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What parts do you need to build a drone?

 

Interested in learning to build a drone?  Here are the parts you will need to get started

heimkinothx / Pixabay

If you want to build a drone you have to understand the parts that are needed.  Here is a quick walkthrough of the important pieces to get the job done.

Frame

If you want to build a drone you have to have a frame to keep it all together. Frames can be bought from various sources, 3D printed and can be made from plastic, wood or aluminum (DIY).  As you start out stick with an inexpensive frame (you you could start with two wooden bars crossed in a ‘X’ shape)
quadcopter frame

Motors

For a quadcopter you will need four motors. For a tri-copter or hexacopter you will need 3 or 6 motors. The general rule?  When you build a drone you will need a motor for every blade you are using

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quadcopter motor
Electronic Speed Control – ESC

This is a device that must be connected between a motor and a flight controller. The reason that you need the ESC is that every motor must have a low voltage input. Usually your battery is 12V so you need to convert it to limit the voltage. 

ESC-

Flight Controller

The flight controller is the brain, the core chip required to build a drone and to get it in the air.  You need to invest in a solid flight controller.   This connects your motors, your GPS (if any), with your battery and your receiver. The simple idea here is that the user, the UAV pilot, gives the drone some throttle from the ground via a transmitter. The signal reaches the quadcopter via the receiver which then passes to the flight controller (FC).   The FC determines how much every motor must spin and passes some integer values to the ESC’s and lastly the ESC decides how much voltage must be sent to the motors.
quadcopter FC
Battery

Of course the biggest problem with drones is the flight time.  When you build a drone we recommend using batteries in parallel.   Generally we use a Li-Po 12V 2S, 2.5S or 3S (Don’t forget a charger for your battery).  Remember to check out our guide on how to select your LiPo charger and our guide on how to take care of your LiPo batteries.
battery

Power Distributor

This is a simple chip that takes for input power and distributes it to 4 or 8 outputs.

quadcopter power distributor

Remote Control

This can be a tricky decision when you build a drone. The majority of pilots uses some kind of remote control they already own.  If you do not have one yet you can easily spend several hundred dollars to buy one.

quadcopter remote control

The above are some core things you need to buy and of course you can add more and more! :) 

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