I would like to introduce you my new series of articles which means a lot to me because it combines several of my passions: electronics, mechanics, and aeronautics.
So I am slowly (very slowly) preparing this series since March 30 describing all aspects of a drone that we will build as the articles go, the goal is to use this UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) as a pretext to learn a lot about batteries, aerodynamics or engines for example. I have wanted to write this series for a long time (more than 2 years already) and I finally have the opportunity to do it so I hope you will like it!
In addition, we will start from the basics to be as understandable as possible, we will study the different solutions in detail to understand the choice of the different components (I have already received all the equipment and assembled the UAV the day this article will be published). I will try to make sure that each article is composed of 2 parts, the first devoted to the study of an aspect of the drone and the second to the assembly or installation of the component using what we have studied.
A little more details about what we're going to build:
So I chose to build a drone racer (the picture above represents the drone I built) for several reasons :
- they are light (French law is very restrictive for multi-copters over 800g)
- it is nice to pilot (we will use FPV equipment, i.e. we will see through a camera fixed on the drone)
- components are easy to find on the internet, easy to replace and inexpensive, it's convenient when there is damage
- it is possible to improve it as you progress without having to change everything
- you can get cool videos with practice (here are some of my favorite videos: Skateboard ramp, Ski(Audi Nines), and one more.)
We can still consider building a more "conventional" one (like the one in the image below) in a future series of articles if you are interested :)
A few words before we start:
Before I begin I would like to share some tips usually given to those considering building or buying their first UAV:
- Start by buying a cheap drone (<20€) to have a first flying experience
- Do some simulator if you intend to fly in Acro mode (this mode does not stabilize the drone) if possible with the remote control you will use (we will see how to do in a next article)
Bill of materials :
Here is everything I bought to build my drone (this list is based on the UAV Future list you can find in this video). I would like to thank 4r who helped me on Discord to choose what I wanted to change.
- FlySky FS-i6 Transmitter Mode 2 + FS-iAB6B Receiver
- Flight Controller Betaflight Omnibus F3 Pro with built-in OSD and current sensor
- Frame Martian II 220mm
- 4 Brushless motors Racerstar 2205 2600KV
- ESC Racerstar 4in1 BLHeli_S 4x20A
- FPV camera Eachine 1000TVL 1/3 CCD
- FPV Transmitter (VTX) Eachine TX526
- FPV Goggles Eachine VR007 Pro
- 2 Leaf Antenna for the VTX and the goggles
- 2x 2 propeller pairs Cyclone 5"
- 10 propeller pairs (to begin with)
- Lipo battery charger 2-4S Charsoon
- Lipo safety bag
- 2 Lipo Batteries 4S 1500mAh 45C
- 4 pads anti-vibration for the motors (soft-mount)
- Protective cover for Flysky Transmitter
- Low ESR capacitor 1000µF to remove some of the noise on the video
- Frame Arm for Martian II 220mm
- USB simulator cable
3D printed pieces :
Total cost of hardware: ~230€
- Soldering iron + tin + braid or desoldering pump + heat-shrink sleeve (important to avoid short circuits)
- Zip ties
- Thick enough wires (~14AWG, preferably multistrand) and others finer (examples those used on breadboards, 18-20AWG it seems)
- Screwdrivers and pliers
- Optional but recommended: thread lock or glue
This is all I needed (I forgot to add patience but that goes without saying) to build the drone.
I wanted to show you a video of the first flights but I already lost the camera in a field so I'll have to wait until early June to record my flights again...
On this, I say to you tomorrow evening for the first article of the series which will deal with the subject: How to fly?
Feel free to post your questions about the series in the comments:)