Building DIY Drone from Scratch Part 1: Building Cheap DIY Drone

Building DIY Drone from Scratch Part 1: Building Cheap DIY Drone

DIY mini-drone

Overview

If you’re a beginner and want to fly a small and durable drone as a hobby, then this instructable is for you! Now, you can build your DIY mini quadcopter from scratch, and it won’t drill a hole in your pocket. You don’t need to buy expensive drones anymore, as this drone won’t cost you more than $20. You can enjoy flying a mini-drone that weighs less than 100 grams. So, let’s see what we need to build this drone.

Components

  1. 4 miniature motors: You may find them at an electronics hobby shop; choose a motor with a rating of 400-500 KV
miniature motors

2.  4 motor jackets: Used to hold the motors in place

motor jackets

3.  4 Propellers: Preferably with a diameter of 10cm; while buying, make sure the propellers fit firmly on the motors’ rotor

mini-propellers

4.  Li-polymer battery: A 3.7V battery with a rating of 300-500mAh and 25C would be enough to give a flight of 10-15 minutes.

Li-polymer battery

5.  Battery charger: A 3.7V battery charger; you can buy it with the battery

6.  2.4GHz Transmitter-Receiver pair: I have used a HY-JJH36 board; you can find plenty of such flight controllers online. If you don’t have any usable parts, you can get flight controller board and the remote controller (radio transmitter) for controlling the drone. The flight controller lets you control the drone in many different ways, and we will introduce you to how to do that in part 2, using Arduino as the flight controller.

flight controller transmitter-receiver

7.  2 ballpoint pen ink tubes: To build arms of the quadcopter

ballpoint pen ink tubes to build propeller arms

8.  Thermocol material: To mount the circuit

9.  Tape/ Hot glue

Let’s put it all together

Step 1

Take out the miniature motors and mount them in the jackets. Additionally, take four propellers and mount one on each motor. Make sure the propellers are firmly grooved to the motor rotor to avoid any mishaps at a later stage.

connect the motors
Step 2

Take out the HY-JJH36-RX receiver board and connect the four motors, as shown in the schematic diagram. The board shown in the schematics is a different package from Fritzing, so make connections as follows:

  • Motor RF (Right Front)
    • Positive wire (Motor) -> RF+ pin (RX board)
    • Negative wire (Motor) -> RF- pin (RX board)
  • Motor LF (Left Front)
    • Positive wire (Motor) -> LF+ pin (RX board)
    • Negative wire (Motor) -> LF- pin (RX board)
  • Motor LB (Left Back)
    • Positive wire (Motor) -> LF+ pin (RX board)
    • Negative wire (Motor) -> LB- pin (RX board)
  • Motor RB (Right Back)
    • Positive wire (Motor) -> RF+ pin (RX board)
    • Negative wire (Motor) -> RB- pin (RX board)
connect the motors schematic diagram
Step 3

Take out the Li-Po battery (380mAh, 25C, 3.7V in my case) and connect it the board in the following way:

  • Positive wire (Battery) -> Vin pin (RX board)
  • Negative wire (Battery) -> GND pin (RX board)
Step 4

Take a piece of thermocol material and cut it down in a cube of 5cm x 5cm x 5cm.

thermocol material
Step 5

Take two ballpoint pens and take out the ink tubes from inside them. Now, pass it through the thermocol cube in such a way that the ink tube passes exactly through the middle point of the square.

pass ink tubes through thermocol cube
Step 6

Connect motors on both ends of the two ink tubes and tighten the screws. Use hot glue/tape to hold the ink tubes in place.

use glue to connect the motors on the ink tubes
use glue to connect motors on each end of ink tube
Step 7 fasten battery and rx board to cube
Step 7

Place the battery on the top of the thermocol cube and place the RX board on it. Fasten the assembly using tape/hot glue. Here we go! Your drone is ready to take off. Turn on the power button on the top of the Flight Controller and let the fun begin.

Summary

Remember that the spinning propellers of the drone are extremely dangerous and may cause severe injury. Always fly the drone in an open place and avoid flying close to humans.

This kind of small, DIY drones are really hard to control, so please be extra careful when flying the drone. In the next article we are going to use more steady frame for the drone and use Arduino as the flight controller.