3D Printed Drone




About: Second year mechanical engineering student

In this tutorial we will be covering the basic steps to creating a 3D printed drone that has flight capabilities as your average store bought drone. As you would expect, you will need access to a 3D printer to complete this build. However, there are various other parts you will need to complete it. Below I have listed all of the parts as well as their links.

Shopping List

1. 3 Cell LiPo Battery (1) https://hobbyking.com/en_us/turnigy-3300mah-3s-30c...

2. 10x4.5 Propeller (4) https://hobbyking.com/en_us/hobbyking-slowfly-prop...

3. 900Kv Electric Motor (4) https://hobbyking.com/en_us/ntm-prop-drive-series-...

4. M5 Nuts and Bolts (16 of each) Pick these up at your local hardware store

5. 20A ESC (4) https://hobbyking.com/en_us/hobby-king-20a-esc-3a-...

6. NAZA M LITE Flight Controller (1) http://www.getfpv.com/dji-naza-m-lite-flight-contr...

7. Transmitter & Receiver (1) http://www.hobbywow.com/en-radiolink-at9-9ch-trans...

8. Power Distribution Board (1) https://hobbyking.com/en_us/hobbyking-multi-rotor-...

9. 3.5mm Bullet Connectors (1 Pack) https://hobbyking.com/en_us/polymax-3-5mm-gold-con...

10. Shrink Wrap (1 Pack) Pick this up at your local hardware store

11. Zip Ties (1 Pack) Pick this up at your local hardware store

Step 1: Print the Frame

Here are the STL files for the arms and the plates. You will need to print 4 arms and two plates. For design purposes the top and bottom plate are exactly the same so you will only need these two files

Step 2: Solder Bullet Connectors

The ESCs come without plugs attached so we will need to solder on 3 3.5mm bullet connectors on to the ends of black, red, and blue wire. Apply shrink wrap over top of your connection by sliding the shrink wrap over the wire and connector and holding a lighter beneath it for about 3 seconds.

Step 3: Solder to Power Distribution Board

1. After we attach the bullet connectors to one end of the ESCs we will want to flip them around and stick the red and black wire on the opposite side through the slots in the base of the arm. After doing so we will want to solder these wires onto the power distribution board. The positive rail is on the outside, while the negative rail is on the inside. I helps if you apply some solder to the board, then to your wires and then heat them up while making contact.

2. Next we will want to solder on two wires with onto the input terminals. Red on outside and black on inside just as before. You will need to have soldered on bullet connectors to each of these wires as well as applied heat shrink.

3. Also in this step is mounting the power distribution board to the bottom of the top plate. We use double sided tape for this and try to keep it as centered as possible.

Step 4: Attach Flight Controller

1. Step four consists of mounting your Naza M Lite to the top of the bottom plate. For this task we use the same double sided tape from the previous step. I Played with various arrangements and found the one displayed in the pictures to be the most effective.

2. Now we want to take the PWM connectors provided in the flight controller package and plug them into the side with A,E,T,R,U, etc in no particular order. Except you must leave the port labelled X3 open.

3. Take to PWM connector from the black box and plug it into the X3 port.

Step 5: Solder Wires From Flight Controlled Onto Power Distribution Board

Now we solder on the wires from the black box onto the power distribution board. As always positive on the outside and negative on the inside.

Step 6: Attach Motors

Using the screws that came with the motors attach one motor onto the end of each arm. Be sure to put a dab of lock tight onto the threads before you screw them in. Next attach the wires from the motors to the ESCs. Red>Red Black>Black Blue>Yellow

We can also attach the props in this step. First put the black washer onto the threaded rod followed by the prop followed by the cap.

IMPORTANT: Opposite motors should have to same type of prop on. For example if motor 1 has a clockwise prop on then motor 3 must also have a clockwise prop on. This means that motors 2 and 4 must have counter clockwise props on.

Step 7: Attach GPS and Receiver

Using double sided tape attach the receiver onto the top of the top plate. Then using various nuts, bolts, and washer find a way to secure the GPS module onto the top of the top plate.

Step 8: Attach ESC PWMs to Naza M Lite

1. Now remove the positive red wire from all but one of the PWM connectors attached to the ESCs and electrical tape in to the other wires.

2. Feed the ESC PWMs up through the arm and back down the honey combed section of the top plate.

3. The arrow on the GPS indicates which way is forward. From there determine the motor numbers. Motor 1 is front right. Motor 2 is front left. Motor 3 is rear left. Motor 4 is rear right.

4. The PWM connector for motor 1 connects on the flight controller into the port labelled M1. The PWM for motor 2 connects on the flight controller into the port labelled M2. The PWM for motor 3 connects on the flight controller into the port labelled M3. The PWM for motor 4 connects on the flight controller into the port labelled M4.

Step 9: Connect GPS and Remote LED

1. Find the cable coming out of the box labelled REMOTE LED and connect it onto the main flight controller into the port labelled LED

2. Find the cable coming from the GPS, wrap it around the mounting rod and feed it through the top plate. From there plug it into the flight controller into the port labelled EXP.

Step 10: Connect Receiver

1. Now we can connect the receiver. Individually string the PWMs from the flight controller up through the top plate and plug them into the receiver as follows.

  • A=Channel 1
  • E=Channel 2
  • T=Channel 3
  • R=Channel 4
  • U=Channel 5
  • X1=Channel 6
  • X2=Channel 7

Step 11: Finishing Touches

1. Now we can put out M5 bolts through the according holes and secure them with the nuts on the bottom.

2. Also in this step we secure the ESCs onto the arms of the drone via zip ties.

3. Finally we make a Velcro holder for the battery on the bottom and attach it with zip ties as well.

Step 12: Programming

1. For this step you must download the DJI assist software http://www.dji.com/naza-m-lite/download

  • Also a side note before downloading the assist software you must download the driver installer which can be found directly below the windows download on the link.

2. Connect your drone to the computer by plugging in from a USB port on the computer to the port on the remote led on the drone.

3. Here is a link I provided to a video that can give a much more in depth explanation of programming your drone with the DJI Assist Software.



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    26 Discussions


    Question 8 months ago

    It appears that the motors are no longer available. Suggestions for an alternative?


    Reply 1 year ago

    yeah the place doset sell the remote anymore so i just got mine from eBay. any 9 ch will work


    Reply 2 years ago

    Yes it will, I strapped a GoPro to it and it flew perfectly fine


    Reply 1 year ago



    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks for your response, But the link you provided is invalid (http://www.hobbywow.com/en-radiolink-at9-9ch-transmitter-with-r9d-9ch-receiver-2-4ghz-p239453.htm). Could you please recheck and advise again?


    Reply 2 years ago

    I used a Radiolink AT9, however, any transmitter and receiver combo with atleast nine channels will work.


    2 years ago

    can you give the 3d model of the legs of the drone?

    1 reply
    Ujval ReddyA

    2 years ago

    How do we connect the battery? Solder it to the power distribution board?