From Design to Prototype: Discover How Drones Are Made

0
45
Image via Pixabay

We live in a world of innovations, and drones are no exception. In fact, drones are one of the most innovative technological advances of the past few years. They’re affecting just about every industry, and they offer a new way to look at the future of technology.

Understanding how drones are made sounds like a complex process. From design to prototype, these machines take a bit of manpower. Here are the steps to make a drone of your own.

Basic Parts

Of course, you’ll need the basic starts to make a drone. Thanks to tools like 3D printing and injection molding, these parts are easily and readily available for a project of any size (source: https://www.3erp.com/rapid-tooling-injection-molding/).

  • Frame – This is the shape of your drone, and it’s usually made of wood, plastic, or other light metal.
  • Motors – Most drones need at least 4 motors depending on how many arms you’ll be using. For instance, an octocopter requires eight motors. Brushless motors are lighter and easier to fly. You can purchase these motors from a store or build your own.
  • Electronic Speed ControlsAlso known as ESCs, these help you deliver power to the motors. You’ll need as many ESCs as there are arms.
  • PropellersYour propellers will need to match the frame. Once again, pay attention to the material.
  • ConnectorsTo connect the motors to the ESC, you’ll need 3.5 mm connectors and 4.5 mm connectors for the power distribution board.
  • Power Distribution BoardAlso known as PDB, this board will connect the battery to the ESCs.
  • BatteriesThe most common batteries for drones are Li-Po batteries.
  • Battery MonitorIt’s always valuable to have a way to monitor your batteries so you don’t risk an accident with your drone dying mid-flight.
  • ControllerThe device that commands the motors.
  • Mounting PadTo improve the flight, you need a mounting pad which reduced the overall vibrations.
  • RC ReceiverFinally, if you have a transmitter, you’ll also need a receiver on the drone.
  • Camera (Optional)If you’re taking aerial photography, you’ll need a high-resolution camera and a USB key.

Image via Pixabay

Step 1: Planning

First, you need to plan your drone. This step should be done prior to purchasing materials. Create a vision for what your drone will look like, including the number of arms. What’s the function of your flying vehicle? Will it be used for photography, transporting materials, or recreation?

This stage will play into your selection of materials. For instance, if you plan to carry objects with your drone, it will need to be sturdy enough to handle this. On the other hand, photography drones are more likely lighter so they can balance easily.

Step 2: Assemble the Frame

Now, it’s time to build your frame. You can purchase this pre-made or build one yourself. It’s relatively simple to make one yourself as long as you have some understanding of engineering. Once again, pay attention to materials and their weight.

The basic formation here is an X frame shape. This will involve crossing two laths to form an X with a rectangular piece at the center.

Step 3: Propellers and Motors

Next, it’s time to install the most important elements: the propellers and the motors. If you aren’t skilled at building, it’s best to purchase these from a reputable store so they’re functional and won’t risk your drone. Multi-rotor drones produce more speeds and are also stabler during flight. As for propellers, you’ll want something durable that won’t bend if it’s impacted during flight.

You can drill the holes in the frame to fit in the motors. Some motors also already come with mountings so you don’t need to drill any holes. Once these are mounted, you can add your ESPs.

Step 4: Finishing Touches

Next, you’ll need to install a landing gear so you can safely land your drone. This can be as simple as a metal pipe attached to the frame. Install your flight controller so it’s able to stay stable no matter the wind or other elements. Your electronic controller will need to be configured to your ESP and your remote control.

Finally, it’s time to test your drone. You want to make sure everything works well before you take it on its first flight. OpenPilot GCS is a good program for testing that everything is working properly. Then you’re ready for takeoff. That’s it, your drone is ready to go.