A Beginner’s Guide to Building a Drone
Drones have gained massive popularity among consumers from all over the world. I believe that instead of buying a ready to fly unit from a hobby store, it is better to build your own quadcopter from scratch. In addition to saving some money up your sleeves, this will also satisfy your appetite for innovation. You can build your own drone for your academic pursuits as well as for recreational purposes. I have always been intrigued by technology ever since I was a kid and so building a drone has always fascinated me naturally.
If you are looking to get your hands on low cost drones, it is not a difficult thing in this modern day and age. Here is a lineup of best drones under $120 .
We will also be sharing with you tons of drone related information in our related posts, please do not forget to check them while building your own first drone. Let’s discuss with you how you can build your own drone from scratch.
Getting to know the basics of building
Firstly, you should be familiar with the working principle of drones. It will make life easier for you and you will be better able to build your drone. A quadcopter comes with four rotor blades which are instrumental in lifting the gadget off the ground. Moreover, these blades also ensure that the drone is able to maintain its direction appropriately.
It is mandatory that the rotor blades are equally spaced and built with immaculate precision. The distance of each blade from the center of gravity of the drone should be the same. A processor serves as the brain of the drone. To get to know in-depth information about the working principle of a drone, read the following posts.
You will require the following components while building your drone. You can also purchase a DIY drone kit for your project. However, you can integrate tons of sensors and gizmos to your drone as well. Here are some of the fundamental components required.
- PVC Body: Your drone should consist of a frame made of plastic that is light in weight. This frame will serve as the enclosure for all your components. The lighter the frame is, the more efficient and agile will be your quadcopter and it will provide you better flight timings. However, lightweight does not mean that it gets thrashed by its first crash. The frame should be resilient enough to bear crashes. So a frame that is lightweight and flexible is highly recommended.
- Propulsion System: Four electric motors will be required for your propulsion system. These motors are available in different models and specifications. A brushless motor will ensure better efficiency and performance.
- Electric Circuit and Sensors: There are number of electric components and sensors with multitudes of features such as accelerometer, barometer and GPS system. You should opt for the ones that suit your preference and budget.
- Video Camera: A good quality camera will ensure that you capture top quality video footage and images. A first person view camera will help you view a real time video feed transmitted from the drone’s eye. You can also get a dedicated gimbal to ensure that the video footage is shake-free and no undesired vibrations become a part of the video.
Steps to build a drone
- Go through the instructions manual so that you get acquainted with the basics. Take out all the components from the DIY kit and start assembling them one by one. Start putting the components together inside the PVC frame.
- Place the circuit board in the center of the frame and ensure that it is properly balanced.
- Take the motors out and place them in their appropriate spots. You may use hot glue or any other adhesive material included in your DIY kit. However, some kits also come with clicking locks. So, going through the instructions manual is mandatory.
- Now, it’s time to install and run the wires. Ensure that the electrical connections are of top quality. You can also solder the connections with soldering iron for better results.
- Now place the camera on the camera mount at the bottom of the drone in its center. Ensure that the electrical connections are seamless here as well.
- Now, close the housing with the provided cover and tighten the screws, nuts and bolts.
- Now, get the propeller blades installed with the motors of the quadcopter, insert the battery and get your drone started.
Synchronize the drone with the controller and carry out a few test flights.
The feeling you get while flying a drone that you have built yourself is simply sublime. The entire building process is just liberating, to be honest. Once you do it yourself a few times, it starts getting easier and easier. By practicing and going through the instructions manual carefully, you can also build your own quadcopter from scratch.
Once you build it, you can always add more and more features as and when required.