DIY Printed Quadcopter Joystick and Frame





Introduction: DIY Printed Quadcopter Joystick and Frame

About: I love doing everything what has some connection with any kind of technology. I love to see how stuff works and how to make it. P.s. about my username if someone is curious: "In Vino VERitas"

Hi there,

in this tutorial I'll show how I made quadcopter frame and joystick for controlling it. Currently I don't have software for it, jet, I'm developing this quadcopter in my free time so basically I'm taking baby steps.
I'll be more oriented to hardware build rather then on software.

Main goal of this project is to build working quadcopter using:

-3D printer (reprap prusa i3)


- nrf24l01 wifi module (ebay, few bucks

- few 10k potentiometers (6 rotary and 3 slide) (ebay few bucks)

- LiPo batteries-

- brushless motors-

- propellers:

-ESC for motors-, these are great, fast responsive, they are controlled same as servo (0-179)

-15mm aluminium profiles

in case you need a charger:

-if you want FPV system, I'll recommend these glasses, cheap and surprisingly good:
- serial LCD on transmitter:

All cad files you can find on the end of this instructable, I draw in Solidworks2015, take care of that if you want to open and edit these files because 2014 version can't open further versions.

Step 1: Joysticks

I bought joysticks from ebay but they had too much airiness , so I decided to develop my own joystick with no(or minimum) airiness. I had few 10k potentiometers laying around, so I thought, why not to make replica, mechanism is relatively simple and I have all parts on my desk.
In images above you can see the development process of joystick, red one was the prototype then I modified few more details and printed out final product (blue).
I printed out spacer pipes separated from base because I have some problems with my printer, spacers turned out much better when printed separately rather then on base.
In case you'll print this joystick, be aware of that I used a slightly larger dimensions for holes and grooves because for some reason my printer prints around 0.5mm smaller then designed, so it's possible that you'll have some airiness.

All parts in this instructable are printed with 0.2mm layer thickness, PLA, heat bed on 65°C, extrusion temperature 205°C (first layer 70°C and 210°C).

Step 2: Printing the Joystick Casing

This design turns to be pretty good, I made space for 2 rotary potentiometers, 4 switches and 3 slide potentiometers, and one LCD for feedback information from quadcopter (temperature, battery, pressure , etc..), I think that should be enough for some adjustments on quadcopter, I actually never had one, so I'll see for what I will use these potentiometers and switches :)

Step 3: Making the Quadcopter Frame

Many people asked me why I didn't printed out whole frame with arms, well, the answer is that I wanted to make sturdy frame that can't brake so easily when crashed.
Cool thing about this printed base is that you don't need any screws to attach U profiles in it, actually I used a hammer to stuck them in,but if you need to screw it, I left 2 holes for each arm, printing lasted for some 6:30h, quite long but I get desired quality.

One thing which I add are plates for mounting electronics or something on it, it may be useful.

Step 4: The End:

Idea about software is to develop a both sided communication between two arduino mega boards with wifi modules,quadcopter should be able to carry FPV system, GoPro and few other sensors like barometer, thermometer and similar. Also, I thought to add a function where it could be able to maintain constant height using ultrasonic sensor, that high should vary up to 4m and will be set by one of potentiometers on transmitter.

But first, main goal is to make quadcopter stable in the air using gyroscope.

As soon I develop a program I'll post it here, stay tuned.

In attachment you'll see all files necessary to replicate this project, if you need some other format, just comment below.

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    Hello man, I enjoyed of your project, think about doing a similar, have not found where to download the cad files, please if possible send me the CAD files and codes used in the Arduino to: I will be grateful

    There's no spring on the potentiometer

    Hello man, I enjoyed of your project, think about doing a similar, have not found where to download the cad files, please if possible send me the CAD files and codes used in the Arduino to: I will be grateful.

    2 replies

    Hi there, sorry for that, it must be I forgot to drop it in attachment, I have update it, see last step.
    Thank you. :)

    havent got the code can uh send it to


    can Someone help to connect
    Saitek Joystick X56 + Scherrer Tx700 Pro + Rx700 LR +PSU
    in order to fly a quadcopter ?

