Instructables
Picture of Sturdy Quadcopter Build
This is my first instructables that I decided to post. I was obsessed by these amazing flying machines for quite a while until I ended up coming across some fantastic How-To guides on YouTube that made me realize building a Quad wasn't as hard as it sounded. After many days of in depth research and creating my detailed shopping list I ordered all of my parts (mostly on http://www.hobbyking.com but I also ordered  some other small items such as the bullet connectors and Velcro straps off eBay and amazon) and then I decided to share my own build. I hope this helps other eager Quadcopter pioneers in making their own Quads. 

Prerequisite skills:
- Basic Soldering
-General Electronic Knowledge
-How to operate a Dremel (this is optional)

This guide should be pretty simple for any beginner Quadcopter designers because most of the construction and programming is almost all plug-and-play meaning that you don't have to worry about building your own flight controller and receiver to operate the Quad! 

All the programming that is done in this project (If you follow the shopping list) is done by the flight control board and a Ready-Made programming card for the ESC's.

Another option you have in this guide is the choice between soldering your own power distribution set-up or buying a compact power distribution board. The power distribution board really simplifies life because it cuts down on the amount of soldering required and its then incredibly easy to swap out broken ESC's if you have a wicked crash. 

!SAFETY! The last thing I want to say before we jump into building the Quad is that some of these steps require inferno like heat and razor sharps blades! Therefore please be CAUTIOUS I actually cant stress this enough after almost slicing my foot after not properly calibrating my ESC's and then testing my Quad. 

Any and all feedback/comments would really be appreciated :) 

EDITS:

Edit #1


Added prop balancer to the parts page.
- Added Gorilla glue option to the optional supplies list.
- Added new explanation to the final paragraph in wiring/programming page.
- Added explanation on parts page about prop & motor problem.

GOPRO Mounting has received a fair bit of questioning lately so I figured I would give a little bit of an explanation as to what is and isn't possible. And answer some frequently asked questions.

Can this setup carry a GOPRO camera?

 - 
Yes it can. This setup has more than enough power to take a GOPRO up into the air.

How do I mount my GOPRO on this particular Quadcopter?

 - 
Right now you can't.

Why can't I mount my GOPRO on this Quadcopter?

 - 
Because currently I do not have the time to think up or figure out a way to attach a mount on the baseplates.

This summer I plan on figuring out a way to mount my GOPRO on the Quad but for now (to me at least) it's really not that big of an issue. If this seems like too long for all of you "FPV" and video enthusiasts then by all means you are free to find a way to do it yourself, or you can buy a Quadrotor with pre-installed mounts.  But I unfortunately do not have the time.

END of EDIT
 
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Engin3333r3 months ago

By the way, it is indeed capable of carrying a gopro.

temp_1072703504.jpg
Chris_Schroeder (author)  Engin3333r3 months ago

That's incredible, really nice looking Quadcopter you built. Glad you figured out a way to mount the gopro! I'm very impressed.

Engin3333r3 months ago

Hi! I built my first quadcopter with the help of your instructions. Thank you! Greetings from germany!!

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Chris_Schroeder (author)  Engin3333r3 months ago

Congratulations! That's looking awesome!

JoooostB3 months ago

Hello,

I'm kinda new to quadcopters so here is my question:

The KK 2.0 isn't available anymore. Is the KK 2.1 as good as the KK 2.0 and does it work the same? Thank you!

Chris_Schroeder (author)  JoooostB2 months ago

I am not sure that I can properly answer this question because I haven't used the KK2.1 but I believe it should work the same.

Thank you for your answer. Gonna order my parts tonight, great instructions btw

did the kk2.1 end up working?

is it remote controllable..?

are you serious? no it's not. you'll build one and then it will decide if it likes you or not. just like a cat. it may like your neighbour more and leave you to belong to them or it may fly away to Africa for the winter. you never know, these quads have strange personalities, therefore cannot be controlled. people are strange sometimes, don't you think guys? :D
chewdog31618 days ago

This is a great build, so informative. I have two questions.

