Introduction: How to Build a Multirotor

the photo you see was taken from my first ever copter which i built in 2 hours.

Price range can vary drastically, if you use this tutorial to build an quadcopter, your price range will be rouphly $290 with gps and telemetry however if you chose an octocopter you will be looking at upwards of $700



If you choose to buy a much cheaper flight controller board such as the kk2 from hobbyking.com you ill knock $70 off the price but sacrifice gps, telemetry battery voltage etc.




By Jared Reabow



Now before people plinky plonk on their keyboards "This is an Octocopter why is the title not Octocopter!!!!!" Understand you could build a Quadcopter - Hexacopter or quadcopter using this tutorial using identical parts , Even the Octocopter frame can be easily used for the 3 configurations by simply not fitting some arms :)
Also if you wish to use my instructable for profit making, just messege me and i will be more than happy to change the licence after  chat :)

So lets get to it !!!!
I have made videos on doing everything but will also type out the relevant info.

But firstly the things you will need to build your own multirotor (note if it says 8x somthing, simply remove however many for the type of copter you are building, so a hex would be 6x)
Note that EVERYTHING you need can be bought from hobbyking.com simply search for the items described below


All required parts are listed below and are to be bought on hobbyking.com



2cm or smaller rubber bands
3mm wire
Hot glue gun and hot glue
Soldering Iron
Allen key set!!!!!
hobbking x930 frame
1 x 7a UBEC
8 x 30Amp esc's any make or brand, just make sure they are 30Amp not 25 with 30burst.
30 bullet connector pairs 2.5mill or higher.
20pais of xt60 battery cnnectors
6 meters of silicone wire- 3 meters red - 3 meters black 26swg which is 3mm thick or more.
solder- preferred leaded.
8 x 12x4.7 props 4 clockwise 4 counter clockwise (order spares!)
8 x 850/750/700 kv outrunner motors bell type
lots of various sized shrink tubing.
sandpaper

(Radio)
Turnigy 9xr
Frysky Jr module with telemetry RX
2 x frsky voltmeters (note i am referring to small meters that are less than $5 each they have a red and black wire coming off each end with a servo plug on one end)
Male to male servo plugs x 18
Male to female extension leads (any length) x 10
stickyback velcro
4x 2200MAH 3s battery or any 2 battery combination that totals at least 8000MAH


(these should be bought from rctimer.com , they are available at hobbking but do not include some of the extras.
APM 2.5 flight controller board
MAvlink for telemetry (not required)
Ublox GPS

YOu may have to source this elsewhere ( buy some 2cm wide clothing elastic at least 2 meters

The videos will be posted in step 2, step 3 and later will be text based.


Step 1: Full Video Tutorial, Next Step Is Text Tutorial.


The videos will be posted in step 2, step 3 and later will be text based.




 



 

 


 



Step 2: The Frame

By Jared Reabow



So once you have bought everything, the very first thing you should do is wait for it to arrive :)
once it has arrived check you have everything as building then finding you forgot something will be annoying.

Once the above is done, take out the frame and assemble it!.
You assemble the frame first because all the electronics are attached according to the frame.
As i said in the video DO not use the included motor mounts, they cause far to much vibration, rather mount the motors directly to the aluminum arms using the two screws provided which offer more than enough strength.

The frame arms have two holes in either end, when you get the two center plates, the plate with a star design cut into it is the top plate and the thicker plate is the bottom plate.
Firstly you will notice on each corner on both plates there are two slots, they are for the slot in landing gear, you must take the sandpaper and sand those holes to be much wider and longer, use one of the legs to test the holes and make sure you sand enough.

Now you have done this sanding,  you should proceed to build the frame, start  by screwing he top and bottom plates onto a single arm and tightening, This holds everything in place, continue screwing in the other arms making sure the two red arms are attached on the broad side of the rectangular shaped plates. (see first image)


Now that the arms are secured you have a choice, assemble the landing gear and put to the side to fit later, or assemble and fit.
You may wish to leave the gear off as it mkes setting up and securing the electronics far easier.
Your choice :)

Next step.

