In this tutorial we will explain you the basics of building a drone. This is the best place to start learning how to bluid a drone and especially a quadcopter. Information are also valid for other multirotors like tricopters, hexacopters, …

The first thing you must understand is what parts are used to build a multirotor and what is their function.

Before getting in more details here is a list of all the parts :

  • Frame
  • ESCs (Electronic Speed Control)
  • Motos
  • Propellers
  • Battery
  • Flight controller
  • Radio

 

Frame

This is the body of your futur drone. It will carry all other parts and depending on what frame you’ll chose will you will have various options to ajust flight time, speed, payload, …

A very light frame will allow you the get more flight time, long arms give you more stability, small ones will give you more manoeuvrability.

Most common frames are made of glass fiber, carbon fiber, plastic or sometime aluminum. Various classes corresponding to the size of the drone are available. The number in each class name correspond to the distance (in mm) between motors.

  • 250 class
  • 450 class
  • 550 class
  • 650 class

Prices starts from 30$ to 150$.

Here are some exemples of popular frames

You can also decide to build it yourself using wood or aluminum but considering the price and quality of commerical frames I would recommend to buy one instead of building one.


 

Motors

It will literaly make your drone fly. Lots of size and power are available.

You can find some from 8$ to 50$.

For more details about how to chose motors please have a look at our tutorial How to build drone propulsion.

Here are some exemples


ESC (Electronic Speed Controller)

These little boxes are in charge of controlling motors rotation speed. You must choose them according to your motors.

You can find it from 8$ to 30$

Here are some exemples


Propellers

They must fit your frame and your motors. You can usualy find constructor recommandations on motor technical sheet.

Most of the time a propeller is only a few dollars. For multirotors, they come by pair. One clock wise (CW), one counter clock wise (CCW).

Here are some examples

 


 

Battery (LiPo : lithium polymer battery)

This is the power source of your drone. There are many models for various model size and flight time.

 

 

Here are some examples

 


 

RC Radio

Choosing the right RC radio will depend on what you want to do with your drone. You can find some from 50$ to 500$.

It is composed by an RC transmitter (TX : command with joysticks and buttons) and a Receiver (RX: that will be connected to your drone).

Turnigy 9X 9Ch Transmitter w/ Module & 8ch Receiver (Mode 1) (v2 Firmware)


 

Flight controller

This is the heart of your drone. It will basicaly stabilize it by ajusting motors speed but can also do more complex tasks like automatically take of or land, follow a flight plan, keep altitude …

There are many flight controllers. Lots of them runs open source software and are always innovating. Certains dédiés uniquement aux avions ou aux hélicoptères.

Most populars are :

Arducopter

Multiwii

OpenPilot

You can find them from 50$ from 300$ depending on options (GPS, barometer, telemetry, …)

 

Conclusion

Chosing all the parts of your drone is a quite long task. That’s why you can find some kits or ready to fly machines. Prixes starts from 300$ to 3000$.

You can compose your own configuration but you must understand various concepts if you whant to build a machine that will fly perfectly.

If you wanna get further, please read our tutorial : How to build drone propulsion.

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