1. Do you reccomend any additional videos, like you mentioned above, or instruction links that you may have used.

2. Have you considered adding the gps function, gyro stabilizers, or any other item that the high end drones use. To make it autonomous, if you will.

Chris_Schroeder (author)  chewdog31618 days ago

To answer your questions:

1. I used to have quite a few videos on hand that I used while making this guide. The only one I remember at the moment is this one: Its a tutorial to understand the auto-level settings on the KK2 board.

2. Yes, I have given lots of thought into making this build autonomous but unfortunately I have lots of other ideas in the works that are over-ruling this desire.

Thanks so much for your feedback and questions! I appreciate them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0Bh3fMGHbM, The last link didn't work here is the video link.

lburton32 months ago

Thank you for the help on the charger. However i have been having some trouble with flying. It seems that two of the prop are stronger then the other two. (1 and 2 are strong the 3 and 4) Because of this it just spins out and I'm unable to fly it.

lburton3 made it!2 months ago

Hello, Thank you for making this Instructable. I have just finished making the quad copter and was wondering what power supply did you use to for the charger?

Screenshot_2014-05-21-22-30-56[1].png
Chris_Schroeder (author)  lburton32 months ago

http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewIt...

This is the power supply ^ works great, no issues.

http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewIt...

And this is the Balancer/Charger ^ for your batteries, also no issues.

Both of these should be in the guide, if not let me know!

Thank you for the help on the charger. However i have been having some trouble with flying. It seems that two of the prop are stronger then the other two. (1 and 2 are strong the 3 and 4) Because of this it just spins out and i'm unable to fly it.

cribmax232 months ago

Do you have any recommendations regarding FPV on your build? Does a bigger battery, like more mAh mean longer flight time? And can you upgrade the range for the radio transmitter/reciever so I could take it farther distances? I'll appreciate your feedback.

Mech_Eng2 months ago

Great guide! Ordered my parts 2 weeks ago and here it is. Had some rocky first flights, but some easy trim adjustments on the flight controller were all I needed to get a super stable, self-leveling quad! It was quite gusty when I took this video and yet the quad flew no problem. I took the video using my gopro hero 3, which I hung from the bottom of the quad using a velcro strap.

quadcopter.jpg
First Park Flight.wmv(516x290) 18 KB
Chris_Schroeder (author)  Mech_Eng2 months ago

Awesome awesome awesome! This is fantastic! Very well done. Really glad you had a flawless build.

zach3006 months ago

I am thinking of making this copter and I was wondering what the average flight time of it is?

Chris_Schroeder (author)  zach3006 months ago

I get an average flight time of 15 minutes. Longest I've ever flown is half an hour, this is currently my longest flight on record so far.

can i use a bigger battery

Chris_Schroeder (author)  Coolnventions2 months ago

Yes you can, you just need to make sure that the ESC's can still handle the higher power output if you UP the discharge rate. And if you want to keep the number of cells and discharge rate the same then look for a battery with a higher mAh.

8-10min.

fish_dude3 months ago

How much can this quad lift?

I wanted to mount fpv gear on a quad and also carry a payload of one or two pounds and just wanted to know if this quad could lift that much.

Thanks

zimbo_ouen3 months ago

Hi Chris. What type, size and length screws did you use to mount the motors on the frame bracket? I have the same frame as you and was hoping to get these from you rather than try loads of different ones to find which fits?

I'd really appreciate it and thanks for the guide. I'm making my very very similiar to yours!

coubnoob4 months ago

hi,

I followed your tuto (thx) but I think something is not good. Indeed when I try to calibrate the ESC the board card stays on "calibrating esc" and doesn t ring once but the esc ring 3 times. (Not like the video).

Is there something I missed?