Step 3: The APM Flight Controller

By Jared Reabow




Take to now that the frame is built, you will want to set up and secure the APM to the frame.
Start by heating your hot glue gun and soldering iron.
Take the 4 nylon screws included and secure the large female to male scew to each corner of the frame with its bolts.
Look at the main image to give an idea of what i described,



You should not solder on the pins to the board, take reference from my video on how to solder.
You shouls solder the 90degree bent pins to the front of the board and back of the board, you do not need to slder any other pins, so keep the extras safe.
Once the nylon screws are secured, you should work on the mounts to hold the elastic.
You should create 4 mounts using the wire and make sure they are taller than the nylon screws so that when attached to the flight controller, it is suspended above the plate..
place the flight controller on the  center of the board with the white arrow pointing to the red arms.
now space the wire mounts about 2cm away from each corner and hook the rubber band into the leg, Hot glue them in place with the legs facing inwards. and stretch the bands over each nylon leg of the board.
It should either be suspended just above the frame or lightly touching.
IF it is to close to the board you can either raise the stands or try to slide the rubber band to the bottom of the nylon screws.
Another option would be buy some clothing elastic , roll small parts up and glue below each leg.

Now that the board is positioned and secured, it is time to install the gps and Mavlink
As i stated in the video, the APM comes with two cables, one for the gps and one for the MAVink
Simply remove the white plug to servo plug from the gps and mavlink and keep safe.
now fit the plugs to the mavlink and gps, The small white plugs go the the modules and the larger plugs to the board.
make sure the red wire goes to vdd on the module (at this point i recommend you watch my setup apm video)

Take the elastic or alternative if you could not get any (2cm wide strips of paper)
and roll them up to a thickness of about 2cm then secure with tape.
With your hot glue gun , Glue the gps pad into one of the furthest corners of the board.
Now that it is glued in place, take some tape and stick it to the bottom of the gps so that when it is glue in place, it does not damage the components should you want to remove it.
once the tape is in place, put some hot glue on the top of the pad, let it coll for about 10 seconds then push the gps onto the pad and hold in place for about 5 seconds.

Now the gps is secured you can plug it into the board, the plug is on the front rite and it facing directly up.
It is up to you where you secure the MAVlink, but try to position it in a corner.


Now that the system is secured, it is time to fit the receiver.
You can place it where you like, but i recommend taking some wire and constructing a small frame to sit over the APM, look at image 2.
Once you have the frame build, hot glue it in place, making sue it does not touch the APM.
On this frame you will place the receiver and tape the bar to it so should you need to remove it later you do not have messy hot glue.

you must now get the male to male servo plugs, you are likely to have bought either the one pin plug of the 3 pin plugs with a red white and black wire.
look atthe side of the reciever, you will see 3 symbols, a negative a positive and an Ohm ( Ω )
Plug one end of a servo plug into each of the ohm pins, if you have the 3 wire version then simply plug one into each 3 pins making sure the white wire goes to the ohm pin.
See the 3rd image for help.
If you have single plug servo leads then connect 8 to the ohm pins , one to the positive and one to the negative.
With the rx now wired you need to connect the wires to the flight controller
with the board flat, the top pins are the signal pins , if you look on the bottom the pins should be labeled 1 to 8 and and the same for the receiver, simply plug them in in order and remember to plug the two power leads in correctly, the center pins are positive and the bottom pins are negative.

Your receiver should now be wired in.
You should refer to the video on setting up the apm with missio nplanner, please also download and install the following

Make sure you download and install the following on your computer
http://ardupilot.com/downloads/http://ardupilot.com/downloads/

this is the driver for the telemetry pick the rite version for your computer
http://www.ftdichip.com/Drivers/D2XX.htm








Step 4: The Power System

By Jared Reabow



You need to first mount the motors to the frame, mount them to the aluminium arms, and remove the motor mount extentions if you had them installed.