    And if it is impossible
    How to connect the TX700 Pro and the Quanum V52 Ground Control System, please?


    Can you share the codes.

    That's pretty cool. I especially love the remote.

    love to see something about setting up the electronics. I'm working on a
    quadcopter that, if it works out the way I hope, will eventually have
    an arduino flight controller and a camera on a gimbal. I don't have much
    experience with arduino and I've never built anything RC before so I've
    been doing a LOT of searching to figure out what the heck I'm doing :)
    My first step is to build a quadcopter that actually flies(i'm close,
    it can do flips but doesn't fly), then I'll start working on the arduino

    bro if u prigram ur arduino then please send the coades i am also making my ow n codes but facing problem for motor speed control my email is

    1 reply

    Well, I tried and it fly away, around 20m, lost control and free fall from 20m :D I think I'll rather spare some more money on radio station, it may be better solution, safer.

    When I saw the picture I noticed that you placed the props in the wrong direction but anyways congratulations on being a finalist I'll just give you some possible problems you might encounter and the solution to it... 1st The transmitter There is a reason why people don't do DIY remotes, because of the risk of flyaways and signal loss + your program should be perfect absolutely perfect or else you know what might happen. 2nd If you are having a hard time programming the flight controller try doing some research about MULTIWII its an open source program which can save you a lot of time. LAstly i think you should use an Xbee hahahaha its easier to interface

    1 reply

    Thank you for tips. Yes, probably the props are turned in the wrong way, I put them just like that only for presentation for now because I'm working on the program.

    About program, well, I'll have plenty of free time through this summer, if nothing else..about MULTIWII, I like it,I'll see what I can do about it, thanks a lot! :D

    Well, I thought to use Xbee, but my goal was to make it cheaper as possible, although if these wifi modules wont work, I'll take Xbee or eventually if nothing will work, there is always an option to buy transmitter and flight controller.

    Thank you! :D

    You have done a great job with the transmitter, take a look at er 9x for programming it, what hardware and cpu are/have you fitted in it? I was thinking about building my own transmitter or adapting one of the ones I allready have to have one decent joystick something like a computer flight stick that goes up and down plus twist so you could get the three directions on one stick plus one liner potentiometer for the throttle which I think would be a more natural way of controlling either a plane or quad copter.

    It might be a good idea to add a six way switch to it to control which function you want I modified my 9x pro by replacing one pot with a six way switch I also modified my 9x the same way plus adding 6 LED's to indicate which mode you are in.

    Good luck with finishing this project

    Regards Poppy Ann.

    1 reply

    Thank you on advice!
    I'm using arduino mega on transmitter and quadcopter, it's good because it has a lot of analog inputs and digital pins so you don't have to worry about missing pins. Main reason why I made this transmitter is that I could not find old joystick big enough to fit all these components inside. I also wanted to keep it simple, no extra mods, goal is that it flies and can carry GoPro and FPV system, which should not be a problem because each motor gives around 800g of thrust and whole construction has around 1.3kg. In fact I disassembled flight stick to get these potentiometers out.. Thanks :)

    Nice job! Love that TX! I am trying to do the same thing with an old ps2 controller, a couple of nrf24l01 and a 1.8" lcd. Would love to see what you did code wise!
    Keep making good instructables like this!

    1 reply

    Thank you!
    I had that too on mind, but I had to wait 3-4 weeks for usb host shield to came, so my idea was to receive data from PS4 joystick, make bridge over arduino to transmit it over nrf24l01 to nrf24l01 which is on quadcopter, that way you'll get on distance (nrf24l01 with antenna can have around 700-800m range). Anyway, that's next step, I'll post updates as soon I'll have something useful. Feel free to check some other instructables which I made, I also used nrf24l01 in some of them, it may help you :)

    At first I thought redesigning the joysticks was a waste of time since they can simply be purchased. But when I saw your design i changed my mind. Solid work, I'm impressed.