There are Lots of Ways you Can Put Together a MultiCopter
- Thoughtful, slow progression is better than jumping in with both feet, you can get discouraged by trying to do too much too fast.
- You are likely to have a good experience if you start with a simple, small QuadCopter, either a Ready to Fly or an All Inclusive Kit.
- For for those with good DIY capabilities an Almost Ready To Fly build like the F450 FlameWheel described below can work well.
- For your first MultiCopter, DO NOT initially try to build a Photo / Video or First Person View copter, just build a good QuadCopter.
- Even if you know that’s what you want to do, it will take you some time to come up to speed on our copters and flight controllers.
- If you just want to get a taste and have a lot of fun, try one of the inexpensive, safe, sturdy, ready to use Micro-QuadCopters below.
- If you know you’re serious, try the Flamewheel ARF Build or if you just want to fly and can afford it get a first rate Iris QuadCopter.
- The Iris includes a top end Pixhawk flight controller and both the Iris and the Flamewheel can do FPV or Video when you are ready.
- Don’t start with a Frame Up Build unless you have a complete article on how to build a good simple Quadcopter like the Flip Sport.
- Absolutely do not start by trying to Build Your Own Frame, even among experienced builders there is more failure than success.
- It is very important to NOT start out with a big (dangerous) multicopter with a bunch of photo or video stuff on it, you will regret it.
- A small, agile QuadCopter is always a lot more fun to fly than a big, ponderous and slow Hex or OctoCopter in any case.
- Except for top end professional HD video or photography requiring big cameras you are better off thinking small, light and agile.
- Safety is very important with multicopters, keep plenty of distance from living or expensive things and review our Safety Page.
- Here is a link to DroneVend.com for some useful drone and component classified advertisements.
Chinese Imports Good Deal / Bad Deal?
- It is tempting especially when just starting out to buy lots of Chinese direct import stuff because it is so much cheaper: Bad Idea!
- As you gain experience, you will learn which import items are serviceable, if you try to do it at the beginning things will not go well.
- You should always get the main electronics (Flight Controller) from a proven source, the Pixhawk from 3DRobotics or a DJI Naza.
- You will also want to get the electronic accessories (GPS, magentometer, telemetry and OSD if used) from 3DRobotics or DJI.
- If your going to do first person view, get a 3DRobotics FPV kit or a FatShark Attitude video goggle and transmitter.
- As for cameras, the GoPro Hero 3+ and especially the Black is the one to get, because it is what everybody uses and it works well.
- The DJI Flamewheel ARF kit which is recommended is made in China but is a known quality setup, so where you get it is up to you.
- The Traxxas, Hubsan and Helimax recommended starter micro-Quadcopters are made in China but are still a great way to start.
- Motors, Batteries, ESCs, frames and FRSky or Turnigy RC transmitters and receivers can be very good deals direct from China.
- A lot of items we buy domestically are actually made in China and of course, quality varies widely, regardless of country of origin.
- A $25.00 RC-Timer motor will not be of the same quality as the equivalent $100.00 Tiger-Motor or KDE, but hey, it’s only $25.00.
- Although direct Chinese imports generally have pretty reliable shipping, aftermarket support or returns are often very problematic.
- If you build in a ten to twenty percent broken, damaged or not included expectation for Chinese imports you will not be disappointed.
- In any case, start with two or three of the recommended builds below so that you can experience success and learn to fly first.
Inexpensive, Ready To Fly Nano, Micro or Small QuadCopter
If you are new to MultiCopters, It is highly recommended you start with one of these inexpensive, ready to fly Quadcopters.
- They come with everything you need including the radio and the battery, require no assembly, are very sturdy and great for learning.
- They are also a ton of fun, can easily and safely be used indoors and typically cost less than a hundred dollars.
- Importantly you will get you a much better understanding of how they work and of what you really want to do next.
- The Traxxas QR1 QuadCopter is an inexpensive RTF Micro Quadcopter that is great for a first experience.
- For $45.00 the (Hubsan X4) is identical to the Traxxas and for $55.00 you can get it with a still photo and 720P HD video camera.
- For $200.00 there is even an easy to fly FPV version of the Hubsan that comes with a RC transmitter with an excellent LCD display.
- Even the parts for the Hubsans are readily available: Hobby Flip
- The $78.00 UDI 818A is a bit larger but is very safe (with prop protection), it flys like a full sized quadcopter and it has a camera.
- The Helimax 1SQ and the Blade Nano QX are also high quality, inexpensive and easy to learn with micro QuadCopters.
- There is even the really, really tiny $40.00 Estes Proto X actually a Hubsan H111 which flies remarkably well.
- If you are a beginner, you should also jump to the A Drone Of Your Own page for complete information and flight instructions.
Frame Kit: Hoverthings Flip FPV Pro Quadcopter
The Hoverthings Flip FPV Pro is quite possibly the best GoPro camera carrying quadcopter.
- The Dead Cat style Flip FPV Pro is capable of taking rock steady video in 15mph gusts and flys like a sport quad.
- The machined fiberglass frame arms are nearly indestructible and will accept up to 10" propellers.
- Extended frame arms that take up to 13" propellers are also available.
- The central frame is mounted on antivbration isolators and supports the flight controller and camera gimbal.
- The copter is very stable even in in gusts, it hovers like a tripod, takes excellent video and is easy to fly and very maneuverable.
- With 10" propellers 10 minute flight times are normal and easy to acheive.
- With 13" propellers, the extended arms and high performance motors 15 minute plus flight times could be expected.
- Using the extended arms and KDE 2814XF-515kv motors and 13" props would make a very satisfactory platform.
- Substituting a higher performance (higher capacity) MaxAmp battery should yeild flight times over 20 minutes.
- Here is a link to the Hoverthings Flip FPV Pro Quadcopter Build Page using a Pixhawk flight controller.
Brand Name Ready to Fly
A few words about the Brand Name Ready To Fly QuadCopters like the Parrot, the DJI Phantom and the Blade 350QX.
- Within the scope of their capabilities these are generally well made and are a reasonably priced for what they do.
- If one of these encompasses your desires it can be an easy and econmical choice.
- Brushless gimbals for a GoPro are now available inexpensively for most Brand name RTF quadcopters.
- Generally good RTFs like the Phantom are easy to learn to fly and use for making videos.
- But if you later want to add to it or make changes a brand name RTF quadcopter can be a dead end.
- They are generally not easily modified nor upgradable to a more powerful flight controller like the Pixhawk.
- You May be better off with a more versatile 3DRobotics Iris or the Hoverthings Flip FPV Pro frame recommended below.
Box O Copter
"And Now For Something Completely Different" A quadcopter built from a toolbox.