Introduction: 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...

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.

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

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.

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

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!

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: