Introduction: Personal Drone System (Me and My Predator)

Picture of Personal Drone System (Me and My Predator)

Build your very own Personal Drone System. Otherwise know as, "Me and My Predator".

I'm an Artist in Residence at, this is my first finished project created during my residency. I've created a completely autonomous, analog drone that attaches to your head.

You can't see it when you turn your head, but you know it is there!

Feeling insecure? Looking for that extra bit of protection? Do you want to feel what it is like to live under droned skies? Well this project is for you!

If you like this project or are curious about what else I do, visit my website here:

Step 1: Supplies...

Picture of Supplies...

Supplies for this project:

1) Predator Drone model. I picked up an Italeri 1/72 scale model off of ebay. I chose to build the model as highly realistic as possible (I was a model building geek as a kid). Feel free to build it and just paint it grey, or, print out a small predator drone on a 3D printer as in the photo of the white one above. You just need a small drone, this one has a wingspan of about 8" and is very light - you definitely want your drone to be as light as possible!

2) 3/4 aluminum flat bar - bought a 36" piece at Home Depot.

3) A selection of 1/4" socket cap screws, two for the head clamps, one for keeping the rod in place, length for the head clamps depends on the size of your head.

4) 1/8th inch carbon fiber rod. Ok, you don't need a carbon fiber rod but it is really cool to have an art project with a carbon fiber rod (just saying). I bought mine locally at Tap Plastics. You can also use a 1/8th inch aluminum rod but this will be heavier.

5) A small piece 1/4" thick grey felt and adhesive backed velcro strips.

6) A small scrap of Delrin plastic for the piece that attaches the rod to the headband.

7) Door stop replacement caps and two 1/4" screw caps.


I had access to an amazing woodshop/metal shop at - you should be able to do this project with the following tools however:

1) Hand drill (a drill press is preferable).

2) Vertical belt sander and bench grinder.

3) Tap and Die set.

4) Hack saw or other metal cutting saw.

5) Work gloves.

6) Scissors.

7) Flexible tape measure.

Step 2: Make Your Headband.

Picture of Make Your Headband.

1) Measure your head - you will need to measure the distance around your head, roughly from temple to temple. You can do this with a sewing measuring tape that you hold around your head or a piece of string or shoelace that you then lay down on a ruler to get your measure. I have a large head, for me it was 18" from temple to temple, so I cut my 36" piece of 3/4" aluminum in half.

2) Bend your bar - I used the shop bench grinder to carefully bend the piece of aluminum into a tight "C" shape, very careful to bend from the center. You really do need something big, round and solid to do this. I used my work gloves for this step to protect my hands while bending. You want this to almost be able to stay on your head by itself but not quite.

3) Cut screw holes - once you have the piece to where it fits on your head, screw holes with ether your hand drill or a bench press. I actually made this band twice, the second version I used for the final piece as I cut the holes while the bar was flat, which is much easier to do than when the bar is curved.

4) Tap the screw holes to fit the 1/4" screws.*

5) Insert your screws and put the door stops and screw caps in place (I put the door stops over the rubber screw caps for a snug fit and comfort).

*You will see two kinds of screws, the ones with the knob were what I thought I might use but I replaced these with standard screws just to keep things more simple and streamlined aesthetically

Step 3: Make Your Rod Anchor

Picture of Make Your Rod Anchor

This was fairly complicated to make - you can probably use a piece of wood or other plastic - I have access to some amazing materials at Instructables so was able to find a piece of Delrin that worked perfectly. You can probably pick up such scraps at your local plastics supply. Anyway, I drilled and tapped most of the screw holes on this before cutting it down to size.

1) First off figure out the desired angle for your rod - how far back your drone with float above and behind your head is defined by this choice.

2) I cut and thread two holes for the anchor screws to the headband - these were 10-14 machine screws.

3) Then cut the 1/8" wide hole for your rod at the angle you defined in step one.

4) This is followed by making a tapped hole for a 10-24 or 1/4 screw to hold the 1/8" rod in place.

5) Finally, I used an oscillating spindle sander to sand down the side of the plastic that meets the head band to fit perfectly to the curve. This is important, otherwise your anchor piece will likely wobble.

6) Attache this with your 10-24 screws to the headband.

Step 4: Attach the Headband Padding.

Picture of Attach the Headband Padding.

As this headgear is only anchored by the screws with rubber caps going to your temples, you need to put something at the back of the headband to keep it from sliding down your head. I tried two solutions, both worked, I liked the second version best:

1) First I tried some 3/4" one sided sticky window insulation High Density Foam Tape. This worked ok but slipped a bit. I added a piece of velcro, just the one side with the hard plastic velcro surface in the hope that this would hold in place better to the back of the head. It worked!

2) I opted to try another solution that I like better. I found a piece of 1/4" thick grey felt fabric, cut this into a 2"x3.5" rectangle. I then cut another piece of hard velcro surface that I stuck to one side of the felt.

3) I used both pieces of velcro, adhesive backed tape to then attach this entire felt piece to the inside of the back of the band, covering the screws that hold the rod hardware in place. The other full surface of velcro should be facing where your head will be.

Step 5: Prepare the Drone for the Rod

Picture of Prepare the Drone for the Rod

1) Use a small tube of styrene plastic about 5/8" long, cut one side at 90 degrees the other at a 45 degree angle. This sleeve will fit perfectly over the carbon fiber rod.

2) Use a jewelers hand held drill or just hold the drill bit in your hand to very gently and gradually cut a hole in the fuselage that is the same size as your piece of styrene. Be sure and cut this at the same angle as the hole in the piece of anchor plastic attached to the headband. This will result in the drone model flying level above and behind your head.

3) Be sure your styrene sleeve fits, then spray paint this little piece flat black. Glue in place, set aside to dry.

Step 6: Put It All Together and Go for a Walk!

Picture of Put It All Together and Go for a Walk!

I first tried this with the full 4' length of carbon fiber, this was a bit too long as the piece kind of bounced a bit and tended to pull the headband down towards the back of my neck. As you move this length of the rod and the drone put too much force on the head gear. To fix this, I trimmed the piece to 36" which now works just fine.

That is about it! Now you have a drone that you can call your very own!

I will be posting further information on this project and others on my website in the weeks to come. Feel free to visit:


AitorS1 (author)2017-04-24

oh my...

Just4Fun Media (author)2016-05-14

Why not make a flying model? This one only takes 20 minutes.

Amarotica (author)2014-09-25

wtf, how is this a drone? this is very miscatagorized, don't name it a "Personal drone system" if you glue it to your hat, that isn't a drone.

Just4Fun Media (author)Amarotica2016-05-14

You can always made a Quadcopter look like a predator. Mine only took me 20 minutes.

delappe (author)Amarotica2014-09-25

You don't see a drone? Funny, I don't either...

CameronG2 (author)delappe2015-06-05


Amarotica (author)2014-09-25

wtf, how is this a drone? this is very miscatagorized, don't name it a "Personal drone system" if you glue it to your hat, that isn't a drone.

Just4Fun Media (author)Amarotica2016-05-14

You can just build a mini Quadcopter one.

cliffyd (author)2016-02-15

remove this please

Blaise_Gauba (author)2015-06-05

Interesting. Interesting how so many 'Merkkkans just don't "get it".

Blaise_Gauba (author)2014-12-08

I think it is a fantastic political statement. If you don't get that...then you are just another non-thinking American zombie "drone."

Mr. Delappe...what have been the reactions from people in public when they see this drone hovering over your head? I'm curious to know what passers-by think or how they respond.

x burn (author)2014-10-06


pyarion (author)2014-09-18


Cheese Queen (author)2014-09-13

there is a be nice policy, so I'll just say nothing.....

mcmonte (author)2014-09-13

This is a great design for a lightning rod :p

I'd use a 1/87 scale diecast version of the drone if I could suspend it magnetically, using magnets in a ball cap.

Alas, I don't think it's possible!

ElectroFrank (author)mcmonte2014-09-13

Revell used to make "Magic Flight" 1/72 model planes (these can turn up on Ebay etc), invisibly held up by a magnet, and stabilised by invisible threads, so this could certainly be done. The principle is simple: a large ring magnet repels the same pole of a small magnet fixed in the plane. However, the ring magnet is quite heavy, so you would need to design a well padded cap.

But the principle is entirely sound. Repeat repeatedly for your favourite helicopters, birds, insects, flying saucers, allow your mind to boggle. This well could catch on in certain circles.

Special effect 1: paint the underside of the aircraft with green and red fluorescent paint dots for the navigation lights, illuminated by an upward-pointing UV LED on the cap.

