Do you want to build your own quadcopter? If so, then this is the article for you! I understand that the process can be very confusing- especially if you’re a beginner. For this reason, I’ve decided to put together an Arduino quadcopter DIY project guide.
I’ve already written an extensive post on how to build a drone here (please check it out). This guide, however, will be specifically designed for builders using an Arduino board. Before we begin, here’s what the product might look like:
Keep in mind that this project will take some time as well as some hard work. If you’re not a patient person, or if you don’t follow directions well, then you’re better off buying a RTF model.
With that said, if you’re still reading, then I’m assuming you’re committed to this project. Let’s keep going and learn how to build an Arduino quadcopter from scratch.
Understanding the Basic Parts of a Drone
First and foremost, we’re going to talk about the basic parts of a drone. This will give you an idea about what goes where and how the various parts of the drone work together.
Once we’ve covered all the parts, we’ll talk about the Arduino board in greater detail. I’ll then end this guide with a high-quality video tutorial that anyone can follow. Let’s get started!
The frame is like the skeleton on your body- it holds everything together. There are different types of frames that you can buy- quadcopter frames, tricopter frames, etc. Each one offers its own set of benefits and drawbacks.
For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to recommend a quadcopter frame. They’re affordable, tough, and are simply the best choice for this project. Here’s a list of a few that you can buy:
The motors are what will propel your drone into the air. Without motors, you’re not going anywhere. Motors range in size and power, so you’ll need to do further research and find ones that match your goals.
Read this article to learn the difference between brushed and brushless motors. Below is a list of motors that you can use for your DIY project:
The Electronic Speed Controller (ESC)
You will need one electronic speed controller for each motor- so four in total. The ESC is the thing that will sit between your Arduino quadcopter flight controller and motors.
Obviously, it’s a very important component of your DIY build. As you can imagine, there are many different electronic speed controllers to choose from. Here’s a list of some that you can buy directly from Amazon:
The Power Distribution Board
Every quadcopter contains exactly one battery and four motors. So, how does the quadcopter know how much power to deliver to each motor?
That’s where the power distribution board comes into play. It ensures that power is being distributed evenly throughout the quadcopter. You will only need one of these. Here are some that you can buy:
The Flight Controller (Recommended: Arduino Board)
Lastly, there’s the flight controller. This is considered the “brains” of the operation. The reason I recommend the Arduino board is because it’s one of the best boards you can use.
It’s so flexible and robust that you’ll wish you had started using it sooner. Here are some of the benefits:
- USB Connector
- Power Jack
- 6 Analog Inputs
- 14 Digital Input/Output Pins
- 16 MHz Quartz Crystal
- Reset Button
- ICSP Header
While very durable, this flight controller is not invincible. There’s always the chance that you will fry the chip, so be careful. Using the Arduino software, you can program the board to do whatever you want.
It’s this kind of flexibility that flyers will come to appreciate. Click on this link to check out the Arduino board. And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for…
Complete Arduino Quadcopter Build – Step-By-Step
Rather than write out the steps, it will be easier to show you a video of this DIY project. Without further ado, here it is:
How Much Will It Cost? How Long?
On the low end, your Arduino quadcopter project will cost about $300. This is if you find some good deals and get the cheapest possible parts. On the high end, it will cost closer to $900.
This will include higher quality parts. As for the timespan, it depends on the individual. Some people can have it built within a few hours while others will need more time. The process is fun either way so the time should fly (no pun intended) while you build it.
Does all this sound too overwhelming? If so, don’t worry because you’re not alone. Some people aren’t ready for a DIY drone project, and that’s okay.
But if you still want to get in the air, then check out some of these ready-to-fly models. They require no assembly and can be flown straight out of the box. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!