Picture of Scratch build your own quad-copter!
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For this instructable i will be showing how I scratch built my own quad-copter!
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Step 1: What shall it do?

The first thought you have to think before even purchasing a single material or part is what do you want it to do? Do you want something that is fun to fly? or maybe take some aerial photography? Maybe a combo of both? Either way this page will give a breakdown of the pros and cons of each multi-rotor craft out there, but first two of the biggest rules about brushless motors.

Rule 1: Brushless Motors are twice as efficient than brushed on lower power levels(under 65%)
Rule 2: More Motors means more power and more lift!

Tricopter: The little baby brother of the multi-rotor family. Its one of the easiest to build and the cheapest to build, however when it comes down to performance its motors take the most strain because they are running on a higher throttle than any of its other siblings leaving it with low flight time and low lift capabilities. 

Quadcopter: One of the most popular craft in the multi-rotor family. Its a little more challenging to build and a little more expensive. The quad is only a couple grams heavier with the extra rotor but that extra rotor gives the quad a huge boost in lifting capabilities and flight time. If a motor fails though the whole vehicle will go down. 

Hexacopter: In-between a quad and an octacopter. It can be difficult to build and more expensive to make and it also takes more ground prep time then the quad or the tricopter because it tends to have multiple batteries. It can carry a much heavier load than the quad can but it may require 2 batteries to achieve the desired flight time you want from a multi-rotor. Even if one of the motors fails you will just lose yaw control of the aircraft but manage to stay flying. 

Octacopter: The big brother of multi rotors. It is the most challenging and the most expensive to build. It can take the heaviest load for the largest payload you want on it and can have up to a 40 minute flight time. Before flight it can require a lot of prep work as some octacopter a can take up to 4 LiPo batteries. 
JeffreyS56 hours ago

A lot of time with these is spent Hovering. How much power would it save if you built in a helium bladder to make the drone almost neutral buoyant?

Very good! Any thoughts on using dc motors from common dvd and vcr parts?
elkodri2 months ago

i wish i can build that ,,,, unfortunatly i cannot ,,, so i just gonna say nice tutorial

Hi so i was wandering how could i adjust this so it will just follow me? I want to be able to get it out press go and get it to just follow me from about 10 feet?

To do that, you'd need some sort of small beacon device to strap onto your wrist or whatever. I'm not sure about the details but you can read about it here:

sarthaks14 months ago


i am sarthak sethi from india and i am very interested in making a quadcopter. I followed all your instructions, but now i am stuck up with a problem. I am not getting how ans where to connect the receiver to the setup..... plese help me???..

john.avis.314 months ago

flight times, please. With load, without load, hovering, and continually moving, if you could please

hey which motors did you used?
and can I get that online?
spdon987 months ago

but i dont have all the motor as same,i have 2 pair and both r different

pdesai58 months ago

Most of the blogs/website say we need minimum of Four channels for a quadcopter (pitch, roll, throttle, yaw):

1. One channel for throttle

2. second channel for turning right and left.

3. third channel for pitching forward and backward.

4. fourth one for rolling left and right.

[Radio Transmitter Image](

But looking at the RC transmitter , i see that at a time you can change a maximum of two sets data ( left and right joy stick) . Even if you want to send Rudder and Throttle information at the same , can it not be sent in the same packet ?

My understanding is two channels should be sufficient to control quad copter. Please provide more clarity on this.

arce8 months ago

you have a diagram of your circuit please...
I could send it to my email?..

I am from mexico

I will be very grateful :]

kahaan9 months ago
Which cells are you using
Great looking quad. Curious about the acrylic sheets you used. Were they stiff enough? And where did you find them for $0-$5?
kborgen (author)  mackyfranklin1 year ago
not quite, id rather have them a little bit stiffer. I found scrap acrylic and they offered them cheaply to me
244 Jake1 year ago
I didn't read anything about getting the thing to fly, or the adjustment / programming of the auto gyro stuff.

244 Jake
dchall81 year ago
I'm not sure if you had a reason to leave all the wires wrapped loose like that but there is something you need to know about aerodynamics. Almost nothing creates drag like a cylinder. Your mesh of loose wires is a very efficient drag device. If you use the quad outdoors the wind will "catch" on those wires and carry the quad away very easily. Or you will drain unnecessary power trying to fight the wind and keep the quad where you want it.
scci1 year ago
What is the flight time with say a 250 gram load.
Proveus1 year ago
Absolutely fantastic 'ible. I love it.
dsirotic1 year ago
hello. what motors should i use to pull up alot in the air a go pro camera?
kborgen (author)  dsirotic1 year ago
The motors on it now can handle a GoPro easily. If you want to put some of those $1000+ cameras id recommend going with a hex or an octa because if a motor gives out on them they wont drop it
No i will just use my Hero 3 camera, i paid for it $300. I would like to to aerial video of my riding, because I ride motocross. And some aerial photos of landscapes and other things, but i need something that will go alot in the air, and maybe i will put an exploding mini parachute for it, so it doesn't wreck if something fails.
slartifast1 year ago
Nice job. I'd put the ESC's on the arms with cable ties and shorten some of the wires to tidy it up a bit. And you could make it even cheaper by using KK2 instead of APM, it's not got all the bells & whistles of the APM but would do well for someone just starting.
kborgen (author)  slartifast1 year ago
yeah i only had a 2 week deadline to build it and very limited supplies so i didn't get the chance to make it nice and tidy. I just wanted it flying lol
Any advice on building a quadcopter to be controlled entirely by computer? I'm interested in experimenting with AI for flying robots. I guess it would be similar needs to aerial photography, since it would need some stability and be carrying a small load?(Small computer instead of camera?)
kborgen (author)  CShaffer2121 year ago
The APM chip on the quad is is ready to fly autonomously just need to put in waypoints for it to go
if you get an ar drone you can control it from the ez robot sdk
slartifast1 year ago
APM board will do what you want. Can setup waypoints using computer and it will fly automatically.
One of those would have sold for about $ 1500.oo back in the 50's Yup.!
could you test the payload for this quad copter and tell me what it is

kborgen (author)  TREX ZoaR0K1 year ago
I've tested it up to 2 Kg total quad weight with the current motors, props, and frame. The max payload can vary for what you make your frame out of and what you feel comfortable flying. For me that was around 2 Kg before i started to feel like it was getting a little dangerous to fly.
Hope that helps
i was going to check the payload because i would like to make a frame out of pvc ill post a instructable when i do
Drywater1 year ago
Awesome! But I'd love to see some video of it in the air!
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stegu131 year ago
awesome. Could you also post what was the price for components and the whole project altogether?
Also what are the plans for frame?
Does it have enough lift for additional payload?

Thank you for answers :) bye
kborgen (author)  stegu131 year ago
For me it cost around $300 total with all the parts being brand new. I posted the designs under frame, they are adobe illustrator files (i use illustrator to cut on the laser). It should also have plenty of room for more add-ons just remember that you still want it to be maneuverable so you shouldn't go super heavy
Skyhawk6171 year ago
Great instructable. Thanks for helping clarify regarding motors, battery, PDB etc.