Introduction: Recycled Motherboard RC Quadcopter

My university had a bunch of old server motherboards that were headed to the dumpster. I decided to see the feasibility of turning them into something useful!

Go ahead and grab the attached pdf plans, print them out full size, and build your own!

Step 1: Prepare the Motherboard

Pop in your earbuds, turn up some tunes, and spend some quality time with your heatgun.

If you have a sacrificial toaster oven big enough, that would probably work as well.

Be sure to save the electronics components! All those capacitors and connectors are pretty useful for other hacking projects.

Step 2: Cut Out the Frames

I designed the frame plates in Solidworks, and used a ShopBot Alpha at my local TechShop to mill out the motherboard.

Remember to use dust collection and proper PPE. Milling on fiberglass can be pretty nasty.

Step 3: Assemble the Arms

This guide isn't meant to be a tutorial on how to build quadcopters. For those, sites like FliteTest are helpful.

I ziptie everything I can. They're plenty rigid for normal flight, but break in a clash, absorbing the impact. I'm using Turnigy 2830/11 1000kv motors. They're horribly unbalanced, but for $10 I'm not complaining.

Step 4: Prepare the Electronics

I'm using Hobbyking 20A ESC's flashed with SimonK firmware. Check this guide for help flashing your ESC's.

Then, I soldered all the ESC's in parallel along with a female XT60.

Step 5: Assemble the Quadcopter

Time to make your connections! Follow the instructions for your flight controller and receiver choice. Here, I'm using a MultiWii Flip 1.5. I use a lot of outdoor mounting tape for securing electronics components.

Step 6: Add the Props, and Fly!

I don't deal with prop adapters anymore- If you're using cheap chinese motors and props, your setup will be out of balance anyway. Zipties work just as well.

Perform a final test of your systems- electrical connections, motor rotation directions, transmitter directions, and gyro directions. If everything looks good, fly!

This quadcopter flies very well- the frame is quite rigid and handles gusty wind well. The MultiWii flip with the flashed ESC's work great with the default settings. Check out the video for some flight footage!

Green Electronics Challenge

Finalist in the
Green Electronics Challenge

Launch It! Contest

Finalist in the
Launch It! Contest

Green Design Contest

Participated in the
Green Design Contest