this full scale it would take me 90 minutes each. On this day i didn't have the time to do this so i printed a small scale model and decided to laser cut the arms out of wood. Afterwards i will decide if im still going to print the arms or if i will leave them like this for the prototype.

Im leaning towards printing them because for the real thing i would like to use 3d printed arms with real screws.

I do not have pictures of this part yet. Will upload a picture of the small scale arm.

Step 6: Temporary Bolts

Picture of Temporary Bolts

One day i was laying in bed, thinking about how i can make a screw so i can temporarily assemble the drone to see if the components fit. I had the idea to cut two pieces of wood and make a bolt out of it. By measuring the diameter of the holes i decided how big the bolts had to be. Ive never done something like this before, and it worked... Huge feeling of succes!

In fact, i liked it so much, i think i will leave them like this for this prototype.

Step 7: First Look

Picture of First Look

Here you can see the main frame put together, with the 3d printed small scale dummy engines and propellers attached to them. The landing gear is not yet secured to the drone. Here i got the idea to print hinges for the landing gear, and might even make it motorized.

Step 8: Hinges

Picture of Hinges

Here you can see i printed the hinges, i didn't have much luck with this step because the dimensions of the hinges i printed didn't line up.. After a lot of sanding and swearing i broke 1 of the hinges completely and the other broke partially, i can still use this part for display but i will have to print new hinges for the landing gear.

Step 9: Electronics

Picture of Electronics

Bought the electronics..

I work a lot with drones but i don't do the technical stuff.. I am the one in charge of film..

So i thought it was nice that i realized i had no idea what all this technical stuff is that the pilot is always dealing with.

I bought a zippy Lipo battery,

red and green leds,

battery checker,

some valcro,

on/off switch

and wiring.

One of my classmates Max (check out his diy indoor/outdoor plane) was nice enough to guide me through the buying and soldering of the materials!!!!2!

Step 10: Testing

Picture of Testing

In class Max and i soldered a few wires and a small piece of LED strip to a plug and checked if the battery, leds and wires work.. Succes! Thanks Max

Step 11: Decorating?

Picture of Decorating?

Sticking LED strips to the drone frame.. Tonight is my next class so im planning to go hard this time haha, want to assemble everything and maybe even print some new hinges. Super busy week with tests etc..

Step 12: Electronics

Picture of Electronics

I have tried to solder the wires toghether... But the tin just won't stick to the led strips.. i have no idea what im doing wrong.. Atlas one of the lights work.. The connection to the battery and everything is working, i made it work through a on/off switch, pretty basic. To me its always very important that wires are tucked away and i think that on a small object like this with relatively big cables did a pretty good job.

Step 13: Lights

Picture of Lights

I didn't succeed with the soldering. Instead i had a loose LED light. I connected this one to take this picture to show you that the wiring does work. I feel pretty stupid because 3 lights worked before, but of course i didn't take a picture of that part. The soldering wouldn't stick so the other lights wouldn't work. On the way to school another one of the wires came loose so then the last one that did worked didnt work anymore.

Step 14: Parts & Machines

Picture of Parts & Machines

Here I've put all the parts I've made next to each other for a nice overview.

Also the different machines that I've used are:

  • Laser Cutter
  • 3d Printer
  • Soldering Machine
  • Boormachine


tomatoskins (author)2015-09-23

I never knew that you could 3d print a prop. That's cool!