Thx

coubnoob coubnoob4 months ago
*Smthg is not good on my drone :)
wjmetcalf6 months ago

I built this. All-in cost about $450.00 (USD) Nice description, Chris! Bought the KK2.1. All is well except for the KK2.1 output for the 4th motor. I calibrated the ESC's using the card, and then with the 'all at once'. Beeps, etc....were good. Problem is that one motor just does not spin up. I changed it at the FC and the 'other' motor would not spin up, so it's not the motor or ESC....it's the output at the FC. There is a definite order to when the motors start spinning. I have calibrated the FC/ESC's about 20 times now. I have not flashed the KK2.1 with 1.6. Thoughts?

quad.jpg

Looks like you also REALLY need to get some heat shrink over those motor connectors. You're begging for them to short against each other.

Just to make sure, is the KK2.1 in quadcopter mode not tricopter? Also, it appears your flight control board is positioned to be in a + configuration, however your propellers suggest you want an X configuration. Is this intended? If so, you can ignore the previous sentence. Another note is that you have three propellers in the CCW direction and only one CW, I'm not sure of the exact configuration for the + configuration, but if you select Load Motor Layout on the KK2.1 board it will show the correct propeller orientation, however I do know that 2 of the propellers should be CCW and 2 should be CW. Viewing the Motor Layout should also make sure it is in quadcopter mode. To answer your original question, it could be a problem with the board, however I'm not sure of this so don't go ordering a new one until you have further confirmation.

dmartinez415 months ago
I think I figured out the props orientation but I have another question. To turn it on/off we have to plug in and out the battery every time? Is their another way?
Chris_Schroeder (author)  dmartinez415 months ago

Yes, as far as I know this is the only way. Unless you want to go through the trouble of making a homemade switch for your quad, and if you do, then by all means go for it and let me know how it works out.

In my opinion unplugging it and plugging it back in is the most reasonable way to go, since you will have to take out the battery anyway to recharge it. Just my opinion on this though.

dmartinez415 months ago
I finally finished building it but I have to take it out to fine tune it. I bought two types or props. Cw/ccw but I have no idea in what order the go. Can someone clarify?
mmo95 months ago

i wonder if you can give a direct link for the source Code ?

kballar35 months ago

Hi Chris. This is a great tutorial. I'm new to all this stuff and confused on the ESCs. It looks like the ones you mentioned have their own BEC. The manual for KK2.1 mentions a UBEC if using OPTO? I guess what I'm asking is...if you get the KK2 or KK2.1 and get ESCs with BECs do you need to do anything extra? Should all 4 ESCs have BEC?. I've also been looking at the Naza M Lite controller and it's got me a little confused because it looks like it uses OPTO and no kind of BEC or UBEC in the build. One more question, regarding the PDB, If I buy a frame like the DJI F450, it has it's own PDB built in. Will the KK2 work with that? Thank you for your time, I hope my questions aren't confusing.

sannu6 months ago

Hi Chris.. Excellent tutorial.. I'm preparing the same quad as your with almost all the part list of yours( except motors and props).. But I got a problem with motor fitting.. The base of Turnigy Park motor is touching the frame, when tightly fit and its providing some sort of friction to the motors.. If I loosen it a bit, and apply little throttle, the nuts were unscrewing by themselves.. How did you successfully mount your motors to the Talon frame..?? This is the only obstruction for me, to fly my quad.. All other calibrations, settings were successfully applied.. Do in need any other screw set for this purpose..?? Of what length..?? Please help me over this issue..

Thank you..

Chris_Schroeder (author)  sannu6 months ago

Hi sannu! The reason you are having so much trouble getting the motors to attach is that thye are not the same ones I am using and that I have listed in my guide. Hope this helps!

I somehow fitted some extra nuts and solved that issue.. Completed the quad and had a flight test.. CRASH!!!! It flew 1/2 foot and a 9x4.7R prop got unfitted from the motor, along with the prop adapter.. :( I swapped its position to another motor.. Still the same issue.. I balanced the props.. Then why did it happen so..?? Can you help me..??

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