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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Milling & 3D Printing Your Own Drone From Scratch

Being an obsessive maker of machines that make things was what eventually pushed me to make my homemade hexacopter drone.   As I detailed in an earlier blog post, I used my Shapeoko CNC router to cut many of the parts I needed from Dibond.

I did not really like the motor mounts that were cut so I decided to look at what the world of 3D-printed motor mounts held for me when I came upon this brilliant parametric design by pwnas on Thingiverse:

I printed six of them in black PLA plastic.  Between what I could make myself with the CNC router and the 3D printer, I had all the frame and landing gear parts that I needed except for motor boom arms.  I bought 6 Aluminum booms from Hobby King for less than a dollar each.  With all the frame parts in hand, I then acquired the following electronic and other components:

  • HKPilot flight controller
  • Flight controller power module
  • GPS module
  • 9-channel radio transmitter/receiver
  • 6 motors
  • 6 electronic speed controllers
  • 6 carbon fiber propellers
Of course I also needed to make use of screws and nylon standoffs.  In the end, I was very happy with the results:

Upside down

It needs just a little more tweaking before it will be ready for its maiden voyage.  I can't wait to see what I'll be able to do with flying heavy lifter!