Tricopter DIY From CD




About: Love taking pictures as Photographer and technology enthusiast. My background from web software developer but my dream is combining between art and technology to create awesome projects. Im fans of Apple/Mac...

Drone home made from DVD/CD is back, after i made quadcopter here on instructables

now let's build a Tricopter. How tricopter work is really different than quad especially on yaw mechanism using small servo to tilt motor left and right. This tutorial only explain the most basic things when building Tricopter, for other parts of course you can use other component like different motors, flight controller, esc's or the transmitter you will use on this project. Main purpose for this project is to make it fly, using frame that you can find around your house, so now let's get started

Step 1: Components

(3x) Small esc 20Amp

(6x) Alumunium standoff

(3x) Small motors 1806 2300kv

(1x) Mini servo MG90S (Metal Gear)

(1x) 3D Printed yaw from plastic for tricopter

(1x) 3S Lipo Battery 1500mah

(2x) CD for top and bottom plate

(1x) 1 receiver RC (im using my DIY OpenLRSNG 433mhz with PPM, you can build one too on this link )

(5x) Zipties

(1x) Flight Controller with Cleanflight, you can use Naze, SPF3, CC3d etc

(6x) Acrylic 110mm x 30mm sheet for arms

(3x) 5x4x3 propeller

Step 2: Building Yaw Mechanism

For yaw tail, i print the item with 3D printer from my friend. There is lot of version available on the internet but you can use from this page

The tricopter motor pivot then combined with the mini servo. For this special arm, make 110mm x 30mm from acrylic. You may need some bolts and nut of M3 and some zip ties to keep the servo stay on this arm.

Step 3: Tricopter Frame

To build the center frame (top and bottom), i use 'Milimeter Block' book to make straight lines.

  1. First, use paper tape to cover the CD so we can draw some lines using small Permanen Marker
  2. With Milimeter Block book as background, center the CD then draw lines from top to bottom (use top and bottom lines on MBlock book)
  3. Next step is make diagonal lines on the left, still use the Milimeter Block background as reference
  4. Same with diagonal lines on the right, use the Milimeter Block again
  5. When 'Y' lines is completed, drill 2 hole 3mm for each arm, we will attach the acrylic with bolt and standoff aluminium

Step 4: Arms and Setting Up Stand Off

We make 6 Arm with acrylic with size 110mm x 30mm, one arm made from top and bottom and we tighten that with Stand off aluminium.

For receiver and flight controller, use foam double tape and put on the top of the frame. All Esc and PDB (power distribution board) is located beneath the top frame.

Step 5: Cleanflight on SPF3 Setup for Tricopter

Flash Cleanflight on your board, you can follow the instruction from Cleanflight Configurator for Google Chrome Browser

After connected with the Flight Controller, setup our configuration for tricopter by going into CLI menu then enter all text below, Enter for each line to send the command to the flight controller.


mmix reset

mmix 0 1.000 0.000 1.333 0.000

mmix 1 1.000 -1.000 -0.667 0.000

mmix 2 1.000 1.000 -0.667 0.000

smix reset

smix 0 5 2 100 0 0 100 0

profile 0

smix reverse 5 2 r

profile 1

smix reverse 5 2 r

profile 2

smix reverse 5 2 r

finally, write 'save' then push enter to save all commands. We just setup our frame to custom tricopter. You might have to setup the PID if the drone is oscillating, or you can start with my PID number (image attached on this step).

For motor direction, i set my motor direction all to CCW (look at image attachment), the prop is also the same

Step 6: Maiden Flight Video Tricopter CD

i made video when flying this tricopter. Not very smooth flight but it fly and the yaw is working normal, i'm using 'Angle' mode, the acro is too hard for this new frame

it's not meant for racing but for fun and education. this frame will definitely broken after several crash. That's my experience building my first tricopter. The quite hard part for me is when the tricopter having bad yaw and uncontrollable (it's because i use configuration TRICOPTER), it seems using the custom mixer for Cleanflight solve the problem

The motors 1806 2300kv thrust is 'okay', it's hover around 60 or 70% throttle, it's much better if next time i use 2205 motor with more thrust to add more equipment like camera and video transmitter on this drone.

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    9 Discussions


    2 years ago

    nice like that you reused comon materials.


    2 years ago

    Nice man, I try to pilot a tricopter, It's is simple, I mabe try to do that, Just a observation, the fix yaw tail... For more fun!

    2 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    Hi thanks Andre. a little hard to control than quad i think hehe. share ur pic here :)


    Reply 2 years ago

    Verify if you don't have any problem with your, SERVO, verify again if It's is analog or digital, and make a inspection in tail mount, eliminate physical problems... Another nice tip's, from Painless360 is to try change de blades, look if all blades is ok.... make a WIZARD SETUP and try... if you have problems again, try to change RATES, PID and EXPO....


    2 years ago


    Your 3D printed piece for Yaw mechanism is so beautiful. Recently, I just did a similar size Tricopter with 1806 motor (come visit my Instructables). Mine has a size about 200 mm from one front motor to tail motor, I'm so wondering the size of yours. It's so amazing that this instructable has been viewed more than 2K only in a couple days. It really deserves a vote!

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    thanks Danpitak. will visit yours too :)