Once the motors are all mounted you will need to plug in the ESC's (speed controller) to the board so you know how much work room you have, i recommend routing the servo plugs in between each arm and up through the center hole to the input pins.


ALWAYS REMEMBER TO SLIDE ON SOME SHRINK TUBING FOR EACH IRE TO COVER THE SOLDER JOINTS.
see the first image for where to plug each esc.
now that the escs are wires secure them in place n the rm with tape as hot glue will melt.
make sure there is slack in the servo wire.
With them now mounted, it is time to solder the esc's to the motors, you will need to cut length of silicone wire for each motor, i chose red wire for the front 4 and black for the back 4, but remember to solder one esc first so you can test its rotation by plugging it directly into the receiver and throttling up. and make sure it rotates the correct direction, if it does not, switch two of the 3 wires.
Take note of this as each motor will alternate between crossed wires and non crossed.

Each arm is likely to take about 20 minutes,

now that they are soldered you can start wiring in the power system, this is up to you on how you wire it in but i recommend tht you route the two power wires to the bottom of the frame , solder male bullet connectors on the red wires, female on the black wires.
Now get two xt60 female connectors and solder on the silicon wire about 2cm long (split the end of the wire in half to share between the two connectors, once this is done divide the other end of the wire up equally between the 8 opposite gender bullet connectors and solder them in place, then slide over some shrink tubing.
remember on the xt60, the negative pin is the top one with the triangular slot and the positive in the flat bottom one.

You will power 4 esc's on each side using these adapters you made.
Your power system is now built as on hobbking almost all batteries come with xt60 connectors.
You will need at this point to attach the landing gear if you have not.
Once attached you will take the Velcro and create battery straps, there are parralel slots in the legs to slide in velcrow which you will glue in plce with the hot glue.
you should also place some Velcro on the battery and on the legs to help secure them in place.
now you can strap in the batteries. however at this point, do not connect them.


You need to follow my video guide on setting up thefrsky radio if you have not set it up yet.
If you have not done so already, you must watch my video on setting up the apm for mission planner as it is very important.
once this is done you can plug in the batteries and test everything is working as it should.

Next step.

Step 5: Testing the Copter With Props Off!

 By Jared Reabow





standard parameters, them Now that everything is wired as it should be and set up from you following my tutorial video you can test the copter.
You must before you do anything make sure that pids are set correctly by doing the following:
Plug in the flight controller board to your computer and connect it to missionplanner.
once connected go to the configuration tab by clicking on it, then on the rite it will say standards params, click on that and wait.
on the left again a tab named arducopter config will appear, click on it and wait.
A to the rite a bbunch of value will appear,  look for the one that says rate roll
next to the letter p will be numbers, edit them to say 0.0800
then for the I edit it to ay 0.0700
at the bottom you will see a button that says rite parameters, click this and you are done.

Now you can connect the battery power making sure no propellers are attached.
put throttle to minimum and slide the yaw to the rite, you should see the blue nd red led start blinking quickly, the red led will then turn on solidly.
You now are arms, slowly lift the throttle until the motors move. (if you cannot get it to arm then email me at Jared_reabow@hotmail.com)
now that they are spinning move the aileron stick to the left, all the rite motors should speed up.
Move the elevator stick forwards and the rear motors should speed up.
now when you yaw to the left, all the motors pinning clockwise should speed up.
If this works correctly you are nearly ready to fly, if it does not, it means you have not wired up something correctly, go back and check.
now you need to check the stabilization is working correctly, throttle up the motors again (arm it first) and tilt it forwards, the front motor should speed up, tilt it left and the left motors should speed up, yaw it rite and the clockwise motors should speed up.

If this works then you are READY TO FLY!!!!


