Have you been fascinated by the latest gadget trend? That of small flying helicopters or quadcopters? This new trend has taken off like crazy! But besides buying a ready-made drone, such as those from DJI, did you know that you could actually build your own drone with a DIY quadcopter kit, i.e., drone kit?
If you want to create your own drone with a drone kit, but are not sure how and where to start? This article will help you get started by suggesting the best kits for DIY drones.
We all know that embarking on such a project, can be frustrating and difficult, especially if you don’t know which parts to get. This article makes it simple by choosing 5 of the best quadcopter kits, which are BNF (bind and fly).
You may be wondering why someone would want to create a drone or quadcopter. It’s quite simple really, and most people are so passionate about drones that they want to understand exactly what it takes to get one in the air! Let’s look at what drives their passion.
People love customizing drones for racing
Drone racing is an exciting sport that involves drones and drone experts called pilots. With drone pilots wearing first-person-view (FPV) goggles, enabling them to see the live stream from their drones, which makes this sport very exciting – just like you are actually flying in the drone. As one drone racer put it, half the fun in drone racing is crashing, “you have start all over to rebuild things”.
People also love to practice building their racing drone and to learn about the technology behind it. Some find lots of fun in dodging moving or stationary object, capturing incredible video doing it with their FPV drones.
It’s relatively cheap and saves money
Most people don’t have $1000+ to spend on a drone. You’ll find that drones can get very pricey, but building your drone, can be a whole lot cheaper. A DIY quadcopter can have you building a $2500 drone for under a budget of $750 or even less.
You can use higher quality parts like Carbon fiber
When you are building your own custom quadcopter, you can use higher quality materials such as Carbon fiber instead of plastic, to fit your build. Carbon fiber is a strong but light-material, so using this in your quadcopter makes it sturdy, but light-weight, therefore very, very fast.
A quadcopter kit allows custom configurations for your own needs
Most people don’t want to be limited to shooting with a small 1080p camera. By creating your drone, you can customize it to compensate for different options. You can choose to build whatever camera you need, or no camera at all. You might opt for a heavy (longer flight-time) battery or a smaller one for very fast flights. You can opt for different frame styles, depending on what you want to use the drone for eventually.
Components required to create a drone
1. Quadcopter Frame
If you want to create a drone, you’ll need a frame to assemble the drone kit. Frame houses all the other components – it’s like the skeleton of the drone. You can get frames from various sources, 3D printed, Aluminum, wood or from plastic. You can start with the most frame (two bars crossed in an ‘X’ shape), or an H-shape frame.
The motors help in spinning the propeller. You will need 4 motors for every blade you are using while building a drone with a quadcopter kit. There are various options for quadcopter motors, such as brushed motors or brushless. Brushed motors are relatively cheap, but brushless motors are better (and faster!)
3. Electronic Speed Control – ESC
The electronic speed control is a device that tells the motors how fast to spin at any given period. 4 ESCs are required for a quadcopter, one for each motor. Many ESCs have a built-in battery eliminator circuit (BEC). This allows you to power your radio receiver and flight control without connecting them directly to the battery.
4. Flight Controller
The flight controller is the ‘brain’ of the quadcopter. It houses the sensors like accelerometers and gyroscopes that determine the fastness of the motor spinning of each of the quadcopter.
5. Radio receiver and transmitter
The radio receiver and transmitter allow you to control the quadcopter. There are several suitable models available now, but you need to have at least 4 channels for a basic quadcopter. Using a radio with 8 channels is highly recommended so that there will be more flexibility for future projects that may require more channels.
4 propellers are needed in creating a quadcopter. Two of these propellers will spin counter-clockwise, and the other two known as the pusher propellers will spin clockwise. The materials of the quadcopter propeller can also affect much of the flying qualities of the drone.
The type of battery used in quadcopters is typically LiPo batteries. It comes in a variety of configurations and sizes. 3S batteries are highly recommended, which indicates 3 parallel cells. Each of the cells is 3.7 volts, so this battery’s rating is 11.1 volts.
But you’ll find various types of configurations besides, 4S and 5S. These give you more cells, resulting in longer flight times, but a heavier drone overall.
8. Battery charger
Battery charging in a quadcopter is a complex process because multiple cells within the battery must be charged and discharged at the same rate. Therefore you will need a balance battery charger. Many battery chargers are available in the market but don’t go for off-brand or cheap chargers. Ideally, go for a battery and charger combination.
Some miscellaneous materials will also be needed to assemble a drone kit such as zip ties, battery straps, a small amount of heavy gauge wire, double-sided tape, and jumper wires. As long as tools go, you will need to have access to a soldering iron, hex wrenches, needle-nose pliers, small screwdrivers, and a hot glue gun.
But should you actually decide exactly what components you need given the range of components available?
This is especially true if you are just starting out and aren’t aware of the different configurations possible (and whether they are compatible with each other).
So what is the solution? Buy a BNF (bind and fly) quadcopter kit from Amazon.
Here are the best kits you can buy right now. Go on and get building!
5 Build-your-own Quadcopter kits from Amazon
1. LHI 220 Quadcopter Kit (~$136)
The LHI 220 Quadcopter Kit is widely considered as one of the top-rated DIY drone kits among serious drone pilots. It features a strong, stable structure and a sleekly-designed frame for smooth flight in all weather conditions.
- Click here to see the lowest price on Amazon for the LHI 220
2. OCDAY 250 Racing Quadcopter (~$149)
The OCDAY 250 Racing Drone Kit comes bundled with a strong, top of the line FPV camera, a lightweight carbon frame, electronic speed controller and brushless motor. It is completely disassembled, but it’s an enjoyable kit to assemble and even more fun to fly.
- See reviews and lowest prices for the OCDAY 250
3. SunFounder 250 FPV Quadcopter Drone Frame Kit (~$159)
This quadcopter drone kit is a super product that is suitable for both experienced and inexperienced drone enthusiasts. The quadcopter kit comes with all you could possibly need to create a fully-functional quadcopter, including a lightweight carbon frame, high-strength propellers, and simple video instructions manual.
- Find the SunFounder 250 on Amazon
4. Nighthawk 250 Quadcopter Kit (~$159.99)
The Nighthawk 250 Quadcopter is a comprehensive and highly customizable drone kit, which comes completely disassembled with all the accessories and parts needed for ultimate flight. This offers its users the unique opportunity to tweak the specifications of the drone as they see fit, while simultaneously learning the basics of drone technology in the process.
- Find the Nighthawk 250 on Amazon
5. YKS DIY 250 Racing Quadcopter (~$199)
The YKS 250 Racing Quadcopter is a comprehensive DIY quadcopter kit that features an ultra-light, an EMAX 1806 motor, carbon fiber frame and a multi-functional electronic speed controller (ESC) that makes flying a drone a real blast.
- See the YKS DIY 250 kit on Amazon
6. Build your own quadcopter
These quadcopter kits from Amazon make it really easy for you to get started and build your own drone. It would be great if you can get on a forum such as DroneTrest, to ask and interact with fellow FPV quadcopter builders.