A drone that does not suck
This project is still WIP
This page contains general information about my drone. Technical specifications (e.g. how it compares to the market leaders), why I built it and some media to give you an idea.
If you want to know more about this project scroll to the end of this article and you will find links to in-depth documentation.
Many people build multicopters nowadays in their free time or as part of a team in a company. Building a multicoper that just flies is pretty easy nowadays. Just get 4 motors, some ESCs, propellers, a battery, a frame and a flight controller. Watch some YouTube tutorials to help you with the built and there you go! A racing „drone“ is a very good example of such a project. However, if you take a closer look you will see that most projects include no serious camera (like a GoPro with gimbal) and have very limited flight time (<10min).
This drone and project is different from most of the projects out there. Its main goal is to build a complete quadcopter from scratch that can be used for aerial photography. Delivering video, user experience and flight time comparable to a DJI Phantom 3/4. One of the best multicopters you can get in 2016/2017.
|Weight||1150g (with camera and gimbal)|
|Flight time||26min (without camera and gimbal)
~20min (with camera)
~2000m using high power transmitters
3.5km+ using directional antennas
|Speed||11m/s (vertical – standard configuration)|
|Video Quality||recent action camera like Hero5 Session (4K 30FPS)|
|Number of cameras||2 (pilot + camera operator – can be the same person)|
|Gimbal||3 Axis, 360°|
|Frequency||Depending on transmitter and region
|GNSS||Dual GNSS: Ublox M8n (GPS, Glonass, Beidou, Galileo)|
|“Intelligent Flight Modes”||Position Hold, Waypoint missions, more to come…|
|Maximum payload while keeping good flight characteristics||250g (standard config)
700g+ (heavy lift config)
Why not just buy one?
- It’s fun
- I like building things
- You learn a tremendous amount of things from other disciplines (Electronics, Information Technology)
- I can not afford the drone I want to have
- I believe I can build one that is exactly how I want one to be
- I can do it for less money myself
- I can cheaply upgrade the camera, battery and motors in the years to come. You can not do that with a ready to fly drone like the ones from DJI. With them, you are stuck with the video quality that was available at the time.
As an engineer, I very much enjoy building things. It’s fun. Plus – The amount you learn from a single project is incredible. I often do projects where I have very little foreknowledge. I have never built something like a multicopter or a model airplane. During the first year, I learned more about microcontrollers, electrical circuits and how to program them than I ever did in university. Nothing you must know as a mechanical engineer, but something that broadens your horizon.
Of course, there always are some downsides to doing it yourself. I would never start such a project if there is a high probability that it will fail. I have time but no money. However, if I can buy something that is at least as good and expensive as what I could build myself I will buy it. No reason to waste time.
While this is the main page that gives you some general information about the project you can go and visit the following pages if you like to learn more about it:
for general info about the build process and the systems engineering behind it.
For in-depth information about the underlying control software