First things first, start on grass nd do not hover above 2 meters until you are confident which could take 20 flights.
also make sure it hovers steadily, if it does not you will have to take it back to your computer, connect it, either with the mavlink or usb and go to the config tab, then arducopter level, then click the calibrate accelerometers.
Now it should fly level, you cn test it, if it does ok you ccan move to setting up the PIDS.
Whe outside and powered disarm the copter if it is armed, then hold the yaw to the rite as if to arm but keep holding until a yellow light next to the blue light turns on.
Then take it up and hover it as still as possible, it should calibrate itself.

And thats it,
thanks for using my guide.

Step 6: New Designs (just an Update)

this does not count as part o the drones contest It is an update 





So as of 12th of july i made new frames for a new copter, but i decided i would push the limits of 2d designing a 3d model and came up with some innovative designs,

I was in contact with a company that studies copter and found interesting design features that increased efficiency and stability.

Anging the motos on a 10 degree tilt increases stability significantly, Raising the motors above cg can make the copter more stable and mounting the motors under the frame rather than on top gave a 9% power and efficiency increase in flight  due to no turbulence on the frame.


So i had that in mind for one frame, my other frame i wanted to be compact, so i could easily take it places without using up too much space.
So i wanted a folding frame but the conventional frame where the arms all fold down was a big issue, the joints had to be large to withstand the force they would be under and i would need 8 joins that add weight and unreliability,
So i came up with an entirely new frame that as far as i can see has never been made before. :)

Comments

author
Ranjita Mohanty (author)2017-06-11

Jared, I couldn't find a APM 2.5 & Ublox GPS for the octocopter but I found a set with Arduflyer 2.5.2, Telemetry, GPS. Please check if it is right for the octocopter or not. The Link:http://rctimer.com/product-1273.html

author

That is fine.
However i would recommend this flight controller:

https://hobbyking.com/en_us/eagletree-vector-flight-controller-w-osd-gps-and-psu-sensor.html?___store=en_us

author
Yashkin0 (author)2016-01-18

This issue was probably addressed but do these programs work on a Mac?

author
ajagadeesh (author)2015-02-25

hi can I hav the laser cut files of the same to build one ??

author
Benjamin1212 (author)2014-09-12

That is awesome

author
vreddy23 (author)2014-02-08

what is the weight of the frame ? and how long your 8000MAH batters are working ?

author
pcook10 (author)2014-02-03

hey is there any way that you could control this with a controler

author
jbernal6 (author)2013-11-04

Ok, so i am very new to DIY copters. But me and my friend wanna make some and see whos goes the furthest ( we figure thats a good way to tell who wins), my question is what is the furthest one of these octocopters fly. I mean can i send one to the next state with a rose atached for some next level romantic shet, or is it more like city to city?

author
Jared_Reabow (author)jbernal62013-11-04

5 miles is your average range. it is reduced depending on weather and weight etc but also increased based on that.

capacity is about 3-5k, not enough for a baby but enough for a dog or cat

author
jbernal6 (author)Jared_Reabow2013-11-05

THX for the info. So what do you think the lightest frame could be, is there any sites that sell some type of bucky paper parts or something.

author
jbernal6 (author)2013-11-04

P.S. can i make one big enough to carry a baby, ( i swear im just curious)

author
mday8 (author)2013-09-13

Hey, I am about to build your setup. Do you have any suggestions before I do this? Any updates, including your new design?

How can i make it more efficient?

author
Jared_Reabow (author)mday82013-09-13

hey the new frame flies brilliantly and is very strong!
to make it more efficient i would suggest thinner arms eg the arms are 5 x 5 CM which gives tonnes of internal space but adds weight

author
chanlee1718 (author)2013-08-03

send me d all details with price futurescientist10@gmail.com

author
husamwadi (author)2013-07-11

Thats some good info on the apm 2.5 board, I'll be using this instructable when I switch over to that board.

Thanks!

author
vonchilliman (author)2013-06-17

Fantastic Instructable! Thanks for posting! I can't wait to try building a quad or hexacopter.

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