While purchasing a RTF (ready to fly) drone is a great way to get started with this hobby eventually you might want to take the plunge and make your own. This article will give you an overview of what is required.
Until you really have a good understanding of what goes into the choices which make up all the components you may be better off to start with a kit. See the link at the bottom for a selection of ready to assemble drone kits.
Tailor the Design to your Specifications.
The first part of any design is “what do I want it to do?”. Until you can answer this you cannot determine what parts you need and what specifications they will need to meet or exceed. Most of the kits you see will be either specific about what the design is for or just be a general use drone.
Once you’ve decided on a design, it’s time to identify the best transmitters and receivers for your project, as well how many main motors and servomotors will go into its construction.
Now that the design is in place it’s time to choose the various components you’ll need.
Transmitters and Receivers.
Assuming you’ll want a remotely controlled flying drone, you’ll need both a transmitter and receiver to operate the unit. Receivers will go into the drone itself and will pick up signals from the transmitter, or as they’re more commonly known, remote controls.
Since this is clearly going to be a remotely controlled UAV you will need to have a transmitter and a matched receiver. You will need to know what frequencies you are permitted to use in your country. The transmitter will also need to have multiple channels, something as high as 8 or 9 will allow you to add additional functions later if you choose.
Electronic Speed Controllers (ESC).
Without an ESC for each motor you will not have much chance of controlling the craft. The ESC controls the electric motors driving the propellers with PWM – pulse width modulation. They also usually have a BEC or UBEC which is the battery elimination circuit so the flight controller and receiver can be connected directly to and control the ESCs.
All motors used in quadcopters are small, light and powerful induction motors. The range here is quite large so you will need to do some research here to choose the correct ones for the size of your quad and you’ll need to match them with your battery so you get reasonable flight time.
The voltage output of the battery is what controls the maximum RPM of the motors, the current draw of the motors affects the length of time the battery can sustain power and how long you can fly for.
This is the brains of your quadcopter and converts the signals from the transmitter into speed controls for the motors.
I have not mentioned the frame or battery specifically but you’ll find these wherever you find the other parts and these are all about personal choice. You will need to do some soldering to put this all together so you will also need an anti-static mat to work on and an anti-static wrist strap while you work.
Electronic components can be destroyed by static easily with no visible damage. They can also be ‘wounded’. This is where there is internal damage which will not show up until you have your quad at about 100ft in the air and then it just falls to the ground because one of the ESCs has a reduced width track act like a fuse.
Having said that it’s a warning. Build with care and you’ll not only have a great time putting it all together but you’ll also have many happy hours flying the quad you built yourself.
Start your search for a good kit, click here.