Special effect 2: fit a small speaker and signal generator in the cap to make occasional droning noises. All your friends will now admire (or totally avoid) you.

EricC2 (author)2014-09-13

Now you need to get your Instructable buddies to install a raspberry pi wi-fi video.

ingkiller (author)2014-09-12

would be cool if you could mount a really small cam on the drone

dbabinov (author)2014-09-12

I have no nice positive thoughts on it, so my comment is blank :)

keng (author)dbabinov2014-09-12

No it isnt

Myykuul (author)2014-09-12

I love it! Bravo, delappe!

pauladaunt1 (author)2014-09-12


ccrazed (author)2014-09-12

I don't get it

jeffperso (author)2014-09-12

What about a webcam on it ?... and a T-Shirt "Smile ! You are being droned" ?

RayJN (author)2014-09-11

I would have used Photoshop to remove the rod

RayJN (author)RayJN2014-09-11

The rod is gone. click to see the whole image

ryry214 (author)2014-09-11

This + video camera + bluetooth + smartphone = We can all be Mario

Grisling (author)2014-09-10

Haha this is funny! i was quite dissapointed when i clicked the thumbnail though, the headline is somewhat misleading, i thought this was an instructable on making an actual autonomous drone that would be capable og following you...

Cypher279 (author)Grisling2014-09-11

Look up the 3DR IRIS, you'll have a good time

kondzio29 (author)2014-09-10

wait... what is the point of wearing this thing on your head? i don't get it

Anytime he takes a selfie it looks like a drone is either watching over him to keep him safe or it's spying on him.

ahaha I guess the jokes isn't your type of humor.. but he has his own personal drone... drones seem to be all the rage these days... I think the idea is pretty clever.

kentcampbell (author)kondzio292014-09-11

It's art. There's a point somewhere... or not...

mbogelund (author)kondzio292014-09-10

He actually says so in the beginning of the instructable:

"Feeling insecure? Looking for that extra bit of protection? Do you want
to feel what it is like to live under droned skies? Well this project is
for you!"

Johnkaye (author)2014-09-11

Funny Instructable. Good to see something simple and humorous. Simpler, lighter weight predator drone model is available here:

It is a printable card model. I have no connection to the site other than being a customer and modeler for many years. They have hundreds of card models in many categories.

manutea (author)2014-09-11

Haha ; good idea : I like it !:

antioch (author)2014-09-11

Great art can be both deep and humorous.

agis68 (author)2014-09-11

next time try to wear a helmet. It would be more careful than this now no offence! Add some navigation led lights and maybe a button camera

Ray from RI (author)2014-09-11

Now this is rather funny...!!!

I am not sure you intended it to be funny but thanks for the laugh...!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry if your insulted.... but it really hit my funny bone with this....!

mfarooqi (author)2014-09-11

I'm from Pakistan, the most affected country by USA's drones' attacks. ...

you can hide the road as much as possible with head.. rotate your face upward and only some part of drone stay visible can make it intersting..

delappe (author)mfarooqi2014-09-11

Take a look at my website, there are several other projects dealing with drones - including memorials to the civilian deaths of drone strike victims in Pakistan.

I don't mind the rod being visible - we think of drones as magically floating in the sky above foreign nations we wish to bomb - somehow detached from us in the US - the rod actually makes physical our direct connection to these devices being used in our name. Peace to you. -Joseph

64Anthonyp (author)2014-09-11

I want one...I think.

fixfireleo (author)2014-09-11

this is PERFECT if you are planning on using the insanity plea! lol

lynettewood (author)2014-09-11

I liked the title. Loved the idea. I would photoshop or paste in my face though and skip the steps. Then email a few friends and say that it follows me occasionally and this was last week. My friends wouldn't be surprised.

raptor_demon (author)2014-09-10

i wonder if you could use an acrylic rod to make it seem less visable.

delappe (author)raptor_demon2014-09-10

Yeah, I thought the same thing, acrylic rods are far too flexible though, they bounced. -joseph

fred3655 (author)2014-09-10

I also found the title misleading. Even scanned through the write up because I just wanted to make sure.

snotty (author)2014-09-09


ara (author)2014-09-09

A good gift for some us americans ...

MadMuz (author)2014-09-09

Haha I see what u did there..

About This Instructable




More by delappe:3D Printed Drone Strike Data InstallationLaser Etch Rubber Stamps for a Drone Stamp Revolution!Silver Leaf a 3D Print
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