Introduction: Mini Drone - Crash and Remake

About: Builder, Baker, Athlete Maker. Enthusiast of things.

If you've ever purchased a small drone you probably had about 3 minutes of flying and then you wrecked it into a wall. At least that's me. Here's what I noticed about some of these small drone sets:

  • the frames are ok, light, but nothing special
  • you should get supply of props because those don't last long
  • if the electrical seems dead, it's usually just a simple solder joint that needs to be fixed

I put together this Instructable as a template for rebuilding your drone over and over. It's written for a JJRC H8 Mini Drone, but you could modify the drawing for a larger drone set.

Step 1: Parts List

Here's what you need: [I put prices for components if you need to find them online]

  1. A new frame. I've uploaded the file I used to laser cut a frame and feet. I used 3mm plywood. I tried 2mm, but the frame easily broke at the motor insert. You could also try acrylic, but it would be heavier and you'd lose power/decrease flight time.
  2. Drone Receiver. I used the JJRC H8 Mini. You can see it has the antenna embedded and the battery cable with JST connector already attached. You can get these here. ($10.49)
  3. Drone Transmitter/controller. These usually need to be paired with each other. Since I'm using the JJRC H8, I'm also using it's transmitter. This one is nice and compact. (I found them on Ebay ~ $6.49)
  4. LiPo Battery. You need to balance power with the weight of the battery itself. The bigger the battery, the more heavy etc. I'm just using the Lipo battery for the JJRC. It's a 3.7V 150mah and has the JST DS cable end. If you have a different cable end, you can always solder on this cable (I've found JST cables on EBAY for cheap). Otherwise you can easily get this battery online here. ($14.99 for 5 and a charger).
  5. Motor Set. I haven't tried out different motors yet on the JJRC board, so these are the ones for the original drone. You need 2 motors that turn Clockwise and 2 that turn Counter Clockwise. They have different colored wires. You can get 1 set (2CW/2CCW) here. ($11.99)
  6. Propellers. You need 4. With the JJRC, they are all the same. Some drones have an A & B Prop to denote which motor they go on. You can get a bunch here. ($5.98)
  7. Extra: If you don't have a charging cable for the JST connector on the Lipo battery, you can usually find one on Ebay for a few dollars. You just need it to charge a JST DS connection. Usually via USB cable.

If you don't have drone parts or you don't want to find them/ship them, you can get the complete kit from Kitables:

Step 2: Cut Your Frame

Here are the files I used for this frame. You could alter them in Inskape (free program) and then export to a .dxf or .plt file for use in your local laser cutter. I tried to cut out material to make it light but still strong.

Step 3: Solder Your Motors to the Board

Here is the wiring diagram for the JJRC H8. Other drones will behave similarly with similar motors across from each other. Some drones might require the motor to be on a certain location on the board. In this drawing, the black and blue wires are soldered to the Negative terminals (M-) while the white and red wires are soldered to the Positive terminals (M+).

Step 4: Insert Motors Into Frame

With the board on "top" of the frame, slip motor into motor hole from underneath frame as shown. You can add a little super glue to the motor frame for security.

Step 5: Add Feet

After the 4 motors are inserted into frame, add the feet to help support the motor.

Step 6: Attach Props

Last, attach your propellers to the motors.

Step 7: Calibrate

This drone will fly pretty easily from the start, but you can do some calibration stuff as you become more experienced. I pulled these figures from the JJRC instructions, so they're a little fuzzy but should give you an idea of how this works.

Modes: There are 2 modes: Low (40%), High (100%)

  • Press power supply instructions until you hear a "di" = low mode
  • Press power supply until you hear a "di, di" = high mode

Step 8: Fly, Crash, Repeat

This is a pretty cool little drone. Fly it. Crash it. Try again.

You could make a go with some cardboard if you didn't have access to wood/laser cutter.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

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