Is it possible to make your own drone from scratch? While it might seem impossible, manufacturing a drone is more doable than you think. Yes, it helps to have some knowledge of engineering, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get started with the skills you already have.
The key is to take each step carefully to make sure you’re getting it done right the first time. The global drone market is huge. Who knows? You might have a winner on your hands that you’ll want to manufacture for the drone market. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the number of commercial U.S. drones is expected to grow 10 times over the next half-decade. That’s an impressive number, and it shows that there’s a real need for more drone builders.
Are you ready to start your own drone project? Here are the 5 steps you need to follow to manufacture a high-quality drone that’s flight-ready.
1. Gather Your Materials
Of course, before you can begin, you need the right materials. This means getting soldering equipment, tape, screwdrivers, and even zip ties. You’ll also need a frame which will not only serve as the mount but will also hold everything together.
Next, invest in a lithium polymer battery as well as an electrical system. You’ll need cable, connectors, and brushless motors for the propellers. You can find quality flight controllers (FC) online, and these might need a transformer for the voltage.
Finally, you’ll need some kind of software to adjust your parameters and calibrate your FC. Ground control software will need to be compatible with the electronics you’ve chosen. Once you have all the materials, it’s time to assemble the body of your drone.
2. Build the Body
You have a lot of personal preferences you can take into consideration for this part of the building process. If you’re using your drone for something like photography or just personal use, for example, an X shape is most common. If you’re using it for racing or speed, opt for an H frame for more aerodynamic ability.
Again, you can choose between aluminum and plastic for the frame. You can also use aluminum arms and plastic for the mounts and vice versa. It truly is your time to let your creativity shine. Once you’re done with the body or frame, it’s time to work on the electronic components.
3. Configure the Electronics
This is the most tricky part of the entire assembly process. Working with electronics is always easier if you have some experience in engineering, but luckily there are a lot of great guides online that will walk you through this process no matter your experience level. There are two components you’ll need to worry about in your drone: the Power Distribution Board (PDB) and the Electronic Speed Controller (ESC).
Next, install your brushless motors and lithium polymer batteries. When choosing these, keep the weight in mind and how these components will fit with the functionality. Again, there are a variety of tutorials for installing the motor and batteries to your drone.
4. Set Up the Transmitter
You’re almost to the fun part! It’s time to set up the transmitter to make sure the FC and transmitter work properly together. The simpler the interface of your FC, the easier it’ll be to configure. You’ll want to find a transmitter with a lot of channels, though the more channels you have the more expensive it will cost. Since it’s so costly, you’ll want to really do your research before committing.
5. Take Flight
Now that everything is together and configured, it’s time to take flight. Since your drone is homemade, don’t expect it to fly perfectly on the first flight. You’ll need to work with different settings to figure out the best way to get it to fly smoothly. You might notice you need to make adjustments to your initial design to get it to run better.
As you can see, you don’t have to opt for an expensive manufacturing process to make your first drone. If you have the patients and electronic know-how to set up your first prototype, you can make it work. From there, you can manufacture your prototype with a service like 3erp.com to gain traction with your product.
Drones are one of the most innovative technologies today. From deliveries to photography, they can do a lot of different things. What will your drone do? How will it impact the technological landscape of tomorrow?